Little House on the Prairie: Weekdays at 5p & 6p ET

40 Fun Facts about Little House

Part bloopers, part trivia, part inside scoop—let’s go behind the scenes at Little House on the Prairie.

  1. Alison Arngrim’s father managed extravagant pianist, Liberace.
  2. Arngrim’s mother was the voice of many popular cartoons, including Casper the Friendly Ghost.
  3. Katherine MacGregor, the ever-instigating Mrs. Harriet Oleson is now in her 80s, meditates, is a strict vegetarian and an advocate for clean living.
  4. Michael Landon’s daughter, Leslie, played several roles on the series, ultimately being cast as Etta Plum.
  5. Landon was known for playing pranks on the cast and crew, and for his wild sense of humor.
  6. Gilbert named her son Michael after Michael Landon.
  7. Melissa Gilbert played the role of “Ma” in the touring musical production of Little House on the Prairie.
  8. 8. Gilbert’s son Michael also starred with her in the Little House musical.
  9. Nellie’s bouncy blonde curls? Not real! She wore an ill-fitting wig that made her head bleed.
  10. Real-life family ties: Mischievous Willie Oleson was played by Jonathan Gilbert—Melissa’s brother.
  11. Though their characters were bitter rivals on the show, Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim, to this day, are great friends.
  12. Because of a Screen Actors Guild Rule, Melissa Anderson had to call herself Melissa Sue Anderson. Today, she’s dropped the middle name.
  13. Melissa Gilbert knows how to drive a stagecoach.
  14. Allegedly, Michael Landon blew up Walnut Grove because he didn’t want it used as a future movie set!
  15. One building was not blown up: the Ingalls’ house. However, it was destroyed by wildfires in 2003.
  16. A chain smoker, Michael Landon used to put out his cigarettes on his gloves.
  17. The character of Charles Ingalls was #4 on TV Guide’s 2004 list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.”
  18. Nels Oleson’s ice house was also the town jail.
  19. The Little House theme song was composed by musician, David Rose, who was born in London and raised in Chicago.
  20. Actress Katherine MacGregor was actually injured in a scene where her character, Mrs. Oleson, falls off a horse.
  21. Though the series is based on the stories of the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder, some characters were created exclusively for the show, most notably: Albert Ingalls and Adam Kendall.
  22. Melissa Gilbert appeared in 205 Little House episodes, more than any other actor, even Michael Landon.
  23. Charles Ingalls named his second daughter after his mother, Laura
  24. Michael Landon directed 89 episodes of Little House
  25. Who’s the biggest pest on TV? Not Nellie! She ranked #3 in the 2005 TV Guide list of “TV’s Biggest Brats.”
  26. What’s that fresh scent? Laura’s favorite perfume: Lemon Verbena.
  27. Actor E.J. André appeared on Little House 7 times in 5 different roles. He also played, sometimes numerous, roles in other INSP favorites: The Waltons, Bonanza, High Chaparral, Virginian, Big Valley and Daniel Boone.
  28. Twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush played the role of Carrie Ingalls. Both sisters appeared together in the same episode just one time—when Carrie invents an imaginary friend.
  29. Oscar Winners on the set! Eight Academy Award winners made guest appearances on Little House over the years: Ernest Borgnine, Patricia Neal, Burl Ives, Red Buttons, Eileen Heckart, Lou Gossett, Jr., Ralph Bellamy and two-time winner, Sean Penn.
  30. Almanzo’s brother arrives in town with a wife and two sons. In a later episode, he comes back with an only child—a girl! Family mystery? Or plot discrepancy? We’ll never know.
  31. Almanzo has a younger brother, Perley Day, who appears in the series just once.
  32. In the series, Mary marries Adam Kendall and has one child. The real Mary Ingalls never married and had no children.
  33. Talk about persistence! Alison Arngrim auditioned for the part of Laura, but was passed over. So she returned to try out for the role of Mary. No go. Finally, on the third chance, her acting ability really got a chance to shine, and she got the part of nasty Nellie.
  34. Melissa Gilbert competed on “Dancing with the Stars.”
  35. Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush, the twins who shared the role of Carrie, were 4 years-old when the series was in production. They retired from acting in their pre-teen years.
  36. Melissa Sue Anderson once dated Lorenzo Lamas and Frank Sinatra, Jr.
  37. Sidney Greenbush was a member of the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association and, was a top-ranked barrel racer on the west coast in 2001.
  38. In the episode, “Rage,” Laura takes baby Rose from Thomas to put in the crib, but the blanket flips up and you can see the plastic leg of a doll.
  39. To prepare for their roles as blind individuals on the show, Melissa Sue Anderson and Linwood Boomer met with staff and residents at the Foundation for the Junior Blind, today known as Junior Blind of America.
  40. Patrick Labyorteaux, who played Laura’s friend Andy Garvey, is also the popular Lt. Bud Roberts on INSP hit show, JAG.