Most associate the late Canadian actor Lorne Greene with Ben Cartwright, the patriarch of the Ponderosa ranch on NBC's classic Western Bonanza, or Commander Adama from the ABC TV series Battlestar Galactica and Galactica 1980.
Beyond his definitive television roles, the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-born talent formerly known as Lyon Himan Green mixed his bass singing voice with the narration skills he learned as a radio personality for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on multiple albums and singles. Such long players for RCA Victor as Bonanza: TV's Original Cast, featuring series co-stars Michael Landon (Little Joe), Dan Blocker (Hoss) and Pernell Roberts (Adam), and solo offerings Welcome to The Ponderosa, The Man and Young at Heart celebrate folk and country songs about the American West. Singles include "Ringo," a pop and easy listening No. 1 about Old West outlaw John Ringo, and "Saga of The Ponderosa."
If you haven't explored Greene's discography in decades or if you only know him from tv show reruns, check out this duet with Johnny Cash (posted above). Two icons of 1960s and 1970s television sing "Way Out West in The Old Days," a hilarious tune resembling "Way Out West in Kansas," a Carson Robison composition from the 1920s.
In a separate clip, Greene flies solo, covering Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'" before sharing wisdom that applies to our current situation, "Still a Beautiful World."
Per IMDb, this Hollywood and Nashville crossover from The Johnny Cash Show aired on Nov. 18, 1970. To give you an idea of the variety of guests spotlighted by Cash's ABC series, Mama Cass Elliot appeared on the same episode as Greene.
Before Bonanza, Greene starred on Broadway and introduced himself to Western television audiences as a guest on Wagon Train.
Beyond his obvious contributions to television history, Greene also starred in Griff, Code Red and Lorne Greene's New Wilderness.
Greene died at age 72 on September 11, 1987 from pneumonia complications following an ulcer surgery.
This story was originally published on July 23, 2020.