‘Little House on the Prairie’: Charlotte Stewart Had This ‘Drinking Ritual’ While Working on the Show
Charlotte Stewart has some impressive acting credits to her name, yet will always be equated with Little House on the Prairie. Playing Walnut Grove school teacher Eva Beadle for the first four seasons of the show, Stewart was cast by Bonanza alum Michael Landon when he launched Little House. In her memoir, Stewart shared some details of life on the set, including how she ended each work day.
Michael Landon recruited several crew members from ‘Bonanza’
Stewart noted how most of the people behind the scenes of Little House were brought over from Bonanza by Landon.
“They were completely devoted to Mike,” Stewart wrote of the Little House crew members in her book, Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me. “Nearly all of them had come with him from Bonanza and would eventually follow him to Highway to Heaven. They were all Western guys, good with horses, expert builders, comfortable and effective working at a fast pace, and they liked to drink and cuss and play pranks and do, well, guy stuff.”
The Little House alum was able to fit right in thanks to growing up around a similar group with her father’s friends, and Landon was always at the center of the bunch.
“I got along really well with them because they reminded me of my dad’s drinking buddies,” Stewart explained. “Mike was very much the leader of this troop of cowboys.”
‘Little House’ set had a bar for the cast and crew
In her 2010 memoir, Stewart shared her struggles with drugs and alcohol over the years. Trying to make it as an actor in the “treacherous, glorious, sexed-out, drugged-up, faster pussycat wonderland of Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s”, Stewart still attempted to keep her work life separate from her personal tendencies – sometimes with a little help.
“Though I never drank during a day of filming, I showed up hung over more than once,” Stewart revealed. “I would ask my makeup guy, Whitey, if he could put makeup on my private life too.”
Landon had set up a bar for the cast and crew on the Little House set, where Stewart would end each work day.
“The drinking ritual I had on Little House was as soon as they were finished with me for the day, whether we were in Simi Valley or at Paramount, I would head to the prop truck where the bar was always open,” she wrote. “I finished each day with a belt of vodka and would then head home for more.”
Charlotte Stewart had one last drink from the ‘Little House’ bar
Stewart was written out of the historical drama in season four and recalled her very last day on the Little House set.
“A feeling of numbness came over me,” she shared. “As I walked toward the prop truck I realized that all the relentless forward movement of filming here would continue without me. … The cast would continue to grow and change. I suppose in some way that’s hard to explain, it was like the death of a dear friend.”
As she had on her typical work days, Stewart took one more trip to the legendary Little House bar for a final drink.
“I reached the prop truck,” Stewart wrote, “had my last vodka, and then left my pretty prairie dress and golden wig behind for a final time.”