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Monday, 18 May 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping, the golden age of Hollywood (esp westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very, very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #31 – 18 May 1928

Pernell Roberts was born on 18 May, 1928 in Georgia.  He was a stage, film and television actor, and a talented musician and singer.  He is best known for playing Adam Cartwright in the western series Bonanza.

He got the acting bug as a student and developed into an acclaimed classical theatre performer, touring the United States in plays by Shakespeare, Wilde and Shaw, amongst others.

Around 1956, he started getting minor and guest roles in television shows like Gunsmoke, Whirlybirds, Cheyenne and Sugarfoot.  His first big screen part was in Desire Under the Elms (1958), starring Burl Ives. He continued with theatre work too.  He appeared with Randolph Scott in Ride Lonesome (1959) along with James Coburn and Lee Van Cleef.

In the same year, he was cast in Bonanza, starring with Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon.  It was an adventure/western show based around the Cartwright family who owned the Ponderosa ranch.  Bonanza ran from 1959 to 1973, chalked up 14 seasons and 431 episodes.

By 1965, with 201 episodes under his belt, Pernell Roberts grew tired of the show claiming, it is said, that it was simple, bland, assembly-line stuff.  He quit and returned to touring theatrical productions and amassed many TV guest star roles.  He wanted variety in the characters he played.

He returned to a long-running role in Trapper John, M.D. (1979 – 86), starring in 151 episodes.

In a YouTube clip, Henry Darrow, who played Manolito Montoya in The High Chaparral, tells of a party they were at.  When Roberts walked into the room, everybody stared at him and, with regard to quitting Bonanza, he is supposed to have said: “No, I don’t regret it!”

Pernell Roberts died at 81 in 2010.

Sources: IMDB/Wikipedia and others

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