Sunday, April 01, 2007

The BONANZA theme

One of the favorite CHEERS teasers is the one where they sing the BONANZA theme. Here are the lyrics and the actual theme. Sing along.


We chased lady luck, 'til we finally
struck Bonanza
With a gun and a rope and a hat full of hope,
we planted our family tree.
We got hold of a pot full of gold,
Bonanza

With a horse and a saddle, and a range full of cattle, How rich can a fellow be?
On this land we put our brand, Cartwright is the name, Fortune smiled, the day we filed the Ponderosa claim.

Here in the west, we're livin' in the best
Bonanza
If anyone fights any one of us,
he's got a fight with me
Bonanza

Hoss and Joe and Adam know
every rock and pine
No one works fights, or eats,
like those boys of mine
Here we stand in the middle of a grand
Bonanza

With a gun and a rope and a hatful of hope,
we planted our family tree,
We got a hold of a potful of gold
Bonanza

With a houseful of friends where the rainbow ends,
How rich can a fellow be?
On this land we put our brand Cartwright is the name,
Fortune smiled, the day we filed the Ponderosa claim
Here in the west we're living in the best
Bonanza

With the friendliest, fightingist, lovingist band,
That ever set foot in the promised land
And we're happier than them all.
That's why we call it
Bonanza...bonanza.. bonanza..


20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ken, your blog is always entertaining. As for the "Bonanza" theme song, I have a version that Johnny Cash did in the early 1960s. With the beat slowed down a little, it's actually a decent listen.

Anonymous said...

Doug Thompson

It seems obvious to me that the words to Bonanza were written AFTER the melody was.

On the Ken Levine Show, it's Weekend trivia time. The lyricist on the Bonanza theme, was Jay Livingston, winner of 3 Academy Awards. He was the brother of Alan Livingston, who produced the Bozo The Clown albums in the 1960's and was President of Capitol Records during The Beatles era.

Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, singing old TV themes. Boy what happened to them?

Remember that great scene in "Planes, Trains & Automobiles" when our old pal John Candy had the entire bus load of passengers singing the Flintstones theme.

VP19 said...

It seems obvious to me that the words to Bonanza were written AFTER the melody was.

If so, it has something in common with "Laura." (Though you rarely saw "a face in the misty light" at the Ponderosa ranch.)

On the Ken Levine Show, it's Weekend trivia time. The lyricist on the Bonanza theme was Jay Livingston, winner of 3 Academy Awards. He was the brother of Alan Livingston, who produced the Bozo The Clown albums in the 1960's and was President of Capitol Records during The Beatles era.

And who, I believe, was married to the recently departed Betty Hutton.

Isaac said...

Ken, your blog brings me great joy. This one brought back some great memories. I especially remeber the Chevrolet commercials that would air during Bonanza. Remeber the ones with the Corvair driving through fields and across streams. I had a Corvair, a blue one, and tried to reenact those commercials by driving it across my father-in-laws pastures in Iowa. It was a bumpy and fun ride.

Anonymous said...

Along with Bonanza, Bewitched, Star Trek and The Odd Couple are other well-known TV themes that really, really benefitted from being instramentals (and of course, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans also penned the words and music to the immortal "Mr. Ed", not to mention the haunting theme from "Casper the Friendly Ghost" (Paramount apparently got a 2-for-1 deal on that, since they wrote "Silver Bells" for Bob Hope at just about the same time).

Anonymous said...

Since someone brought up the Chevrolet commercials, that brings to mind there once was a time when one company bought an entire program. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there also was a time when there were only six minutes of commercial time per hour in a network program. Today it's more like 12. Not counting promos, of which there are many.

Anonymous said...

You should have at least taken an earlier opening where all three sons are riding up to the camera. No one ever explained what happened to the third son, the son-dressed-in-black. He thought he was going to have a better chance on his own, like many a series co-star. Decades later, Hello Trapper John, M.D.

Anonymous said...

Ken, I love your blog. If you enjoy singing Cartwrights, you might like this excerpt from my book, "Hollywood Hi-Fi," a write-up of the LP, "Ponderosa Party Time": http://www.gimarc.com/H-bonanza.html It includes overviews of the cast's other solo recordings. If that gets you excited, I could also dig through my boxes of memorabilia and scan a page from a "Bonanza" comic book in which Hoss is surprised by a villain while bathing in a stream and spends several pages wrestling in nothing but his boots, hat and tighty-whities. It's really quite disturbing. -- Pat Reeder, The Comedy Wire radio service

DrBear said...

As I remember, the theme was sung on the show exactly once - in the first episode.

Rick said...

Ken,

When I watch that self-immolating map I'm back in high school, it's Sunday night and I have a book report due tomorrow morning.

But that tune sucks me in and I have to watch! I have to!!!

"No mom ... I swear! Really! Homework's all done! I did it when I was watching the Giants game!"

Thanks for the time trip!

Jon Delfin said...

Curiously, there's another set of lyrics that must have been written for the published version.

We got a right to pick a little fight, Bonanza!
If anyone fights anyone of us, He's gotta fight with me!
We're not a one to saddle up and run, Bonanza!
Anyone of us who starts a little fuss Knows he can count on me!
One for four, Four for one, This we guarantee!
We got a right to pick a little fight, Bonanza!
If anyone fights anyone of us, He's gotta fight with me!

And then there's this second verse, not specific to the TV show:

This is the night I'm gonna hit a bright Bonanza!
I bet a buck I hit a bit o' luck. That's how it's gonna be.
I'm gonna light the middle of the night, Bonanza!
I'm gonna go with the glitter and the glow, That's how it is with me!
[bridge phrase twice:]
I'm in love, She's in love, I don't have to guess;
I'll enfold More than gold When she answers "Yes!"
This is the deal that's gonna bring a real Bonanza! I'm in a whirl with a pretty little girl and she's in love with me!

Wow, I can't imagine why that never caught on.

Tom said...

I remember reading the lyrics to the Star Trek theme in The Making of Star Trek as a kid, and being puzzled, because as far as I knew there was no version of the theme that was sung.

Then I found out the sad truth.

tb said...

I was into making models as a kid, and I had the Cartwrights. They were pretty big, and it was no challenge at all, just a front and back to glue together and paint. Wish I still had it.

Batocchio said...

Ah, I remember that episode. A great opening.

To Tom @9:21 AM - I found out about the lyrics because the mom of one of my junior high school buddies had the sheet music to the Star Trek theme, and it included them! (We mocked them - "love, strange love a star woman teaches" was our favorite.) I only found out the full story a couple years back.

Stephen said...

Curiously, there's another set of lyrics that must have been written for the published version.

We got a right to pick a little fight, Bonanza!...

This is the version a friend of mine told me about. He saw Lorne Greene sing it on the Ed Sullivan show, and it was so ludicrous even a ten-year-old boy (let's face it, Bonanza's target audience) thought it was laughable.

Dhppy said...

I remember in this Cheers cold open the Bonanza theme is sung by the actor who later plays the character, Paul (P-A-U-L! Paul! Paul! Paul!) but here he's not Paul. His name is Frank or something.

Jack Ruttan said...

This morning, that seems almost Sondheim-esque in its rhyme scheme. Kind of bouncy and fun, but hard to sing.

God, that first sentence sounds like something you'd hear on "Frasier."

Devin Mccullen said...

Personally, my favorite Cheers teaser is the "We Will Rock You" one. My favorite moment is when the pool players come out banging their sticks on the ground.

Stanley said...

holy cow! i remember this on Cheers.
Seeing this brings a smile to my starchy face.

Toby said...

Haha -- my mother's always sang the words for this song were:

Nobody knows the words to Bonanza! Nobody knows, nobody knows, nobody know the words!

He don't know, she don't know, they don't know, the words.

Nobody knows the words to Bonanza! Nobody knows, nobody knows, nobody know the words!