Kent McCray worked with Michael Landon on all his shows, from Bonanza to Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy and Highway to Heaven. He knew Landon very well, from the star’s first show to his final one.
McCray was four days short of 90 when he died in 2018. Seven months before he passed away, he provided a video narrative of his memories working on some of the most famous shows in history with a reporter from the Television Academy Foundation. He chatted about a ton of big names, from Groucho Marx to Bob Hope.
And, of course, he talked about his great friend, Michael Landon. McCray was so close to Landon that he spoke at Landon’s funeral in 1991. Sometimes you get to know people a lot better by recounting stories of how others observed them. So McCray passed along a story of how Michael Landon was late to the airport one day and how his fame got him through security.
Check Out This Michael Landon Story About a Gate
“I think we were flying into Tucson,” McCray said of Michael Landon. “It was the week between seasons and I met Michael at the airport. And he was a little late because he just moved in to a house (in Beverly Hills) and he got up to get out of the place and he didn’t have the combination for the gates.”
So according to McCray, this is how Michael Landon solved not having a combination to the gate.
“He found a ladder from some construction,” McCray said. “He ran down to the wall, put the ladder up, got up on top of the wall, put the ladder down, went down the ladder, got into the car and went to the airport.”
Now, This Was How Old-School Star Got on a Plane
Now, what did Michael Landon do once he got to the airport? McCray provided details.
“And so, he’s at the airport and I’m checking us in. So (the gate attendant) says ‘you’re Kent McCray. We need a photo ID for Mr. Landon.’ I said ‘he doesn’t have one.’ He never carried a wallet … that’s another story about his license. (She said) ‘We can’t let him on the plane.
“I said ‘who’s over there signing autographs, signing pictures for the people who are here?’ (The gate attendant said) ‘Oh, that’s Michael Landon.’ I said ‘yes, that’s Michael Landon, put a stick in it.’ (And she says) ‘Oh, I got to see a photo ID. I said “let me talk to your manager.'”
And according to McCray, the manager initially has the same reaction about Landon not having a photo ID.
“Manager (comes out) says ‘there’s no way we can let anybody on a plane without a photo ID.’ I pointed. He said ‘Oh, my God, that’s Michael Landon.’ I said ‘see how stupid you are?’ And so they let him get on the plane.”
See, most days, it was good to be Michael Landon, except for that whole gate and ladder deal. ‘