“Bonanza” star Dan Blocker predicted the show was drawing to a close back in 1971. The actor felt the western had a few good years left.
In an interview prior to the 13th Season, Blocker predicted that the show only had a couple of years left. He envisioned the show would wrap within the next three years. His reasoning was that “Bonanza” was becoming too expensive for the network. Additionally, the show had recorded hundreds of episodes, which the network could sell in syndication.
He said it wouldn’t make economic sense to continue to produce the western.
“I think it’ll eventually become an economic burden for the network and the sponsors. To such an extent, they will probably drop it. I foresee the show lasting another couple of years,” Blocker said during an interview. “You see when we’re working in film, we get so much film backlogged that it becomes unfeasible for the network to continue to pay out money to make new productions when they have 13 years of production in reserve that the public has only seen one-third of. It just doesn’t make sense economically to continue the thing. I should imagine by the 15th year, it will have run its course.”
‘Bonanza’ Comes to An End
Ultimately, Blocker’s words would prove prophetic. Due to slipping ratings during the 14th Season, the network chose to pull the plug on the Cartwright family. The cast and crew weren’t given the time to craft a proper goodbye to “Bonanza” as a result.
Unfortunately, Blocker wasn’t around to see the ending of the show. During the interview, the reporter asked Blocker if he felt superstitious about the 13th Season. The number 13 is considered an unlucky number in western culture. The actor admitted he didn’t.
“I have been superstitious about the first year and the second and third and fourth and so on. I didn’t dream the thing would go beyond the first year,” Blocker said. “I had pretty much the same feeling every year since. The 13th year has no particular significance other than its another year.”
The 13th Season would be Blocker’s last. The actor died from a pulmonary embolism between seasons of the show. His death hit the show hard and contributed to the western’s ending.
“Bonanza” just wasn’t the same without Blocker and his character Hoss. Ultimately, a number of factors contributed to the Cartwright family riding off into the sunset after Season 14.