We chased lady luck, 'til we finally struck Bonanza.
August 5, 2004 11:53 AM   Subscribe

In 1967 the television program Bonanza enjoyed a three-year run as the most-watched television show in the United States. Bonanza had not started well; its first two seasons returning disapointing ratings but kept alive by the bequest of (then) NBC-parent RCA. RCA had a vested interest in keeping the color series alive in order to push sales of their color technology.

That same year Bill and Joyce Anderson created The Ponderosa Ranch tourist attraction near Incline Village, Nevada on the site allegedly shown by the burning map in the opening credits. The property annually attracts nearly 350,000 tourists to Lake Tahoe's north shore to enjoy the surroundings of a period recreation including mock gunfights, cowboy rope tricks and an honest 1860's-style saloon. (more inside)
posted by Ogre Lawless (12 comments total)
This February, the property was put up for sale by Anderson son-in-law David Geddes: "It was the simple fact that the land far outfalls the business, and we had to make the decision." North Lake Tahoe has been in the midst of a development upheaval lately -- nearby Incline Village locals became of a mind that the attraction was an eyesore and perhaps needed to go. Despite this, a number of players stepped forward offering alternate plans for the maintaining the site in situ before the property was unexpectedly sold to David Duffield, former CEO and founder of PeopleSoft. Duffield has no immediate plans for the site but the current sentiment at the park is that its going to close forever after this summer's season.

Be sure to get your $4 off coupon if you are planning on attending before one more amusement park bites the real estate land value dust. Park open until 26 September, the weather should be nice until then. Antique bargain-hunters take note: all this history goes on sale summer 2005. No telling what the ranch hands will do after then...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:55 AM on August 5, 2004

hey lookee at that thar ponderosa weddin'! $175 includin' the preacher an' pictures! yee-hawwww!!!
posted by ZippityBuddha at 1:19 PM on August 5, 2004

*homeresque laugh* it's funny because people who have tastes that differ from mine must be ignorant rednecks!
posted by keswick at 1:36 PM on August 5, 2004

This totally bums me out! My parents took me there a couple of times when I was a kid - we go on horseback rides on the trails nearby, and pan for gold (pyrite). Somewhere I still have a little plastic bag full of the stuff. When I was 9, the place was just the coolest . . .
posted by aladfar at 2:13 PM on August 5, 2004

My grandmother took me there when I was little, and I had never seen the show before. I still remember seeing the set to the house and the tour-guide telling us that the stairs went nowhere.

I still have a little tin cup from the visit that's printed with pictures from the show on the outside.
posted by interrobang at 2:40 PM on August 5, 2004

Love the show, enjoyed visiting the ranch.
posted by rushmc at 2:58 PM on August 5, 2004

Diddle dum, diddle dum, diddle diddle diddle dum, Bonanza!
Look out! Your map's on fire!!!

Now available at the 99 Cents Only Store on DVD.

Yeah, it jumped the shark when Adam left the Ponderosa.

But when the Ponderosa Ranch closes, you still might have a chance to visit the Beverly Hillbillies Casino. There is so much about that news story that makes me giggle, including Max Baer Jr.'s Wayne-Newtonesque moustache and unnatural hair color, and the fact that the property planned for the casino is a "former Wal-Mart property." (If Wal-Mart closed there how BAD must the neighborhood be?)

Anyway, good post, Ogre boy. I keed because I luf.
posted by wendell at 4:28 PM on August 5, 2004

I remember going through Marine Corps Boot Camp with a fellow recruit with the unfortuante name of Ben Cartwright. During mail call the drill instructors would generally start with him, but not by his name, instead they would "dun-di-di-dun, dun-di-di-dun-dun-dun" at which point Private Cartwright would begin doing bends-and-thrusts until everyone else received their mail.
posted by geekyguy at 8:04 PM on August 5, 2004

That's mature.
posted by rushmc at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2004

Having spent quite a lot of time when I was growing up in the Tahoe area, there are one hell of a lot of more compelling reasons to want to visit it besides a cheesy tourist trap. Places like the Ponderosa Ranch belong in Reno or Las Vegas.
posted by Eekacat at 10:35 PM on August 5, 2004

Now available at the 99 Cents Only Store on DVD.

Well, see, that's what I get for going to Dollar Tree. I had to settle for Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

I don't know where my little tin cup is. I may have to go up and get another while I still can.
posted by sageleaf at 12:05 PM on August 6, 2004

Places like the Ponderosa Ranch belong in Reno or Las Vegas.

Sure, save for the fact that the site of the (TV) Ponderosa Ranch wasn't in Reno or Las Vegas.

Then too, neither Venetian canale, but people'd show up for anything.

I went there this past weekend with the intent of hating it as a tacky tourist trap. Having successfully evaded it for 30 years of Tahoe-going I figured it musn't be worth it and was going because it was nearby my friend's recently purchased cabin (gotta see the nearby sights first).

I was honestly suprised at what a good time it was. I'm a sucker for blacksmithing and enjoyed the cars and the slightly corny nature of the affair that everyone seemed to give the nod to. I think it would be easier for me to say "good riddance" if not for the fact that there seemed to be so many people genuinely enjoying themselves and not all of them inbred.

We saw 'em doing two weddings while we were there and I thought that had to be the ultimate reverend gig -- weddings only, a beautiful church with no congregation to preach to...

While your wedding would be in the middle of an entertainment attraction, I think being part of the spectacle was part of the fun for the participants.

I would argue with Eekacat's sentiment that there's a lot of reasons to want to visit Tahoe that are glowingly better than visiting a tourist destination is only half true. Most of Tahoe runs on the tourist economy and while there's plenty of nice nontourist things about the area, one could find them better elsewhere in NorCal with less hassle.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:40 PM on August 6, 2004

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