Do you like Little House on the Prairie? It doesn’t quite matter if you watched the TV show when it actually aired on TV (1974-1983) or if you watched reruns, you must have been enchanted by Laura Ingalls. And it’s not only her that the fans love, but it’s also the whole Ingalls family (even the bad guys like Nellie). However, it seems that a lot went on behind the scenes of this idyllic drama about the settler life in the 1800s.
Keep reading and see what happened to the stars of the show when it ended and what actually went on behind the camera lens. Here are some interesting facts about the legendary show that is Little House on the Prairie.
Even though Nellie and Laura were one another’s competition on the show, the actresses were good friends in real life. In the show, Nellie was with Percival, whom she married. Percival’s character was played well by actor Steve Tracy, who was gay in real life, but it wasn’t a problem for him to play a straight character.
These two actors enjoyed kissing in front of Laura (her love life with Almanzo was nowhere near as romantic) just so they could annoy Melissa Gilbert. So, the actors who were on-screen lovers went the extra mile to exaggerate their kisses only to stew over poor Gilbert.
Substances on Set
Drug and alcohol addictions among actors on the set were not something new. These substances were bountiful on the set. It’s reported that the crew could easily finish two cases of Coors beer in a day. So, as to make life easier for themselves, they even dubbed days that were harder “three-case days.” This meant that they drank in order to cope with the stress that came from shooting scenes.
Michael Landon was the one who was very keen on drinking. Even Melissa Gilbert revealed in her autobiography that she was oblivious to the fact of how much Landon drank. He even used to add vodka to coffee or other soft drinks, and no one was actually aware of how much alcohol Landon drank both onset and in his private life.
Getting Through an Epidemic Together
When people think of the year 2020, they will have flashbacks to face masks and periods of quarantining. During the many hours spent at home, many Little House on the Prairie fans probably rewatched some episodes. However, they will be shocked to discover that there are two episodes that potentially predicted the COVID epidemic.
Michael Landon’s Religious Beliefs
Despite the fact that he portrayed a good Christian on the show, Michael Landon actually identified himself as being Jewish. His authentic name was Eugene Maurice Orowitz. So it is pretty clear from his name that he is part Jewish. But, the actor didn’t mind spreading the Christian message at all.
He was actually born in New York and was brought up in New Jersey. Eugene’s mother, Peggy, was Catholic, and his father, Eli Maurice Orowitz, was Jewish. He said that being Jewish was part of his cultural identity. He never took part in any form of organized religion, but he did on one occasion state that he believed in God.
Well if you ever even assumed that Landon’s hair was real, you were mistaken. That luscious curly brown hair was not natural. But, at least the dye job was well done! To be precise, the shade of the dye he used was ash brown.
Michael took great care of his coloring job, so he sought the help of professionals. When he had gray hair, it would get a weird purple-green gleam from the bright sun. At that point, the producers called in professional help.
Important Problems Were Discussed on the Show
Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see sensitive topics raised on TV shows. But, back then the show was revolutionary! It dealt with topics that were extremely controversial for the time. Our opinions of what’s controversial aren’t the same compared to back then.
Some of the highlighted topics were rape, racism, addiction, and prejudice. it’s very important that this show raised such topics, as other shows at the time didn’t dare to. It’s amazing how much has changed since the show first started.
Siblings by Nature, but No Longer Friends by Choice
Does the name Willie Oleson ring any bells? See, the brother of Laura’s rival was actually Melissa Gilbert’s real-life adopted brother. Amazing, isn’t it? Imagine how long it took for this information to sink in when the cast members found out!
But, it sadly turns out that Gilbert and her brother aren’t in touch any longer, which Gilbert explained that in her autobiography. Isn’t it sad when you hear that siblings don’t communicate anymore?
Enemies Since Day One
Ever since childhood, Melissa Anderson and Melissa Gilbert weren’t exactly the best of friends. Some might say that they were actually rivals. They never got along, and this even persisted throughout the show. Truth be told, nobody likes bad-tempered people.
Just envision how horrible it must have been working on the same show for all those years with a person you dislike. Well, that’s exactly what happened here. We wouldn’t wish this fate upon our worst enemy.
Walnut Grove Exists
Yup! Walnut Grove is real. You think this can’t possibly be true, right? But, it is! Walnut Grove exists, and so does Laura Ingalls, who lived there. The location is very important to the story in the series.
A book on which the series was based was in fact written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was connected to a lot of films in her lifetime. But, when she was just a child she lived in a place named Walnut Grove in Minnesota.
Wigs Are No Fun
Alison Arngrim had to wear a wig on the set. Her character Nellie’s beautiful curls were far from real. But hey, wigs work charms, or are they too obvious to an audience?
Arngrim actually had natural blond hair, but it was on the fine side, so it couldn’t hold the weight of these beautiful curls. In fact, the wig was attached to her head so tightly that it made her scalp bleed. Now, that’s dedication if ever we saw it!
There were many cast members who were diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, they also lost the battle to it. Michael Landon was one of them. He got pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, there were others, like Victor French and Kevin Hagen, perhaps both were better known under the names of their characters – Isaiah Edwards and Doc Baker.
The only member who won the battle with cancer was Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle). Many actually believe that the actors got cancer because of radioactively contaminated materials that were in the set’s surroundings.