Dan Blocker stepped outside of being Hoss to narrate a farm story
"I felt this special was something I was obligated to do...I'm part of this; I'm sensitive to this."
Dan Blocker enjoyed playing Hoss on Bonanza, even if it meant his privacy was almost non-existent.
There weren't many times he stepped outside of the character, except, of course, when he wasn't acting. However, there was a time he chose to do something a little different.
NBC had a documentary called Down on the Farm that was set to air on January 25, 1969 on the NBC television network, and Blocker was chosen to narrate the story. Being a part of the project meant the world to him, as his father was a farmer.
In an interview with Lancaster New Era in 1969, the actor talked about the importance of the project and why it reminded him of his childhood.
"My father was a farmer," he began. "Shack Blocker cleared 80 acres of Red River County timberland by himself. I felt this special was something I was obligated to do. It concerns the American farmer, past, present and future. I'm part of this; I'm sensitive to this."
As the storyteller for this project, Blocker got the chance to reminisce about his childhood days.
The actor grew up in the rural community of O'Donnell, Texas, where the roots of his farm life began. He started by picking cotton.
"That town has pretty much dried up and blown away since Dust Bowl days," the Bonanza star added. "While it was blowing away, we watched the evolution from small farms to agricultural empires directed by gentlemen farmers and worked by machines and modern methods. That's what this show is all about."
His Bonanza character, Hoss, was a gentle giant and so was he. Although he opted out of a farm-based career, Blocker was determined to help students in his community, so he stayed to teach.
"Our people started moving out of Texas in 1933. Many displaced by the Dust Bowl came to California. I stayed, became a teacher, then moved to the West in 1956 to work on my doctorate at the University of Los Angeles."