Austin broadcast personality Richard "Cactus" Pryor interviews actor Dan Blocker, best known for his portrayal of Hoss Cartwright on the television program "Bonanza." Conversation ranges over a variety of topics including Blocker's political views and involvement, his Texas roots, and the future of "Bonanza."
Richard S. "Cactus" Pryor was a comedic television and broadcast personality from Austin, Texas. Cactus, an Austin native, was born in 1923, straight into the entertainment business. His father owned the Cactus Theater on Congress Avenue (hence the nickname), and starting at just 3 years old, Cactus made stage appearances before the shows began. Cactus attended the University of Texas and served in the US Army Air Corp. When he returned to Austin from his service in 1944, Cactus joined the broadcasting team at Lady Bird Johnson's KLBJ radio station, where he worked until 2008. He joined the world of broadcast television at KTBC in 1951 where he was program manager and hosted a variety of television programs, including a football program with Darrell K Royal and many celebrity interviews. Cactus appeared in two films with his friend John Wayne, Hellfighters and The Green Berets. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he became a sought-after speaker and event host, famous for his roasts of entertainers and politicians, most of whom he counted as close friends. Cactus was also known for his disguises. He would appear at functions in character, often pulling a fast one on the crowd as he charmed them first in disguise, then again as he revealed himself and used his earlier conversations to entertain the crowd. As an active member of the Headliners Club of Austin, Pryor starred in many humorous television news satires alongside Texas politicians, some of which can be seen in his film collection, as well as the Gordon Wilkison Collection and the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection. He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.
Known to many as the "Voice of the Longhorns," Wally Pryor served as the announcer for UT sports from 1953 until 2002. While his voice was certainly recognizable he also played an active role as a producer – for KTBC, amongst others – and regularly served as an emcee for various events. Wally regularly worked as a producer for his older brother Richard "Cactus" Pryor. The films in the Wally Pryor collection represent a range of films from home movies, to various pieces he produced, films featuring himself, and several films featuring Cactus Pryor.
Born in De Kalb, Texas in 1928, Dan Blocker was raised in West Texas, near Lubbock. He attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abline, and earned a master's in dramatic arts from Sul Ross State Teacher's College in Alpine. After graduating, he taught school in Sonora, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. In 1956, he moved to California to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked as a substitute teacher and began his acting career. In 1959 he was cast in his most famous role, Hoss Cartwright, on the long-running television program, Bonanza.