The TV series Little House on the Prairie ran for nine years and became a symbol of wholesome family television. Don’t tell Grandma, but things weren’t quite so wholesome behind the scenes. The production of the Ingalls family saga was a completely different story.
6. LAURA AND MANLY’S LACK OF CHEMISTRY WAS A CAUSE FOR CONCERN AMONG THE PRODUCERS.
A “secret” memo was circulated at one point discussing the romantic pairings on the show; Laura and Almanzo just didn’t look like they were in love, and couldn’t the actors do something to generate some “sparks” between the two of them? The same memo pointed out that when Nellie and Percival were together they “looked like they f*** like crazed weasels.” Unbeknownst to the production staff, Steve Tracy, who played Nellie’s husband Percival, was gay. But he and Alison Arngrim were great friends and used to swap passionate, open-mouth kisses during their love scenes just because they knew it grossed Melissa Gilbert out.
16. ADULT BEVERAGES WERE ENJOYED BY CAST AND CREW DURING THE WORKDAY.
Alison Arngrim often caught a nap during her breaks in the prop truck, and it was there while she was hunkered down on the front seat that she overheard Michael Landon say “Hit me” to propman Ron Chiniquy at the rear of the truck. She lifted her head to peek and saw Chiniquy pour the requested four fingers of Wild Turkey into Landon’s coffee cup, even though it was only 10 a.m. She later found out from Ron that the crew usually went through two cases of Coors beer per day while working. Particularly stressful days, when rewrites and retakes were necessary, were referred to as “three-case days.” After filming was wrapped for the day, a makeshift bar with hard liquor was set up on a sawhorse for the “real” unwinding to begin. Yet both Alison and Melissa Gilbert report that despite all the alcohol consumption going on, no one (cast nor crew) ever appeared the least bit tipsy, nor did their work suffer.
Other stories from the Little House on the Prairie set involve vanity, adultery, toxic waste, and Sean Penn’s first acting role. Read it all at mental_floss.