‘Bonanza’ Theme Song Played in ‘Golden Girls’: Did You Catch this Shoutout?

by Jennifer Shea
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In an episode of “The Golden Girls,” there was a shoutout to “Bonanza” that some fans of the show may have caught.

Toward the end of the episode, “Wham, Bam, Thank You, Mammy,” Blanche produces a music box that her former nanny supposedly gave to her father. Her nanny quickly responds that Blanche doesn’t have the right music box. So they open it, and out wafts the theme song from “Bonanza.”

‘Bonanza’ and ‘The Golden Girls’ Never Overlapped

Despite the shoutout, “Bonanza” and “The Golden Girls” aired during different television eras. “Bonanza” ran for 14 seasons, from 1959 to 1973. “The Golden Girls” ran from 1985 to 1992. But both shows united multiple generations of families around the television set.

Still, they appealed to somewhat different audiences, which is why that shoutout is perhaps a little surprising. One of the biggest fans of “The Golden Girls” reportedly never got into “Bonanza”: The Queen of England.

Queen Elizabeth was apparently a big “Golden Girls” fan, according to Mental Floss. She even invited the show’s stars to perform scenes live in London. So the Golden Girls acted out a toned-down version of two kitchen table scenes for her. But they included a risqué joke about sex, and the Queen, who was 88 at the time, was seen in the Royal Box chortling away at the joke.

Shows Tackled Different Subject Matter

Perhaps because it hailed from an earlier era, “Bonanza” steered clear of the sexual innuendo and cuss words that occasionally appeared on “The Golden Girls.” The show follows Ben Cartwright and his sons as they work to save their Nevada ranch and help their neighbors.

The theme song to “Bonanza” is most often played as an instrumental piece. However, the song had lyrics, and there is footage out there of the “Bonanza” leads – Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon – singing them for the pilot, per IMDb. That version of the theme song never aired, unfortunately.

Country legend Johnny Cash later recorded his rendition of the theme song. He released it as a single with Columbia Records in the summer of 1962.

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