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From the Archives: ‘Bonanza’ canceled

November, 1972: Costars Michael Landon, left, and Lorne Greene on the Bonanza set following the show's cancellation.
(Larry Bessel / Los Angeles Times)

The cancellation of the television series “Bonanza” was so abrupt that the production team and costars didn’t have time to put together a final episode.

In the Nov. 14, 1972, Los Angeles Times, staff writer Gregg Kilday reported:

Last Monday morning, a stranger rode into town. A man out of the East in the hire of the National Broadcasting Co. It was his job to inform the cast and crew of “Bonanza” that their series had been canceled in midyear.

After 13 1/2 years of riding the high country of the Ponderosa, the Cartwright family had finally been gunned down.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the last few scenes of “Bonanza’s” final episode — a brief scuffle and an attenuated gun battle involving Tim Matheson in the role of undercover agent Griff King — were completed on Sound Stage 28 at the Burbank Studios.

It was a businesslike farewell as the actors and crew went through the familiar motions of piecing together yet another conflict in the troubled history of “Bonanza’s” Virginia City.

“If we had known this was coming,” remarked Lorne Greene, the series’ patriarch, “we would have gone out with a bang and not a whimper.” ...

This photo by staff photographer Larry Bessel was lead art on the Nov. 14, 1972, View section cover.

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This post was previously published March 7, 2012.

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