He had numerous employees to assist him with his acting career, but when it came to those who worked for him, “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon had some high expectations.
According to Techno Trenz, Michael Landon did not have any issues with firing any bad employees of his. Especially employees who chewed gum around him. “Little House on the Prairie” television producer, Kent McCray, revealed in his book “Kent McCray: The Man Behind Some of the Most Beloved Television Shows” that he discussed firing two extras for chewing gum during a scene. It was noted that Michael Landon had to stop filming four times to tell the extras to stop chewing gum.
McCray revealed that each time Michael Landon had to tell the employees to stop chewing gum, he began more agitated. Eventually, he was approached by two extras who asked if he was angry with them. “No, why should I be mad at someone I’ll never see again?” Landon allegedly told the extras.
Michael Landon Was Against Giving Child Actors Rewards For Good Behavior
Along with the gum-chewing, Michael Landon apparently stated that misbehaving child actors would also be fired. “Little House on the Prairie” co-star Alison Arngrim recalled one of the assistant directors was giving children gum and candy at the end of the day if they behaved. She also wrote in her “Confessions of a Prairie B—” that the assistant director began doing this for the young extras. But some of the recurring child cast members were given candy for good behavior as well. The goal was to help improve their performances.
However, Michael Landon was not a fan of this practice. He apparently told the assistant director that the children were getting paid so they could buy their own candy. The actor then said that if the children misbehaved, they would be fired. Landon also did not want the children to be treated like trained animals.
Although she wasn’t on set the day Michael Landon reacted to children getting gum, Arngrim heard about what happened from her aunt. She and Landon both agreed that she didn’t believe providing candy to actors was a good approach to keeping them engaged. She also didn’t feel that it was a good reward. The actress did say that she appreciated Landon’s respect for young actors on the set. She believed that the way he treated the children helped them later in life.
She believed that Michael Landon’s approach helped child actors to learn the importance of hard work. They also now know how to take their jobs as actors more seriously. She further noted that this is why so many of the children avoided serious trouble off the set.