Wayne Newton's role in Bonanza's Christmas episode related to a real-life experience

Just like his role, Newton had to follow his true passion. A passion that led to his hit single "Danke Schoen."

Have you ever heard of a role so perfect that it sounds like it could happen in real life? In Bonanza's holiday-themed episode "A Christmas Story," a young man, Andy Walker, wanted to sing for a living, but his father thought the idea was insane. The young singer was played by Wayne Newton, mostly known for his hit single "Danke Schoen." The part was similar to what he experienced early in his career.

In an interview with The Times Herald in 1966, Newton shared details about how he and his brother stayed determined to fulfill their purpose despite a few bumps along their journey.

"The drama is called 'The Unwritten Commandment,'" he said, referring to the plot of Bonanza's Christmas episode. "It deals with a father-son relationship. The youth wants to be a singer. The father, a farmer, finds the idea frivolous. He believes in hard, honest labor - he wants his son to work the land, like a man."

One thing that set the role apart from his real-life experience was that Newton's parents supported his dreams.

"I've always wanted to be an entertainer; it's the only thing that ever excited me," the singer said. "My brother and I used to pick up a couple of brooms and pretend they were guitars. The main thing in our favor was that we had parents who loved us, sacrificed for us and encouraged us."

However, some people thought being an entertainer wasn't Newton's purpose. His teachers thought he should stay in school, a decision didn't come easy for the singer.

"The teachers told me it was more important to first get an education - they had all the arguments," he added. "It's hard to do the unusual. It's hard to trust your own feelings at such a time."

Deciding to follow his heart, Newton quit school and began performing six shows a night, six days a week, seven months a year. He and his brother took a leap of faith that led them to The Jackie Gleason Show, but it didn't come without hardships. They had to eat 15-cent hamburgers, their instruments were stolen and they walked to save money on subway fare.

Although things were challenging, the singer got his high school diploma and still lived his dreams. He performed at Lake Tahoe with Jack Benny and signed a record deal that resulted in his hit single "Danke Schoen."

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10 Comments

Nala92129 2 months ago
Oh, dear! The less said, the better.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
Danke Schoen is a GREAT tune!
Andybandit 2 months ago
Wayne is a very talented entertainer. He was good in the Bonanza episodes he was in.
justjeff 2 months ago
"Danke Schoen" was planned by the song's publishers to be recorded by Bobby Darin, but Darin felt it was better suited for Newton after seeing him perform it at the Copa. The publishers were livid, but they eventually reaped the benefits from the sales of the hit recording... The original 45 label credits the artist as "Wayne Newton and the Newton Brothers"...
Michael 2 months ago
I thought Wayne Newton was best known for his place in Vegas Vacation.
LoveMETV22 2 months ago
Although I did enjoy Wayne Newton in the Bonanza episode, he was such a versatile actor during his career. He had many film roles as well as Tv appearances ,even though some were cameos. I liked his role in Vegas Vacation where he appeared as himself:
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 2 months ago
That’s funny!
LoveMETV22 MrsPhilHarris 2 months ago
Loved that scene. Whenever I hear Wayne Newton that scene from Vegas Vacation and the scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, where Ferris dedicates Danke Schoen to his friend Cameron come to mind.
I've always thought of Wayne Newton as a good natured- likeable actor.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 2 months ago
I forgot all about Ferris singing Danke Schoen. 🎙 Fun movie!
MaryMitch 2 months ago
Wayne Newton must have had a great agent or a guardian angel in Hollywood, because he was shoehorned into a lot of shows. I'm not a fan of his Bonanza episodes.
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