Fans of Little House on the Prairie know all about Michael Landon. Landon helped make the series the hit that it is today, as he acted, directed, and produced the TV show. While Landon died back in 1991, the cast of the show still has fond memories of him today.
A friend of Landon’s one spoke about a particularly gross prank Landon played on actor Melissa Gilbert. Here’s what happened with boxer briefs and peanut butter.
Melissa Gilbert has fond memories of working with Michael Landon on ‘Little House on the Prairie’
Gilbert attained quite a lot of fame via Little House on the Prairie. She played Laura Ingalls, and Michael Landon and Karen Grassle played her parents. And Gilbert noted how much she adored Landon in her memoir, Prairie Tales.
“He was an amazing man, an amazing talent, an incredible director, actor, writer, a great boss, an incredible human being,” Gilbert wrote.
“I’ve realized his influence on me extended beyond the set,” she added in her memoir. “As a kid, I didn’t know he sipped vodka from his coffee mug … but I’m sure he’s one reason why, as a young adult, I almost always picked men who smelled like alcohol.”
Gilbert also added that she thought of Landon as a father figure in her life. And when certain news regarding Landon’s personal life hit the news, such as his affair, it hit her hard. “I was put in a horribly uncomfortable position,” Gilbert wrote.
Landon once performed a prank on Gilbert involving his boxers and peanut butter
Kent McCray, a producer who rose to fame in the ’50s, became quite close with Landon over the years. And he spoke with Medium about Landon’s legacy and what it was like being his good friend. According to McCray, Landon adored putting a smile on everyone’s faces — and he recalled one particular prank Landon played on the kids.
According to McCray, Gilbert and Matthew Labyorteaux (Albert Ingalls) went from hotel door to hotel door with pillowcases on Halloween Eve while the cast and crew were filming in Sonora, California. When they finally got to Landon’s door, he told them to hold on for one minute before returning to them and dropping something in their pillowcase.
“They got back to their room and started emptying out the pillowcase. Turns out Michael had given them his undershorts which he had smeared with peanut butter,” McCray recalled. “They nearly fainted! Melissa’s mother told me the next day that Melissa exclaimed, ‘This is terrible, just terrible. Get this outta here!’ They assumed it was something else kinda gross [laughs]. That’s the kind of jokester Mike was.”
Landon was known for his on-set pranks
While the peanut butter and briefs prank might’ve been gross, it shouldn’t have been too unexpected. The cast knew Landon loved to prank everyone and have a good time on set.
“He always has a joke, a story or a quip,” makeup artist Whitey Snider said, People reports. “He won’t stand for hostility.”
It wasn’t just the kids who Landon would prank, either. Charlotte Stewart, who played Eva Beadle, talked about a blizzard shoot they had to film. The fake snow was getting the pages of the script wet. So Landon “snuck up” behind the script continuity person, Mary Yerk, and “pulled a lighter out of his pocket, and lit her script page on fire.”
“A moment later she gave a scream, and Mike had the biggest laugh of the day,” Stewart added.
Frankie Labyorteaux, the mom of Matthew, also noted how much Landon loved to prank. “Michael is into bathroom jokes, the worst,” People notes she said. “They try to out-gross one another. There’s a lot of kid mixed in with all that genius.”
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