Michael Landon’s place in the world of television was forever solidified by the success of Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie.
The two programs were as big as any programs of their era, and as time went on, Landon became more and more invested in the making of it. This started with Bonanza, but truly hit its full stride when Little House on the Prairie was being created.
The actor took on the role of producer, and had his hands in the entire production. For many, it’s a testament to his passion and skill. But to some of the press at the time of Little House on the Prairie, it was a sign of a controlling egomaniac.
That claim was addressed by Landon and Johnny Carson in a 1976 interview on the latter’s show. The pair, who’s comedic chemistry was always on point, cracked jokes about it, but Landon also properly addressed the claim.
“I read something in People magazine this week, or a couple weeks ago,” Johnny Carson started. “The press, they get on to people sometime in this business you know, and they called you a… ‘power mad jackass.’
“Somebody wrote that. Does that bug when you see stuff like that?”
In classic Michael Landon fashion, the Little House on the Prairie star started with a joke.
“True is true, John,” Landon answered before getting serious. “You know what these people write. You know what it is? It’s because I do a number of things on the show, so the majority of people who write articles about showbusiness haven’t the slightest idea what it takes to make a picture, haven’t the slightest idea what it takes to make a television show.”
Little House on the Prairie Star Michael Landon Talks Being a Producer
Landon wasn’t cool with just saying that the press didn’t know what they were talking about. He also felt compelled to explain what his job is like on the show.
“So when they list all of the areas that you’re involved in,” Landon continued. “That I’m supposed to be in because that’s my job, they suddenly feel that I’m budging in on somebody else. The fact of the matter is, as an executive producer of a show, you are involved in sets, you are involved in music, you are involved in all these various areas, but they don’t know that. Because they never take enough time to come down to the set and learn how to make a movie.”
Johnny Carson, of course, answered with a facetious, “You sound power mad to me,” before jokingly saying he could understand where the reporter was coming from.
Landon concluded the topic with another perfect joke.
“Well, it’s four checks,” Landon finished.