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?"