Many fans remember Little House on the Prairie as a wholesome look back to a simpler time. The Ingalls family was the center of that wholesomeness. It was easy to see the love between the on-screen family. Additionally, the way Ma and Pa Ingalls raised and instructed their children was exemplary. No matter what situation arose, they always found a way to turn it into a teaching moment. Looking back, it seems like a sweet family show. However, in her upcoming memoir, Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House’s Ma, Karen Grassle revealed the darker side of the show.
The fact that there was a darker side might come as a shock to many fans. However, the source of that darkness may be more shocking still. Karen Grassle says that Michael Landon was nothing like the man we saw on Little House or the carefully-crafted persona he showed the public. Instead, she paints her late co-star as a mean-spirited, sexist, and downright disgusting individual.
Newsweek shared some excerpts from her book that cast Landon in a very different light. Karen Grassle said that things started to shift around the second season of the show when Michael Landon refused to give her a raise. Grassle desired fair wages. She was, after all, his co-star. However, Landon claimed that she should be happy to be paid at the same rate as the show’s child stars like Melissa Gilbert. As a co-star on one of the biggest TV shows in the country, Grassle felt “insulted” by his stance. Things only got worse from there.
Karen Grassle Claims Michael Landon was Crude, Sexist
Soon, Michael Landon started making life hard for Karen Grassle. Grassle claims he cut her scenes and minimized Ma’s character when he could. Additionally, she also said he and the crew would mock her looks and figure while reviewing footage.
That wasn’t the worst of it though. Karen Grassle said that Landon made liberal use of the c-word. Additionally, he made “disgusting jokes about how a woman smelled after sex,” which made Grassle want to disappear.
In recent years, stories like this became commonplace. We’ve learned that Hollywood is full of unscrupulous people. However, knowing that this kind of thing happened behind the scenes of Little House on the Prairie still comes as a shock. The show was so wholesome and family-friendly. At the same time, the cast still seems like they’re close friends. In every reunion or press appearance, they interact like old friends. Furthermore, Melissa Gilbert has said on several occasions that Michael Landon was like a father to her. Grassle has previously spoke about her disputes with Landon. But these new claims paint an even more negative picture of the late actor.