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The First Color Western
by Susan Allen, click here for bio

Program: Open Range
Date: September 27, 10

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092710 Bonanza.mp3

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Hey I know this will date me but I still remember the "chill bumps" I got each Sunday night when that sepia map would burn, epic music would play and those horses, those spectacular horses would fly across the screen.  The very best part, other than gettting to watch it with my grandpa was that it was in color.  I’m Susan Allen, this is Open Range,  back with some trivia on a television series that ran for seventeen years. More than any other western Bonanza captured the visual aura of the west probably due to the fact it’s initial  mission was to peddle color TV  sets for RCA Victor, it’s early sponsor. The directors  acomplished that not only by shooting on location in the vistas of northern California and around Lake Tahoe but by capitalizing on colorful horses. Until bonanza in other typical westerns the actors  mounts were nondescript without personalities or names (with the exception of Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger.)  Buckskins, blacks and paintsand bright chestnuts  helped insure Bonanza’s success. Little Joe galloping across the screen on his firely Cochise was the reason  horse crazy girls like me tuned in each week. As with  Lassie there were actually a handful of  horses that starred as Joe’s often  comical mount but the original Cochise, Michael Landon’s favorite met a tragic end when a deranged person snuck into his stall and brutalized the paint with a knife. Despite the fact Landon posted a substantial reward unlike each Sunday on Bonanza the bad guy  was never brought to  justice. Tomorrow what do you do if  your lead actor can’t ride and is afraid of horses?  I’m Susan Allen  

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