Dan Blocker had little privacy while playing Hoss Cartwright
About 400 million fans tuned into a new episode of Bonanza every week, making privacy for the show's popular cast hard to get.
The Cartwrights were loved worldwide, and fans couldn't hide their excitement when one of the actors was in public. Dan Blocker was the actor who played one of the show's most popular characters, Hoss Cartwright.
With massive popularity comes an invasion of privacy, and for Blocker, it was hard not to be seen. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee in 1964, the actor talked about when he was on vacation with his wife and got noticed by fans.
"I'm in Mexico during the hiatus this spring," Blocker said. "My wife, Dolph, and I figure we're safe in Yucatan; no one's heard of Bonanza way down there. Then I hear, 'Caballero Hoss,' even [those people] have seen the show in towns once or twice."
Bonanza's popularity was on the rise, with hundreds of millions of viewers.
In April 1964, 32 countries could tune into the classic Western series, giving about 300 million people a chance to watch their favorite fictional family. In May, an additional 100 million individuals were added to the massive audience after nine more countries picked up the show.
"I can't explain it," Blocker said. "Do you know more people in one week see the show than Gary Cooper played to his whole life? Now that's absurd. Gone With The Wind, the movie giant doesn't even come close to our weekly figure."
The actor often found himself mobbed by fans while out and about. The love was shocking, as Blocker recalled looking at Bonanza's pilot script and thinking, "he better find another job quick."
Being a gentle giant made it even easier for fans to spot the actor, so his privacy, unfortunately, was restricted to his home. One group of people viewed the actor as normal: racing car fanatics.
During the 500-mile Memorial Day race in Indianapolis, he was surrounded by people who loved cars and racing just as much as he did. Blocker was treated as just another car lover around these people, and he loved it.