One of my favorite things to do when the holidays roll around is look up the seasonal episodes for some of my favorite TV shows. It's a nice addition to the usual holiday films that are already in rotation. Do you remember the Christmas episode on Bonanza, "A Christmas Story?" Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like all your favorite characters at the ranch during the holidays in this classic NBC show.
Episode 15 of season 8 centered around the holidays at the Ponderosa when a young singer named Andy Walker (Wayne Newton) comes back to Virginia City with his uncle, Thaddeus Cade (Jack Oakie). Uncle Thaddeus is a bit of a schemer and wants to charge family and friends for the privilege of hearing Andy sing since he is also acting as his manager. Andy just wants to share his gift with the people that he cares about in town.
Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) gives Eric 'Hoss' Cartwright (Dan Blocker) the important job of raising money for the local orphanage. When Uncle Thaddeus offers to help raise all of the pledged donations for only 10 percent, Little Joe Cartwright (Michael Landon) doesn't think its the best idea, but in true form, Hoss is a little too trusting and accepts the help. The Cartwrights are throwing a huge holiday party at the Ponderosa Ranch where Hoss and Thaddeus will present the total donations for the orphanage. Will Thaddeus run off with the money or will Andy be able to show his uncle the true meaning of the holiday spirit in time for him to turn it all around just like Scrooge? You can watch the full episode on YouTube here.
But this wasn't the first time the Cartwright family came together during the holiday season. Just a few years prior, the cast of Bonanza released a 1963 Christmas album, Christmas on the Ponderosa. Dan Blocker, Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, and Pernell Roberts are all featured singing in character with help from the Ken Darby Singers. It has all of the usual Christmas songs and a few new additions -- "Jingle Bells," "The New Born King," "The First Christmas Trees," "Oh Fir Tree Dear," and "Santa Got Lost In Texas" to name a few. Find the album here on Amazon.