Dan ''Hoss'' Blocker: The Cartwrights became ''too conservative''
Blocker was unfiltered regarding Bonanza.
It's rare when one finds himself both in the spotlight and able to criticize the spotlight. It doesn't happen a lot. Usually, fame burns so quickly that people can only comment on it after the fact. Or, it burns so brightly that people are blinded to the ways it clouds perception. The uncommon exception, though, is a combination of the right voice with the right courage to speak his truth at the right time. It takes someone truly unafraid to lose his position. In 1964, Dan Blocker, Hoss from TV's Bonanza cared enough to be critical but not enough to bite his tongue.
It may have been a little bit easier for Blocker to stand his ground and speak his mind. The guy was gigantic. He was famous for being on Bonanza, yes, but even within the world of Bonanza, he was so physically captivating. So, you're drawn in by the performer's size, and then, while he has you paying attention, Blocker proved to be one of the most magnetic performers in any TV Western. He could do a lot on the show, deftly balancing drama with humor and tension with relief.
By the time of his 1964 interview with The Daily Mail, Dan Blocker had been on TV as Hoss for five years. Whether it was his tenure or his size that provided him the security to be outspoken, Blocker had this to say about the show:
"I think the Cartwright family is becoming too smug by half. They're gettin' too damn conservative for my line of thinkin', and that bugs the hell out of me. Here you get some poor character who steals a chicken to feed his starving kids, and sure as hell the Cartwrights'll run him off the ranch. No, sir, I do not like the premise — but I'll go along with the show."
While that quote seems like Blocker was presenting an edgier sign to himself, the attitude was nothing new. He'd always been big enough to back up his opinions.
"My main juvenile pastime was fightin'," said Blocker, "They called me 'The Bigun,' ropin' off the streets of O'Donnell, Texas, where I lived, matching me up against the local toughs."