‘Bonanza’: One Star Was the Original Inventor of a Widely-Used Device in Hollywood

by Madison Miller
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Besides being known for his commanding and deep voice and fatherly figure status, Lorne Greene also dabbled in inventing. Greene is most known for his role as the widowed patriarch Ben Cartwright on the popular Western series, “Bonanza.”

Before that, he was also one of the most popular radio broadcasters in Canada. Greene became a hit in “Bonanza” as well as for his role in “Battlestar Galactica” later on.

‘Bonanza’s Lorne Greene, Inventor

Besides contributing to the screen, Greene also helped create something that would impact the future of the entertainment business. According to IMDb, Greene invented the original count-down clock.

This allowed a show filming to know exactly how much time was remaining in between segments as well as the totality of the show. For directors and actors, it was a vital addition. It allowed them to understand how much time was really left to complete a given segment.

Apparently, the patent Greene had created had brought him a lot of wealth in the pre-computer world of filming television and movies.

Greene had to learn to capitalize off his skills in the industry. He had also had success creating songs that combined spoken word with rhythm and singing. His image as a Western icon made his albums that much more successful. His most popular “talking song” was “Ringo.” It was a No.1 single in 1964.

From broadcasting to acting to commercial work to inventing to singing, Lorne had taken the entertainment world by storm with all that he could do. He was gifted with a number of honors and awards both during and after he passed away. Most people continue to recognize him as a Cartwright from “Bonanza,” however.

Greene as George Washington

Lorne Greene played an iconic American figure living in the West. However, Lorne Greene himself was from Canada.

He continued to portray really influential American figures throughout his life. In fact, according to MeTV, Greene acted a George Washington in a 1970 TV special from the National Park Service called “Swing Out, Sweet Land.”

The movie featured another timeless Western figure, John Wayne. In addition, Lucille Ball, Ann-Margaret, Jack Benny, Dan Blocker, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, Roy Clark, Bing Crosby, and several other massive names in the entertainment world were in the film. The premise was to tell the story of American’s history.

Lorne Greene seemed to have a passion for the outdoors. He worked on a Canadian television nature documentary called “Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness” as well. The show helped to promote environmental issues and awareness. He had also appeared in a series of different commercials.

Even after “Bonanza,” Lorne Greene had remained hard at work.

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