“Little House on the Prairie” is far and away one of the most iconic and beloved family series to ever grace the airwaves. Of course, the late Michael Landon led the charge as Charles “Pa” Ingalls and cemented himself along the way as the quintessential on-screen father.
Nowadays, Landon’s real-life son Michael Jr. works behind the camera as an executive producer and director. Considering where he came from and who his father was, it’s hard to believe that his time around the “Little House on the Prairie” juggernaut didn’t have an impact on his future in the entertainment business.
During a 2014 interview with The Globe and Mail, Michael Jr. reflected on how much time he spent on the set of the series.
“Quite a bit,” said Michael Jr. “When we had school breaks and they were filming, my sister and I would always go to the set and we were very close with Melissa Gilbert and Melissa Sue Anderson and all the kids. It was a 100-acre backyard in Simi Valley where we would play tag, hide and seek, and hunt for snakes. My father was a prankster. And he was fearless in terms of putting things in his mouth. So there might be a guest who would show up to the set and [my father] would put a small frog or something in his mouth, a lizard, and then he would go shake their hand and open his mouth and freak them out.”
As for what it was like to grow up surrounded by the enormity of “Little House on the Prairie,” Landon Jr. explained that life as a youngster – for the most part – felt less chaotic than some would expect.
“It was very normal,” noted Michael Jr. of those years. “My father was not interested in the Hollywood scene. He had no friends that he hung out with from the film business. He was very much at home with us, didn’t go to Hollywood parties. The only thing that was not normal obviously is when you’re in public and everybody wants to meet your father, shake his hand [and] get an autograph. But otherwise it was actually quite a normal upbringing.”
“Little House on the Prairie” airs weekdays at 4pm ET/1pm PT on VisionTV, followed by “The Waltons” at 5pm ET/2pm PT.