'Little House on the Prairie': Michael Landon Used Live Frogs and Imaginary Lice to Keep Young Stars Entertained

A classic show that many people may remember watching years ago is Little House on the Prairie. The series became popular when it aired, and many people are still watching it today. One of the stars was Michael Landon, who played the father figure. 

Landon was pretty close with his fellow actors and once invited them over for his daughter’s birthday party. While the actor could be strict at times, he often had a big heart. During the filming of each episode, Landon would find ways to keep the child actors engaged. 

‘Little House on the Prairie’ focuses on a Midwestern family

Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama series that is based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. The novels incorporate the author’s own experiences of living in the Midwest.

The show ran from 1974 to 1983, and it contains nine seasons. Among the cast are Landon, Melissa Gilbert, and Karen Grassle. Similar to the books, the show takes place in Minnesota during the late 1800s.

It centers on the Ingalls family, who live on a small farm. Most of the focus is on Laura, but other characters get their own arcs. Most episodes depict them going about their daily life while getting into trouble and maturing as people. 

In season four, Mary loses her sight due to scarlet fever. Anderson did research in order to play a blind person accurately. Her performance helped boost the show’s ratings. Also, the actress earned the series its only nomination, which was an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. 

Michael Landon played one of the central characters

According to Biography, Landon was born in 1936. He went to acting school and soon starred in a television series titled Telephone Time. The actor starred in other small roles and made his film debut in I Was a Teenage Werewolf.  

Landon became known as an exceptional actor who endeared audiences. He entertained viewers as Little Joe in Bonanza. Unfortunately, the actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 1991, he died at the age of 54.  

One of his most notable roles was in Little House on the Prairie. In the show, Landon portrays Charles Ingalls, who is Laura’s father. Charles is a farmer and a mill worker. In the beginning, he has three daughters, but his family later expands. 

Not only did Landon star in the show, but he worked as the director. Other cast members reported that he was a perfectionist on the set. Although he could be intense, his vision helped make the show a hit. 

Michael Landon used frogs and fake lice to entertain the kids

It is common for actors to become close on set and have fun with each other. Sometimes, hilarious pranks may ensue behind the scenes. Landon made sure that his fellow cast members were having a good time on set. 

According to Mental Floss, Landon would amuse the children with imaginary lice. An emotional scene can have an effect on actors. As a way to make the young actors laugh, Landon would pretend that there were lice in Gilbert’s hair. After a serious scene, he would pick the lice off her head. 

Another way the actor had fun with the younger stars was with frogs. The kids would go and catch frogs to give to Landon. Then, Landon would put the frogs inside his mouth to surprise other crew members. It was one of the children’s favorite pastimes while filming. 

It would appear that Landon generally was great with kids. It comes as no surprise that he easily entertained them since he had several of his own. 

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