Like father, like son. Michael Landon directed and starred in “Little House on the Prairie.” At the same time, he also allowed his young son to act in the show. And that taste of show business seems to have resonated with his son, who went on to have his own career in Hollywood.
In Episode 20 of Season 3 of “Little House on the Prairie,” Landon’s son, Michael Landon, Jr., made an appearance on his father’s show alongside his sister Leslie. They played Jim and Kate in the episode.
That particular episode, titled “The Election,” is about a mild boy named Elmer Dobkins who gets nominated to run for class president as a practical joke. He’s up against Mary Ingalls and Nellie Oleson, both of whom have a better shot at winning. Elmer’s father finds out how he wound up in the race and tells him to drop out, but Elmer hangs in there and the bullies get their comeuppance in the end, per IMDb.
Michael Landon, Jr. Went on to Have a Successful Hollywood Career
Landon Jr. went on to act, write, direct and, most prolifically, produce. He is best known for his work as a producer and director on TV movies and TV series including “When Calls the Heart,” “Love Comes Softly,” “Jamaa” and “Highway to Heaven.”
Landon Jr. also directed “Michael Landon, the Father I Knew,” a 1999 TV movie, and “Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love,” a 1991 video documentary, according to IMDb.
The director and producer further co-wrote a book with Cindy Kelley titled “Traces of Mercy.” It takes place in the Reconstruction era and follows a young woman who suffers from amnesia. A stranger arrives on her doorstep bearing important clues about what she has forgotten. But what he knows could turn her future upside down and threaten her life.
‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star’s Son Paid His Dues
While Landon Jr. is now a director and producer, he worked his way up in Hollywood, taking jobs like film loader, director of photography and apprentice film editor before he tackled directing and producing. He is also a committed Christian, and has made Christian films as well as more mainstream fare.
In a 2007 interview with the Christian Post, Landon Jr. talked about how he chooses material and how he paid his dues rather than trading on his father’s name.
“It’s definitely been helpful learning all the other disciplines and paying my dues while doing that. Absolutely no regrets. I did it a long time,” Landon Jr. said. “And at the same time, I just feel very blessed to be working as a director right now, because it’s a very competitive business, a very demanding business. And I’m just so grateful to be working.”
“I did not know that I would be making Christian films,” he added. “I’ve always approached it in a way that if the material resonates with me, then I’ll pursue it.”