Round up the posse, Bonanza is back

“Dum-diddle-um-diddle-um-diddle-um-dum-DA-DAAA…” Long before
Dallas made a ranch the address to have, lovers of the Wild West
worshiped the Ponderosa, home in Nevada to Pa Cartwright and his
three grown up (using the term loosely) sons Hoss, Adam and Little

Now, Bonanza is back .

For more than 14 years from 1959, audiences in sixty countries
watched the television cowboy family that never aged (or, for that
matter, changed clothes). At a time when the USA’s dream of being
the world’s unbeatable defender of truth, freedom, liberty and
civilised behaviour was receiving a daily pounding via the news
footage from Vietnam and later Cambodia, the Cartwright boys
delivered a golden dose of nostalgia. They lived in Never Never
Land, a place where you could tell the baddies from the goodies at
a glance.

The baddies had a five o’clock shadow, gripped a cheroot and
always wore black – and that was just the ladies.

The goodies were well washed and wholesome . And didn’t speak
with a Mexican accent since, even in the 1960s, nobody liked an
economic migrant.

This time around Bonanza will be a prequel. Widower Pa
Cartwright is raising his sons as young boys rather than ruling
them as uppity grown men. (“But, Pa…..” were the two most
frequently used words in every script). Since this is the Wild
West, the Cartwrights will of course carry none of the stigma
normally attached to single parent families. Pa will, no doubt,
show his sons how to connect with their feminine side too. Not so
much cowboys as cow wholly rounded persons.

Our touchy-feely times will inevitably require that we overlook
some of the most striking characteristics of our three lads. Hoss,
for instance, carried more avoirdupois than most self-respecting
Palomino ponies might expect to carry.

In the new series, will we see how this plucky adolescent
battles with his weight? Or will all references to Hoss’s tendency
to hoover up his own vittles as well as everyone else’s, be omitted
on grounds of fatism?

Then, there is Little Joe, the youngest and shortest of the
trio. He was small in stature but, you’ve guessed it, big – even
monumentally huge – on bravery. He would stick his extremely large
six shooter where no human of average stature would be daft enough
to venture.

Will the new series dare to make reference to our Joe’s
miniature muscles? Will this not give the boy a complex? Would it
not be better to give him a name which matches the steel in his
soul, say “Big Bro”?

Finally, Adam. He had only one drawback. The name then implied
that he was looking for his Eve. (Indeed, in the original series,
all three were perpetually on the pull but any woman became
intimate invariably met with a Native American arrow or a
desperado’s single shot. At the Ponderosa, Ma Cartwright, bless her
dear departed soul, had clearly been one woman too many.)

Adam is clearly too Caucasian/Biblical for today’s international
markets. DJ Cartwright might please the kids – but PC Cartwright
probably fills the bill better. Welcome back Pa, Hoss, Big Bro and
PC. We really missed ya!

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