‘Little House on the Prairie’: How Michael Landon ‘Almost Drowned’ Nellie Actor Alison Arngrim

by Chris Haney

During an interview with Little House on the Prairie actress Alison Arngrim, she opened up about her Hollywood legend co-star Michael Landon and one hilarious scene from the show, which wasn’t exactly fun to film.

Pop Goes the Culture sat down with Arngrim to discuss her career at length. Of course, their conversation eventually turned to Landon who was a bonafide star. Little House on the Prairie aired for nine seasons from 1974 to 1982 with Landon as the main draw.

However, it wasn’t all fun and games working with Landon. His work ethic didn’t always mix with the younger cast. But his tough-love tactics on set often made for great television. For example, when Arngrim’s character Nellie gets pranked in one famous scene of Little House on the Prairie. Laura Ingalls gets revenge on Nellie by spiking her food with cayenne pepper, so she proceeds to chug a whole glass of water.

“He did almost drown me… So I start chugging water, and I just couldn’t quite get it all down. And Michael says, ‘No, no, don’t cut. Fill her glass back up. Start again, keep rolling… You have to chug the whole thing. It’s too good, it’s too funny,'” Angrim says of shooting the scene. “And I’m like I can’t, and he goes, ‘Yes, you can.’ I start to chug it, and as I’m chugging it, my eyeballs are coming out of my head.”

“Water is coming out of my nose,” the Little House on the Prairie star adds. “I thought I was going to drown. I went every color in the rainbow, and it was brilliant. He was right, it was the most hysterical piece of film ever. But yea, he was a very bizarre person, and would drown you for a good shot actually.”

‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Credits Michael Landon for Keeping Show’s Child Stars Out of Jail

During a separate interview, the Little House on the Prairie star opened up more about working with Michael Landon. In fact, his influence on Alison Arngrim and the kids on the hit show went beyond the set of the TV show. She credited the Hollywood star for keeping her and the other child stars out of trouble.

When talking about her Little House on the Prairie experiences, Arngrim recalled working with her famous co-star Michael Landon. The actress spoke about Landon’s various roles on the show as an actor, writer, director, and producer. She claimed that Landon was indeed a “control freak.” Yet she also said that his hard-nosed ways benefitted the children of the hit show down the road.

“This is why none of the kids from Little House are nuts. I mean, well maybe slightly nuts, but none of us are in jail,” Arngrim joked. “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. They were treated as stupid child actors. They weren’t given any respect or held to a standard.”

Little House on the Prairie, all the child actors were held to a certain standard of performance and acting,” she added. “We had our 3 hours school, our 4 hours work, our 1 hour rest and recreation. Absolutely by the book… And it was Michel who really laid down that law. He didn’t want us treated like stupid kids. He’s like no, they work here, they’re people.”