New York, November 25, 2015
Like so many, I was shocked and stunned by the very sad news about David Canary revealed yesterday. Alzheimer's disease is a terrible scourge! David and I were last in touch in 2010 when we lost David Dortort. (It was a nice, but sad, conversation.) David had been ill for some time. An early clue perhaps was the fact that David's wife Maureen replied to decline David's invitation to the 2009 BONANZA convention at Tahoe. (Prior to that, David always replied directly.) We tried to get him to attend BONANZA gatherings (starting with the 40th anniversary in 1999), and he would've come but for scheduling conflicts, mostly due to "All My Children." I recall one year he had accepted and was all set to go, but his father (who was over 90 at the time) took a tumble and he wrote he had to stay to care for him.
No one, to my knowledge, ever said a negative thing about him. (And I've spoken to many, many people who knew and worked with him.) He was a wonderful, kind, considerate and decent person. From the moment I first met him (backstage, after a performance of "The Cherry Orchard" in New York City, accompanied by Jill and George Wells), David was charming and captivating.
David was one of the very nicest people I ever knew. He was always gracious and friendly whenever I would see him at a personal appearance or play in the New York/Connecticut area. He gave me his private phone number in his dressing room at ABC and urged me to call him anytime I needed anything. Indeed, he was always willing to do anything I asked re. merchandising and licensing. (I was usually able to get relatives of his fellow "Cartwrights" to do things as well, but it was never as easy as with David. David Dortort and I chuckled about that.)
After the tragic loss of Dan Blocker in the spring of 1972, producers David Dortort and Richard Collins met with Lorne Greene and Michael Landon. Their first decision was to invite David Canary to return to the show. (David had left just prior to the beginning of the 1970-71 season, because of miscommunications and a salary dispute.) Michael Landon called David personally to ask him to return. When a family loses one of its members, it's natural to close rank and pull surviving members together. David was without doubt, an integral member of the BONANZA family.
Years later, after the tragic loss of Michael Landon in 1991, David, in the midst of a full "All My Children" taping schedule, unhesitatingly accommodated Kent McCray's request to contribute to his memorial tribute, "Michael Landon: Memories With Laughter & Love." Kent and Haskell "Buzzy" Boggs took a small crew to Wilton, CT, and filmed David on a Saturday in his backyard.
In 2000, David donned his "Candy" costume (which still fit) and again worked with a crew in his backyard, filming anecdote-filled segments for PAX-TV's inaugural BONANZA Extravaganza.
As too often happens, I discovered after the fact several years ago that David had been interviewed for the Television Academy's oral history project. The interviewer's skills were mediocre and it was painfully obvious that she was something of a gushing soap opera fan and cared little for David's career besides "All My Children." David took her shortcomings in stride; he was his usual good-natured self, but it was a missed opportunity to discuss his career in greater depth, especially of course, his BONANZA years.
We are losing too many old friends and heroes from our youth. At least we have the memories, and in David's case, hours of wonderful performances preserved on film (or tape) forever.
I urge David Canary's many admirers to follow his family's advice and donate in his name to the Alzheimer's Association at alz.org -- "David Canary Memorial Fund."
May 27th, 2015
Well, it’s almost show time, BONANZA Believers. One week until BONANZA: The Official Eighth Season goes on sale in North America. (Tuesday the second day of June, 2015.)
I’m especially proud of this one. Great special features you’ve come to expect accompany this series – and no other to this extent -- like rare publicity, episodic and behind-the-scenes photos, ultra-cool Chevrolet commercials not seen since 1966 and 1967, and real gems like a super rare and fascinating interview with legendary director William Witney, talking about “The Pursued.”
And for audio commentaries, yours truly and fellow historian Allan Asherman (“The Star Trek Compendium”) discuss and dissect “The Pursued.” Teddy Quinn, all grown up and blessed with a great memory for detail, takes us back to the set of “Tommy.” Mike Landon fans will really get a kick out of one particular anecdote Ted relates. “Mr. Las Vegas” himself, Wayne Newton, took the time to come into the studio and reminisce about “A Christmas Story” and “”The Unwritten Commandment.” (And he has some choice words about Pernell Roberts!)
Remember the touring Ponderosa Caravan? Remember the special short film every visitor of the Caravan got to see? Nobody’s seen it since the Caravan ceased touring in 1970, but if you buy BONANZA: The Official Eighth Season, you’ll see it!
Of course, every frame of every episode is digitally restored and re-mastered from original 35 mm film elements. These shows have NEVER looked this good! You’ll be amazed at the details you’ll see.
And it may sound melodramatic, but truly it’s “do or die” time. Sales of BONANZA (and other vintage titles put out by CBS Home Entertainment) have been “soft.” There’s talk of suspending transfers from film going forward . . . if we go forward. I was told very recently, there shall be no work of any kind on BONANZA season nine until further notice.
So please, if you want more BONANZA - complete and uncut - and full of fantastic extras, go to AMAZON and order Season Eight. (And if you can afford it, order an extra. They make great gifts. Father’s Day’s just around the corner . . .)
Click here for Bonanza Season 8
I thank you.
Best BONANZA Wishes,
P.S. If you’ve posted BONANZA episodes online unofficially, please remove them – or tell posters to remove them -- before they will be removed. CBSHE wants this done periodically – before each new DVD release.
I thought you'd like to hear from someone who was there -- tune in December 1, 2009 as MITCH VOGEL chats with Susan McCray about his years on BONANZA and recollections of working with LORNE GREENE, DAN BLOCKER, MICHAEL LANDON, DAVID DORTORT, et. al.
The interview will air on December 1st. It is on the Schedule page of www.susanmccray.com. To hear it air - go to www.ksav.org - click on Listen Live and you can hear it. Of course, it will be on the site on the Archives page as well.
Best BONANZA wishes,
Bonanza Ventures announces plans to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of BONANZA with the introduction of “Little Joe’s Horse Cochise” by Breyer Animal Creations
New York, NY March 16th - September 2009 marks the 50th Anniversary of the legendary western television series, BONANZA. To recognize this occasion, Bonanza Ventures Attorney Andrew J. Klyde has announced the release of “Little Joe’s Horse Cochise” in conjunction with Breyer Animal Creations.
Breyer Animal Creations has been making fine model horses since 1950. “I wanted the best quality for official BONANZA products,” said Klyde. “The people at Breyer wanted to offer a very recognizable, distinguished horse first, and I thought that Cochise certainly fit the bill.”
Making sure that the final product was accurate was very important to Klyde. “I sent Breyer many photos and a couple of screen captures (made by fans), including some of the horse without a saddle, to give the artist the best possible views of the original Cochise,” he said. “I had an opportunity to view the model after it was painted but before it was finalized and give my comments. I think the artist did a great job.”
Many fans have already inquired as to if and when the other Cartwright horses (and possibly their riders) would be released. “If the sales numbers for Cochise are good, look for his stablemates!” said Klyde. “Breyer is willing to develop more products, so support Cochise!”
Interested buyers can find “Little Joe’s Horse Cochise” for purchase at the official Breyer website, www.breyerhorses.com. Tractor Supply Company, the largest retail farm and ranch chain in the United States, will also be carrying “Little Joe’s Horse Cochise” soon. Buyers can visit their website, www.tractorsupply.com for further information.
* * *IN MEMORIAM
A veteran of the Korean War, Alex was an tremendous
athlete, a quality that served him well during his fifty
years in Hollywood. He was a founding and lifetime member
of the Stuntmen's Association of Motion Pictures, but it
was his outstanding writing skills that endeared him most to
BONANZA and THE HIGH CHAPARRAL enthusiasts.
Alex authored some of the most beloved and fondly
remembered episodes, including "Hound Dog," "Old
Sheba" (directed by his long-time friend and golfing
buddy, John Florea), "The Hayburner" and "The Covey."
A man of limitless energy and enthusiasm, and one of the
all-time great raconteurs, Alex will be missed by his legion
of fans whom he regaled with his tales at BONANZA and
THE HIGH CHAPARRAL conventions.
Alex is survived by his devoted wife Keo. Memorial
details will be posted when available.
ANDY KLYDE, for Bonanza Ventures, Inc.
For further information: AJKLYDE@yahoo. com,
Or (718) 261-4128
The Antique Roadshow featured an appraisal of a collection of BONANZA
photos recently. I'm sure Legacy readers would like to know all the details.
Here's a link:
These photos have a rather distinctive history; taken by renowned NBC photographer Elmer Holloway (at least the individual portraits) in early 1961, they were available to subscribing members of the "Bonanza Booster Club," an NBC organization concocted to drum up interest in the series in the early days. When the ratings indicated that that was no longer necessary (by the end of the third season), the "club" disbanded. Individual photos I believe were sold for $.25, and the complete photo package cost $1.00 (!). "Boosters" received their group photo personalized by an anonymous NBC staffer (who worked with our beloved "Madam of the Ponderosa", Joan Sherman Markowitz, author of Booster Club newsletters using her "nom de plume," "Dan King, club president"). The guys signed a bunch of the group shots, and did indeed inscribe as well as autograph their portraits.
Wendy Dortort Czarnecki had her rare 5-photo set on display at her father's 90th Birthday Celebration at the University of Judaism in 2006. (But they weren't signed!)
* * *
April 18, 2006
First, a little corporate history: in 1973, after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) barred television networks from participating in the syndication of their own shows, National Telefilm Associates (NTA) purchased the NBC library of television programs. In 1986, NTA changed its name to Republic Pictures Corporation (aka Republic Entertainment). (NTA had achieved such great success
with its purchase of Republic Studios' library of films that it later bought the Republic name and logo; that is why BONANZA and THE HIGH CHAPARRAL episodes have the Republic "eagle" tacked onto their end credits). Aaron Spelling's Spelling Entertainment Group (which included WorldVision Enterprises, spun off from ABC Films in 1971 to syndicate ABC-owned shows) later purchased Republic, and in 1999 Spelling/Republic merged with Viacom (created originally in 1971 to distribute CBS-owned shows; in 1984 Viacom merged with Paramount Communications, and in 2000 Viacom merged, ironically, with CBS). Now BONANZA and HC episodes have the Paramount "mountain" logo following the end credits. (Excised, sadly, from BONANZA prints is the "trickling coins" watercolor proclaiming an "NBC Television Network Production.")
At a recent meeting with executives from NBC Universal, I discussed the status of THE HIGH CHAPARRAL and BONANZA and the possibilities of their imminent release on DVD. With regard to HC, NBC has certain obligations it must meet vis à vie worldwide distribution of the series. At present, CBS Paramount International is responsible for distribution outside the U.S. The executives promised to report back to me after they determine what Paramount has done, distribution-wise, which will determine whether Paramount will continue to distribute the series (both in television syndication and on home video/DVD), whether NBC Universal will take over the series, or another entity chosen by Bonanza Ventures. As soon as the executives make their report, we will have a better idea of when the process of making HC available on DVD will begin. I emphasize it is a question of "when," not "if," episodes will appear on DVD.
Regarding BONANZA, it is also a question of "when" and a matter of communication and coordination between NBC Universal executives, executives at Paramount Home Entertainment, and CBS. Early in 2006 Viacom completed its split into separate CBS and Viacom companies, and as a result, oversight of the pre-1973 NBC library - which includes BONANZA - passed to CBS from Paramount. Paramount Home Entertainment is now just the home video distributor of the NBC library. CBS has expressed interest recently in releasing BONANZA on DVD in North America (with rights to distribution in other territories, like Germany, having been sub-licensed by Paramount to a European distribution company; BVI is a profit participant in this deal, but did not specifically authorize it).
It is my hope and wish to have maximum input into the selection of episodes
for these DVD releases, as well as the content of "extras," which
I feel must also be included in season sets.