Stars May be Long Gone, But Bonanza Reunion Will Still Have Plenty to Offer
Back in February we asked who is left to show up at the planned Bonanza TV show reunion to be held in Carson City, Nevada next June.
Bonanza creator David Dortort and stars Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, Victor Sen Yung and Ray Teal are all dead.
This week, Cheryl Dubuque, organizer of the 2014 Bonanza “Round Up,” wrote to answer our question.
Apparently Bonanza fans have held conventions every three to four years since 1999. The next convention is to be held in Carson City on Thursday, June 26 through Sunday, June 29th, 2014.
Dubuque writes, "Many guest stars as well as family members attend the conventions. Mitch Vogel who played Jamie Cartwright during the final seasons attends every convention, as does Rick Drown who was his stunt double. In 2011, Eleanor Roberts, widow of Pernell Roberts, was in attendance as well as David Block, son of Dan Blocker. Members of the Dortort family always attend, as does Chuck Greene, Lorne Greene’s son. In 2009, Victor Sen Yung’s widow and his son Peter attended. Normally a member or two from Michael Landon’s family attends. Additional stuntmen such as Ray Mazy (David Carnary’s stunt double) and Jay Jones attend. Both plan to be there in 2014. In 2011 we had more guest stars than ever before including Mariette Hartley (four episodes,) Michael Dante, Peter Mark Richman, Gregory Walcott (who did eight episodes), Morgan Woodward, Barbara Luna and more... in addition to Anthony Lawrence who wrote many of the episodes. Kent McCray who was an associate producer on Bonanza and the producer of Little House on the Prairie, attends with his wife, Susan McCray. Susan’s father was Harry Sukman - a composer who worked on two of David Dortort’s shows - Bonanza and The High Chaparral. Her father got her a job as a receptionist for Dortort, so she knew all the original actors from the beginning as well.
“Richard Hatch attended to give a tribute to Lorne Greene, since Greene was on both Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica. And Bruce Dickinson, AKA Big Dan from the Bonanza spin off - The Ponderosa, greeted fans (dressed in full mountain man garb)....
"For 2014... we have talked to Charlotte Stewart and David Doremus about attending. Stewart guest starred on two episodes of Bonanza, and was best known to Michael Landon fans as Miss Beadle on Little House on the Prairie. Doremus guest starred on Bonanza and was a child actor who was also known for his recurring role as G.W. on The Waltons, and for his main role on Nanny and the Professor.
"We are working on a special trip to the Ponderosa Ranch in Incline Village... though we do not have a solid commitment yet ... Not to mention, it is a reunion of fans - fans who got to know one another because of Bonanza.... In addition, there is lots of food, DVDs, games, contests and more... and a sharing of past memories from fans and those involved in the show alike - and new memories being made all the time.
"I do hope this answers your question,” Dubuque wrote.
For those wanting more info email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website www.bonanzaroundup.com.
In addition to panels and guest stars who worked directly with the show, the “Round Up” features a 1959s Night, a Casino Night, a Character Night, an afternoon outdoor fair, buffets, games, contests, talent show, a trip to Virginia City, an auction and the Dixie Cruise and more. Plus, there are opportunities to share stories and meet other fans.
Bonanza, filmed in Los Angeles and partly in Lake Tahoe, was an NBC weekly TV western series that ran from 1959 to 1973. It began on Saturday night and its ratings were dismal and the show was targeted for cancellation. Given one last chance, it was moved to Sunday nights at 9 p.m. The new time slot caused the series to soar, and it eventually reached number one by 1961
Lasting 14 seasons and 430 episodes, it ranks as the second longest running western series behind Gunsmoke and continues to air in syndication in the USA, Europe and Asia.
The show chronicled the adventures of the Cartwright family, headed by thrice-widowed Ben Cartwright (played by Lorne Greene, d. 1987). He had three sons, each by a different wife: Adam (Pernell Roberts, d. 2010), Hoss (Dan Blocker, d. 1972), and Little Joe (Michael Landon, d. 1991). The family's Chinese cook was Hop Sing (Victor Sen Yung, d. 1980). The family lived on a 937.5 square-mile ranch called the Ponderosa, nestled amongst the pines above the eastern shores of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. The nearest town was Virginia City, where the Cartwrights would often meet Sheriff Roy Coffee (Ray Teal, d.1976), or Deputy Clem Foster (Bing Russell, d 2003). The show was created by David Dortort (d. 2010). The theme song was written by Ray Evans (d. 2007) and Jay Livingston (d. 2001) and the distinctive guitar riffs were played by Niagara Falls native Tommy Tedesco (d. 1997).
Part of the appeal of the show was the unique suspense created during those exciting action scenes when viewers literally sat on the edge of their seats wondering if those handsome toupees of lead actors Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker would fall off or stay on their heads.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com|| |
AUG 13, 2013