‘Little House on the Prairie’ Star Charlotte Stewart Shared a Major Prank From Michael Landon in This Famous Episode
Charlotte Stewart was cast as Walnut Grove school teacher Eva Beadle on Little House on the Prairie in 1974. Working with show creator and star Michael Landon on the historical drama, Stewart got to see a playful side of the actor during her four seasons on the series.
Often a practical joker, Landon saw an opportunity to pull a prank behind the scenes on one of the show’s most memorable episodes in season 3.
‘Little House’ had a special set for one snowy episode
In the show’s third season, the episode “Blizzard” centered around the children of Walnut Grove getting excused early from school due to a massive snowstorm. The youngsters all needed to find their way home through the wintry conditions, which required some creative filming.
“The snowstorm scenes were pretty amazing,” Stewart wrote in a 2019 essay for LittleHouseonthePrairie.com. “Mike [Landon] shot them in a huge water tank set at Paramount as they were blowing in a mix of man-made snow and some other artificial white stuff (insulation, I think).”
The elaborate techniques utilized for the episode drew Stewart to the set, even when she wasn’t required on camera.
“Miss Beadle wasn’t in any of these scenes, but I dropped by to watch the filming because I knew it’d be quite a production,” she recalled. “It was one of those moments when I saw Mike Landon’s prankish, kid side come out in spite of what must have been a high-stress work situation.”
A soggy script gave Michael Landon an idea
Stewart shared that the environment in which they had to film resulted in some script issues.
“Everything was actually very cold and wet during the blizzard shoot,” the Little House alum explained. “The artificial snow was melting like crazy. Mary Yerk, our script continuity person, was upset because her script pages were getting soggy, and her notes were smearing.”
Yerk’s method of trying to dry off the script ended up inspiring Landon with an idea for a prank.
“At one point, she was totally exasperated and was waving a damp page up and down beside her trying to get it to dry,” Stewart wrote. “This got Mike’s attention.”
Michael Landon knew how to light up a script
As Yerk continued in her frenzy, Landon decided to lighten up the mood – and the script.
“While she was distracted and waving her script page around in the air, he snuck up behind her, pulled a lighter out of his pocket, and lit her script page on fire,” Stewart revealed. “A moment later she gave a scream, and Mike had the biggest laugh of the day.”
Stewart’s character was written out of the show at the end of season 4. She clearly was grateful for her time on the series.
“My last day shooting Little House was August 22, 1977,” Stewart wrote in her memoir Little House in the Hollywood Hills: A Bad Girl’s Guide to Becoming Miss Beadle, Mary X, and Me. “Mike made sure I had a good moment to end on. … The tears in my eyes were real. Those lines from the script were words from my heart. I had enjoyed being part of this ensemble so much.”