There was a certain kind of ''Bonanza'' fan that Lorne Greene didn't care for

Greene was wary of fans who had seen ''Bonanza,'' but didn't really watch it.

When you're an actor with a wide fanbase, it can be difficult to understand whether a viewer loves you for the correct reasons. Famously, Carroll O'Connor attracted an array of fans for his work on the television series All in the Family. But after the show continued on for various seasons and the hype surrounding the series became greater, it became more and more difficult for O'Connor (and the writers) to determine whether many fans were laughing at Archie Bunker or with him.

Lorne Greene spent fourteen seasons on Bonanza, and with an already illustrious career prior to his start on the series, it meant that he had cultivated a massive fanbase by the time he took up the mantle of Ben Cartwright. As a star, Greene was also aware of his celebrity, as well as the kind of person who adored his work on the series. However, the love wasn't always mutual between the idol and fans.

According to an interview in The Province, Greene took issue with a specific type of Bonanza fan that claimed to love his character, but expressed dislike at the very principles that he stood for. Greene stated, "Some of the people who dig me on 'Bonanza,' I don't dig. I've met people who professed their tremendous love for me on the show. If they did, they couldn't act the way they do in their own lives."

Greene continued, "On the show, I think I represent a man who is fair-minded, who has no patience for prejudice in opinion or actions."

As an actor, Greene often spoke with reverence of his character, whose upright and moral personality was based, in part, on his father. He argued that to some extent, those who claimed to love Ben Cartwright but didn't support those personality traits in real life had missed an imperative point of Bonanza.

Greene said, "The people watch this show and they say, Man, we love you, Ben. We love you, Mr. Greene. You represent a tremendously wonderful kind of person.' And yet they will do exactly what I have been fighting against on the show. You know?"

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14 Comments

Mannixishot 1 month ago
Ben Cartwright was one of the best tv fathers. You'd think Andy Taylor would be knocked out because the color seasons turned Andy into a grouch and he was even a grouch with Opie. Ben was pretty much the same father figure from episode one to the last episode.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Sounds like Lorne didn't like hypocrites and I dig that!
Samuel 1 month ago
I have a friend whose mother once traveled on a commercial plane flight on which Lorne Greene was also a passenger. She told her son that he wasn't friendly at all to the other passengers.
McGillahooala 1 month ago
Some of these actors appear to lack the insight to understand that they are entertaining people. Nothing more. I may enjoy a movie about World War Two, and I may enjoy an actor’s depiction of Hitler. That actor is not fighting for Nazism and trying to change my mind to the same. Nor do I leave the theatre with visions of world conquest or a new aryan belief system. I think some of these actors become convinced of their own self importance in a way that is not based in reality. Bakers bake. Carpenters build. Actors entertain. Perhaps when your job consists of pretending you are things you are not, you begin to imagine you are more important than you are.
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“Voldemort” made me laugh.
Yes, because I know Harry Potter can't say that NAME! And didn't he lose a game of "got your nose"...LOL!
Also they took out my Taylor Swift comment! Guys, don't you realize you're violating my First Amendment rights? You spoiled my Voldemort joke! And for the record, I like Taylor BUT I'm not a Swiftie...LOL!
I would agree with your comment. And there's so many other areas that blur the lines as well. I love Little House on the Prairie and enjoy the "mean" characters like Nellie, Nancy and Mrs. Oleson. It doesn't mean that I'm gonna change my behavior to be mean like them. Same goes for the nice guys on Bonanza. We watch shows for entertainment value. I admit for the Cartwright men, my favorites tend to lean towards Adam and Ben. They're both good and serious guys. I'm not trying to knock Hoss or Little Joe...they got a lot of the sillier storylines and those generally aren't my favorites tbh. But I would still describe Hoss and Little Joe as good and honorable men. A jerk can watch Bonanza and still be a jerk, no matter how many times they see the good Cartwright men. It's entertainment, it's not meant to be a moral compass.
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