You can find A Lost in Space “Bonanza” Part One, featuring actor Jonathan Harris and writer Peter Packer HERE.
But, did he just say: “Danger Will Cartwright!”?
|"Danger" takes many forms!|
Yes, indeed… Joining Ponderosa rancher Ben Cartwright and his sons Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe – for a five-episode arc at the end of Season Five of the classic Western TV series BONANZA – was Ben’s nephew “Will Cartwright”. Will was played by none other than GUY WILLIAMS, between his turns as ZORRO and Professor John Robinson of LOST IN SPACE!
|A "star" among the stars!|
In direct contrast to the brave and stalwart (though often bickering) Cartwright boys, nephew Will was a “restless soul” with something of a more checkered past than viewers we used to from men bearing the Cartwright name.
Though he was basically good, as you would expect a “Guy Williams character” to be, Will brought a new type of tension and character conflict to the Ponderosa – in that Ben was delighted in the discovery of his nephew and wished him to stay-on permanently, while the brothers (especially Adam) were a tad more suspicious of the newcomer.
|Aw, c'mon! Could you possibly be suspicious of this, er, "Guy"?|
Will was rightly appreciative of Ben’s hospitality, and tried to acclimate himself to the life of a (NOT-so-Poor) but honest rancher, but the “restless soul” aspect of his personality cast a “Will He Stay, or Will He Go” vibe over the entire multi-episode arc.
It is only viewing these episodes in hindsight that prevents one from completely buying-into the possibility of Will ultimately staying on the Ponderosa, and becoming the “fourth Cartwright son”. Of course we know that, not only did it not occur, but Adam (Pernell Roberts) would soon depart as well.
In support of the continuance of the Will Cartwright character was Guy Williams getting HIS OWN CREDIT added to the famous opening theme sequence of BONANZA!
We’ll never know if Will Cartwright departed by “producers’ design”, or because Guy Williams cast his future lot with the new and upcoming series LOST IN SPACE in 1965. But, it is clear that he was hastily written out at the end of Episode 33 of the season (“Triangle” air date: May 17, 1964) – and that he made things very interesting, while he was there!
…And, the funny thing was that BONANZA was still around (for quite a while) after LOST IN SPACE was cancelled in 1968 , so Will Cartwright might have “rode again” had things fallen-out properly!
Perhaps not so coincidently, one of Guy Williams’ episodes of BONANZA (“The Ropers” air date: April 05, 1964) was written by future prolific LOST IN SPACE writer Peter Packer.
So, we begin BONANZA Season Five with Jonathan Harris, and end it with Guy Williams!
|Alas, the Robot never got to roam the Ponderosa!|
…And need I even mention that, on LOST IN SPACE, Guy Williams’ son was named “Will” and his younger daughter was played by Angela “Cartwright”. Naaah… that’s just silly!