‘Bonanza’: Candy Canaday Actor David Canary Revealed His Favorite Episode in 2004 Interview

by Keeli Parkey

Actor David Canary played tough guy Candy Canaday on the beloved Western television show “Bonanza” for many episodes. But, there is one that stood out to him more than the others.

Canary talked about his favorite episode of the show during a 2004 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. According to information from the interview, the episode Canary loved above all others was titled “The Well.”

“Basically, the plot, somebody had dug a well and, how did we get in there? Somehow Lorne Greene and I went … there was a ladder going into this new well,” Canary recalled during the interview. “It was a hole about this big (he spreads his arms wide to show the width), but it’s much too deep to get out of. No water in it yet. And, there was a ladder.”

According to Canary, the Candy Canaday and Ben “Pa” Cartwright characters were “duped” into climbing down the ladder.

“Maybe there were rocks or something that the guy was having trouble with. And, we didn’t know he was a bad guy, but we did find out when he pulled the ladder up,” Canary added. “We were stranded in there. And, we were stranded in there for quite a while – meaning days.”

Plot of ‘Bonanza’ Episode Gave David Canary ‘Chance to Act’

David Canary said this plotline gave him a chance to play Candy Canaday in a way he had never played the tough guy character before. The writers of the show, including Michael Landon, decided that Candy would not be able to handle the situation inside the well.

Canary described how Candy reacted to the situation as the character “starts to go bananas and starts to lose it and come apart.”

Canary also said the writers of “Bonanza” wondered if he would be willing to act out Candy’s weaknesses. The actor said there was concern that doing so was “counter to my image as being Mr. Tough Guy.” Therefore, he wouldn’t want to do it.

However, this wasn’t the case, according to Canary.

“Well, I loved it,” he recalled. “It was a chance to act. And, so, I started to come apart. I started to scream and carry on and rant and rave.”

Canary said the people behind “Bonanza,” including Michael Landon were pleased that he would play a very panicked Candy Canaday. Landon was reportedly pleased that the actor “had gone with the writing instead of fighting against it,” according to Canary.

According to IMDb.com, David Canary played Candy Canaday in 91 episodes of “Bonanza.” His run on the show took place from 1967 until 1973. The actor also appeared on such television shows as “All My Children” during his career.

David Canary died on Nov. 16, 2015. He was 77 years old at the time of his death.

You can watch David Canary talk about “Bonanza” below.