Why Michael Landon 'Was Furious' with Melissa Gilbert at His Daughter's Birthday Party in 'Little House

Little House on the Prairie depicted the difficulties the Ingalls family confronted on a daily basis in the late 1800s. The series, based on the novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, emphasised faith and family as the means to endure difficult times.

Michael Landon, who also played the family patriarch Charles Ingalls, created the series, which starred Melissa Sue Anderson as the eldest daughter Mary and Melissa Gilbert as her younger sibling Laura. 

In Anderson's memoir, she characterised Landon (whom she frequently referred to as "Mike") as a strong authority figure, yet she recalled an incident in which one of her co-stars disobeyed his orders.

The cast of 'Little House' was invited to a soiree off set.Anderson revealed in her 2010 memoir The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House that she and Gilbert were invited to Leslie's 12th birthday celebration. 

The commemoration included a visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain, which would be followed by a sleepover at the Landon residence. Anderson characterised the actor's residence as a "stately English Tudor complete with a motor court."

Anderson wrote that Landon's estate featured seven bedrooms, numerous formal living areas, a gourmet kitchen, and servants' accommodations. There was a grand formal staircase and a small back staircase that lead directly to the bedrooms from the kitchen.

Anderson observed that Landon's children were exceptionally well-mannered and grounded, rather than spoiled by their evident wealth."This was a normal family," the former Little House on the Prairie star remarked. "No one acted as though they were superior to others. 

Mike and [Landon's wife] Lynn were excellent parents, and their children were exceptionally courteous and kind.The Ingalls sisters travelled to Magic Mountain.The day following the sleepover, the group of ladies took a limo to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia. 

Before entering the park, Landon gave his television-based daughters specific instructions."Mike had requested that Melissa Gilbert and I bring hats and disguise ourselves with clothing," Anderson recalled, "so that we wouldn't look as much like we did on television and Leslie could enjoy her birthday in relative peace.

"Anderson complied with the request, endeavouring to conceal her identity as well as a 12-year-old could."Because I always wore my hair down on the show, I put it back in a ponytail and pulled my Budweiser bucket hat with a fringe down over my forehead," she wrote. 

"Sunglasses on children, particularly back then, appeared ridiculous and actually drew attention, so we never wore them. Mike did so, wearing a bucket hat over his famous tresses.

"Melissa Gilbert brought about some unwelcome attentionGilbert appears to have forgotten Landon's instructions regarding anonymity at the amusement park."I cannot recall if Melissa [Gilbert] did anything to her hair," explained Anderson.

 "However, she did not wear a cap or any other type of hat or apparel in an attempt to conceal her 'Laura-like' appearance. She smiled and made direct eye contact with everyone as if to say, "Look at me!" as she made her way around Magic Mountain.

Gilbert's television father was not pleased with her behaviour, but Anderson did not believe it was intentional rebellion."Mike was furious," recalled the Little House alum. I have no idea what she was thinking. I'm confident it wasn't malicious, but it effectively thwarted our efforts to remain anonymous and undetected.

Anderson recalled Landon's "no-win situation" in which he wanted to be kind to fans by signing autographs but needed to focus on his children for the day.Anderson wrote, "He signed autographs and posed for photographs as courteously as possible."

He attempted to explain to the rapidly amassing throng that he was out with his children and asked that they be left alone.The final episode of Little House on the Prairie aired in March 1983.

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