Monday, December 6, 2010

Bonanza - Season Two - DVD Release

At the risk of hampering my reputation as a so-called television historian (insert eye-roll here), I must admit that I have never watched an episode of Bonanza beginning to end. At least I don't think I have. It used to run occasionally on Sunday afternoons as filler on KXLY Spokane when I was a child and I may have sat through a full episode then... but now come to think of it... that was Gunsmoke. Nevermind. 

I picked up a bargain bin DVD a few years back of Bonanza as a handful of episodes are in the public domain. I was instantly jarred and disappointed when the theme song, certainly not in the public domain, had been dubbed over with some generic synthesized surf music. I shut it off, disillusioned by the whole venture.

My connections to Bonanza stem from other places than having watched the show.

Lorne Greene was legendary in Canada for his wartime pronouncements over the CBC as the "Voice of Doom." When he gained fame on Bonanza, it became a source of pride for many Canadians vying for some kind of confirmation that their show business figures were legitimate. My first introduction to Lorne Greene was not Bonanza, but a novelty western track called Ringo I'd heard on David Wisdom's radio program Nightlines, as recently as the mid-nineties, when I was a meager fifteen years old.

Over the past few years of manning this site, I have come to learn from his many appearances on Johnny Carson, that Michael Landon was a great wit. My Landon exposure has always had much less to do with his Bonanza fame than his turns in great drive-in pictures like I Was a Teenage Werewolf. So, again, my association with Little Joe was not Bonanza, but something peripheral. 

I used to joke over the years that if I ever had a son I would name him Hoss. I love the name Hoss. Yes, I love the name Hoss even though I have never seen Dan Blocker in action. And as you can see I own a cache of Bonanza related vinyl gleaned from thrift stores over the years. Why? I have never seen the show, so what is the appeal? These are questions better left to the world of psychoanalysis.  

Anyway, the official Season Two - Volume One DVD set of Bonanza hits the market tomorrow, just in time for Christmas. Why the plug? I have never seen the program! The psychoanalyst needn't be phoned for the answer. Could it be because I run a blog that sometimes gets bribed with free stuff? Hmmmmm... could be!


Kevin K. said...

My father owned an appliance store in the 50s & '60s, and told me that "Bonanza" was responsible for selling more color TVs than any other show. My family watched it during its first few years, primarily because, well, it was in color. Great theme song, though.

Barbara said...

One of Landon's famous comments was "The Cartwright men were not gay. Thank God Hop Sing was!" ...

Yowp said...

NBC promoted the crap out of Bonanza and it was on the air so long, you didn't need to watch it to know about it. It was just always around. I can still hear Mel Brandt and Bill Wendell (in his pre-Letterman time) voicing promos for it.

And the theme is one of the best. Especially when sung by Lorne Greene. Too bad he and Lorne Greene Academy student Leslie Nielsen didn't cut a duet.

Doctor Tarr said...

I know Robert Altman directed several episodes of Bonanza, but I'm not sure what seasons they were in.

Anonymous said...

You're hawt.

-Bunny Sparkles