"From the very first foot of film,'Bonanza' was in color. People were flocking to RCA dealers and they were selling thousands of color television sets. Anybody who had a color set would watch the only color show on the air. So little by little, the idea of the family caught on. People got caught up in the message of love, peace, harmony, all the good qualities in humankind."
About This Interview
In his three-hour-plus Archive interview, David Dortort (1916-2010) speaks of his early career as a novelist and writer of feature films, and recalls his friendship with author Norman Mailer. He talks about early programs he worked on, including Suspense, Fireside Theatre, and Climax, for which he adapted William Faulkner's "An Error in Chemistry". He chronicles creating and producing The Restless Gun, starring John Payne, where he first met and cast Michael Landon and Dan Blocker. Dortort recalls creating Bonanza for NBC, and insisting it be shot in color. He discusses the enormous popularity of the show, and its cast. He outlines mentoring Michael Landon when Landon started to write, and later direct, episodes of Bonanza. He details the end of the show due to the death of Dan Blocker and the loss in the cast of Pernell Roberts. He talks about producing subsequent shows including The High Chaparral, The Chisholms, and the Bonanza prequel Ponderosa. Henry Coleman conducted the interview on August 8, 2002 in Los Angeles, California.