‘Bonanza’: Here’s Who Vegas Icon Wayne Newton Played on the Classic Series

by Megan Molseed

The iconic Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton appears on two episodes of the hit NBC western series Bonanza. In the series, Wayne Newton or, “Mr. Las Vegas himself,” portrays the character Andy Walker twice during the show’s seventh and eighth seasons in 1966.

Bonanza’s seventh season episode titled The Unwritten Commandment premiered in April 1966. In this episode, Wayne Newton portrays a singer named Andy Walker.

Young Andy Walker dreams of becoming a singer. A hostess working at a local saloon spots the talents of Andy Walker and is excited to begin training the young man. However, things begin to get complicated for the Bonanza guest-star as his efforts to break into the business are slowed by his father.

In the episode, Andy’s father doesn’t understand his dreams, and he hopes the young man moves on to join him working on the family farm.

Then, in the following season, Wayne Newton returns to Bonanza for a special Christmas episode, reprising his role as Andy Walker.

Wayne Newton Shows Us the Christmas Spirit In ‘Bonanza’ Guest Role

This December 25, 1966, eighth season episode of Bonanza is titled A Christmas Story.

In this episode, Andy Walker returns to Bonanza’s Virginia City for the holiday. However, this time, the singer returns to the Bonanza players with a scheming uncle, notes IMDB.

Andy Walker’s uncle, Thaddeus Cade who is portrayed by Jack Oakie.

Walker has arrived to visit the Bonanza crew because he hopes to help out the town, giving back to the people who had helped him so much earlier in the year.

However, Andy Walker’s uncle, Thaddeus has some very different plans in mind. Thaddeus hopes to charge the people of Virginia City for his nephew’s concert. And, if the funds were then donated to charity, the singer is fine with the plan, after some convincing that is.

Eventually, the group decides to hold a fund-raising event to raise funds for a local orphanage. Lorne Green’s Ben has initially tasked Bonanza’s Hoss Cartwright with the fundraising.

However, money is tight for many homes during the holiday season. So, the fundraising proves to be a little difficult for the Bonanza player who is portrayed by Dan Blocker.

Soon, the shady Thaddeus offers to help Hoss with the fundraising efforts. With the stipulation that he take ten percent of the donations.

Something Sneaky Is Happening Among The Christmas Cheer

The other Bonanza players begin to see where this is going and warn Hoss to be careful of Thaddeus’s offer. Hoss, however, decides to follow his trusting nature and welcomes the man’s help.

Suspecting that he has something up his sleeve, Wayne Newton’s Andy Walker approaches his uncle hoping he doesn’t go all Scrooge-like for the holiday and run off with the money. Thankfully, Thaddeus gets a burst of Christmas spirit and delivers all of the funds raised. Thaddeus even contributes the ten percent he earned for his work.