Thursday, June 19, 2008


In an episode of 'The Dead Zone' entitled "Unreasonable Doubts", Blu Mankuma played a juror who was the last hold-out against a verdict of "Not Guilty". He introduced himself as Ben Cartwright "and not the one from the Ponderosa either".

This doesn't even merit as a Zonk, since the name of the TV show 'Bonanza' was never invoked. But then again, perhaps when watching the scene one might envision quotation marks around the word 'Ponderosa' - and that would invoke the short-lived prequel which aired back in 2001 and starred Daniel Hugh Kelley as a younger Ben Cartwright.

The legends of the Old West weren't gods; they began life as ordinary men whose circumstances gained them the notoriety that would make their names remembered for over a hundred years. And the same holds true in the history of Toobworld. Not only would real-life men like Kit Carson, Buffalo Bill, Cochise, and Emperor Norton be remembered in our times, but so would the fictional Westerners like Hannibal Heyes, Kid Curry, Marshall Dillon, James West, and Ben Cartwright.

So it could be that the parents of Ben Cartwright thought that the name of such a hero from the wild, wild west might have some power to imbue their child.

It could also be that the Ben Cartwright who moved his family to Penobscot County, Maine, from New York City in order to escape the crime was descended from that original Ben Cartwright!

In the TV movie "Bonanza: Under Attack", Richard Roundtree played Jacob Briscoe who was helping to protect the Ponderosa ranch for the next generation of Cartwrights. It could be that one of his never-mentioned children (Just because they weren't mentioned doesn't mean they didn't exist!) would one day marry one of those Cartwrights. Or perhaps it happened a few generations later. Eventually someone in that new family tree would have moved back east to New York City.

I'd love to explore the possibility that if we went far enough back in the Briscoe Family Tree, we'd find the missing link between Jacob and Lennie Briscoe of 'Law & Order'. But this will do for today.......

So no bonanza of Zonks today!

Toby OB

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