The character of Hoss Cartwright was actually just a nickname! The real character’s name was Eric Haas Cartwright. The other characters on “Bonanza”, including his family, called him by the nickname Hoss. It may have seemed like a strange nickname, but it is actually just a variation of his middle name, Hoss.
Eric “Hoss” Cartwright was played by the actor Dan Blocker. The character was gentle and kind, despite Blocker’s enormous stature. The nickname was also said to refer to Hoss being big, but friendly. The writers explain the nickname in an episode flashback, where the brothers give him a nickname to see what sticks.
A Very Expensive TV Show
Did you know that “Bonanza” was one of the most expensive shows on television? NBC had a budget of $100,000 to $150,000 per episode. This amount made Bonanza the most expensive TV show to produce each week. In order to justify this wild amount, “Bonanza” was also named one of the best-performing television shows.
Even though they had a sky-high budget, the network saved money per episode by using stock footage for extra scenes, as well as having the cast all wear the same clothing throughout the entire series. Yes, all four hundred plus episodes.
Adam Cartwright Could Have Been Played By Zorro
When you are an actor, sometimes you are faced with the difficult decision of having to decide between two roles. The role of Adam Cartwright was initially offered to actor Guy Williams. Guy turned down the offer and instead accepted the role of Zorro.
Even though he turned down the role of Adam Cartwright, he did appear on “Bonanza” in five episodes. He came on to play the role of Will Cartwright, who was Adam's cousin. The role was actually created to replace Pernell Roberts, in case he walked off set. They knew that he was volatile, so they had to be safe.
Were The Cartwrights Cursed?
A long-running joke on the show “Bonanza” is about the Cartwright curse. Fans and cast members alike all knew about this unspoken curse. Anytime someone from the Cartwright family fell in love, the woman would end up dead or leaving. This quickly became known as the Cartwright curse.
Fans of the show really wanted to witness a marriage that lasted. But apparently, the show's creators wanted this famous father figure to raise his children alone. Maybe they were trying to prove his strength, and show he did not need a woman by his side.
Not Their Real Hair
Do you think you could spot real hair from fake hair? You may be surprised to learn that most of the actors on the show “Bonanza” wore toupees. Some of the actors that wore a toupee were Blocker, Roberts, and Green. Landon’s hair, on the other hand, was very real. Some men started to wear them as the series went on, since their hair started to thin. After all, the series ran over a decade!
Not only did some men wear toupees on the show, but some even had their heads painted to look like they had hair! See if you notice next time you watch the show!