‘Bonanza’: Mitch Vogel Described First Time Being on Set with Michael Landon, Lorne Greene

by Joe Rutland

Former “Bonanza” cast member Mitch Vogel has warm memories of being on the NBC show for the first time in a guest-starring role.

Vogel appears in an episode from the 10th season called “The Real People of Muddy Creek.” It was two seasons before becoming a full-time cast member as Jamie Hunter, an orphan who ultimately becomes adopted by Ben Cartwright. Lorne Greene, of course, played the patriarch of the Ponderosa.

Yet his first time on the set of the extremely popular NBC western remains a sweet look back for Vogel. He recalls that time in a 2017 interview with Jeremy Roberts.

Greene, Landon Were ‘Very Nice’ To Vogel On ‘Bonanza’

“I didn’t even have to audition for ‘The Real People of Muddy Creek,'” Vogel said. “They just asked me to do it. Even though it was a small part, I had a great time being there. I remember being on the set for about two days.

“The thing that impressed me so much was that Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Dan Blocker were all so very nice to me,” Vogel said.

Landon played “Little Joe” Cartwright while Blocker played Eric “Hoss” Cartwright. Greene died in 1987, Landon died in 1991, and Blocker died in 1972.

Vogel was a child actor at the time, coming off a film appearance in “Yours, Mine and Ours” with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda in the lead roles. The film came out in 1968.

Hit NBC Western Calls It Quits After 14 Seasons

But Vogel saw his time on “Bonanza” a bit short-lived as the series never truly recovered after Blocker’s untimely death. Fans of the show loved “Hoss” and, while show producers put Vogel and Tim Matheson on there, it didn’t matter.

“Bonanza” ended its 14-season run on NBC in 1973, making it the second-longest-running television western. Only “Gunsmoke” with 20 seasons has the Ponderosa crew beat.

Vogel distanced himself from the show business world in 1978. He moved from his native Southern California to Pennsylvania, reportedly got married, and has two children. Vogel returned to California and currently resides in Alhambra, Calif.

He has taken part in “Bonanza” conventions in recent years, showing up to tell people about his time on the show and share memories of his cast members.

Vogel only has good memories of his time on one of television’s historic shows.