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Susan Allen Bonanza Trivia
by Susan Allen, click here for bio

Program: Land & Livestock Report
Date: September 28, 2010


Welcome to Open Range. The first western to be shot in full color for  television was Bonanza which debuted  in 1959. The producers capitalized not only on the spectacular western scenery they also made sure that the horses that Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, and Pernell Roberts rode were as colorful as the episodes but they had one major difficulty to over come. I’m Susan Allen back after the break. It is a little known fact that the star of America’s most popular western series , Lorne Green who played  patriarch Ben Cartwright  not only couldn’t stand horses he could barely ride. His dislike of equines eventually would become a joke with the all-star cast but initially the directors didn’t find it humorous. Enter America’s most popular breed, a quarter horse named Dunny Waggoner whose grandsire was the famous Yellow Jacket . The gentle buckskin helped make Ben Cartwright look passable in a saddle because his gaits were so smooth and he was used to big men. If you watch reruns of Gunsmoke  you’ll see the same gelding carrying six foot six Marshall Dillon, (James Arness) then he’d head back to the  Bonanza set to patiently put up with Greene who dreaded riding scenes with a passion . Michael  Landon once joked on the Tonight Show that explicatives would fly when Lorne and Buck had to appear together. But the Big Buckskin hit a soft spot with Lorne. The horse who made him look good for fourteen years   was said to have lived out his long life, (he lived into his thirties) as a pasture pet at Greene’s estate.

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