Oddly, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ would open this late Season 1 episode in the exact same way as Episode 2, “Country Girls,” without batting an eye.
Let’s face it, stock footage was a staple of Golden Era Hollywood. This practice, which involves recycling previously shot footage, would continue for decades. We even see it today, though far less often.
Largely, it’s used as a way to reduce budget: why pay to shoot something again if it’s already been filmed? ‘Little House on the Prairie’ was no exception to this in the 70s and 80s. Perhaps the most prominent example, however, came in Season 1.
By the time Episode 24 came around, we can only assume ‘Prairie’s producers thought enough time had passed for audiences to not notice. With this in mind, they recycled a major opener for the episode, “Founder’s Day.”
Indeed, 24’s entire opening sequence would have shocked sharp viewers at the time. The episode “opens with Jack at the creek getting himself a drink of water and then running back towards the house,” the show’s official site recalls.
“Jack? There was no Jack Ingalls!” Oh, but there was! Fans will know the name immediately, as Jack was the family’s beloved dog, played by Hollywood pup, Barney.
His opener is, shot for shot, music and all, was a complete recycling of Episode 2’s opening. Needless to say, if a program did this today – fans would have a fit. Oh, how times have changed.
‘Little House on the Prairie’ Commits Hollywood Faux Pas
The stock usage only becomes more confounding the more you see of each episode. Neither has anything to do with the other, yet ‘Little House on the Prairie’ opted to begin both episodes in exactly the same way.
Episode 24, “Founder’s Day,” centers on the holiday of the same name. It’s a real celebration that embodies the founding of Walnut Grove, author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood home. The historic territory was surveyed in 1874, then officially incorporated as a town in 1879 on Founder’s Day.
The episode itself serves as a celebration of this. Within, a Founder’s Day event approaches for the Ingalls family. The entire family participates in the festivities, with Michael Landon’s patriarch, Charles Ingalls, leading the way for a logging competition:
Little House on the Prairie Season 1 Episode 24 is called Founder’s Day and features a battle of wills between Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) and Jim Taylor (Forrest Tucker) a lumberjack.Little House on the Prairie
In contrast, Episode 2, “Country Girls” finds Laura and Mary fretting over their first day of school in Walnut Grove. The entire episode centers around their school-time ventures: meeting their new teacher, classmates, and so on.
In the end, the two episodes share very little – if anything – in common. Once you get past their identical opener, that is. Either way, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ fans will never watch these two entries the same way again!