‘Little House on the Prairie’: Melissa Gilbert Bought This Prop on eBay to Remember Michael Landon

by Matthew Wilson

“Little House on the Prairie” star Melissa Gilbert has a number of props from the show. But she bought this item to remember her on-screen father Michael Landon.

Years later, Gilbert purchased the fiddle Michael Landon used on the show in an eBay auction. It may seem strange that Gilbert had to pay a small fortune for something inherently tied to her. After all, she shared a set with the musical instrument for years. But sometimes you can’t put a price tag on childhood memories. And Gilbert wanted to feel close to Landon again.

“This is Michael Landons’ fiddle from ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ No, I did not take it from the set. I bought it on eBay,” Gilbert said in a 2014 interview with OWN. “Like anybody else would. My childhood from nine to 19 is kind of wrapped up all in that fiddle case. There’s a lot of memories that go along with all that stuff. [Landon] was like a dad. So having his fiddle was really meaningful.”

The fiddle played an important part in “Little House on the Prairie” as a symbol of both peace and family. Landon’s Charles Ingalls would often play the fiddle during scenes of the show. So, it makes sense that Gilbert had an emotional tie to the instrument as an extension of Landon himself.

Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon

Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon were close during “Little House on the Prairie.” He often acted like a surrogate father figure and role model to Gilbert. They were like family to each other. But after the show ended, the two fell out of touch with each other.

When Gilbert learned Landon had pancreatic cancer, she went and spent a day with the actor. Their final meeting came only a week before his death. The meeting allowed Gilbert to say goodbye to the actor and their time together.

“We spent the day out there and he and I had some time to be alone, which was very important for both of us,” Gilbert said in another interview. “And gave us a chance to say a lot of things that we hadn’t ever really said to each other…There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him…I’m lucky enough to have had the chance to name one of my sons after him, so I hear his name every day.”

Gilbert still reflects fondly on Landon and her time on the classic television show.