How ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Navigated Two Different Worker Strikes

by Joe Rutland
how-little-house-on-the-prairie-navigated-two-different-worker-strikes

When “Little House on the Prairie” was on NBC, the family drama had to deal with some real-life drama around two worker strikes.

Let’s take a look at how things worked out on the Michael Landon-led show.

According to a MeTV article, there was an actors’ strike in 1980 and a writers’ strike in 1981 in Hollywood. This would devastate most shows but it was different for “Little House on the Prairie.”

Turns out that Landon played a pivotal role. As a representative of NBC, he negotiated contracts with the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America.

By doing so, Landon could keep his show in production.

Ironically, “Little House on the Prairie” would be the lone primetime, non-reality TV series staying on point.

Landon, who played Charles Ingalls, had developed connections throughout his career. He was an active participant with different scripts and filming ideas while on “Bonanza.” But Landon’s ideas were not taken seriously a lot of the time.

So, when he started “Little House on the Prairie,” Landon could bring his ideas to life. The NBC drama, which also starred Karen Grassle, Melissa Gilbert, and Melissa Sue Anderson, ran between 1974-82.

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Credited By Co-Star For Keeping Kids Out of Jail

For anyone who has kept up with the show’s cast, they are familiar with how Michael Landon and his co-stars would interact.

Sometimes, it was humorous; other times, it was cantankerous.

But Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on “Little House on the Prairie,” gave him a lot of credit for something quite serious.

In an interview with Tom Gregory, Arngrim did call Landon a “control freak.” But there were reasons behind his actions.

Arngrim said this is why none of the “Little House” kids were nuts.

“I mean, well maybe slightly nuts, but none of us are in jail,” she joked with Gregory. “Because there was discipline on that set. That set, we were there to work.

“There’s a lot of kid actors who are on shows that didn’t go to school, they were goofing off… Or worse, they were treated like a trained animal act,” Arngrim said.

Landon Said ‘Picking The Right Material’ Helped His Shows Have Long TV Runs

Landon made a stop on “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” for an interview with Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford.

Philbin asked Landon why his shows seem to have a long run on TV.

Landon said he thought it had a lot to do with “picking the right material, first of all.”

Gifford said that Landon had his finger on the pulse “of America and what people want to see.”

Landon said, “I think that has a lot to do with it.”

Outsider.com