One of the biggest blows for TV show fans seems to be that Albert Ingalls did not exist in real life. Like many other characters and plots on the show, he came from Michael Landon’s imagination and I think probably in answer to a similar thought to one Dean Butler expressed in an interview from The Homesteader, “What’s Little Joe doing on a show with a bunch of little girls?”
Here’s what Landon himself said about the creation of the character shortly before his debut on the show. (The People article also features information about the other kids in cast and more background on the Laborteaux brothers, but you’ll have to get a copy for yourself!)
“Michael Landon’s Gutsy TV Kids Have Faced Bigger Problems in Life than on the Prairie” by Sue Reilly. People Weekly Sept. 11, 1978 This quote appears on p. 96.
“Patrick [Laborteaux] joined the Little House cast last year, and then Landon remembered a promise he’d made to some friends whose son was killed in a car crash – ‘that if I ever found a boy who had Albert’s qualities I would put him on the show and call him Albert.’ Matthew [Laborteaux], who had already played Landon himself as a boy in flashbacks, debuts this fall as Albert.”
UPDATE: Not a lot to update since I originally posted this. People are still asking where Albert came from and this is in my top 20 highest ranking posts. I can add that Patrick Laborteaux (Matthew’s brother) who played Andrew Garvey on Little House on the Prairie went on to play Lt. Cmdr. Bud Roberts on the series JAG. Today you can follow him on Twitter. Looks like he hasn’t check in lately, but when he has an upcoming project he goes active. https://twitter.com/PLabyorteaux
UPDATED January 14, 2016: I fixed some continuing space issues and updated the signature block.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.