It’s been more than 30 years since “Little House on the Prairie” ended its nine-season primetime run, but the classic NBC drama’s key cast members turned up on Wednesday’s edition of “The Today Show.” And not so surprisingly, the questioning turned to the possibility of a full-fledged “Little House on the Prairie” TV reunion.
On Tuesday, Today.com posted a teaser about the reunion of the popular 1970s drama, promising that several of show’s original cast members would return for a “Today Show” segment. "Eight cast members are all going to be here, including Melissa Gilbert," Hoda Kotb announced on Tuesday. “And remember evil Nellie? Evil Nellie is coming too."
In addition to Gilbert and Alison Arngrim (who played mean girl Nellie Olsen), the “Today Show” reunion included Karen Grassle (Ma Ingalls), Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls), Lindsay Greenbush (Carrie Ingalls), Matthew Laborteaux (Albert Ingalls), Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder), and Michael Landon Jr.
During the segment, Grassle revealed she had tears in her eyes when she saw a clip from the show: “I’m sitting here with these three daughters, really, for the first time since [Michael Landon’s] funeral,” she said. Landon, who played patriarch Charles Ingalls and served as executive producer of the series, passed away in 1991 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The ‘Little House” cast members touted Landon’s work ethic and the fact that he set work hours to ensure that all of the cast and crew could be home by 6:00 each night to have dinner with their families, a practice that’s unheard of these days.
Sadly, several other core members of the “Little House” cast have passed away, leaving the prospect of a reunion show in question. Victor French, who played family friend Mr. Edwards, died in 1989 from lung cancer, while Merlin Olsen (farmer Jonathan Garvey on the series) died in 2010. Actor Richard Bull, who played rich mercantile owner Nels Oleson, died earlier this year after being hospitalized with pneumonia.
When asked if the cast would consider getting together again for a TV reunion show, Gilbert quickly put the idea to rest: “There’s so many of us missing now,” she said. “It would be so strange for us.”
On a Q &A on her official website, Gilbert previously revealed, “There are no plans to do a ‘Little House’ reunion at this time. We wanted to but the man who owns the rights wouldn't give us permission.“