Little House On The Prairie: 10 Behind The Scenes Secrets
Back in the ’70s and ’80s, Michael Landon was one of TV’s biggest stars with his dazzling smile, good looks, and starring roles in hit series like Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. Landon was not only the star of Little House, however, he was also the producer, writer and director, and it seems like he was also the source of a lot of behind the scenes drama. The show may have been for family entertainment and good morals, but there was a lot fans didn’t see! Check out 10 behind the scenes secrets from the show:
10. Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon
Little House stars Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon became very close on set, so close in fact that she looked up to him as a father figure off-set as well. She quickly became close to his family, especially with his children Michael Jr. and Leslie, while her own mother became best friends with Landon’s wife, Lynn. Everything fell apart, however, after Gilbert noticed that Landon paid a lot of attention to the “makeup girl” on set, Cindy Clerico, who was 20 years younger than Landon. He eventually left his wife of 19 years for Clerico, and Gilbert refused to be friendly with him again because of his affair. Although she was professional with him for the remainder of the show, she stopped speaking to him when the show came to an end. In fact, the highly publicized breakup of Michael and Lynn and his hookup with Cindy caused Landon to lose many endorsement deals as the whole ordeal went against the family ideals that Little House on the Prairie purported.
9. The Wheelchair Scene
For many fans, the season three episode “Bunny” has became a favorite and is regarded as one of the best of the series. In the episode, Nellie is thrown from her horse, Bunny, that she had won from Laura in an episode before, and ends up paralyzed. Laura soon discovers Nellie has been faking her paralysis for attention, so she takes Nellie to the top of a hill in her wheelchair and pushes her down. As it turns out, the cast on Nellie’s arm was real as the actress, Alison Arngrim, had broken her wrist in an off-set accident. When it came to getting real and terrified screams from Arngrim for the scene as she flew down the hill, the crew members had a plan. The chair was attached to safety ropes but, after the director started the scene and she was pushed, one of the crew members yelled, “Oh no, the rope broke!” Of course, it didn’t really, but it was extremely effective in getting authentic screams from the young actress.