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Friday, January 22, 2010


Right now at the Mississippi Library Commission we’re working on weeding through our collection. For all of you non-librarians out there, “weeding” basically means removing the books that are worn, outdated, or are otherwise not welcomed. This may seem like an easy task but it’s actually pretty difficult. Take for instance a book I found today; Melany Shapiro’s Bonanza: The Definitive Ponderosa Companion. Now, if we thought about this book practically, we may decide it needs to go. I mean, Bonanza was cancelled way back in 1972 and, to be fair, only a few diehard fans would call the show timeless. But, after reviewing Ms. Shapiro’s book I found it offered a good deal of useful information. Here are some things I learned about Bonanza.
Pernell Roberts (better known as Adam Cartwright) released a folk album titled “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies.” Also, Mr. Robert hated Bonanza. He described Adam as “one-fourth of a character” (13) and demanded that his future TV wife be played by an African American. Surprisingly enough, NBC rejected this idea.
Like Mr. Roberts, Lorne Greene (Pa Cartwright) released several records with his most famous being Ponderosa Party Time which featured his TV sons. Mr. Greene also starred in other hit TV shows like Mission Galactica, Battlestar Galactica, and plain ole Galactica. He died of pneumonia in 1987. Tragically, he was still Canadian.
Bonanza featured several guest stars including Adam West, Gary Busey, Death Wish star Charles Bronson, and Lee Marvin. Also, Michael Landon met Victor French on Bonanza and the two later starred in the always popular Highway to Heaven series.
I’m sure you can see now how difficult it is to remove a book like this from our collection. What if I took this book off the shelf and a patron came by and wanted to know what the 363rd episode of Bonanza is about? Well, since we’re keeping this book you can happily learn that:
Episode 364 is called “The Weary Willies”.

“The Ponderosa becomes home for the Weary Willies, post Civil War drifters, much to the anger of the Virginia City folk. When Angie, an aristocrat’s daughter, becomes friendly with Billy, the Weary Willies’ leader, her father and boyfriend are furious. Angie is attacked, and Billy faces trial for attempted murder. Guest stars: Richard Thomas, Lee Purcell, Lonny Chapman, and Elisa Cook. Directed by Leo Penn." (147).

Shapiro, Melany. Bonanza: The Definitive Ponderosa Companion. Nipomo, CA: Cyclone Books, 1997.


  1. Bonanza is timeless as evidenced by its world-wide fan base, the number of websites devoted to the series, and attendance at the 50th Anniversary convention in Lake Tahoe (September 2009). Another convention is planned for England in May 2010 and Los Angeles in 2011. Generations of new fans are welcomed into the fold each year, so having the book on your shelves is a good thing!

  2. I love this show! I started watching it on TV Land, along with Gunsmoke, a few years ago. It was so sad to learn that Pernell Roberts passed away a few days ago.


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