Lorne Greene, Michael Landon and Dan Blocker bought a Malibu beach for millions and gave it away
The scenic Dan Blocker Beach sat unused for decades.
Image: AP Photo/Reed Saxon
Two million dollars is a lot of money. It was an especially impressive figure back in the mid-1960s, about $16.3 million in today's cash by inflation. Still, that hefty sum seems like a bargain for a stretch of oceanfront in Malibu.
Around the time, the principal cast members of Bonanza were collecting around $10,000 per episode. Those paychecks stacked up over a 34-episode season. A family onscreen, the Cartwright actors were close off the clock, as well. Lorne Greene (Ben), Dan Blocker (Hoss) and Michael Landon (Little Joe) pooled their pennies and purchased a half-mile stretch of Corral State Beach. The south-facing strand was a prime piece of enviable real estate, no doubt, sitting between Malibu Bluffs Park and the town of Malibu proper. Like many stars, Blocker and Landon lived in Malibu. Today, a single home in the area can fetch upwards of $120 million dollars. Gulp.
Blocker died in 1972, as Bonanza was heading into its final season. With the friend and partner gone, Greene and Landon decided to donate their beach to the state in 1979. It was named Dan Blocker Beach in actor's honor. The costars intended the land to be used for public recreation.
Somehow, the beach would not open to the public until 2014.
The state held the beach until 1995, until it passed the property over to Los Angeles County. As it sat for two decades, the land became what the Malibu Times dubbed an "eyesore," with wild brush growing around dilapidated fencing. In 2011, LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky began cutting through red tape in a mission to get Dan Blocker Beach open and in shape before he left office.
At last, in late 2014, the ribbon was cut at Dan Blocker Beach, which you can see in the image above. "It’s been a real privilege to undertake projects like this," Yaroslavsky told the Malibu Times at the ceremony.
David Blocker, son of Dan, was onhand.
It may be miles from the Ponderosa, but just up the road, near Pepperdine University, you will find the Michael Landon Community Center.