‘Little House on the Prairie’: Michael Landon Said Some People ‘Destroy’ Their Lives With Expectation

Before he died, Michael Landon shared many of his thoughts on life and work. One thought the former Little House on the Prairie star shared was about expectations and how they could be destructive. Here’s more about what he said.

Michael Landon encouraged fun on ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ according to Melissa Gilbert

Michael Landon on 'Little House on the Prairie' | NBCU Photo Bank
Michael Landon on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ | NBCU Photo Bank

Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, wrote about her time on the show in My Prairie Cookbook. She says Landon encouraged the cast and crew to have fun. However, Gilbert says when it was time to work, he expected everyone to get down to business and do their job well.

Gilbert says she immediately felt like she was “part of something special,” when she began working on the show. After her experience on Little House, she was surprised when a set wasn’t fun. She thought every movie and TV set would be like the one she worked on during her childhood and young adulthood.

Michael Landon said some people ‘destroy’ their lives with expectation

Michael Landon | Bruce Birmelin/NBCU Photo Bank
Michael Landon | Bruce Birmelin/NBCU Photo Bank

It’s OK to look forward to something, but Landon said there are times when expectation can be a destructive force. During an interview for the book Conversations with Michael Landon, the actor told author Tom Ito that dreaming is often better than expecting something to happen.

According to Landon, dreams often result in disappointments. You can dream about something and then leave the dream there. No harm is done if the dream doesn’t come true because you weren’t expecting anything, he said. On the other hand, Landon thought expectations could lead to a person’s downfall.

“Expectations mean you must reach whatever that dream might have been,” said Landon. “I think an awful lot of people destroy their lives by spending their lives with expectations instead of just living within the moment and enjoying the dream.”

Landon added that even if you achieve the expectation you had, it won’t mean as much because you expected it to happen. “So it’s not wondrous, it’s not joyous, it’s as it was supposed to be,” said Landon. “And always disappointing.”

Michael Landon’s dream

One of Michael Landon’s dreams became a reality. He owned his own production company, called Michael Landon Productions. The company produced many shows and TV movies, including Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven, Where Pigeons Go to Die, and Us. Landon told Ito that one thing he was proud of was that his production company was able to get the job done without spending more money than necessary.

Landon enjoyed having creative control. He told the Los Angeles Times that he was most happy when he was the one managing things. If he wasn’t in charge, this made him unhappy, according to the publication.

“I have a thing about control,” said Landon. “The only times in my life when I was unhappy is when I didn’t have it. I like to have it.”

In Conversations with Michael Landon, Landon explained he liked control not because of his ego, but because he had a unique way of doing things. He wanted the freedom to be able to write and direct a production his way.

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