Bonanza ran for fourteen seasons and was the second-longest-running show of its kind. Over the course of those seasons, we learned that there wasn’t much the Cartwright family couldn’t do. In fact, they took on several situations and always came out on top in the end. They could always count on one another. When the chips were down, Ben Cartwright and his boys pulled together to do what needed to be done.
However, the Bonanza stars also worked well together off the show. Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker came together to cut two show-themed albums. This may come as a surprise to those who only know the actors from their classic television roles. However, two of the Cartwrights had albums other than those connected to the classic series.
Michael Landon released two singles before he starred in Bonanza. On the other hand, Lorne Greene released ten full-length albums over the course of his recording career, including the two on which he collaborated with his on-screen sons.
Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker didn’t have recording careers outside of the two Bonanza albums. However, they both had great voices as evidenced by those records. Pernell Roberts was more interested in acting on the stage. Dan Blocker, on the other hand, was busy being a father when he wasn’t on the Ponderosa.
The Two Bonanza-Themed Records
In 1962, they released Bonanza Ponderosa Party Time. This album has fourteen tracks that are linked together by short comedic skits and banter between the Cartwright family. The running theme of the album is that they’re hosting a party on the Ponderosa for their friends and neighbors. However, unbeknownst to Ben, it’s also a celebration of his birthday.
The second Bonanza-themed album dropped the next year. Christmas on the Ponderosa has much in common with the first album. It has a narrative that links the songs together. So, along with classic Christmas songs, you get to hear some Cartwright banter. There are also some not-so-classic songs like “Stuck in the Chimney,” which is about Santa getting, well, stuck in a chimney.
These may not be the best records ever pressed. However, for fans of Bonanza, they’re hard to pass up. Listening to these albums will transport fans back in time and straight to the great room of the Ponderosa. So, if you’ve been looking for an extra dose of the Cartwright family, you should definitely give these albums a spin.