Categories: Maps and Cartography

Ponderosa Map Maker Dies

Part of my childhood memories include watching many episodes of Bonanza.  My stepfather was a cowboy fanatic and many evenings in Austria were spent watching dubbed versions of the hit western show in German.  I always remember the opening credits that showed an antiqued map showing the fictitious place of Ponderosa ranch erupting in flames.  That map was created in 1959 by an MGM artist named Robert Temple Ayres who recently passed away on February 25th at the age of 98.

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The map played an opening role in the Bonanza TV series September 1959 to February 1973 and now the original production piece hangs in the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles.

Artist Robert Temple Ayres next to his Bonanza map at the Autry Museum. (Photo by Tessie Borden)

Those with knowledge of the state of Nevada will notice the map’s north orientation.  The orientation of the map with north being straight up:

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Prints of Robert Temple Ayres’ art work can be purchased on his web site (excluding the Bonanza map).

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