HomeEntertainment‘Bonanza’: Watch Michael Landon Sing Show’s Theme Song to Johnny Carson in 1976 Interview

‘Bonanza’: Watch Michael Landon Sing Show’s Theme Song to Johnny Carson in 1976 Interview

(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

It’s likely that most people don’t know the Bonanza theme song had lyrics. Michael Landon may have been one of those people. Because when he sang the theme song to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, he just made up his own.

The Bonanza theme, like the Star Trek or The Andy Griffith Show themes, is usually only played sans lyrics. In the show’s iconic opening, viewers never got to hear the words, just the galloping, giddy-up guitar line.

So, when Michael Landon went on The Tonight Show and claimed to know all the words to the song, even Johnny Carson protested. But Landon persisted.

“We got a right to pick a little fight, Bonanza / Any one of us who starts a little fuss, knows he can count on me / One for four, four for one / That’s our guarantee,” he sang.

You can hear the actual lyrics here.

But it turns out, Landon may have taken the first part of his lyrics a little too literally.

Landon Punched a Reporter After Threats, Insults

Michael Landon also explained to Carson how he got into an altercation with a reporter. The cast was on a press tour in Sweden when they went to dinner with 50 or so reporters. Landon said the night was full of surprises. The first being that he was going to be picking up the check.

“I was buying dinner for 50 people I didn’t even know,” he said. “So I gave an interview to a fellow from one newspaper in Stockholm, the morning newspaper. The guy sitting next to me from the afternoon newspaper, I turned to him, he wants the same story I gave to the guy from the morning newspaper.”

The reporter from the afternoon paper starts to get upset and threatens Landon with a negative review if he didn’t give him the same story. The Bonanza star wasn’t in the mood for this. He had a broken wrist and was now suffering the early signs of buyer’s remorse over this dinner.

But he was keen to ignore it until the reporter started bad-mouthing America, Landon said.

“He then goes into a tirade about the United States,” Landon explained. “What’s wrong with our country and he’s going on and on and on and I’m so tired.”

So, the Bonanza icon asked his stuntman, Bobby Miles, what he should do. Bobby said since he was paying for the meal, he could take the reporter’s plate away.

“So now he jumps up and really does a number,” Landon said. “On what’s wrong with the [USA,] and I look at Bob and say, ‘I took his dinner, what do we do?’ He said hit him. So I get up and I hit him. The moment I hit him, [makes a clicking noise] all the cameras go right away.”

Luckily for Landon, security dragged the reporter out of the room and not him.