When a television show ends, it can be a bittersweet feeling for the cast, crew and fans. For Lorne Greene, there were mixed emotions about Bonanza being canceled. The show lasted for 14 seasons, keeping viewers interested in the lives of the Cartwrights through 432 episodes.
There were a few changes during its time on air, which is typical for shows that have been on for over a decade. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times News Service in 1972, Greene revealed how he felt before and after learning about NBC’s decision to end the show.
1. The cancelation was sudden.
Although the show lasted 14 seasons, its cancelation was still sudden for Greene. In the interview, he said, “It was the suddenness with which it happened. It leaves you with a kind of jet lag. It means that I have to think about decisions that I didn’t expect to have to face for months. And I’m not ready to think about them.” His daughter once asked why he was still at home because, usually, he was on location filming for the show, and he didn’t know what to say.
Yet, he wasn’t entirely out of work. Greene was far from jobless to be exact.
2. As an actor, the show ending was a great thing.
Again, there are mixed emotions about saying farewell to a show you’ve spent years working on. Greene loved working with his castmates, but he knew the cancelation was “the best thing that could happen to [him] as an actor.”
The actor had a plate full of opportunities with a world premiere movie with Universal, his annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade hosting with Betty White, documentary narrations with NBC, and much more.
3. When Dan Blocker died, the Cartwrights were no longer whole.
Losing a castmate is never easy, but it’s even harder to continue a show when you consider them family. Dan Blocker died unexpectedly, and producers knew no one else could replace the presence of the original Hoss. Greene knew the show would never be the same, saying, “That’s the end of Bonanza.”
Everyone described Blocker as the most loveable castmate, and his character, Hoss, was a fan favorite more than the others, including Greene’s character Ben Cartwright.
4. The signs were there before the show was canceled.
According to Greene, many changes took place that showed signs of Bonanza being canceled before it actually happened. “The handwriting was on the wall,” he said. “They moved us to Tuesday night which is NBC’s Siberia. They sold off the old shows into syndication, which meant, in some cases, we were competing with ourselves. There was almost no promotion or advertising when we went on this season, which meant we were written off.”
5. It was an opportunity to excel in other areas.
The long Bonanza journey was over, and although Greene loved his time there, the show’s ending meant more time to work in other areas. During the interview, he talked about getting into producing but didn’t know what content to create.
When asked if he would create “another” Bonanza, he said, “I could do worse.” Thinking about his new free time made Greene curious about buying a boat, and he even thought about cruising the Atlantic seaboard down to the Caribbean.