The NBC western TV series Bonanza was on television from 1959 to 1973.
Michael Landon, who played “Little Joe Cartwright” was on Bonanza, and was quite the heart throb of America.
Landon was in the Anchorage's 1965 Fur Rendezvous Parade. The town was all a-buzz having a real TV star in our parade. My family and I watched Bonanza every week. I didn't know what to expect, especially with a celebrity in my hometown.
That morning on the day of the parade, my mother Feodoria and stepfather Bob prepared a hearty breakfast for me and my older sister Betty and my two older brothers, Sammy and Norman. February can be darn right freezing in the mornings. We made sure we bundled up and had our camera. I was star struck about seeing Michael Landon and like most teens in 7th grade, I didn't know how to act around a celebrity.
We planned to meet our classmates and neighborhood friends on 4th Avenue toward the old Hewitt's Drug Store. I was getting more excited as we met with our friends. We found a great spot to stand that was perfect for viewing the parade and seeing Michael Landon.
Just then the crowd toward the post office begin to cheer. We could hear the band. The parade started, and then we saw Michael “Little Joe” Landon riding on a very tall horse. He was very attractive and then all of a sudden, his horse reared up and trotted toward me and my family and friends. Loud applause and cheers broke out, and we were all yelling,"Little Joe, Little Joe”! He was very handsome. He was wearing a fur jacket and one of the biggest smiles I ever saw.
Enjoy this film of
in the Rondy Parade
there is no sound
Michael Landon got his horse under control and trotted away. But we kept cheering. I turned to my sister Betty, and I'm sure my eyes were as big as saucers, like everyone else. I was stunned and pleased that his horse had trotted over, bringing Michael right in front of us. Through the years my family reminisced about the parade. My family and I felt very privileged to have been a part of our 1965 Fur Rondy Parade that hosted a major TV star and to have been a part of history.
Monday at Central High School I told my friend about seeing Michael Landon up close at the parade. She thought that was really neat. The very next day at lunch, my friend surprised me with a photo of Michael Landon at a meet & greet she attended. In that photo Michael Landon was wearing his “Little Joe Cartwright” wardrobe. I thanked her with a hug and told her that her kindness was very much appreciated.
I carried that picture in my wallet for months until I decided it would be safer to keep it in my photo album. A photo I treasured. Now, I am able to share it with you. A part of Fur Rondy Parade history.
Did you ever march in the Fur Rondy Parade? Did you ever wonder what it was like?