Pernell Roberts helped shape my boyhood in Ireland. He died today taking part of that boyhood with him.
'Bonanaza' was the best show on television to a kid growing up in insular Ireland of the 1960s and 1970s. Cowboy movies and series were all the rage, 'Bat Masterson' The Rifleman' and above all 'Bonanza' about the Cartwright family and their struggles out west..
Pernell Roberts was Adam, the quiet, studious older one, the cool guy who calmed down his brother Hoss, and the young kid Little Joe. Ben Cartwright, the father,depended on him a lot and Adam was always a rock of sense.
I read Pernell Roberts was a Shakespearean actor, that he had real potential as a stage legend, but I only wanted to know about when the next episode of 'Bonanza' was on. To this day when I hear that familiar theme music and the western map in flames logo, I drop everything to watch.
The Cartwrights had lost their mother along the way, and old Ben was often lonely for her. Adam however, was the guy I liked best, that tall dark mysterious air he always carried about him.
Years later he played Trapper John M.D. but by then I had outgrown him, but as Adam Cartwright he seemed to be the coolest dude in the world, the guy to imitate with my friends when the cowboy games began.
Farewell Pernell. Hope the last roundup worked for you.