Summary: A REALLY Lost Episode. This episode is dedicated to Gramma Goose without whom we might not have this snappy dialogue — Prof F. Sheets
Word Count: 1650
Knowing Isn’t Everything
In side the house, Pa and Adam were fighting over windmills and the “new “technology.
“I don’t understand why you won’t accept change, Pa!” Adam shouted.
“Sometimes, you just let your education interfere with your thinking, son!” Ben glared at his oldest son.
Meanwhile, sitting on the porch, Hoss and Joe were thoroughly enjoying the battle between their father and their older brother. They were keeping score on a big school house slate. Abigail Jones, the school marm, had left it there one time when she was trying to seduce Adam by writing “I love Adam” 100 times on the board and leaving the slate leaning against the front door of the Ponderosa. She didn’t succeed and left with one of the singing ranch hands — the Cartwrights had a lot of singing ranch hands: Davy, Mickey, Woolhat, Peter, the Osmond Brothers, four wandering British boys from Liverpool, Wayne Newton who went to Tahoe, and many more. The Ponderosa was a veritable western Woodstock.
“But Pa, if we had a windmill, like those Dutch folks who kidnapped Hoss when he had amnesia, we could do a whole lot,” Adam shouted.
“A whole lot? Like what, Adam? Wear wooden shoes?” Ben countered.
“No Pa… unless they came in black…” Adam said hitching up his black cowboy pants.
“Milk a bull?” Ben glowered at his oldest son.
“No Pa… and that was Frenchy in that Australian weird cowboy show. If we had windmills, we could pump water and all sorts of stuff.”
“Sometimes your education from that unnamed eastern college gets in the way of your thinking, BOY!”
Note from Professor F. Sheets- No episode ever clearly indicated what college Adam Cartwright attended. Some Bonanza experts assume it was Harvard, in Boston. Other’s insist it was Frank’s Taxidermy College in Buffalo NY and claim the bull horns over the fire place in the Ponderosa was really Adam’s diploma.
“But Pa! Christopher Columbus proved the world was round!”
“Yeah and he thought he was in India too! Why do you think we call the Paiutes Indians, not Native Americans?? Next thing you are going to tell me is that they invented CASINO GAMBLING!!”
“Point for Pa,” Little Joe smiled as Hoss wrote the score on the blackboard with a piece of chalk. Joe sighed thinking of his long ago prom date with Sarah tushie, The Indian Princess in the aqua blue silk dress. Joe shifted his tight tan pants at the memory.
“And Peter Cooper made a steam engine!” Adam tossed out beginning the next round.
“Yada yada,” countered Ben.
“Yada? Yada? What the heck does that mean?” Adam spat out.
Joe and Hoss looked at each other. “Point for Adam!” they shouted in unison.
“Ok Boy…” Ben started.
“Jeez Pa, I am only ten years younger than you!!” Adam slammed his fist on the desk. The juice can pencil holder that Hoss had made in Wagon Train day care joggled and knocked over the portraits of the THREE DEAD Mamas.
“OUR MAMAS!” the boys gasped as one.
“OH MY, I AM SORRY!” Ben shuddered as he picked them up and kissed each picture in turn. He spit on his hanky and polished a smudge off of Elizabeth’s face.
“Adam gets that one!” Hoss declared and Joe nodded.
“Ok, Adam…” Ben started again. “Let’s have a contest of sorts. You and your education versus me and my cattle baron brain.”
“A contest?” Adam said warily.
“A contest!!” Joe and Hoss did a little cha cha cha on the porch.
Note from Prof. Sheets- There was always an underlying thread of manly competition among the four Cartwrights. Joe once even pulled a pistol on his father. But Pa always won. This was a manifestation of the Eisenhower era’s
values of respecting the old guard that only was defied in Bonanza during season 13 when Joe got greyer hair than Ben. This is why Lyndon Johnson watched Bonanza well into the Vietnam era.
Quickly, Roy Coffee, Hoss, Hop Sing and Joe constructed questions. Hoss and a pit crew of leprechauns build a contest arena in front of the fire place. The entire Virginia City community and the Washoe tribe crowded into the living room. Joe disappears into the barn with seven women and emerged at the end of the episode with a BIG grin on his tired face.
Prof. Sheets note- This episode was written this way to allow Michael Landon to film Twilight Town simultaneously with this episode. Note the bed scenes in Twilight Town feature the same grinning tired face and the blonde gal who
is “tending” to Joe in Twilight Town is the third girl following Joe into the barn in “Knowing Isn’t Everything”. GO JOE.
“Ring your bell when you have an answer. OK, true or false,” Roy Coffee read off the prepared cards. “1. Rubberbands last longer when refrigerated.”
BING! Adam hits the bell first. “True!”
“Refrigerated? Refrigeration isn’t yet invented!” bellowed Ben as Hoss pulled some long strands of rubber out of his teeth.
“Gee, I thought this leftover spaghetti was a bit chewy…” Hop Sing hit Hoss over the head with a frying pan. BING BING BING!
“Watch out, Hoppy. You will give Hoss amnesia again!” Adam cautioned. Adam always protected his brothers.
“2. Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite,” Roy read.
BING “True!” shouted Ben. “Just ask the Thunderman…he uses Skippy peanut butter.”
“It don’t stick to your teeth!” Hoss grinned, ducking Hop Sing’s attempt to bop him again.
“3. There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.”
BING. “True… and 293 ways to kill a gal when she dates a Cartwright!” said Ben.
Roy read the next question, “4. The average person’s left hand does 56% of
BING “Yes… and I watched Joe,” said Adam. “He was typing multiple copies of love notes for the seven gals he has in the barn.”
(Off camera: giggles and sighs and moans of DELIGHT!)
“5. The shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.”
BING! “TRUE!!” Ben winked.
“6. There are more chickens than people in the world.”
BING “Yes and if Hop Sing fried them, Hoss would eat them!” Adam answered.
“7. Two-thirds of the world’s eggplant is grown in New Jersey.”
“Eeeeeew!” said both Adam and Ben, despite Joe having a secret link to Jersey.
“Don’t you like eggplant?” Hop Sing asked realizing he had eggplant quiche planned for dinner.
“No, we love eggplant…it is New Jersey we disdain!” Ben and Adam said in unison.
Note from Prof Sheets- NBC later had to air an apology to the state of New Jersey or be revoked from airing the Miss America Contest on NBC.
“8. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is “screeched.”
BING “True!” screeched Adam.
“9. On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building is an American flag.”
“In my honor!” Ben smiled. Adam hid smiling his face behind his black hat and Roy choked on his laughter. Hoss dropped the chalk and Hop Sing hit him with the frying pan again.
Note from Prof. F. Sheets- Lorne Green adlibbed that line and it was left in the episode.
“10. All of the clocks in the movie “Pulp Fiction” are stuck on 4:20,” Roy declared.
“Movie?” Ben asked.
“11. No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.”
BING “True!” Ben shouted.
“You mean shmonth, dorange and spliver and nurple are not English?” Adam protested.
Hop Sing hit him over the head with the frying pan. “Judge says no!” BAM…BAM BAM BAM BAM…BAM
Adam’s knees wobbled and his eyes rolled back in his head. He pitched forward and collapsed in a heap on the floor. Hoss scooped him up and laid him gently on the settee. “Better ride for the Doc, Pa,” Hoss grinned. He was secretly rooting for his father to win against Adam.
“Guess I won…again.” Ben threw his fists into the air and did a little happy dance on the coffee table. He was so enthusiastic he almost accidentally tossed his toupee in the air like Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat.
“You are still the man, Ben!” Roy grinned. “Sometimes that boy gets too big for his black britches.”
“Dinner, Mr. Ben? Eggplant quiche?” Hop Sing grinned.
Joe emerged from the barn bow legged and bare-chested. He was grinning and tired. “Pa, better have Hoss drive some of these gals to the stage depot and a few to the undertaker.” Joe adjusted his tan pants and mopped his sweaty but handsome brow.
“But they died happy, Mr. Cartwright!” sighed the surviving gals in unison, adjusting their false eyelashes, their torpedo bras and matching blue dresses.
“Might take the undertaker awhile to smooth their smiles off their slut puppy faces,” Adam said.
“That’s my boy!” Ben smiled blowing a kiss to the portraits of the three dead mamas.