Dan Blocker was surprised that 'Bonanza' made it past the first season
The Western series exceeded expectations, gracing television screens for 14 seasons.
There's no doubt that a lot comes with debuting a new show. Networks run into multiple problems that could impact a show's success, and even though that wasn't the case for NBC's Bonanza, Dan Blocker was shocked it went beyond season one.
The series exceeded initial expectations, becoming the second longest-running Western series in the U.S., securing 431 episodes throughout 14 seasons.
It quickly became a fan favorite overseas as well. It won several Primetime Emmy Awards and took home a TV Week Logie Award for Most Popular Show Overseas (Australia) in 1964. The TV Week award was the first award win for Bonanza.
Despite the early success, Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright, said he couldn't believe how imperative the show was worldwide.
During a 1971 interview, Blocker shared his thoughts on the show, which was preparing for its thirteenth season. He honestly answered when asked if he was superstitious about the upcoming season. "I have been superstitious about the first year, the second, the third, fourth and so on," he said. "I didn't dream that the thing would go beyond the first year, and I pretty much had the same feeling every year since."
He added that the thirteenth year didn't have a particular significance and looked at it as just another year. The interviewer then asked how much longer can Bonanza last, and the actor responded with beliefs that the show would become an economic burden.
"I think it'll eventually become an economic burden," Blocker said. "It'll be a burden for the network and the sponsors to an extent where they'll probably drop it. I foresee the show lasting another couple of years."
He also mentioned that the network had backed up logs, and when working in film, it becomes hard to payout money when there's so much content viewers have not seen.
"We get so much film backlog that it becomes unfeasible for the network to continue to payout money for new produce when they have thirteen years of produce that the public has only seen one-third of," he said. "So it just doesn't make sense economically to continue the thing. I imagine that it should have run its course by the fifteenth year."
Bonanza was well on its way to more seasons, but Blocker passed away a month after the finale episode of season thirteen.
It lasted one more season before ending.