Ponderosa life was more hectic than I thought
By Bill Kirby | Columnist
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Adam Cartwright: Let's go back to the Ponderosa, Pa. This isn't any of our affair.

Ben Cartwright: We can't ignore the rest of the world. We're the only stabilizing influence in the country.

Last week, I suggested the old Bonanza TV show was a success, despite having only four basic plots.

This drew a quick rebuke from my friend Joe in the editorial department, who says I am wrong.

"FOUR Bonanza plots?" he wrote. "When I was in the hospital for three-plus months, Bonanza was about the only watchable afternoon show on TV. I can state categorically that there are FIVE plots to Bonanza :

- Some guy tries to take, or otherwise screw around with, the Ponderosa

- Old friend from the Cartwrights' past shows up on their doorstep, either for redemption or comedic interference

- One Cartwright in trouble; other Cartwrights save him in the final act

- All Cartwrights in trouble; deus ex machina saves them in the final act

- Girl shows up, throwing Cartwrights into amusing chaos

And don't get me started on Gunsmoke ..."

I WILL DEFER to his judgment because I haven't seen a Bonanza rerun in years. But I do have a story about the show.

Many years ago I worked with Chronicle reporter and editor Debbie Durrence , who was from south Georgia.

So was Bonanza star Pernell Roberts , who died Sunday at his home in Malibu, Calif., at the age of 81.

She said Roberts would often return to Waycross over the Christmas holidays to visit his mother, and that's when you would see him -- standing in line with his mother at the Piggly Wiggly.

I also found out that, despite his south Georgia background, Roberts supported black civil rights marches in Alabama in the 1960s and also insisted that NBC hire real minorities to play minorities on the screen.

And he quit the popular TV show for several reasons, including that he was tired of wearing a toupee and just wanted to be his natural, bald self.

NBC refused his request because network executives thought it would make Roberts look older than Lorne Greene , the actor who played his father.

BLOG ALERT: My Our Town blog on augustachronicle.com tells what we know of the courthouse statue Lady Justice.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Billy Cooper , of North Augusta, shares this: "Age does have some advantages. At my age when I was pulled over for speeding I talked the officer out of a ticket by telling him that I had to get there before I forgot where I was going."

TODAY'S JOKE: Unable to attend the funeral after his father died, a son who lived far away called his brother and told him, "Do something nice for Dad and send me the bill."

Later, he got a bill for $200, which he paid.

The next month, he got another bill for $200, which he also paid, figuring it was some incidental expense.

Bills for $200 kept arriving every month, and finally the man called his brother again to find out what was going on.

"Well," said the other brother, "you said to do something nice for Dad. So I rented him a tuxedo."

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bill.kirby@augustachronicle.com.

From the Tuesday, January 26, 2010 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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