There was behind-the-scenes drama on the set of Little House on the Prairie.
Based on the popular book series, Little House, the television show Little House on the Prairie quickly captured hearts and rose to be one of the most popular TV programs in the ’70s.
Executive producer, Michael Landon, poured his heart into the popular Western drama series. Landon controlled everything on set, including the storylines and casting decisions. Landon did strive to create a family atmosphere for the cast; however, he did not respond well to creative suggestions.
Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls, reflected on Landon’s behavior in her memoir The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House. She wrote:
“You had to catch Mike on a very good day to get him to change any of his pre-planned blocking of a scene. Very, very rarely could you win a creative argument with him…He could also be vindictive. I remember him telling me the main reason he decided to blow up the town of Walnut Grove at the end of Little House was so that no one else would ever be able to use our sets.”
Due to Landon’s controlling nature, it was only a matter of time before he clashed with one of the show’s multiple producers. Executive producer Ed Friendly found himself permanently banned from the set after trying to bring his vision to the television show. Friendly felt that all the children on the show should appear dirty and walk around barefoot, but Landon did not want the child actors barefoot in the heat of Simi Valley.
“Michael went to NBC and said, ‘I can’t work this way,'” fellow producer Kent McCray recalled the debacle in an interview with Archive of American Television.
Landon gave NBC an ultimatum, and the network sided with the actor. Friendly was no longer allowed on the set, even though he technically owned the Little House books’ rights.
A Little House on The Prairie reboot is in the works. Will you be watching?