“Bonanza” star Dan Blocker offered some introspective words about the NBC western. Little did he know that one year later he would be dead.
Blocker sat down for a chat in 1971 with interviewer Bobbie Wygant. He was asked by Wygant, as the show was entering its 13th season at the time if he could see the show going on “ad infinitum.”
“Well, I think it could be,” Blocker said. “I think it’ll eventually become an economic burden for the network and the sponsors to such an extent that they will probably drop it.
“I foresee the show lasting another couple of years,” he said.
Blocker, who played “Hoss” Cartwright, said “Bonanza” had so much film backlog that he started making a comparison to produce. He said that it “becomes unfeasible for the network to continue to pay out money toward making new produce when they have 13 years of produce in reserve.”
‘Bonanza’ Star Blocker Said He Foresaw Show Lasting Until Its 15th Season
“The public’s only seen one-third of (it) so it just doesn’t make sense economically to continue the thing,” Blocker said. “I should imagine that by the 15th year, it will have run its course.”
In another interview with late Austin, Texas-based radio host Cactus Pryor in 1965, Blocker admitted that he needed to separate himself from the TV character.
“The second or third year (of ‘Bonanza’) I finally started to divorce myself from him a bit,” Blocker said. “In the early days of the character, when I was trying to find him, of course, I got wrapped in him to the extent that I was ‘Hoss’ Cartwright all the time.
“But once I got him, once I knew the fella and he was indelibly stamped, then I could leave him alone and go get him when I wanted him,” Blocker told Pryor.
Death of ‘Hoss’ Played Role In Seeing NBC Western End After 14 Seasons
Sadly, Dan Blocker was not around for the finality of “Bonanza.” He died on May 13, 1972, from a pulmonary embolism after undergoing gallbladder surgery. Blocker was just 43 years old.
“Bonanza” really never recovered from Blocker’s death. The show lasted just one more season and tried to fill that space “Hoss” had on the NBC western. But it didn’t work.
“Bonanza” did recognize Blocker’s character’s death in the show’s storyline. Fans, though, just didn’t buy in anymore to the popular western and missed “Hoss” and his presence.
The show ended its lengthy 14-season run on NBC on Jan. 16, 1973. That was eight months after Blocker died. His contribution to the show, though, remains in view thanks to reruns and memories in fans’ minds.