Miskatonic University Press

Charles Dickens in Bonanza


Amanda Wakaruk told me about an episode of Bonanza where Charles Dickens comes to town because his copyright has been violated. Yes, Bonanza, the old TV western with Lorne Greene as Pa to Hoss, Adam and Little John.

Rotten Tomatoes summarizes the episode (S05 E02):

Future Lost in Space bad guy Jonathan Harris stars in this Bonanza episode as celebrated British novelist Charles Dickens. When the Virginia City newspaper begins serializing Dickens’ latest novel without his permission, the author arrives in town to register a protest-and gets arrested and fined for his troubles. Despite Dickens’ imperious refusal to pay the fine or speak in his own defense, Dickens’ cause is championed by four of his biggest fans–the Cartwrights. Others in the cast include Victor Maddern as Dave, Frank Albertson as Sam Walker, and Charles Irving as Rogers. “A Passion for Justice” originally aired September, 29 1963.

Amanda recommended it as having a surprisingly nuanced discussion of copyright issues.