Lynnes Convention memories


                   Thursday September 10th –Monday September 14th 2009

                                                 BONANZA LOCATIONS

I was very lucky to have made a friend in Pat Grubb, who lives in Denver, and
she kindly offered to let me stay at her house, before and after the convention.
We were also planning to go to the Gene Autry Museum to attend the 50th anniversary
celebrations that were being held there. As the museum is in Los Angeles we decided
to take in some of the location sites, too.

While we were still in the Tahoe area, we did get to see Bourne Meadows, the place
where the Cartwrights rode up, at the beginning of the show. We also visited the
spot, at Zephyr Cove, where the steamboat, which Ben had purchased, in Showdown at
Tahoe, was moored, and where Joe waded into the lake (bet that was cold enough to
shrink his assets) in order to sneak aboard the boat.


                                               Zephyr Cove


        We also went to Sand Harbour, where we saw the most likely resting
          place for Marie. This area was featured in The Stranger, The Ape,
            The Courtship, The Countess, and The Frenchman  

                                                     Sand Harbour                                                                           


We managed a visit to Spooner Lake, where the episode Different Pines Same Wind
was shot.
This is a beautiful spot and was also used in Desperate Passage, Land Grab and
Check Rein. When we were there, the place was virtually deserted, just a couple of people
fishing, so it looked very much as it did in Different Pines, although there wasn’t a
cabin and a corral there.

                                                       Spooner Lake


    We left Tahoe on the Tuesday morning, after the convention, and headed for
    Los Angeles. We drove down through Yosemite Park, which is a really pretty park
    to visit.  We then entered Stanislaus National Forest and made our way to Donnell’s
    Vista; Hoss and Joe’s happy place that Joe takes Alice to see, in the episode Forever.
    The area was also used on Little House on the Prairie, notably in the episode
    The Lord is my Shepherd.  We stopped off in Salida and stayed there overnight  

                                                                    Donnells Vista

    The next morning we carried on with our journey. We were booked into a hotel in
    Glendale, as this was a pretty central place to stop while we explored Los Angeles.  

    We were there for almost a week and during that time we went to the cemetery
    to visit Lorne and Mike’s final resting places. I left Mike one of my birthday tribute
    poems and we also took him a rose plant. At Lorne’s grave I left a copy of my
    50th anniversary tribute.       


          We also went to Hollywood to see their stars and, once again, as I did in 2005, I gave
             Mike’s star a cleanup, before I had my photo taken with it.





 A must for both of us, seeing as how we are Joe fans, was a trip out to Vasquez
Rocks to see the cliffs that Joe climbs on in Between Heaven and Earth.
This site has long been used by movie and TV makers, being only about an hour
outside of Los Angeles. In fact, a film was being made when we were there, involving
camels and men dressed as sheiks LOL. Alias Joe Cartwright, Ride the Wind, The
Last Mission, The Thirteenth Man, Sound of Drums, Erin, Old Friends, The Wagon
and Shadow of a Hero were also shot there.                               

                                                     Vasquez Rocks

We visited Franklin Lake, as Bank Run, The Bride, The Savage, Inger My Love,
Matter of Circumstance and many others,  were filmed there, and had an eureka
moment when we identified the trees that Joe rides through, at the beginning of
Different Pines, when he first encounters Carrie. It is also the place where Joe, Hoss,
Ben and the surveyor are seen, sitting on their horses and discussing the crisis
about the timber cutting, also in Different Pines

 And we were thrilled to be able to stand on the spot where Ben and Adam meet up
with Hoss and Joe, in Bank Run, and Ben bawls them out about the bank robbery. 


                                                 Franklin Lake                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

  It was certainly a very eventful trip and a pleasurable one, as there is nothing
better than visiting places of interest, accompanied by someone who is as thrilled
about them, as you are. So I want to publicly thank my partner in crime, Pat Grubb,
for making the trip such fun.

Little Joe forever

Lynne November 2009


         Lynnes Convention Memories

My memories of the 50th anniversary convention

   I was very fortunate to have made friends with a lovely lady called Pat Grubb, a Joe
fan, like me, and she kindly invited me to her house, for a week before the convention.
She lives in Denver, Colorado, so the plan was that we would drive from her house
down to Tahoe, where the convention was being held, then afterwards, spend a
week in and around Los Angeles, visiting all the Bonanza related sites in that area,
before returning to Denver.

My holiday got off to a great start, as I found myself travelling on the plane with
a man who had worked for Mike, when he was making the film ‘Where Pigeons
Go to Die’. This man had been a lighting technician, but he said that Mike treated
everyone on the set exactly the same way. There were no airs and graces and big
star tantrums and everybody said what a great guy he was.

Once I arrived at Pat’s, after having been up for twenty four hours, the order of
the day was plenty of sleep and then I was ready to take on the world LOL. Pat has
three lovely dogs, one is the size of a small donkey, being part Great Dane and the
rest Golden Labrador, but he is definitely her Hoss, as he is kind and gentle and
so sweet. Then she has Buddy, who is all black and is the next in size to Scotch
(the Labrador) He is more reserved, usually on the outside looking in, and often
decides to go off on his own, so he’s her Adam. Then, finally, there is the
smallest, but the noisiest, Roxy, a wire haired terrier, who loves to be the centre
of attention and is always full of mischief, in fact just like our Joe.

We spent a few days at Pat’s house, meeting up with some of her friends and
family and then we began the task of packing up her car for the long journey ahead.
 We reckoned that we would be clocking up over 3000 miles on this holiday. One of
Pat’s friends was getting married in Grand Junction, which is about four hour’s
drive from Pat’s house, so that was going to be our first stop.

The wedding was lovely and I was very grateful that the bride and groom were
gracious enough to invite me, a virtual stranger, to share their magical day. In order
to repay them, in a little way, Pat and I took on the task of caring for their cat and
dog, along with two dogs belonging to another guest, while we were staying at the
bride and groom’s house. This was great fun, although I don’t think that Dorothy, the
cat, took to us that well.

On Sunday morning, we started off on our trip to Reno, where we were meeting up
with another Bonanza buddy, Pony, who was flying in from Kentucky.

Neither of us had met Pony in the flesh, but, amazingly, in a huge hotel full of people
and after more than twelve hours of driving across some of the lesser appealing
terrain, in the States, we found her.

After a good night’s rest in Reno, we were ready to head for our hotel, just
outside Virginia City. It was called the Gold Hill Hotel and Saloon and was built in
1859. It is reputed to be the most haunted hotel in Nevada, but we didn’t see any
spooks, unless you count Carla Ledford and Debbie Beshears, who were also
staying there, prior to the start of the convention. LOL


 As we entered the building, the first thing we saw were some Bonanza photos
on the door, so we felt very much at home.

The owners were charming people and they made us very welcome.
By day, we spent the time exploring the area (lots of shopping in Virginia City)
and in the evening we took part in the karaoke night (something none of us
had ever done before). The audience were very kind to us virgin performers, so
much so that Pony got up and sang another song, all on her own.

We would have loved to stay at Gold Hill longer, but we had reservations
at South Lake Tahoe, from Wednesday night, and so we moved on.

My first glimpse of the lake moved me like it always does and Ben’s words
from the opening scene of Rose for Lotta always come into my head.
‘Feast thine eyes on a sight which approacheth Heaven,’ as I am sure that it does.



 In complete contrast to the Gold Hill Hotel, which was small and cosy, the Hilton
was huge, but we knew we would be spending very little time in our rooms, as there
was so much going on. We were soon registered and we took all the luggage up to our room.
We were going to be sharing with Ellen and Jami, two more fans whom we only knew via
the internet, but they turned out to be great girls and we soon had the room organised so
that we could make the best use of the space. Pony was sharing with some other girls, but
we obviously saw her during the convention. She was a really nice girl and we had a lot of
fun together. She was a Joe fan, too.

On Thursday, it was the first of the extra optional days and we went on a trip to Virginia City.
For those of us who had booked it, there was also a walking tour around the town with
Ron James, one of the leading experts on Nevada history. He took us into Piper’s Opera
House, and to the site where the 1875 fire, which destroyed about three quarters of the city, began.
We also visited the 4th Ward School, and saw some of the mine owner’s grand mansions, in
stark contrast to the small cabins that the less well off folk lived in. We also saw the
churches, of various denominations, and the cemetery where we noticed that quite a
lot of miners had gone over to Nevada from Cornwall, Wales and the North of England.


All the familiar names of the saloons from the show were there, Bucket
of Blood, WashoeClub, Silver Dollar, plus the Territorial Enterprise offices
and the Mark Twain bookstoreand museum. There are also several references to
Miss Julia Bulette and Mr Henry TP Comstock, plus the mines themselves, the
Gould and Curry, the Yellow Jacket (wonder if Adam had shares in that
one? LOL), the Ophir and the men who owned them, Alpheus Troy, James
Fair etc.

After the walking tour, we had plenty of time to explore the town, by
ourselves, andwe chose to eat in the Bonanza Saloon. There was a huge
display of Bonanza memor
abilia on the walls and in glass cases and the Bonanza
bread was delicious.


Virginia City was also celebrating, as it was its 150th birthday and there
were bannersup to that effect. There was also some excitement about the forthcoming
camel races,
which are held every year in the middle of September.
Unfortunately, they clashed
with the convention, so we were not able to attend, but
I do hope to go back,
one year, and see them.
Many of the people on the
tour chose to dress up in costumes of the period and they
 all looked so
lovely, it is hard to say who the best was. Therefore, I am extremely
glad that
I wasn’t called upon to judge the costumes when we had our party at the hotel.

In the evening there were various episodes of the show being shown, in two
and so the biggest problem was trying to decide which episode you wanted to see
blown up on a huge screen. Obviously the ones featuring Joe claimed my attention.

On Friday morning the convention began in earnest and the first task was to
There was a huge queue of people waiting to do this and lots of ooohs
and aahs could
be heard as friends began to meet up with each other.
We were all given a tote bag,
which had the 50th anniversary logo on it and
inside we had a programme, our tickets
for the various events and a colour
brochure which contained a potted biography of all
our special guests.
There were many other items of memorabilia on sale, too, although
 most sold
out in the first hour or so, plus Gregory Walcott (Farmer Perkins and many
guest roles) was on hand to autograph a copy of his book for you. We also had
young Butch, of Gold magazine fame, who was handing out (or should that
be pawing out)
signed photos of himself, plus the Nevada magazine staff, who
were selling the latest copy
 with our boys on the cover and taking orders for
calendars that also featured the Cartwrights.
Andy Klyde, lawyer for Bonanza
Ventures, was selling some previously unseen (by me, at least)
photos of the
boys, mainly Mike, and so I bought a few of them, and the lady who trained
the dogs in Little House on the Prairie, and who worked with Mike for
several years, was
also there, raising money for research into pancreatic cancer.
As you all know, Mike died of that
and her father did, too. (And while we were at
the convention, we heard that Patrick Swayze had also succumbed to the
same disease)

There was also a lovely display of costumes from the show, including a pair
of Little Joe’s
boots and a full outfit worn by Hop Sing. This had been
donated to the auction by Victor Sen Yung’s
 family. There was also a shirt
worn by Matt Carmody (he played young Adam in the Ponderosa series)
that was going to be auctioned.

As registration was going to take up most of the day, the first scheduled
entertainment was a guest panel in the afternoon. This was moderated by
Louise Swann, and consisted of Mitch Vogel, Greg Walcott, Rick Drown,
Ray Mazy and Andy Klyde. Most of the questions directed at Andy were about
the release of the DVDs, as he is the lawyer for Bonanza Ventures. It would
appear that we are going to have to wait and see how the first season sells, as
with the German ones, before we will know if we are to get the subsequent
seasons.  Greg was highly entertaining, as he was at the last convention; he’s
such a lovely man and he even did his maniacal laugh from Death at Dawn
for us. Mitch, Rick, and Ray shared stories about how much fun it was working
on the set. There was also a talk about “Sex and Violence on the
Comstock”, but, unfortunately, I missed that, so cannot comment
on its contents. As it was given by Ron James, who had also acted
as our guide around Virginia City, I am sure that it was most entertaining.

There were videos being shown every day of the convention, and it was such
fun to watch our favourite episodes with people who laugh at the same scenes
and know what the next line is going to be. I think that the favourite one to
watch, in a situation like that, has got to be Hoss and the Leprechauns.
Hearing loads of people calling out ‘Yoo hoo, I’m over here’ has got to be one
of the funniest things, ever. There was also a late night showing of
A Rose for Lotta, in which we were encouraged to call out remarks, good
or bad. That episode is considered, by some, to be so bad that it has become
a classic. After watching it, all you can really say is ‘thank goodness some
major changes were made, otherwise I doubt if the show would have
continued for 14 years’

In the evening we had the formal dinner and a great many of us dressed
up for the occasion. It was pot luck on which table you would end up sitting on.
Pat and I were on the same table as Peter Mark Richman (World Full of Cannibals)
and his wife. They were very good company, as were Elysha, Threem,
Barb McDonald (the designer of the 50th anniversary logo) Devonshire
(from Canada) and a couple of others whose names escape me –sorry.

We had an icebreaker treasure hunt to start off the evening. It turned out to be
easier than I think the organisers expected it to be and there had to be a tiebreaker
to decide the winning table. The meal was very good and then we had the tribute
videos, brilliantly done by Ginger, for each of the main actors. I must admit I was
watching Sean Landon, quite closely, to gauge his reaction to seeing his father on
the screen – he loved it.

Pat Dumas did a brilliant job as MC and she introduced our guest speakers.
There was a comedy sketch, by BB Hudspeth, all about the start of the gold
rush in Virginia City. And Mark Twain (played by McAvoy Layne) graced us with
his presence and treated us to some excerpts from his writings. Kent McCray
told us about the early days on the show and how it was such a happy set to
work on, as did Mitch Vogel. They both became quite emotional when talking
about Mike and Dan, in particular, and Mitch also said that Lorne was very
paternal towards all of them; it was just in his nature to be caring.

The next morning it was the trip that many were particularly looking forward to, the
visit to the Ponderosa ranch. Of course, everyone knows that this house was
only a replica and was never used on the show, but Lorne, Dan and Mike did go
up there for some publicity photos and it was used in the three sequels to the show.
I decided to go in my Little Joe costume and I am glad I did, as I had my photo taken
with Gary (the Hoss lookalike) – big brother and little brother.

I did enjoy going through the house and want to publicly thank the new
owner for granting us the opportunity to do so.

At every event, Ginger and Bailey were there, videoing and photographing the
whole thing and the results are still available to buy, on the convention website, if
anyone is interested.

As much as I would have loved to have gone, I decided to stay away from the
auction, as I knew, from previous experience, that the prices would be extremely
high. So, rather than go in and have to watch something I wanted be sold to
another person, I chose to stay away. However, I am very pleased to report that
the total money raised at the convention, to be split between our chosen
charities – Michael Landon Cancer Fund, Thanks for giving Project for Ware
and Waycross County Library, Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Fund,
The British Heart Foundation and The Incline Village and Crystal Bay Historical
Society, was in excess of $15,000, a convention record. I am sure that the
organisers won’t mind me thanking everyone who contributed to that sum for
their generosity. I’m pretty sure that the total sum included the money raised from
the sale of raffle tickets, too.

The Walter Awards were announced after the auction and I was delighted
to see that Greg Walcott won one, for being the favourite male guest star.
I am afraid that my memory isn’t all that good to be able to recall all the
winners, but I am pretty sure that Pernell (or was it Adam?) won one for under
acting and overacting LOL.

The second guest panel was held at 5pm. This one was moderated by J
ean Hibben and consisted of Peter Mark Richman, Kent & Susan McCray, Jay Jones
and Don Daves.

Once again, we were royally entertained with stories about the high jinks on the
set and how the Cartwrights were really like a close knit family. We also heard some
more information about the long and varied career enjoyed by Peter Mark Richman
and by our other panellists. It was lovely meeting all of them and we are grateful
that they were able to join us.

A party to celebrate Bonanza’s 50th anniversary, was held in the evening.
More people dressed up, in period clothes, or in Bonanza look- a- like costumes.
During the party all the people in costume were asked to promenade around the
room, to give the judges a chance to choose the winners. As I have already
said, that must have been a really difficult task, as the standard was extremely
high. I’m afraid I didn’t pay that much attention when the winners were announced,
but I am pretty sure that Bev Young and Katja were among the winners, deservedly
so, as they had made their dresses themselves (I only bought mine) and I also
think that Ellen’s husband, Dom, was a winner, too. I also recall that Susan Grote
won for best Joe costume.

The food at the party was served buffet style and once the main course had
been eaten, the staff of the hotel brought in a huge cake with the Ponderosa
map emblazoned across it. Couldn’t tell you what it tasted like, as I didn’t get
a piece, but if it tasted as good as it looked, then I’m sure it was delicious.

Tom, Vicki’s son, and Paula entertained us with some lovely music and Jean
and Butch Hibben led those athletic enough to do so, in a Square Dance.

After the party, there were more videos, including some clips of our boys on
other shows. Most nights, there was something going on until well after midnight
and then we often had to be downstairs to get on a bus before 8am, so not
much chance for sleeping, but nobody minded.

On Sunday morning, with, once more, a lot of us in period costume, we boarded
the buses to go on the breakfast cruise on the Dixie. En route, we passed the
Meadows, where the opening sequence, with the family riding up, was shot. Once
we got to the landing stage at the lake, I was transported to the episode Showdown
at Tahoe, when Ben owns the Dixie’s predecessor, and Joe wades into the water to
get on board, when the baddies have control of the boat. I must admit that I was glad
that we didn’t have to get wet in order to board the boat, as that water is mighty
cold! The breakfast consisted of a magnificent spread and then most of us headed
for the upper decks, in order to take in the gorgeous scenery and to chat to our
friends. Lots of photos were taken, so I am sure that you have all seen at least
some of them, already; some are up on this site, too.

It was so lovely being out on the lake, with the sun shining down on us that I was
sorry when the cruise was over, but we still had the quiz, which was taking the
form of a horse race, to look forward to, plus more episodes to watch and the
official closing ceremony.

I was in charge of the quiz, so I am pleased to report that it went off very well, even
though some of our contestants forgot the rules and didn’t always press their
buzzers when they should have done. The runners in this particular horse race
were the Cartwright horses, Buck, Sport, Chubb, Cochise and Peewee, Jamie’s
horse, plus Little Sheba, daughter of Old Sheba. Each team consisted of three
members and they picked their horse, blindly, to make it fair. It wasn’t long before
we had a leader, Ben’s horse, Buck, was several lengths ahead of the rest.
Buck’s team captain, Lyn Robinson, who had been a reluctant participant,
answered question after question and was obviously an expert with a buzzer
, too, as she usually beat the other teams with the speed in which she buzzed.
Her team were the winners, and the other members were Jami and, I think, Barby.

After the race was over, the horses and Sheba were auctioned off and Mitch
bought Jamie’s horse LOL


The closing ceremony was an emotional time, as not only was it the end of this
convention, but it was the last one that Vicki, Heike and Tom were
to organise. They all offered support to anyone who wants to take up the
mantle, and it looks as though there will be future conventions, as a
couple of people expressed an interest.

I read out my 50th anniversary tribute poem, which was very well received,
and then, suddenly, it was all over.

However, that wasn’t the end for everyone, as some of us had opted to
stay an extra day and go on the tour around the lake on
Monday. So, we spent the evening watching more videos, including
Ponderosa Matador and Springtime.

The next morning we were on the buses, just after 9am, and we
drove all the way around the lake, stopping off at various places along the
way, including Sandy Cove (the likely resting place for Marie) and the
Vikingsholm, at the head of Emerald Bay. The house was built for a
wealthy lady called Mrs Knight, as she wanted a house that reminded her
of chalets in Scandinavia. It looks out onto Fannett Isle, the only island on Lake
Tahoe. Mrs Knight also owned the island and she would go over there, with her
guests, to enjoy afternoon tea. We also visited a ski lodge that was built in
the early part of the 20th century and was at first used by just one
family, but eventually became a hotel. And we made a stop at Fanny Bridge, so
called because of the number of people who lean over it to see the fish
in the water below, showing off their fannies as they do so
(A fanny in America is another name for your backside)

We returned to the hotel to watch some more videos, and then we all
headed off to our rooms to get packed, ready to leave in the morning.
I can’t remember when I had a better time; being with Bonanza buddies
is just the best.
Little Joe forever
October 20th 2009  



                                         Some more of Lynnes Photos


                                                  Lynne with her man


                                               Pat Grubb with Joe and Lynne



                                              Lynne with Sean Landon