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on July 23, 2012
There's been many a time that I was tired of waiting and wanted to order these episodes from another source, but watching them now in full living color as I first saw them so many years ago Sunday nights on NBC makes me glad that I waited.

BONANZA is one of the greatest television series of all time, and this set is an excellent example of why. I won't comment on the quality of the many outstanding episodes as far as story, acting, direction, etc. (because all that goes without saying), but I will say if all you know of BONANZA is edited episodes you've seen on TV Land or time-compressed episodes on MeTV, or other broadcast or computer sources, you are missing out.

Each episode here is newly restored from original 35mm film materials complete with the original theme song and that beautiful peacock (at the beginning of every episode)! Most every show has extras like extensive photo galleries, and there so many special features and commentaries by performers who worked on the show that make it all worth the extra time it took for CBS Paramount Home Entertainment to release this set. The color is true (Lake Tahoe locations look spectacular!) and the sound is crystal clear (you can hear saddles creaking!).

Starting with the third season, BONANZA moved to Sunday nights and Chevrolet sponsored the entire hour. (You've heard of the expression, "Mom, apple pie and Chevrolet"? Well, for many years, it was "Mom, apple pie, Chevrolet and BONANZA!") There are so many wonderful, "cast commercials" in this set. (If you've never seen the "Cartwrights" away from horses - and most of the younger fans never have - you're in for a special treat when you see the gang each take the wheel and tool around the "Ponderosa.") So far my favorite is the commercial where they all drive up in the 1962 Chevy cars. Lorne (in the full-size Chevrolet) and Michael (in a Corvair) drive up first, Pernell is in the Corvette sports car and Dan (in the Chevy II) is saying that his is man-sized. (I believe it, too. I still drive a Chevy, by the way.)

There's another wonderful bonus I loved -- a humorous skit that Dan Blocker does with Henry Fonda and Cara Williams (a gifted comedienne who had her own TV show; she was billed as "the next Lucille Ball" at one time) that will take you all the way back to 1962 live television. And I love the special Christmas music and the numerous behind the scenes photos.

Watching these episodes makes me feel as though I'm a youngster again sitting in front of the TV. The easy to navigate DVD menus give me a choice between watching each complete and uncut episode without interruption or watching with the original intros ("Chevrolet Presents . . . Bow -- nan -- za!") and Chevrolet commercials. The official release of Season 3 is well worth your money - it's a must have!

Here's a list of many of the magnificent extras, also well worth the wait and the price of this set:

Audio commentaries --
Sue Ane Langdon talks about "The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch," and she still sounds as adorable as ever!
Lisa Lu narrates "The Day of the Dragon" and reveals the fascinating plans producer David Dortort had for her.
Audrey Dalton, "The Lady From Baltimore," explains filming techniques and what it was like to kiss both Pernell Roberts and Michael Landon!
Diane Mountford shares her precious memories of the cast and her experiences working on the beloved Christmas show, "Gabrielle."
DVD Executive Producer and historian Andrew J. Klyde explains so many fascinating details about Pernell Roberts' favorite episode, "The Crucible" (and many fans agree with him; this commentary makes one of the very best shows even better).

"Tales of Nevada" radio show excerpt - Andrew J. Klyde again discusses the series, as does Lorne Greene's son, Chuck Greene, who lives near Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

"The New March of Dimes Presents: The Scene Stealers" - a very funny skit with Lorne Greene and Dan Blocker (in costume as "Ben" and "Hoss") and comedy greats Buster Keaton and Ed Wynn (Wynn later guest-starred in a delightful BONANZA episode).

Photo Galleries - So many I don't know where to begin! In addition to scores of photos (many in color) taken on the set of almost every episode, you'll see pictures of Pernell Roberts and his stand-in, Betty Endicott, looking like twins (almost), shots of Dan Blocker and Pernell Roberts with an antique car they were trying to restore (not a Chevrolet!), and some of "the Cartwrights" making a personal appearance together at a rodeo and parade.

Thank you, decision-makers at CBS Paramount Home Entertainment, for restoring and releasing these episodes in BONANZA: The Official Third Season, and thank you, Andrew J. Klyde, for doing such a great job overseeing everything. This is the treatment all classic television programs deserve, and it doesn't get any more classic than BONANZA!
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on August 10, 2012
Life on the Ponderosa has never been better! Uncut episodes, superior quality image and sound - classic episodes include Springtime, The Burma Rarity, The Tin Badge, The Tall Stranger, The Ride, The Storm, The Wooing of Abigail Jones, The Crucible - featuring "spotlight" episodes for each of the Cartwrights. Season Three was a season of 'firsts': Pernell Roberts sings for the first time in Broken Ballad, and this is when Michael Landon's first script, The Gamble, was filmed. Count me among those who are thankful and appreciative for the "official" releases. No matter what you've seen before - you haven't seen anything until you've seen THESE!
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VINE VOICEon July 11, 2012
When I was growing up, Sunday evening was always associated with the depressing feeling that the weekend was over and it was back to school the next day. One of the redeeming graces of that day was "Bonanza," which was a staple of viewing in our home during the early years of its network run.

The casting was cleverly geared to all demographics. Older viewers loved watching silver-haired Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) impart fatherly wisdom to his sons each week while recognizing that they were adults, not kids. Adam (Pernell Roberts) was the introspective oldest son. Hoss (Dan Blocker), larger than life with that amazing Stetson, was a favorite of kids. He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold, and a ready champion for the weak and/or defenseless. Little Joe (Michael Landon) was the cute youngest, often impetuous son with a quick temper but a winning smile for the ladies. The beauty of the show is that it was a terrific ensemble piece with four major characters (itself unusual for TV Westerns of the time).

The stories took place, for the most part, on the sprawling Ponderosa ranch and nearby locations in the Nevada territory. Assorted characters crossed paths with the Cartwrights week after week, providing drama, action, humor, as the show tackled a number of social issues, working them into solid stories rather than force feeding "messages" to viewers.

The third season marked the first season the show was broadcast on Sunday night (it was shown on Saturday night during Season 1 and Season 2). In its Sunday slot, ratings soared, and the show ranked Number 1 for three seasons between 1964 and 1967. The show holds the distinction of being the first Western broadcast in color.

"Bonanza: The Official Third Season" is a nine-disc set containing every episode from the 1961-1962 season. The show chalked up 430 episodes in its 14-season prime-time run, second only to "Gunsmoke" as the longest-running TV Western.

Guest stars in Season 3 include Lee Marvin, Inga Swenson, John Carradine, James Coburn, Jeff Morrow, Herschel Bernardi, Robert Culp, Arnold Stang, Dean Jones, and Vic Morrow.

Special features include original Chevrolet commercials with cast members, a clip from the "Perry Como Kraft Music Hall," photo galleries, and an excerpt from the radio show "Tales of Nevada -- Past & Present: Bonanza Days."
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on August 21, 2012
(Review by Member's wife) ... The Official Bonanza DVDs are Great. These are FULL episodes with no important scenes cut to fit into a shorter time frame. There are interviews from guest stars who were on the show and people directly involved with Bonanza. The galleries have pictures of the primary characters. The Official release Bonanza DVDs are well worth the effort to get them.
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on July 24, 2012
Bonanza is a truly iconic piece of television history. The Cartwrights rode into millions of homes every week fighting bad guys and righting wrongs for 14 seasons These DVD's allow us to experience that excitement all over again, the way it was intended. The uncut, digitally remastered episodes add to the viewing experience allowing the fan to enjoy scenes that have rarely been seen since the original airing. The color is sharp and crisp and the audio is so clear that you can almost hear the wind rustling through the trees. The commentaries by people actually involved in the episodes is a bonus that you don't get with any other series DVD's and the promo's and bumpers add a touch of nostalgia.

These DVD's are a must have for die hard fans and people just looking for some good, wholesome entertainment alike.
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on May 11, 2014
Excellent picture and sound quality; and of coarse excellent programming! Interestingly, if you watch the episodes with the original bumpers and Chevrolet commercials, you will get a hint of what it was like to watch Bonanza over the air when color TV was in its infancy. You will then be amazed at the wonderful restoration that was done to the films. BTW, with such improved resolution it is very easy to tell that painted backdrops were used!
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on August 19, 2013
one of my all-time favorite episdoes is from season 3 of bonanza. it's "the wooing of abigail jones." what a hilarious plot! it seems the shy ranch hand hank meyer is in love with abigail jones, an available teacher at the local school. once the cartwright brothers get involved the real fun begins as they try to bring about a romance for hank and abigail. hank is played by vaughn monroe, and his singing voice is very distinctive. this is a big part of the plot. the entire episode is a classic, and i would have bought this set for "abigail jones" alone.
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on October 3, 2014
Finally, I own my favorite season! One of the "Adam years" it doesn't disappoint.
As usual the Cartwright clan has to deal with whatever the post-Civil War era dishes out. There are comedic epis that I absolutely love; "Springtime", "The Burma Rairity", "The Auld Sod", "The Wooing of Abigail Jones", & my favorite: "The Mountain Girl". That never gets old.
This is also a visit back not only to the 60's, but to that Western era of the U.S.,
when statehood was challenged, pioneer living affected everyone no matter what. "The Gift of Water" illustrates that, & "The Jacknife" tells how desperate some were, to the choice of life or death.
Lastly, "The Crucible" gave Pernell Roberts the opportunity to prove how good of an actor he was even up against Lee Marvin, the antagonist in this dramatic performance.
I absolutely LOVE Bonanza, & hindsight had prepared me for such a treat. When I watched with my grandmother in those "tween" & early teen years, I just had no idea... ;o)
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on May 29, 2014
I'm an absolute die hard Bonanza fan, and season 3 is amazing. I was pleasantly surprised how cheap I could get it on here, I bought season 5 at an f.y.e. and it cost 70 dollars!!!! Totally worth it, the full season came and there are some cool extras.
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on July 24, 2012
Another winner! The color is spectacular. It's wonderful to see these programs as they were originally broadcast and not cut and peppered with commercials. And it's so great to again hear interviews, see behind the scenes photos and the other special attractions. Not too many releases of this era have these features. Look forward to the release of Season 4 in October and all future seasons on a timely basis.
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