Little House on the Prairie is one of those all-round nice shows that everyone has seen at least a few episodes of. Join us as we look back at Little House on the Prairie with some facts about the program that you probably didn’t know…
1. Alison Angrim was turned down for Laura and Mary Ingalls before she was cast as Nellie Oleson
When Alison Angrim auditioned for Nellie Oleson, she was hired on the spot, and it’s easy to see why as she played the role to perfection. But did you know that Angrim originally was turned down twice when auditioning for the roles of Laura Ingalls and then Mary Ingalls! It just goes to show they take the casting seriously and want to get it right!
2. The religious themes were not always replicated in real life
Michael Landon, who starred as Charles Ingalls played the part very well, and was involved with many of the religious themes that ran throughout the show. He always played the part well, so it may surprise you to know that Landon never practiced religion in his life!
3. Characters including Albert Ingalls and the Garveys didn’t exist in real life
In spite of the fact that Little House on the Prairie was based on factual events, the show took many artistic liberties, and many of the characters, such as Albert Ingalls and the Garveys, didn’t even exist in real life!
4. The show was almost cancelled after the second season
In its first series, Little House on the Prairie did very well and was renewed for series 2. However, the ratings then took a massive drop and the show was almost cancelled! The studio moved it to Mondays instead of Wednesdays and by series 3 it was doing very well again and went on for several more years!
5. Critics complained about how many changes were made from the original story
Critics were quick to point out how many changes were made to the show and that they didn’t like the fact the original stories were embellished so much. Michael Landon pointed out that, if they actually read the books, there are parts about things like cooking an apple fritter, and that what they were making may have taken some liberties, but made for much better TV!
6. Chaperones were needed on-set when Dean Butler and Melissa Gilbert kissed on-screen for the first time
When Dean Butler and Melissa Gilbert first kissed on screen, they had to have chaperones to ensure nothing untoward was happening at the time… We don’t want to think about what that means either! Gilbert’s mother was on set and so distraught at seeing her daughter kissing someone she had to be consoled, whilst sobbing, “My baby, my baby”!
7. Michael Landon would smoke 60-80 cigarettes each day of filming
Michael Landon would often smoke between 60 and 80 cigarettes in a day, all unfiltered! That’s a lot of smoking, and he would impress Melissa Gilbert by then putting out the cigarette butts on his gloves!
8. Charles Ingalls was voted one of TV’s greatest dads
In the June 2004 issue of TV Guide, they ranked the top 50 Greatest TV Dads of all time. It is no surprise that Charles Ingalls did well on the list and he actually made it in to the top 5 at number 4!
9. Two of the cast had personal demons to fight
Two of the major cast members were left with serious personal demons to fight during and after the show finished. Michael Landon was drinking heavily during production, even on set, whilst Melissa Gilbert developed an addiction to drugs when the show’s run ended.
10. Some Oscar-winning actors appeared in cameo roles
During the run of Little House on the Prairie, it attracted many stars to appear in cameo roles, some were well-known at the time, some have become very famous since then. Oscar-winning guest stars included Ernest Borgnine, Louis Gosset, Jr and Sean Penn! Did you spot them all?