‘Bonanza’ Star Was Supposed to Take on Major Role on ‘Star Trek’ Before Joining Show

by Joe Rutland

What if we told you, Outsiders, that an actor on Bonanza almost ended up taking a major role on Star Trek before he appeared?

It’s true. According to an article from MeTV, David Canary was being looked at as a replacement for Leonard Nimoy.

Let’s take a look at the scene.

Canary was in the midst of playing ranch foreman Candy Canaday on the smash-hit NBC western.

In 1967, Star Trek had been renewed for a second season on NBC.

But Nimoy and show producers were in a contract dispute. He wanted more cash to play Mr. Spock.

Well, the show nearly switched him out with another Vulcan science officer. As it turned out, Nimoy and the show came to an agreement and Canary stayed out on the Ponderosa.

Whew. Could you imagine anyone else playing a Vulcan of that high authority on the Enterprise? Not sure about that one, Outsiders.

Canary also had a contract dispute on Bonanza and left in 1970. He did return, though, in 1971 after the death of Dan Blocker.

Just another cool story from the glory days of television. Bonanza and Star Trek are still on TVs somewhere in the world thanks to reruns.

‘Bonanza’ Actor Called End of Famed Show ‘Death of an Old Friend’

All good things must come to an end, Outsiders. So it was with Bonanza.

Canary talked about the show in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation.

Bonanza came to a rather abrupt end. Canary said it ended on such a down note “because of Dan Blocker’s death.”

“I mean, that was, that is, synonymous with the end of the show, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “And, uh, I think that’s the actual truth. The actuality of it.”

Canary said about Bonanza that you hate to see a really good show go off the air.

Canary Also Remembered How Michael Landon Would Rewrite Scripts

“I must admit that I was ready to try to move on,” he said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t have a job all of a sudden. I didn’t panic and I knew they’d give me a wonderful boost to my career to start, so it wasn’t for professional reasons. It just felt like the death of an old friend. Which is what it was.”

But he remembered something about the creative side involving Landon.

Canary said Landon was the show’s de facto creative head during these later seasons. If Landon didn’t like scripts, then he rewrote the material. But Canary didn’t remember Landon as a diva.

He remembered Landon as a talented writer and director. He would improve any project he worked on and it would lead to “Little Joe” becoming Charles Ingalls.