Secrets from Behind the Scenes of Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie is a TV series that ran from 1974 to 1983, and, during that time, it became of the most popular and beloved shows on the air. Based on the autobiographical book series of the same name by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the show followed the Ingalls family and the trials and tribulations they faced living in the midwest in the late 1800s.
While the heartwarming show depicted the Ingalls as a wholesome, happy clan, things weren’t always so family-friendly and lovey-dovey behind the scenes of the show. Like every series, Little House on the Prairie experienced its fair share of backstage drama, intrigue, and chaos.
Today, we’re taking a look at all the behind-the-scenes secrets from this classic show that’s still beloved worldwide to this day.
Were the Ingalls siblings as sisterly in real life as they were on the show? Was Michael Landon self-obsessed or was he insecure? And just how did Nellie manage to always have perfect curls despite living her life on the prairie? We’re answering all these questions and even more as we walk you through all the behind-the-scenes secrets from the set of Little House on the Prairie.
Let’s get started!
Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Anderson didn't get along.
The characters of Laura Ingalls and Mary Ingalls looked like the perfect sisterly pair on screen, but that’s just a testament to their amazing acting abilities. Because once the cameras stopped rolling, actresses Melissa Gilbert Melissa Anderson couldn’t stand each other. Real life just wasn’t as heartwarming as the show was!
Years later when she released her memoir, Prairie Tale, Gilbert held back nothing when discussing her former castmate. She described Anderson as “cold” and “stuck up”, and she wasn’t the only one to feel that way. Other castmates have revealed all of the difficulties in working with Anderson as well.
Michael Landon had an affair with a makeup artist.
When Michael Landon began work as Pa Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, he was a married man. However, his matrimonial vows couldn’t prevent his eyes from wandering on the set, and he eventually began an affair with the show’s makeup artist Cindy Clerico while he was still married.
The affair caused a minor stir among the cast and crew, not least of all because Clerico was 20 years younger than Landon. But even though the relationship began questionably, it seems that their love was real, as they married in 1983 and stayed together until Landon’s death in 1991.
Melissa Gilbert stopped speaking to Landon because of his affair.
While the affair-turned-marriage between Michael Landon and the show’s makeup artist had a happy ending for the couple, not everyone who knew about the affair was as thrilled as they were. In fact, the relationship caused a big rift between Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon, who she saw as a real-life father figure.
She was so upset with his decision to have an affair that she got mad at him and stayed mad at him for years after the show had concluded. Ultimately, their fight lasted for nine whole years, during which time Gilbert refused to speak to Landon. Laura Ingalls clearly knows how to keep a grudge!
Gilbert and Landon reconciled shortly before his death.
Melissa Gilbert may have spent nine years not talking to Michael Landon because of his extramarital affair, but, thankfully, the two eventually made up. She made a surprise appearance with him on the Johnny Carson Show, and they eventually privately reconciled with one another too. Unfortunately, tragedy would soon follow.
Only a week after Gilbert and Landon made up, he passed away from pancreatic cancer. Although he had only been diagnosed a few months earlier, his cancer was an aggressive form that doctors were unable to treat. Their time together may have been short, but at least Gilbert and Landon were able to make things right before he died.
Michael Landon cast his daughter as Etta Plum.
Nepotism was clearly not a concern on Little House on the Prairie, because it seems like cast members were always trying to land a gig for friends and family. This included Michael Landon arranging for his daughter, Leslie, on the show. She appeared in several early-season episodes as Etta Plum the school teacher.
However, while Michael Landon may have caught the acting bug, it’s clear that Leslie wasn’t as keen on a high-profile Hollywood life. Aside from Little House on the Prairie, she only acted in one episode of another TV show before calling it quits. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she is a clinical psychologist.
Alison Arngrim's wig made her head bleed.
She may have only been a little girl, but it was clear that Nellie Oleson was the supervillain on Little House on the Prairie. She was spoiled and deceitful, but her hair was always on point. However, those perfect curls were just Hollywood magic. The reality was much more painful.
Stylists for the show first attempted to use actress Alison Arngrim’s real hair, but it was too fine to create the curls they were looking for. So, they threw a wig on her but didn’t really try to make sure it was comfortable. Arngrim said that the wig was on her head so tightly that her scalp actually bled on several occasions.
Little House on the Prairie was Sean Penn's first gig.
Sean Penn has become one of the most well-known actors in Hollywood, but all that fame and fortune may have never happened if he wasn’t first cast on Little House on the Prairie. It wasn’t a huge role, but it was enough to help him get his foot in the door.
Penn only appeared as a child in season one, episode 11 “The Voice of Tinker Jones.” He may have been young, but there’s no denying that it’s Sean Penn when you see him. He went on to be cast in some iconic roles, but at the time, he was simply credited as “Kid.”
It was also Jason Bateman's first time on camera.
If you watch Little House on the Prairie, you’ll actually see several now-famous celebrities starring in some of the earliest roles of their careers. In addition to Sean Penn, another major star who got his big break on the show was Jason Bateman, who played the role of James Cooper Ingalls.
James was one of the children two the Ingalls family adopted after their parents died, but he and his sister, Cassandra, do not appear in the original book series. Bateman first appeared in the series in season seven and continued on in the role until season nine.
Michael Landon used any excuse to take off his shirt.
There was no shortage of hunky male celebrities in the 1980s in Hollywood, but Michael Landon definitely had everyone else beat in the muscles and hair department. And it’s very clear that Landon knew exactly how good he looked because he took every opportunity available to show off his body.
There’s a reason that Pa Ingalls removes his shirt at the drop of a hat on Little House on the Prairie, and that reason is Michael Landon. He loved showing off his body, and honestly, if we had his body we would probably love showing it off too.
Paris Hilton's aunt was a child actor on the show.
There were lots of actors on the show who would go on to be household names later in their careers. However, there were also several people on the show who would go on to be famous but not in the most conventional sense, including the aunt of an infamous socialite.
Kyle Richards, the child actress who portrayed Alicia Edwards on the show, would go to be the aunt of hotel heiress Paris Hilton. Richards has had steady acting work since her time on Little House on the Prairie, but she’s definitely been a little overshadowed by her more famous relatives.
Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim are real-life friends.
One of the main sources of conflict on Little House on the Prairie came from the rivalry between Laura Ingalls (played by Melissa Gilbert) and the bratty, petulant Nellie Oleson (played by Alison Arngrim). They may have hated each other on-screen, but it was a different story when the cameras stopped rolling.
In real life, Gilbert and Arngrim became good friends while acting on the show, and that friendship lasted long after Little House on the Prairie was over. The two have kept in touch over the years and have both made successful careers for themselves in Hollywood.
Melissa Gilbert had her first kiss on the show.
Melissa Gilbert was only ten when she began portraying Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. The show ran for almost a decade, which meant that Gilbert hit a lot of life’s major milestones while starring on the show. And one of them was even televised—her first kiss.
Gilbert’s character, Laura, got married on the show when Gilbert was a teenager, and the kiss that the characters share at their wedding was Gilbert’s first real-life kiss. Despite being nervous, Gilbert handled the scene like a pro, unlike her mother who allegedly was inconsolable while the scene was being filmed.
Carrie Ingalls was played by twins.
Because of labor laws, filming with young children can be a logistical nightmare, as they’re not allowed to work as long each day as adults. So, when casting the role of young Carrie Ingalls, the show employed an old Hollywood trick to beat the system—hire identical twins for one role.
Two twin sisters played Carrie to ensure that the show got the shots they needed. When one child’s daily filming hours were spent, the second twin would be brought in to replace her. Many fans didn’t even realize that twins were playing the part because they were credited as one person, “Lindsay Sidney Greenbush”.
The famous fall in the opening credits was unplanned.
Sometimes the most memorable moments in a TV show are the result of happy accidents, and that’s exactly what happened with one shot in Little House on the Prairie. If there’s one thing you remember at all about the opening credits, it’s probably Carrie Ingalls taking a tumble down a hill.
However, that moment was completely unplanned. The actress wasn’t hurt, and the producers thought the scene was so cute that they had to include it in the opening montage for the show. They were definitely right, and that fall became one of the most remembered scenes on Little House on the Prairie.
Alison Arngrim auditioned for multiple roles.
There is no way that another actress other than Alison Arngrim could have portrayed Nellie Olesen. Despite being a child, she could act with the best of them and ended up being one of the most hated kids in America because she was so talented at her villainous role.
However, Nellie was not her first choice on the show. Before getting the part, she actually auditioned for two others—Laura Ingalls and Mary Ingalls. Those didn’t pan out for her, and thank goodness they didn’t because Arngrim was clearly born to play Nellie. No one else would do.
Karen Grassle quit acting after the show.
Karen Grassle’s first role on television was as Ma Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. She did such a good job at it that people thought this was the beginning of a long successful career for the actress. However, Grassle wanted to call it quits on acting after the show ended.
For several years after the show was over, Grassle left Los Angeles and didn’t pursue acting. However, she eventually returned to the city to film Wyatt Earp in 1994. She has a small number of acting credits from the 2010s as well, but it’s clear she didn’t want a high-profile Hollywood career.
Michael Landon wore platform boots to appear taller.
Michael Landon clearly loved his body, as he was always removing his shirt on the show. However, there was one aspect of his physique that he didn’t like—his height. He was a respectable 5’9”, but he wanted Pa Ingalls to be a taller, more imposing figure.
Thankfully, unlike real life, it’s pretty easy to make yourself look taller on TV, even if the methods are a little ridiculous. In addition to creative camera tricks, Michael Landon also wore tall platform boots while filming to make sure he was always standing tall. It sounds a little silly, but Pa Ingalls works hard, so he can spend his money on platform boots if he wants.
Melissa Gilbert's brother was also on the show.
Little House on the Prairie was kind of a family affair. In addition to Michael Landon’s daughter appearing on the show, Melissa Gilbert’s brother, Jonathan, also had a role as Willie Oleson. However, unlike his sister, Jonathan didn’t pursue a career in acting and has no credits outside the Little House on the Prairie franchise.
Both Melissa and Jonathan were adopted by their parents, actors Paul Gilbert and Barbara Crane. Unfortunately, there seems to be a rift between the two siblings, as Melissa Gilbert revealed in her memoir that she and Jonathan have not spoken to each other for years, although no reason for their estrangement was given.
Michael Landon dyed his hair for the show.
Pa Ingalls was a real looker, and a lot of that had to do with Michael Landon’s lush, full head of hair. However, his ‘do wasn’t as natural as he made it seem. Pretty early in his acting career, he had to begin dyeing his hair because it went grey while he was still in his 20s.
At first, he could keep things a secret by dyeing it himself, but eventually, there were so many grey hairs that the store-bought dye wouldn’t do. By the time he was on Little House on the Prairie, he had to get it professionally dyed to keep those grey hairs under wraps.
The show recycled unused scripts from Bonanza.
Little House on the Prairie wasn’t the only major TV hit of Michael Landon’s acting career—he’s just as famous for starring on the classic western hit Bonanza. But the two shows shared more than just this one leading man. They also shared storylines that Landon had brought over from Bonanza.
When scripts went unused on the set of Bonanza, Landon would sometimes revise them and use them for episodes of Little House on the Prairie. Some people may think that sounds shady, but it’s actually known in Hollywood as “script recycling”, and, at the time, it was a pretty common practice.
There were rumors the show was cursed.
Was Little House on the Prairie cursed? Probably not, but that didn’t stop rumors that the show led to death and disease. Several cast members on the show, including Michael Landon, Victor French, and Kevin Hagen died of cancer after the show ended, which led to rumors of a curse.
However, while their deaths were tragic, it doesn’t really seem like a curse was at play—and was that ever REALLY a possibility? Despite the passing of these actors, many of the main cast members are still alive and kicking today, which means that they’ve somehow managed to avoid this curse so far.
The California heat caused problems while filming.
You rarely see female characters on Little House on the Prairie without at least a bonnet and fifty heavy layers of clothing. While the show understandably wanted to go for a period look, those bulky costumes were really unpleasant when you had to wear them in the California sun.
The show might have been set in Minnesota, but it was actually shot in Simi Valley, California. The local landscape looked great for the show, but the heat was a major problem for both the actors and crew. One crew member allegedly passed out from the heat on the show’s first day of filming.
The explosions in the series finale spawned multiple rumors.
In the final episode of the show, there’s a major explosion in the town after a land developer buys it all, much to the anger of the residents. It was an insane way to end this normally pastoral and heartwarming show, and there were plenty of rumors as to the real reason the town got blown to smithereens.
Some fans speculated that Michael Landon ordered the set to be blown up as a middle finger to the poor ratings the final seasons of the show received. A less ridiculous (but equally unconfirmed) theory was that cleaning up the sets would be easier if everything was already smashed up by an explosion.
Albert Ingalls was a Pac-Man champion.
The cast of Little House on the Prairie all have some unusual accomplishments, but Matthew Labyorteaux who played the Ingalls adopted son Albert has one of the most unique claims to fame. In addition to being an actor, he was also the 1982 Pac-Man national champion with a high score of 1.2 million.
His experience with Pac-Man would go on to (somewhat) serve him well later in his career. He’s had regular acting work on TV and in movies since 1974, but he’s also recently branched out into voice acting for video games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Kinect Star Wars, and Gangstar Vegas.
Michael Landon loved playing pranks on set.
Michael Landon kind of seemed like a prima donna on Little House on the Prairie, with his boots to make him look taller and obsession with being shirtless. But it’s clear he was a fun guy with a sense of humor, too. According to one producer on the show, Landon was always pulling pranks on the cast and crew.
However, it appears that he wasn’t the only practical joker on Little House on the Prairie. Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim, inspired by Landon, became a prankster duo on set too, with their signature prank being saran wrap on the set toilets. This was one cast that clearly knew how to have fun.
The final seasons are too ridiculous to air.
Little House on the Prairie was a beloved series, but like many great TV shows, it began to wear out its welcome. By the time the show reached its final season, the writers were so desperate for new story ideas that many of the episodes became insulting ridiculous and absurd.
From orangutan adoptions to storylines that end up just being a dream, seasons eight and nine of the show are pretty much loathed by fans. These seasons are so unwanted that they rarely make the cut when the show is aired in reruns. Despite the iffy seasons, it’s impressive that this show is still shown globally today!
Melissa Gilbert had to bind her chest to look younger.
There’s one thing that’s true about all child actors—they don’t stay children. If the characters they’re playing age too this isn’t a problem, but it can cause issues for a show if an actor hits puberty when their character is still a child. And that’s exactly what happened with Melissa Gilbert.
While the character of Laura Ingalls does grow up through the series, Gilbert was growing faster than the producers wanted. So, she made the painful decision to bind her chest in order to appear younger than she actually was. Her dedication is appreciated, but it does seem to be a pretty severe option for a TV show.
The crew played a cruel trick on Alison Arngrim.
There’s a hilarious and iconic episode of the show where Nellie Oleson is in a wheelchair but faking her injuries. After Laura discovers that she’s a fraud, she gives Nellie a good push down a hill for lying to everyone. If Nellie’s screams sound particularly convincing, there’s a reason for that.
In order to add some realism to Alison Arngrim’s performance, the crew told her a pretty cruel lie. Moments before they began filming the scene where she rolls down the hill, a crew member shouted out that the brakes on the wheelchair were not working. That wasn’t true, but Arngrim didn’t know that as she was rolling away down the hill.
Walnut Grove is a real place in Minnesota.
Little House on the Prairie was filmed in Simi Valley, California, but its setting is more real than you may have realized. The town of Walnut Grove where much of the show takes place is actually a real location in Minnesota. The tiny midwestern town currently has a population of 900.
Walnut Grove was the childhood home of the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder, who authored the Little House on the Prairie book series based on her experiences as a kid. There’s not much to do in Walnut Grove, but fans of the books will probably enjoy the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum they have in town.
The show made no attempt to follow the book series.
Little House on the Prairie ran for nine seasons, so it was to be expected that the writers would run out of material from the original book series. However, even at the start of the show, producers and writers made a conscious choice not to follow the books too closely.
This didn’t set well with some fans of the series, but it’s clear that the show was confident in its decision. Once, after being confronted by angry viewers, Michael Landon hilariously retorted, “Have you read the books? There’s a chapter in there about how to make an apple fritter. I can’t film that!”
Michael Landon was a heavy smoker.
Smoking kills, but it’s clear that Michael Landon wasn’t particularly worried about it. He was a notoriously heavy smoker, even before he began starring in Little House on the Prairie. He was known to smoke an unbelievable four packs a day, which doesn’t even seem humanly possible!
Landon didn’t try to hide his four-pack-a-day habit, even when he was on the set filming Little House on the Prairie. In fact, Melissa Gilbert recalls being impressed when Landon would extinguish his cigarettes on his leather gloves. It may be a smelly habit, but it was part of what made Landon the real-life character he was.
The show used a lot of KFC and Dinty Moore stew.
There are lots of shots in Little House on the Prairie where we see Ma Ingalls slaving over a hot stove to feed her family. Food wasn’t always plentiful on the prairie, but she always seemed to have a warm, home-cooked meal for Pa after a long day of work.
However, if you look closely, you’ll notice that Ma Ingalls is almost always cooking the exact same thing. Most of the food shots used on the show were of Dinty Moore beef stew—unless she was cooking fried chicken, which the crew always got from KFC.
There was lots of drinking on set.
Little House on the Prairie was a pretty wholesome show, with heavy-handed themes centering around family, integrity, and faith. However, behind the scenes, the cast and crew were known to get more than a little wild. Drinking on the set was a pretty common occurrence, which seems pretty wild in retrospect.
According to stories from on set, the cast would regularly drink their way through more than two cases of Coors beer. And, if that wasn’t enough, they might throw in a few shots of whiskey for good measure! Thankfully, this was all done while the child actors were away doing other things.
Karen Grassle used the stage name Gabriel Tree.
Stage names are a big deal in Hollywood, so it wasn’t really a surprise that Karen Grassle (who played Ma Ingalls) would adopt one for herself. However, she couldn’t have picked a stranger stage name if she tried! For reasons only obvious to her, she went with the name “Gabriel Tree”.
That’s some serious hippie nonsense if I’ve ever heard it, and Michael Landon agreed. When Grassle was cast on the show, he approached her and convinced her to drop the extremely odd moniker. And thus, Gabriel Tree was thankfully and officially laid to rest.
Pa Ingalls was Christian, but Michael Landon was Jewish.
You can’t make it through an episode of Little House on the Prairie without Pa Ingalls (among other characters) finding a way to tie Christian themes into the action on screen. That’s an impressive testament to Michael Landon’s acting ability because he didn’t believe a word of it.
In real life, Michael Landon was Jewish, not Christian. He was born Eugene Maurice Orowitz, and, even though one of his parents was Catholic, he was raised in the Jewish faith. He even had a bar mitzvah and learned to read Hebrew in preparation for it. Mazel tov!
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images, Image 2 via IMDB
Alison Arngrim used kissing scenes to tease Melissa Gilbert.
It was no secret that Melissa Gilbert was deeply uncomfortable with the scenes where Laura had to kiss her husband Almanzo. However, Alison Arngrim’s character Nellie also got hitched on the show, but she had literally no qualms about puckering up on screen, often to the dismay of Melissa Gilbert.
In real life, Gilbert and Arngrim were friends, which means Alison knew just how much Melissa got embarrassed and uncomfortable at all that lovey-dovey stuff. So, when it came to filming kissing scenes, Arngrim would go all-in with the smooches knowing that it was driving Gilbert crazy to watch.
Melissa Anderson didn't like that her character went blind.
In season four of Little House on the Prairie Melissa Anderson’s character, Mary, goes blind—which was true of the real-life Mary Ingalls the character was based on. This plot twist drew in big numbers of viewers for the show, but Melissa Anderson was not thrilled that Mary had lost her sight.
Initially, she was worried that the writers used this plot line as a way to write her out of the show. That wasn’t the case, as Michael Landon explained to her, but she still wasn’t thrilled. Ultimately, she left the show in the eighth season because she felt Mary’s blindness was holding her character development back.
Michael Landon didn't want to give Karen Grassle a raise.
Michael Landon and Karen Grassle played Pa and Ma Ingalls on the show, and the characters are deeply in love. While Landon and Grassle weren’t actually in love, the two (along with the rest of the cast) got along surprisingly well when the cameras weren’t rolling—except for one small bump in their relationship.
After the show rose in popularity, Karen Grassle thought it was time she got a raise. However, when she approached Landon (who was also a producer on the show) about this, he completely shot the idea down. It caused a little tension between the two, but they eventually patched things up before his death.
Some episodes were filmed on the Wizard of Oz set.
Walnut Grove may be a real place in Minnesota, but it’s also got a connection to the magical land of Oz! It turns out that some of the scenes on the show were filmed on the same set as The Wizard of Oz. This happened after the show switched from filming at Paramount to MGM.
In an interview, Alison Argrim recalled when she and Melissa Gilbert discovered the Yellow Brick Road, saying, “They were ripping up the floor of the set, and what Melissa and I see, lying beneath, was the Yellow Brick Road! Melissa and I went nuts. We were dancing around, singing the song, pretending to be Dorothy!”
The set of the Ingalls home was destroyed in a wildfire.
Many of the show’s sets were destroyed in the final episode of the series where the town gets blown to smithereens to prevent a land developer from buying it. However, the set for the Ingalls homestead was broken down, moved, and reassembled at the Big Sky Movie Ranch, where it became something of a major tourist attraction.
Unfortunately, it was ultimately destroyed too. In 2003, a major wildfire swept through the area and took the Ingalls home with it. The area was hit once again in 2019, which did even more damage to the Big Sky Movie Ranch.
Laura and Almanzo had chemistry problems.
It was no secret that Melissa Gilbert was uncomfortable with the scenes from Little House on the Prairie where she had to kiss her on-screen husband, Almanzo. However, it was more than just bad kissing that was causing problems for the show—the chemistry between the two in every scene just wasn’t that believable.
Things were so bad that a memo was circulated among the producers of the show trying to figure out how to make sparks fly between the two actors. The same memo also commented on the chemistry between Nellie and Percival, who were described as “look[ing] like they f*** like crazed weasels.”
Michael Landon directed almost half of all episodes.
Michael Landon was the face of Little House on the Prairie, but he played a major role behind the scenes as well. In addition to playing Pa Ingalls, Landon was also a writer, director, and producer on the show. The whole show was very much a product of his creative genius.
You could expect Landon to be in the director’s chair most days, as he directed almost half of the show’s 205 episodes. He was also the director for the pilot TV movie, as well as Little House Years and Little House: The Last Farewell. His work on the show led to more directing opportunities for him afterward.
The show is still wildly popular in France.
Reruns of Little House on the Prairie still air worldwide to this day. However, the show is especially beloved in France. We can’t believe the French are admitting to liking something American, so you know this show has to be a majorly big deal over there if they’re saying it out loud!
In particular, the French seem to be drawn to the character of Nellie, so much so that Alison Arngrim tours annually in the country. In an interview, she explained why the French love Nellie so much, saying, “It’s similar to David Hasselhoff and Germany. They don’t think Nellie is mean. They just think she’s French.”
Alison Arngrim still gets recognized as Nellie.
It can be kind of a double-edged sword for an actor when your most iconic role is that of a villain. People start to hate you for real just because you have the skills to play a convincing bad guy! However, Alison Arngrim, who played Laura Ingall’s spoiled rival, Nellie, embraced being hated by viewers.
In a 2017 interview, she told Fox News that “I thought I’d be sick of it, but now, it just makes me smile.” Additionally, she revealed that she gets recognized as Nellie more now that she’s an adult as opposed to when she was on the show as a child!
The show boosted the popularity of the books.
It’s strange to think that watching TV could inspire you to read, but that’s exactly what happened with Little House on the Prairie. The popularity of the show seemed to help boost the popularity of the book series it was based on as well. Michael Landon revealed that librarians had thanked him on more than one occasion for getting people to open a book.
However, fans of the show were in for a bit of a shock when they picked up the book series. The TV show made no attempt to follow the books word for word, which led to plotlines and characters that diverged heavily from its source material.
Melissa Gilbert wasn't a goody-goody in real life.
Is there more of a goody-two-shoes than Laura Ingalls Wilder? She’s so perfect and sweet that it makes us sympathize with Nellie and her hatred for her! However, that was just a testament to Melissa Gilbert’s acting skills—because she was much more of a wild child in real life!
Gilbert’s newfound fame granted her access into the world of wild Hollywood parties, and, by 1983, she found herself regularly using drugs and alcohol. She even admitted to being hungover while filming scenes for an episode about a character battling addiction. Thankfully, by the end of the ‘90s Gilbert says she got clean.
A new movie was announced in 2016.
It’s about time for a Little House on the Prairie revival, isn’t it? One may actually be in the works, but details are still scarce. In 2016, it was announced that Paramount would be making a new Little House on the Prairie movie. However, there hasn’t been much word on the project beyond this announcement.
In the meantime, there are several other Little House on the Prairie movies to keep you occupied. In addition to the two-hour pilot TV movie, there were three other made-for-TV movies created—Little House: Look Back to Yesterday, Little House: The Last Farewell, and Little House: Bless All the Dear Children.
Michael Landon was a very laid-back director.
As an actor, producer, writer, and director, you’d think that Michael Landon would take his many roles on Little House on the Prairie very seriously and treat everything with the utmost care. However, it turns out that when it comes to directing, he took a very laid-back approach to filming the perfect scene.
In a memoir about her time on the show, Alison Arngrim revealed that Landon was very nonchalant in the directors chair, saying, “Michael was very much a fan of the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy, and if something worked well enough in the first take, don’t bothering tinkering with perfection—just say ‘print’ and move on.”
The show was canceled because of Melissa Gilbert.
Fans were devastated when it was announced that Little House on the Prairie was coming to an end. In the later seasons, the show suffered from poor ratings, and, while that played a part, that wasn’t the only reason the show got canceled. Melissa Gilbert was also a big factor.
Michael Landon thought it was time to end the show because Laura was all grown up. He explained this decision to the New York Times, saying, “I didn't think a married woman should still be coming to her father for advice. But when we started this show, we never imagined it would last this long.”
Grace Ingalls was also played by identical twins.
If you were on the set of Little House on the Prairie you could expect to see a whole flock of identical twins hanging around. Two of the Ingalls daughters were actually played by twins because of the labor laws surrounding child actors. The twins playing Carrie Ingalls were most well-known, but Grace Ingalls was also played by twins.
When they were just infants, identical twins Wendi and Brenda Turnbaugh took turns playing the role of baby Grace. However, it doesn’t look like a lifelong acting career was in the cards for the twins, as they both have gone on to create lives outside of Hollywood for themselves.