Little House on the Prairie
Labeled as a true American classic, Little House on the Prairie was a television series that was directed by Michael Landon and produced by William F. Claxton. The show was based off of the Little House book series that was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, a character on the show. Little House on the Prairie aired on NBC from Sept. 11, 1974 and ran up until May 10, 1982.
The cast featured the parents, Charles Ingalls (Landon) and Karen Grassle (Caroline Ingalls). They had three daughters with the oldest being Mary (Melissa Sue Anderson), the youngest being Carrie (played by twin sisters Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush), and of course Laura as the middle child (Melissa Gilbert). Later on in the series, the family adopted a young boy named Albert (Matthew Laborteaux).
Just like the books, Little House on the Prairie was a show that focused primarily on what life was like in the Midwest during the Pioneering Era. The Ingalls’ were a hard working family living on a farm in the small town of Walnut Grove, Minn. Back then, everyday life was routine as the men worked, the women did work around the house, and the children went to school and did their homework and chores when they got home.
The show was a drama that focused on many different aspects that were very common during the 1800’s; for example, common lifestyles, adoption, racism, alcoholism, drug use, disease, and even sexual abuse. However, it also had some comical relief when it came to practical jokes that occurred during family activities and moments with the kids.
The span of the show covered the lives of the main characters, especially the daughters as young adult women. There were also many guest stars, turned prominent actors, who appeared on the show, including Todd Bridges and NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen.
When the series reached its conclusion, NBC aired a total of 203 episodes that spanned nine seasons. Michael Landon directed 87 episodes of Little House on the Prairie, the most by any individual who directed the show. William F. Claxton was in charge of the majority of the remaining shows as he directed 68 episodes. Melissa Gilbert had the most show appearances with 190 and Landon appeared in all but four episodes, but his departure came prior to the final season when the crew renamed the title as Little House: A New Beginning.