Dan Blocker stepped outside of being Hoss to narrate a farm story

"I felt this special was something I was obligated to do...I'm part of this; I'm sensitive to this."

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Dan Blocker enjoyed playing Hoss on Bonanza, even if it meant his privacy was almost non-existent.

There weren't many times he stepped outside of the character, except, of course, when he wasn't acting. However, there was a time he chose to do something a little different.

NBC had a documentary called Down on the Farm that was set to air on January 25, 1969 on the NBC television network, and Blocker was chosen to narrate the story. Being a part of the project meant the world to him, as his father was a farmer.

In an interview with Lancaster New Era in 1969, the actor talked about the importance of the project and why it reminded him of his childhood.

"My father was a farmer," he began. "Shack Blocker cleared 80 acres of Red River County timberland by himself. I felt this special was something I was obligated to do. It concerns the American farmer, past, present and future. I'm part of this; I'm sensitive to this."

As the storyteller for this project, Blocker got the chance to reminisce about his childhood days.

The actor grew up in the rural community of O'Donnell, Texas, where the roots of his farm life began. He started by picking cotton.

"That town has pretty much dried up and blown away since Dust Bowl days," the Bonanza star added. "While it was blowing away, we watched the evolution from small farms to agricultural empires directed by gentlemen farmers and worked by machines and modern methods. That's what this show is all about."

His Bonanza character, Hoss, was a gentle giant and so was he. Although he opted out of a farm-based career, Blocker was determined to help students in his community, so he stayed to teach.

"Our people started moving out of Texas in 1933. Many displaced by the Dust Bowl came to California. I stayed, became a teacher, then moved to the West in 1956 to work on my doctorate at the University of Los Angeles."

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Runeshaper 14 months ago
Dan Blocker was an amazing person!
MrsPhilHarris 14 months ago
I looked up Down On The Farm and a documentary is on YouTube. Not sure if it’s the same one.
Cougar90 14 months ago
I looked at the tv page of the Nashville Tennessean which is online. It aired on January 25, 1969, at 7:30 Eastern time. It was called "The Best Bet" for the evening.
Pacificsun Cougar90 14 months ago
Do you remember the name of the actual documentary. It might be searchable, and there are a couple of ways to do it, I won't mention here.
Andybandit 14 months ago
I am sure Dan was good in it, just like in Bonanza.
Karellen 14 months ago
It would be nice if METV could air this special. I would watch.
Mblack Karellen 14 months ago
People want everything on MeTV. And for every new thing, something needs to disappear.

I think it was a mistake to add cartoons. Old shows fit in, but documentaries? Contact the original network to get them to reair it
LoveMETV22 Mblack 14 months ago
A one time documentary would not necessitate a disappearance of anything. It would be very similar to the Special airing of M*A*S*H* MeTV does occasionally with cast member commentaries. Of course mentioning it in an article is going to generate interest. Don't see a major network rebroadcasting a documentary involving Dan Blocker, as that same network doesn't currently air programming with him in it, (MeTV does). Many viewers over the years had expressed interest in the addition of cartoons to MeTV's programming schedule, to which they obliged, and it seems the network is realizing revenue in that regard.
However, your comment " People want everything on MeTV." is true. There are always going to be programs or series that viewers wish to see, (myself included), however realistically that will never happen. In the meanwhile though what Weigel has in their libraries and broadcasts on their various networks (MeTV, H&I, Decades, startTV, Etc....) is on the impressive side. There never going to be able to satisfy everyones wish list, but they do a pretty good job. JMO.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 14 months ago
It's too late now, but that documentary would've been a good subject for Decades. Because it did involve a beloved Classic TV AND Western (!) actor. It would help his fans to know him better. He would be speaking about an interest which made sense for him. And because he was a teacher with an instinct for research and presentation - yes it wouldn't have been far fetched at all. If they can run 2 hours of the Three Stooges for the last TWO years, then they could balance out that programming with something intelligent.
LoveMETV22 14 months ago
Very interesting story:
" NBC had a documentary called Down on the Farm that was set to air on January 25, 1969."
Did it ever air? Can't find anything with a search. Would be interesting to see if there is footage anywhere.
McGillahooala LoveMETV22 14 months ago
Yep. I’d like to see that.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 14 months ago
Not a wit!
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