Dan Blocker

I didn’t watch Bonanza as much as Gunsmoke as a kid but I knew this guy. He looked so big on the screen and he seemed like a nice and gentle guy. He played Hoss Cartwright and that was an appropriate name for him. Dan’s other claim to fame was that he was the largest baby ever born in Bowie County (14 lbs.), in the town of DeKalb Texas in 1928. While still in school Dan stood six-foot-three and weighed 300 pounds.

His parents, Ora “Shack” Blocker and Mary Arizona Blocker managed to open up a grocery store after the depression in O’Donnell Texas where a young Dan helped out, carrying groceries to customers’ cars. He football skills earned him a scholarship to Sul Ross State University where he played football and studied English.

He appeared in a play Arsenic and Old Lace and was hooked on acting. He fought in the Korean War, where he served with distinction, earning a Purple Heart, among several other medals, citations and awards.

He got bit parts in television and soon landed the Bonanza role which he would forever be known.

On May 13, 1972, Dan entered a Los Angeles hospital for simple gall bladder surgery. A blood clot in his lung changed everything. Dan Blocker died and left a wife and four children. He was on Bonanza for 13 seasons

Dan was part owner of the successful, once popular chain restaurant, Ponderosa/Bonanza Steakhouse… He also owned a race car.

Image result for dan blocker race car

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Dan Blocker”

  1. I never knew that Dan Blocker was on Gunsmoke, but I watched Bonanza all the time. It was a real family show and my whole family watched it. It was one of the first TV shows to have color and since my Dad worked for RCA we had one of the first color TV sets. Hoss Cartwright was a big guy, but he always seemed to be gentle and that video featuring his was awesome. I always liked Hop Sing the cook also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was a guest on Gunsmoke a few times…I always watched Gunsmoke more as a kid…I’ve watched a lot of Bonanza in the past few years.

      I really liked the stories they have…it was a real family show…you are right.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember him best from Bonanza. His character was unforgettable. He had a good aura around him that was beyond his role as Hoss Cartwright. Gone too soon. Never knew the restaurant chain connection. We had one of them in town for years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just watched Bonanza lately in the past few years…I really like it. I watched it some as a kid and of course a big guy named Hoss got my attention.
      Yea no one was expecting the death…they actually one time mentioned that Hoss died in the show which they rarely did back then

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw, it’s nice to see a post on Hoss. I visited the Ponderosa on Lake Tahoe back in 2003, I think. I savored every minute of it, and took a ton of pictures. Then, exactly a year to the day later, the Ponderosa property sold to developers, and was gone. I’m still heartbroken. One of the structures in the middle of the ‘town’, was a ‘Hoss-burger’ stand with a tall brown hat for a roof. Dan is one of the first famous people I remember suddenly dying young. I didn’t know he was involved with Bonanza restaurants either!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember as a kid watching Bonanza and my grand mother told me he died. I couldn’t believe this huge guy was gone. Jim Croce was the first star I remembered dying.
      The guy just seemed so likable to kids…and to everyone.
      I read about that place and many people were upset that its gone. I’m so jealous…I would have loved to seen the Ponderosa…and to have a Hoss-Burger!


      1. My impression is the same, that Dan was a real down to earth guy in person. The Ponderosa was a special place. I couldn’t believe I was actually walking around in the Cartwrights’ house, and the yard between the house and the barn. When I catch a rerun now, I sit there thinking, “Wow, I stood right there!” haha

        The view from the yard looking over Lake Tahoe was stunning. I’m not surprised someone bought them out for the location. I still have my souvenir Ponderosa map. I also have a Saturday Evening Post from 1965 with Hoss, Ben and Little Joe on the cover. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They still have footage of it on youtube…that would have been a fun place to see. I’m glad you got to see it…
        Something I didn’t know…Lorne Greene owned a house that was close to a replica of the Ponderosa…I want to show you the link…I’m afraid WP will spam it…so I’ll send it on the next comment…that way you at least know I sent it lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Indeed, he must have liked it. I got a kick out of the coin operated riding horse in his office. I’m curious about the staircase by the fireplace. In the TV Ponderosa house, the staircase didn’t actually go anywhere; just to a little landing behind the fireplace. I wonder if his house actually had an upstairs that was accessed by the stairs.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t think it did go anywhere…It was on the market and I found the listing…
        Exterior Stories: 1
        So I guess they went to nowhere also.

        Liked by 1 person

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