Next was the joint presentation by Bill Anderson and Nancy Koupal. A technical error meant I got to pinch hit and introduce them. They were reading letters from Bill’s book Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then they answered questions. Both Bill and Nancy have been interviewed this year. Nancy told my favorite homesite story both on the podcast and that day.
Bill pointed out how the story he was telling took place in that very school, right there and pointed across the road. It really renewed my thrill at being RIGHT THERE.
Dean once again spoke. It was based on questions from the audience and while there was some reputation from this morning, there were also different questions. Dean reports even his wife has said, “If only I could meet a man like Almanzo.”
This time it was Dean’s turn to go first and Alison followed. One of the most interesting things Alison shares about is the French people’s obsession with the Little House on the Prairie TV show. The interest is so great that Alison has learned enough French that she can do a version of her one-woman show in French. She talks about how “chopping wood like Charles Ingalls” is a phrase used for working hard and how falling down in wildflowers like Baby Carrie is a thing in France.
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.
This year was the two day 40th anniversary of the Little House on the Prairie TV show that first aired as a regular series in 1974. Although there were several smaller events through out the year, the big one was in late July in Walnut Grove, Minnesota the real version of the fictional town that was built in Simi Valley, California. Eleven different actors from the TV series came for the reunion. The event blew away organizers as the population of the town at least tripled for those two days even though in down poured rain on the morning of the second day.
During the day the stars mostly signed autographs for incredibly long lines of fans. Each evening before the pageant they did about 45 minutes of questions and answers from audience members. The footage below was all shot on July 25, 2014th, but I was there both nights and quite a few of the questions repeated.
For all the activities cameras were filming and the videos were edited, probably intended to be a DVD (the individual parts are called chapters), the Walnut Grove Museum created a YouTube page and uploaded them there. Find the direct links to each individual video below. Under each film clip I’ve put notes on what appears in each section to help you find specific bits later. In addition the day of they shot quick takes with several of the stars while they were eating breakfast in an unnamed hotel where they were staying. You can hear breakfast background noise through each of these and most of them have just a little more than they meant to at each end (you’ll see what I mean). I’ve added those if it fit with a segment and in a special section at the bottom if they didn’t.
A second professional camera man was following around Radamas Paras working on a documentary about him. That’s the last I’ve heard of it, if anybody else knows anything please let us know.
I also took some video that I’ve edited into travel diaries I haven’t done a post yet because I still haven’t finished editing them all, but you can find what I’ve done so far on Vimeo.
Begins as both night’s interview did with an introduction of actors who came:
Introduced Charlotte Stewart [Miss Beadle], Hersha Parady [Alice Garvey], Lindsey Greenbush [Carrie Ingalls], Sydney Greenbush [Carrie Ingalls], Radamas Paras [John Edwards], Lucy Lee Flippin [Eliza Jane Wilder], Dean Butler [Almanzo Wilder], Wendi Turnbaugh Lee [Grace Ingalls], Brenda Turnbaugh Weatherby [Grace Ingalls], Alison Arngrim [Nellie Oleson] (out of the Olesen Mercantile set)
Where are they now – catching up on what each cast member is doing now starting at 4:40
Cast recalls their favorite episodes
Charlotte Stewart aka Miss Beadle, First day on the set, Would Michael Landon have been at Reunion this summer, How she got started acting, Her last day on the set, Friendships with cast, Having fun at Reunion, Will people still be watching “Little House” in 100 years, On being remembered, Joy of “Little House”
Audience Questions: Nonverbal communication and Casting, Victor French and his skill as actor and director, How old when started show, In God Sister which one played real Carrie, What years did the show run?
Audience Questions: Restored DVDs what will they have for special features, How did Dean feel when Almanzo punched the guy, How did the Ingalls get famous enough that they did a TV show about them, How tone and feeling of the books were translated onscreen, Why was adoption a theme that ran through the show, What was twins relationship with Karen Grassel like, Dean talks about Almanzo’s name (and the CORRECT pronunciation), Almanzo’s relationship with Laura
Audience Questions: Mud fight, Dan McBride aka Henry Riley restaurant customer surprise appearance, Which episode would you reshoot, Did Nellie teach Nancy to be mean?, Why did John Junior cheat on Mary and Michael Landon‘s fight with Victor French
Radamas Paras aka John Jr. – His run on show, On Michael Landon, Would Michael Landon have come to anniversary, Have you read the “Little House” books?, What makes the show stay popular, How do you like Walnut Grove
September 16, 2014,was the day Melissa Gilbert’s second book based on her connection to the Little House on the Prairie (TV Show) was released her My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours. It’s a combination of 80 recipes from Gilbert’s personal collection and a series of short scrapbooks of behind the scenes stories and personal photos. She spent this day in Iowa, at the Cedar Rapids Public Library at 2 pm and at the Iowa City Public Library at 7 pm, with taking time for an hour long radio interview. I attended the Cedar Rapids Public Library show and roughly 250 people attended including some 30 who watched from a remote room. They sold out of the 95 cookbooks in 20 minutes.
In Iowa City they had to use an overflow room too.
I saw the presentation at the Cedar Rapids Public Library live and got a copy of the recording from the Iowa City Public Library. Catch the repeats of her Iowa City visit on the local library’s public access television channel. I put together a news report on Gilbert’s visit to Cedar Rapids below.
I watched a version of her presentation the US National Archives recently uploaded about Melissa Gilbert about her new Prairie Cookbook. Unfortunately both the host and Gilbert have some factual trouble near the beginning when talking about the real Laura and history. Then she steers into her own life and producing the show which is much more interesting. I especially like that she now refuses to sign copies of Laura’s books because as an author she thinks that is inappropriate, which I totally support. Gilbert also talks about her experience on Dancing With the Stars (which I hadn’t heard her do anywhere else). She talks a little bit about how the studio school was like a one-room school and how the other school children were mostly relatives of the cast and crew. Sean Penn and his brother were two of them because their father sometimes directed the show. She also answers what happened with Melissa and her brother Jonathan. She was asked about the Walnut Grove 40th Anniversary. Check out their press release which talks about the many Laura Ingalls Wilder connections with the National Archives including links and check out the video below: http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2014/nr14-95.html
During July check out these Laura Ingalls Wilder related events around the country. July seems to be a big time for Laura events so if I’ve missed one please let me know.
I’m still playing with the formatting of these posts. Do you like this look better? Would a list by calendar date be more helpful than by place? Please comment in how I can make these more useful to you.
Walnut Grove MN
Fragments of a Dream Pageant July 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, 2014
Cast Reunion July 25, 26, 27, 2014 – 40th Anniversary of “Little House on the Prairie TV Show” Many cast members coming. – Don’t expect to just show up that weekend. Make plans now.
De Smet SD
These Happy Golden Years Pageant – July 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 15, 26, 27, 2014
Laura’s Memories Pageant – July 5, 11-12, 18-19, 2014
*More dates in August and September
Children’s Art & Morgan Horse Event – July 26, 2014
One Room Schoolhouse Days with Kay Little – July 12, 2014
Join Kay Little from Little History Adventures as she provides one room schoolhouse lessons in the Sunnyside Schoolhouse from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder (1894) – July 26, 2014
Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1894 as she is moving from DeSmet, South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri. Laura will visit our Sunnyside Schoolhouse at 12:00 pm and again at 3:00 pm and share her story.
Old World Wisconsin – Eagle WI
World of Little House – June 28, 2014 – July 31, 2014
Heritage Hill – Green Bay WI
Laura Ingalls Wilder Days with guests Alison Arngrim and Dean Butler – July 12th and 13th, 2014 (Corrected Date)
Laura Historian Bill Anderson will be speaking.
First Annual Mary Ingalls Society Pageant August 1-2, 2014 *This is next month, but so close to the beginning I wanted to make sure to make to point it out.