The Low Down on the High Water
Jenny Linsky and Her Friends

Saturday Nine: Bonanza


Saturday 9: Bonanza (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Bonanza ran on NBC for 14 seasons. Today it's rerun on Me-TV and TVLand. Were/are you a fan?

Not particularly, but my Pop loved it. I'd watch it with him to keep from having to go to bed on Sunday evening. We kids got to watch Wonderful World of Disney, but Pop took over the TV afterwards because of Bonanza.

2) The show centers on The Cartwrights, who lived on a massive ranch in Nevada. License plates in Nevada read, "The Silver State." What's on your license plate? Three letters, three numbers, and the name of the state.

3) Ben Cartwright made his fortune as a cattle rancher. What's the last beef dish you ate? Filet mignon salad at a local taphouse. It was very good, except the chef apparently does not know the meaning of "medium rare."

4) Patriarch Ben had his eldest son, Adam, with his refined, bookish first wife, Elizabeth. Unfortunately, Elizabeth died in childbirth. Still Adam inherited her love of the written word. What's the last book you finished? The Hotel Cat, by Esther Averill. It's about a homeless cat who finds his way into the Royal Hotel. The boiler man, Mr. Fred, names him Tom. Tom keeps the hotel cellar free of mice during the daytime and patrols the upper floors during the night. During his patrols, he meets the members of the Cat Club when they (and their humans) all come to stay at the Royal as a result of a deep freeze in New York City. I fell in love with Averill's books when I was a little girl and recently got back into them. Most of them feature a shy little black cat named Jenny Linsky, who wears a red scarf and lives with her human, Captain Tinker. Yes, they are written for children, but they are so charming and sweet that I can't help smiling when I read them! I currently have Jenny's Moonlight Adventure, The Hotel Cat, and Jenny and the Cat Club.

5) Ben's second son, Hoss, was born to his second wife, Inger, who was killed as the family traveled West by wagon train. Hoss inherited her open, friendly manner and her way with animals. Are there pets in your home? Oh yes, two dastardly cats. Little Bits was born under our stoop in Maryland; she came in out of the cold on her own. She's a Siamese mix and is now 18 pounds. Taffy is a wee troublemaker. She's a dilute calico with white socks who we adopted shortly after we moved. They tolerate each other. Mostly.

6) Ben's youngest, Joe, arrived after Ben married a third time to the passionate Marie, who died in a riding accident when her son was only five years old. Little Joe inherited her impetuosity. Do you consider yourself more spontaneous or predictable? Predictable. I want a plan, a map, and an itinerary. Joe's the spontaneous one!

7) Samuel Clemons was a reporter in Virginia City at the time when the Cartwrights would have been there, and a fictionalized version of Mr. Clemons appeared in an episode of Bonanza. Without looking it up, do you know Samuel Clemons' famous pen name? Of course. Mark Twain.

8) Hair was a big deal in the Bonanza dressing room. Three of the original four stars -- Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts and Dan Blocker -- all wore hairpieces. (The fourth, Michael Landon, began dying his hair while still in his 20s because he was going prematurely gray.) Have you ever worn a wig or a hairpiece? Clown wigs, for sure! I had one with straight red hair and one with very curly red hair. Once I got a nice, curly, 70s perm I ditched the clown wig. Now it's common, but back in the 70s not wearing a wig was a sacrilege!

9) Random question -- Tell us the story behind one of your scars. I have many scars, but the one that is a result of umbilical hernia surgery winds around my bellybutton and looks like an unkempt question mark.