In the show`s early episodes, the writers would typically have the Cartwrights being hostile to visitors to their property. Lorne Greene objected to this pointing out that with the Ponderosa being as large as it is, the Cartwrights would be an important business interest in the community. Thus visitors would naturally come for economic and political reasons as well as social ones and the Cartwrights would logically welcome them as such. The producers agreed and altered the premise of the characters accordingly.
# During the first season of the show, the guest stars were paid far more than the stars of the show because the producers didn`t think that the stars were well-known enough to pull in viewer
When Dan Blocker died unexpectedly shortly before filming began for the final season, it was decided to have Hoss die too by having him killed in an accident. The opening episode, a two-hour special in which Little Joe marries only to see his bride die, was originally scripted to feature Hoss.
When Pernell Roberts left the show, his character Adam was written off by having him move to Australia.
Adam`s mother was from Boston, Hoss`s from Sweden and Little Joe`s was from New Orleans.
The character `Ben Cartwright` was ranked #2 in TV Guide`s list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
Ben was a major in the United States Army.
Although it got off to a rough start, by 1961 it was the #1 show on TV.
Most viewers have only heard the famous theme song by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans played as an instrumental. The theme song actually had lyrics and there is footage of the lead actors singing those lyrics.
According to the 1973 book "Marilyn Beck`s Hollywood", when Pernell Roberts told Lorne Greene he was leaving the series because he wanted to challenge himself as an actor, Greene told him to stick to it as he would be so rich by the end of the run he could hire Tennessee Williams himself to write a play for him. Roberts` career went into a tailspin that lasted over a decade after he left the show. Co-star Michael Landon later said of Roberts` departure that they simply took a leaf out of the dining room table and split the money three rather than four ways. While the post "Bonanza" Roberts struggled (until later catching on with "Trapper John, M.D." (1979), Greene, Landon and Dan Blocker became very wealthy from their income from the show, which all three wisely invested.
# The character Ben Cartwright is a New Englander who had been a seaman. Before setting out West with his young son Adam, the widower Ben had been a ship`s chandler, running a shop supplying gear to merchant vessels. (This past is referred to in several episodes, but most significantly, "Elizabeth, My Love" broadcast during the second season on May 27, 1961, when an older Ben is remembering Adam`s late mother, his first wife.)
This was the first US television show to have all its episodes filmed in color.
Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon sang a lyric version of this famous instrumental theme for the pilot, but it never aired.
During the filming of one episode, Lorne Greene was required to jump off a small ledge into a lake five feet below. Michael Landon later recalled that when Greene did the stunt, he jumped into the water feet first and went completely under, but his hair piece came off and floated on the surface of the lake. Landon and the rest of the crew watched to see what would happen. After a short while, Greene`s hand shot up out of the water, grabbed the hairpiece, and pulled it down. Greene emerged from the lake, wearing his hairpiece slightly askew. He walked nonchalantly past the snickering crew, and went into his trailer without saying a word.
The two parts of "Ride the Wind" were released as a movie outside the USA. In Mexico, it was called "Jinetes del Viento".
The last 14 episodes of Season One and the first 17 episodes of Season Two have fallen into the public domain. These 31 episodes have been released by many different companies in many different configurations, usually with the familiar theme music replaced with generic music. Starting with episode 1.19, the 31 episodes in order are: The Gunmen, The Fear Merchants, The Spanish Grant, Blood on the Land, Desert Justice, The Stranger, Escape to Ponderosa, The Avenger, The Last Trophy, San Francisco Holiday (aka San Francisco), Bitter Water, Feet of Clay, Dark Star, Death at Dawn, Showdown, The Mission, Badge Without Honor, The Mill, The Hopefuls, Denver McKee, Day of Reckoning, The Abduction, Breed of Violence, The Last Viking, The Trail Gang, The Savage, Silent Thunder, The Ape, The Blood Line, The Courtship, and The Spitfire.
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