Another wild fact about “Bonanza” star Dan Blocker, will make your jaw drop! Dan was born in 1928, and weighed a whopping 14 pounds at birth. At this time, Dan Blocker was the biggest baby ever born in Texas.
When Dan started grade school, he was huge! By the time he hit first grade, he weighed in at over 100 lbs. This isn’t a huge surprise, as Dan was not a small guy by any means. He stood at 6’4” tall and was 300 lbs! Due to his intimidating size, he worked at a bar as a bouncer while he was in school.
An American King Arthur
Dortort initially had a wild idea when it came to “Bonanza”. He was picturing the show to be the story of King Arthur, but presented as an old western tale. He was picturing the star, Ben Cartwright as King Arthur. He envisioned that all of Cartwright's sons were his knights.
Just by watching the show you may not be able to tell that was its initial vision, but think about it. Cartwright really did lead his sons as if they were King Arthur's knights. Dortort’s vision may have come to fruition after all.
Dan Blocker as Hoss Cartwright
The role of the middle Cartwright son, Eric, was played by none other than Dan Blocker. Eric “Hoss” Cartwright was sweet, but not very bright. This was a great acting role for Dan, as he was the total opposite of his character on the show! Dan was actually very smart and knowledgeable!
Dan was not always in the entertainment business. Believe it or not, before he decided to get into acting, he was a teacher and earned a master’s degree. He died young, at the age of 43. Unfortunately, he passed away just 2 weeks before filming for “Bonanza” was resuming, in 1972.
From Survival To Success
“Bonanza” is one of the all-time greatest television shows. But did you know, when it first came on the air it did not do well, and was constantly struggling during season one. “Bonanza” was on the Saturday night time slot. It aired every Saturday, and had such bad ratings that it was almost canceled.
The thing that initially saved “Bonanza”, was that it was the first television show that was filmed and aired in color. NBC did not want to cancel the show, instead they compromised and moved it to Sunday nights. Once the show was moved to Sundays, the ratings skyrocketed.
David Canary as Candy Canaday
There was a gap in the show that needed to be filled when cast member Pernell Roberts left. It was at this time, that actor David Canary joined the cast, in the role of “candy” Canaday.
Prior to joining the cast of “Bonanza”, David was up for the role of Mr. Spock, in Star Trek. After Bonanza, he went on to have a starring role in All My Children. This really launched his career, and he received 5 Emmy Award wins, as well as 16 nominations! Unfortunately, David died in 2015, leaving behind quite a legacy.