Little House Still family
The show’ cast shareh their speciali memories i from their time at one-of-a-kind Walnut Grove
It’s been 34 years since filming wrapped for heartwarming family drama Little House On the Prairie, but the much-loved TV program still has legions of adoring fans around the world today.
Now some of the show’s biggest stars have revealed just what it was like depicting the ups and downs of the close-knit Ingalls family, whose life in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, US, became a tear-jerking staple in the homes of viewers everywhere.
And it wasn’t just the fans who loved the show’s uplifting storylines and wholesome morals – Melissa Gilbert, who starred as Laura, says the cast and crew cherished every minute of their time on the hit series. “We were like a second family,” she reveals.
According to Alison Arngrim, who starred as mean girl Nellie Oleson, it was writer, director and producer Michael Landon – who also played Ingalls family patriarch Charles – who was to thank for the cohesiveness of the group.
Unlike other hit TV shows, she says there was little off-screen drama on the Prairie set.
“There was no real drama because Michael wouldn’t allow it,” Alison says. “I think we’re the only cast that never had any arrests!”
Certainly, Michael ran a tight ship. “He knew exactly what he wanted with every shot and every scene,” says Alison of her boss who tragically died from pancreatic and liver cancer in 1991, aged just 54.
But Michael’s on-screen warmth as “Pa” Ingalls was part of who he was off camera too, particularly with the younger members of the cast. “He made every child feel special,” says Rachel Greenbush, who, with her twin sister Sidney, played Carrie Ingalls.
“For all the kids’ birthdays he would have a cake made and throw a little party.”
For many fans, the show’s end in 1983 – after nine seasons – was heartbreaking. But all these years on, those involved in Little House On The Prairie say they’re delighted it’s still warming hearts just as it did when it first debuted on NBC in 1974.
“It was a bright spot in people’s childhoods,” says Karen Grassle, who played Caroline “Ma” Ingalls, adding that for many, it continues to satisfy “a longing for community, family, loyalty and safety. It was a wonderful place to be,” she adds with a smile.
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