‘Little House on the Prairie’: The Sneaky Trick Michael Landon Used to Appear Taller

by Madison Miller

Michael Landon became the leading figure on the popular show “Little House on the Prairie” in 1974.

In addition to Landon, Melissa Gilbert, Karen Grassle, and Melissa Sue Anderson were also a part of the family living in Walnut Grove, Minnesota.

The fictional family grew close together during their time filming the popular NBC show. However, Landon was self-conscious about something regarding his appearance that he was persistent in fixing while filming.

Michael Landon Height

Landon was 5’9″ and wanted a solution so he would look taller on-screen. He wore platform boots while filming to make him look taller.

According to History by day, Landon’s boots would be cut off at the bottom of the shot so the audience couldn’t see them. He would also often request to be on higher ground while he was filming with others. This would make him look taller as well.

Landon was also very particular about his hair. He actually dyed it while he was filming “Little House on the Prairie.” Naturally, his hair is much lighter than it appears in the show.

As he got older, the dye caused his hair to appear a purple-green color when on-camera. Landon actually had to start getting professional hair treatments instead.

The Illusion of Height in Film

Landon isn’t the only actor that wanted to appear taller than he actually was when he was on TV.

For example, popular actor Tom Cruise is actually only 5’7.” However, in his films, some similar tricks used for Michael Landon were used for Cruise. According to Showbiz CheatSheet, he would use shoe lifts, perspective, or even a box to appear taller than co-stars like Nicole Kidman and Cameron Diaz.

Height differences can make filming more difficult or more awkward looking. This is why many casting directors take height into consideration when pairing people up on stage. Although many viewers don’t care about height differences in the slightest, filmmakers have taken it quite seriously.

For example, Zac Efron is 5’9″ and is paired with female co-stars who are as tall as him or shorter. It can also impact potential roles that actors are able to get as well.

Female actors like Anna Kendrick, Vanessa Hudgens, and Gillian Anderson all are a bit shorter and spoke about adjustments that were made while filming to make up for it. The industry can be brutal, but Kendrick said she’s grown to love her height.

“I was angsty about my height when I was younger, but I love it now. Why wouldn’t you want to be a little compact being? I used to think that guys preferred tall women, but plenty of them like short girls. Tall girls, short girls … just any girls, you know?” Kendrick said to Esquire.