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.

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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. 

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11 Comments

gmail 8 months ago
Well I can't get the picture of Dan Blocker to upload.
If you really want to see him dressed up as a monster, Google
OUTER SPACE JITTERS WITH THE THREE STOOGES!
gmail 8 months ago
I always thought this guy looked familiar and sure enough he is especially too the Baby Boomers like me, it's none other than DAN BLOCKER of BONANZA Monday through Saturday at 1 pm Central Time on METV!

OUTER SPACE JITTERS

THE THREE STOOGES
iluvwesterns 16 months ago
Hoss Cartwright was a great tv character. everything i read about Dan Blocker was that he was a very nice and decent man. i would've like to have met him.
LoveMETV22 16 months ago
Hoss is a favorite (opinion) on Bonanza. Unfortunately along with fame comes a loss of some privacy.

" 𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗮𝗹: 𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗮𝗿 𝗳𝗮𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗰𝘀."
I wasn't aware Blocker was a race fan, however he couldn't spend all his time at racetracks, as much as he loved it.
Mblack 16 months ago
Dirk was on Little House on the Prairies, maybe his first role. Plays a kid. I thought he was older, but he was born in 1957. So he couod stretch his age down. Seems a bitykung for Baa Baa Black Sheep.
JERRY6 16 months ago
Good for him , He played the part well . . His son was a Hoss as well nice guy
Andybandit 16 months ago
I am sure he did have a lot of fans. He was very good on bonanza.
McGillahooala 16 months ago
400 million way back then. That is crazy. I thought it was a misprint.
Pacificsun McGillahooala 16 months ago
😉 And remember the numbers were attributed to only 3 networks, (obviously) and none of the current alternatives. So a person would have to figure the total number of households watching television. That's why the Nielsen Ratings were so influential.
MrsPhilHarris 16 months ago
Wow! That is amazing. At first I thought it was a typo. 🤭
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