Little House On The Prairie is one of the classic shows of American television. An adaptation of the series of children’s novels written by Laura Ingalls Wilder based on her childhood in the northern Midwestern United States during the 1870s and 1880s, during its nine seasons on the air, the show won considerable popularity both in America and abroad, winning three Emmys in the process.
Here are ten interesting secrets from the set of Little House On The Prairie from the show’s run between 1974 and 1982
1. Laura and Mary did not get along
Co-stars Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Anderson have never really bonded, not making up even in the intervening years after the show ended.
2. Pa’s hair was not real
The producers wanted Michael Landon to look “more rugged” so his grey hair wouldn’t do.
3. At age 15, Melissa Gilbert was deemed too young to kiss on screen
She was supposed to kiss her love interest Maley, but she was too nervous. She instead decided she would kiss him on the cheek. When they eventually did film the kiss there had to be chaperones on set because of the large age difference.
4. Alison Arngrim was almost cast as Laura instead of Nellie
The New York City-born actress was originally auditioning for the role of Laura, then for the role of Laura’s sister Mary. When she didn’t get either of those parts, she was hired to play Nellie because she was very good at being mean.
5. Michael Landon was a bit of a show off on set
The late actor was super-proud of his muscles and would use any opportunity to take off his shirt. He was, however, a little bit self-conscious about his height and would wear 4″ platforms to try to appear taller.
6. A lot of big stars got their start on Little House On The Prairie
The little boy on the left is actually Arrested Development star, Jason Bateman! Two other big names who got their start on this show are Shannen Doherty and Sean Penn.
7. The family’s dinner was always finger-lickin’ good
KFC was often used when they were filming dinner scenes. The also used Dinty Moore brand beef stew for other meals.
8. Melissa Gilbert was growing up too fast for the producers so they tried to slow it down
To have one of the show’s main child stars remain childlike for longer, the producers decided to bind her chest.
9. Nellie’s hair wasn’t actually that perfect
This was another wig and a fairly high-maintenance one at that. The curls had to be held in place by a metal comb and sharp hairpins that dug into the actresses scalp and would sometimes cause it to bleed.
10. Landon made the kids cry
He was reportedly helping them, as there were a lot of scenes where the child actors needed to cry on cue but it couldn’t. He would make himself cry first and then look at the kids and say “do you know how much I love you?” which worked instantaneously.