‘Bonanza’ Star Spoke Out on Why Criticism of Hollywood Over the Years Was ‘Justified’

by Will Shepard
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Lorne Greene was a staple of television during his time in Hollywood. He arrived at a time when TV shows were just beginning to take hold of the general population. His show, Bonanza, was a massive success and did exceedingly well.

Back in the early 1980s, Lorne Greene went on Today to talk about many things. One of the topics that the Bonanza star talked about was how much Hollywood had changed.

“The first time I came to Hollywood was in 1943 when I was in the Canadian Army. Then, it was a very peaceful, quiet town with beautiful weather and occasionally you saw a little cloud in the sky. And you’d say, ‘Oh look! There’s a cloud.”

However, the Bonanza star said in his matter-of-fact way that “things have changed.”

Steve Liebmann, who hosted Today, said, “The town has a lot of critics these days. Is the criticism justified?”

This question launched the Bonanza star into a diatribe about Hollywood.

“I think, to a certain extent it is justified. I think that there is very little that I would call new on the networks today in Hollywood and in the United States.”

Lorne Greene Starred in “Bonanza” for 434 Episodes, but Didn’t Like the Modernization of Hollywood

He wasn’t done there, Greene continued,

“But, more and more, independent producers are getting into television. And they are bringing with them which deal more with people and the people who matter – family people.”

He then gave a host of examples of shows there were good in his mind. “Bonanza was a family show. It’s been a long time since it’s been what I call a very good family show. Little House on the Prairie was a good family show. The Waltons was a very good family show. There [have] been others like that.”

“But on the whole, there’s a lot of razzle-dazzle today,” Green said. “Battle Star Gallactica had a lot of special effects, and special effects have taken over a great deal of the work of actors in television today.”

Since this interview, much more has changed, and Lorne Greene would probably like the changes even less. There is no more peace and quiet in the hustle and bustle in the busy city of Los Angeles.

All that being said, though, Lorne Greene was immensely proud of Bonanza. Over the years, the show dealt with a lot of current event issues. He felt that the show took it all in stride and did a great job dealing with all of them.