Pa’s beard has always been a huge bone of contention between TV show and book fans. Landon’s lack of a beard is almost always mentioned in early critiques of the show by book fans and I still hear mentioned on a regular basis today. Pa’s real beard was absolutely horrible and I have only seen one beard as ugly on a living person. I thought you might enjoy reading what they were saying about the beard at the time the show first came out.
Van Horn, Gail. “Walnut Grove residents celebrate fall TV show go-ahead.” Messenger Independent. 5 June 1974: 3B.
“An NBC press release notes, for those who know that Pa Ingalls always wore a full beard, illustrated by Garth Williams in Laura’s books, note that great pains were put into fitting Michael Landon with a beard, both of natural growth and by makeup artists. But it was decided that he just did not look good with any kind of facial hair. You may recall having seen Landon with a beard on one Bonanza show and so may know why the TV version of Pa will be beardless.”
UPDATE March 28, 2015: Nothing really to update. The formatting is still being strange and the information is still correct.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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.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. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.