Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Famous TV Dads: Ben Cartwright: Costume Ideas

Benjamin Cartwright is Famous TV Dad number seven. From the Bonanza TV series, Ben Cartwright was the patriarch of a cattle ranching family. Sometimes just called Pa, Ben was played by Lorne Greene.

He had three sons, Adam was the oldest. Hoss Cartwright, whose real first name was Eric, and his youngest son was known as Little Joe. The sons were played by Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker and Michael Landon.

They lived on the 600,000 acre Ponderosa Ranch. In 1971 Ben adopted a teenager, Jamie Hunter.

Ben's three wives, the mothers of his sons, all died tragically, one died during childbirth, the second during an Indian attack and Little Joe's mother died in an accident when she fell from a horse.

One thing that makes the Cartwright family perfect for portraying in costume is that the cast wore the same clothes on a regular basis. Pair this with the fact that the outfits don't have to be costumes at all.

Clothes changed for the season, and colors of a shirt or bandana would change here and there but each character had pretty much a look and they stuck to it. You'll find the perfect outfit for Ben at the corner of Cowboy Costumes and Television Costumes. He fits in both categories.

He was also a star on the 1970's Battlestar Galactica. As with Johnny Depp, having a group play different characters from an actor's career is a fun concept.

Ben's Hat:
Ben wore a cream colored Stetson hat with a snakeskin hatband.

The Stetson Men's Alamo Hat is a good start on the hat and it's a great investment.
The Western Hatband : Black Snake Skin Hat Band has ties and is available in different colors.

  • Ben's shirt ranged in color from green to blue, sometimes a dark color like wine. He may also wear a black vest with a red shirt.
  • His bandanas/scarves also ranged in color.
  • He had a black string tie.
  • Add a good pair of jeans or slacks
  • You may want to make your hair grey with a wig or temporary hair color, a Silver Fox wig link is below
  • Other famous items of his attire are shown here as examples for your Cartwright Costume or Two Step night on the town

Ben's Vest:
Be ready for work or anything else that might happen in the Cartwright-esque Roper Saguaro West Cow Nappa Leather Vest

A man has to wear a vest that suits him and his lifestyle. Here is another men's leather vest that looks like Ben's.

Men's Travis 4-Pocket Leather Vest

The Silver Fox Men's Gray Wig may be just right for Ben Cartwright

Ben's Coat:
The Men's Austin Suede Sports Coat looks like the coat we saw Ben wear often. It's dressy and comfortable. Ben's coat was tan buckskin. Fully lined, too. (right)

The Men's Woodstock Lamb Suede Jacket is a good option when the coats are out of stock. Suede coats and jackets come in different weights and styles and they'll work for the whole family. I like their durability, that they may be passed down from generation to generation.

Gunsmoke wins as the longest running western. Bonanza was one of the earliest shows filmed in color. Like Andy Taylor, Ben Cartwright is another of the single fathers on the list.

You're not the Cartwright type but still hankering for Western-style Halloween Costume? Check out Cowboy Costumes for Men, Women, Teens You'll also find accessories for Ben, his sons and any wives or girlfriends they may encounter.

The show ran on NBC from September 12, 1959 to January 16, 1973. That's 14 seasons, 430 episodes! Bonanza is the second longest running western series ever, though we can still enjoy it in syndication on networks like TV Land.

For more fun and more vintage Cowboy and Western wear, check out the androgynous look of Pat from Saturday Night Live, costumes and Western Wear for men and women. Rockmount, the iconic company has provided clothes for celebrities such asBob Dylan, Elvis, Cary Grant and Paul McCartney.

Two Books on Bonanza:

  Bonanza: A Viewer's Guide to the TV Legend
"Relive those days and get the inside story on the TV series that became a legend. Renew old acquaintances with Ben Cartwright and his sons, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe."  this book has five star customer rating. It covers not only the series itself, but its impact, the merchandise available, etc. A very comprehensive volume.

Johnny Cash had a hit song with the show's theme.

In the Old West, it meant a lot to be a Cartwright.
Being a family, loving the land,
being honest and fair.
Giving every man and woman a second chance.
-- Bonanza Credo, from the book

The Best of Bonanza World: A Book of Favourite Stories
"A collection of 25 fan favourite stories by various authors and based on the popular and classic television western Bonanza." Available in different formats, including a Kindle eBook edition.

The image at the top of the page is the book, My Father's Voice: The Biography of Lorne Greene by Bennett, Linda published is written by Lorne Greene's daughter and has received 5 Star Customer Ratings.

What other TV Dads will be on the list
of costume-worthy Papas? 
Who do you think belongs on the list?

Someone who liked to wear Western attire, though not a parent was the recurring character, Pat on Saturday Night Live. Pat can be a fun costume.

** This 10 Famous TV Dads Costume Ideas Series began with Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show. The dads are in no particular order.

Andy Taylor, Gomez Addams, George Jetson, Paul Teutul Sr., Ricky Ricardo, Herman Munster and now Ben Cartwright are the Famous TV Dads so far. Who will be next?! 

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