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 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 7:36 AM   
 By:   Great Escape   (Member)

So I'm watching an old episode of Bonanza on Encore's western channel last night. The episode is from 1971. But the music is not from Bonanza. The main and end titles as well as the episode score have been replaced by what sounds like a variation on music from Little House on the Prairie.

Any theories?

Also the episode barely had the Cartrights in it and felt like it was being used as a pilot to set up a new series with Ben Johnson and Roger Davis leading a cattle drive. Anybody know anything about this?

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 7:49 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Here's a David Rose thread I started that nobody loved but in it there's some info about Rose's process in scoring the series.

http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=34892&forumID=1&archive=1

As for the LHOTP sound to the theme in that latter season, I think Michael Landon exercised a great deal of control of the show at that time. I'm sure LHOTP was already on his mind as early as '71.

As for the Roger Davis-Lorne Greene episode, there were many instances when Bonanza (and Gunsmoke and The Virginian, to name a couple) took on an anthology series vibe. This may have been due to the strenuous work schedule of the day, as many series had thirty episodes or so. Plus there were episodes where filming was done to spotlight a single cast member.

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 7:54 AM   
 By:   paulhickling   (Member)

Well I don't know if this sheds any light on it, but I'm positive that on my first visit to Canada (from here in the UK), I remember the TV Guide used to bill what appeared to be episodes of Bonanza as 'Ponderosa'. Sorry if I'm mistaken.

On a more humorous note, though potentially disasterous , I remember as a kid watching tv at grandma's house. She had a habit of drawing her coal fire with a tin that made the flames go faster by use of draught after a new bucket of coal was put on. She would then use the suction to stick a sheet of newspaper on the tin to make it even faster, and leave it there while she went back in the kitchen!

Now we remember the Bonanza opening titles where that map is on fire? Well, at some point a brown spec would appear in the middle of the paper, and get bigger... Just like Bonanza!!

It never caught fire luckily, and she always returned to take the tin and paper down before a nasty accident occurred.

That's the memory evoked by those opening titles.

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 8:00 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

There are only two American western shows that have made any kind of impact in Norway.

The first was GUNSMOKE, which was all the rave in the 70s, before I was born or had any understanding of what was going on. We only had one tv channel back then.

The second is BONANZA, which has been in syndication on our TV2 almost every day since the channel started in 1992. Usually weekend mornings, which is why I associate it with hangovers. smile

But anyway, sorry that can't help you in your request, Great Escape.

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Gunsmoke and Bonanza are *still* considered the two giants of American western TV shows. The Virginian was iirc the third longest-running western on American television but it isn't nearly as well remembered as the other two, despite it having two fantastic themes (by Percy Faith and Ennio Morricone).

BTW, the theme the OP is talking about is here, around 3:30 minutes into the video (of a psychedelic episode, season thirteen's "Bushwacked!"):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUEReppoiwI

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 11:54 AM   
 By:   Great Escape   (Member)

Thanks, Jim. I hadn't realized they changed the theme toward the end of the series. I was worried there was a rights issue with the music or something and that they replaced it all. I just tuned into the "wrong" season.

Ben Johnson is a favorite of mine and I've been Tivo-ing episodes of shows he and certain other character actors are in to see them once. This was a great showcase for him.

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 12:15 PM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Thanks, Jim. I hadn't realized they changed the theme toward the end of the series. I was worried there was a rights issue with the music or something and that they replaced it all. I just tuned into the "wrong" season.

After two seasons of David Rose's theme they did bring back the Livingston-Evans tune for the final season.

Ironically "a rights issue with the music or something" does affect public domain prints, which stick on an all-new and all-crap theme. It's online somewhere but I refuse to link to it.

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 2:37 PM   
 By:   CDDA   (Member)

The official DVD was released by Paramount. They also hold the rights for the music score?

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 3:57 PM   
 By:   skyy38   (Member)

So I'm watching an old episode of Bonanza on Encore's western channel last night. The episode is from 1971. But the music is not from Bonanza. The main and end titles as well as the episode score have been replaced by what sounds like a variation on music from Little House on the Prairie.

Any theories?

Also the episode barely had the Cartrights in it and felt like it was being used as a pilot to set up a new series with Ben Johnson and Roger Davis leading a cattle drive. Anybody know anything about this?


Something like this?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L-inyOSL5M

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 4:39 PM   
 By:   skyy38   (Member)

Some really good reading here! Holy Moley!

http://ponderosascenery.homestead.com/music.html

 
 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 7:06 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)


Something like this?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L-inyOSL5M


That kid's hair!!!! Talk about a bird's nest.

Appropo of nothing, was anyone else as bothered as I was by the terrible studio sets--and lighting--in Bonanza and Gunsmoke particularly? I always thought a couple of kids with crayons could have drawn better backgrounds, and the lighting was as flat as a pancake, to coin a phrase. At least The Virginian used an outdoor set, even if the surrounding countryside did seem suspiciously familiar.

 
 Posted:   May 2, 2014 - 7:22 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Appropo of nothing, was anyone else as bothered as I was by the terrible studio sets--and lighting--in Bonanza and Gunsmoke particularly? I always thought a couple of kids with crayons could have drawn better backgrounds, and the lighting was as flat as a pancake, to coin a phrase. At least The Virginian used an outdoor set, even if the surrounding countryside did seem suspiciously familiar.

Bothered? No, but those sets were a bit cardboardy, weren't they? At least Bonanza had the "excuse" to be exclusively filmed in color whereas Gunsmoke was B&W until, what, their ninth season? Bonanza *did* have more location shooting after the S6 departure of Pernell Roberts and many of the show's best episodes were from those latter seasons (seven to twelve).

As for sets, The Wild, Wild West sometimes found itself shooting on the Gunsmoke Dodge City-mountainous-Kansas-main street and the Barkleys of The Big Valley living room on a number of occasions. If Victoria only knew what Dr. Loveless was doing in her front parlor!

 
 
 Posted:   May 3, 2014 - 12:21 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

In addition to David Rose, "Bonanza" benefitted from the musical skills of such talents as Harry Sukman (seasons eleven to fourteen), William Lava (seasons five and six), and Walter Scharf (seasons three and four). Sukman's talents were heard on "The High Chaparral", and a later Dortort series, "The Cowboys"

Given that The High Chaparral (also from David Dortort) began and ended during Bonanza's run and that Sukman scored the entire run (except the pilot), you have to wonder how he did it.

 
 Posted:   May 3, 2014 - 2:57 AM   
 By:   chriss   (Member)

BTW, the theme the OP is talking about is here, around 3:30 minutes into the video (of a psychedelic episode, season thirteen's "Bushwacked!"):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUEReppoiwI


Funny, I never realized there was another theme.
I know the Livingston-Evans tune is a classic but I must admit I like Rose's theme more.

 
 
 Posted:   May 24, 2014 - 9:22 AM   
 By:   GregCoben   (Member)

Not sure if Paramount owned the rights to the original theme song, but it definitely changed at the time when filming of the series moved from Paramount to Warner Brothers. If this is the case, then it would appear that they worked out a licensing deal for the final season.

 
 Posted:   Jul 5, 2014 - 10:04 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Another Bonanza theme change--rather an rearrangement--came in season 10 when the famous electric guitar version of the theme was replaced with a symphonic version, which begins 3:02 into the tenth-season episode, "A Ride in the Sun":


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LivjOcirs6Q

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2014 - 4:38 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Just watched the third-season episode, "The Smiler" (featuring a superb Herschel Bernardi performance as the titular character). The episode is also noteworthy for introducing the famous "Ballad of Virginia City" motif heard during the episode title credit. The Ponderosa Scenery website goes into detail about this:

"The newly scored Chapter Title cue music that accompanies the watercolor credits, now with producer, writers and director in sequence, performed by David Rose and the studio sessionists, which would be seen through the end of "Bonanza's" eleventh season. David Rose based this new cue music on a theme he composed and scored, "The Ponderosa" in 1961. The cue is more commonly known as The Ballad Of Virginia City."

Said cue is heard beginning at 2:49 into the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GhzAm4Akog#t=168

 
 Posted:   Jul 16, 2014 - 4:32 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

This twelfth-season episode, the broadly comic "An Earthquake Called Callahan" (aired April 11, 1971 and guest starring Landon stalwart Victor French) features a strikingly Bacharachian cue as Little Joe rides to town. The cue begins around 3:39:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da_VjghWkX0

I love that late sixties-early seventies sound and how each era reflects so much of its time.

 
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