‘Little House on The Prairie’ Melissa Sue Anderson Opens Up About Classic TV of the 1970s: ‘It Was a Different Time’

by Katie Maloney
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Would Little House on The Prairie air today? Melissa Sue Anderson shares her thoughts on how audiences would respond to the show now.

Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls, recently released her book, The Way I See It: A Look Back on My Life on Little House. During the book, Anderson opens up about her experiences both on and off the set. She was with the show for all its seasons from1974-1981. During an interview, Anderson shared her thoughts about how the show would perform with today’s audiences. First, she points out that the family values still apply today.

“It obviously teaches great family values and the importance of being a family unit. It’s very easy nowadays to be all spread out, with each person running somewhere else and not being together very often. So those things were then and are now very important to try to be a cohesive unit as much as you can,” said Anderson.

However, she said that “the business was different,” back then. And she said that she doesn’t think audiences would “sit through” Little House on The Prairie today.

“The business was different, it was much more creatively run. It was still a business, but shows were actually given a chance. Little House would never make it now, it was too slow,” said Anderson. “That is something about the times that are different as well. I think our show was a quieter and more slowly paced drama, and I don’t know if people would sit through it now. And also we’d never have a chance to find an audience with such a show. The business now would never give us a chance.”

Melissa Sue Anderson talks about her time on Little House on The Prairie.

Anderson Says Her Kids Finally Realize That Little House On The Prairie ‘Was A Big Deal’

I guess it’s a kid’s job to think that their parents are lame. And even famous actors aren’t immune to their kid’s indifference. Anderson said that her children have watched a few episodes but never truly understood the significance of Little House on The Prairie.

“They have a little bit, not that many, maybe about seven episodes, because I had retired by that time to take a step back so that they could be the focus. So they didn’t realize it was such a big deal,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, it wasn’t until she went on her book tour recently and her children saw how many fans still exist that they started to feel “impressed” with their mom.

“I think if they realized what a big deal it was they might have watched more of them. My 19-year-old daughter just met me on this book tour in New York and I think I managed to impress her, [laughs] because people were asking me all these questions and were very excited. Now they’re starting to see it was a big deal,” she said.

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