Courtesy of the Bobby Wygant Archives, “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon reveals in this 1974 interview why he never clung to long-term goals in Hollywood, not ever for the hit show.
Right off the bat, Michael Landon’s interviewer notes that “Little House on the Prairie” received the most fan mail of any television pilot in history upon its premiere. A truly remarkable achievement, and a clear sign of things to come. Thanks to nine seasons on NBC From September 1974 to May 1982, and dozens of television & film specials, the show remains a pop culture staple to this day. And none of it would’ve happened without Michael Landon.
“We got a terrific audience response,” the late icon says with a gentle smile. “We were very happy about it.”
At the time, however, a young Landon wasn’t eager to bank on success. In fact, he details directly in this 1974 sit-down why he chose to stay away from “long-term” goals in Hollywood. Despite the interviewer knowing this “bodes only good things” for the actor/writer/director/producer, the star was hesitant to buy into it all.
“I never try to look for futures, as far as this business is concerned,” Landon responds within. “There are too many things you don’t have control over. Such as time slot, and so forth. But I was happy to see that the audience enjoyed the show.”
Michael Landon ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Being far more for “Little House on the Prairie” than its handsome lead actor, Michael Landon knew first hand through producing, writing, and directing for the show how difficult it could be to secure a hit. Let alone a long-term franchise like the juggernaut “Prairie” would become. As he mentions, heavy determining factors like a station’s time slot are completely out of most’s hands.
Regardless, Landon’s calm excitement exudes through the interview as he continues.
“We’re hopefully going to make some episodes in the future that they’re going to like,” he smiles of the audience.
When asked specifically about liking “Little House on the Prairie”s time slot, however, the icon plays it cool.
“Any time slot is okay with me,” Landon shrugs. “Again, I don’t fight for time slots. I’m really only concerned with making film. And good film,” he smirks. “That’s all I’m in the business for! I don’t do the other things.”
Modest at the time, Michael Landon would go on to become one of the most influential voices in television history. Yet even then he was already a force to be reckoned with. Having an enormous television resume under his belt, Landon would begin starring in “Bonanza” at just 22-years-old in 1959.