‘Little House on the Prairie’: Why Melissa Sue Anderson Took Michael Landon’s Side in Feud With Show’s Producer
Standing by her co-star Michael Landon, “Little House on the Prairie” star Melissa Sue Anderson reportedly took Landon’s side when he had disagreements with producer, Ed Friendly. Landon notably created and starred in the series. However, he originally co-produced the show before he and Friendly realized their vision of the show didn’t line up.
According to Do You Remember, Michael Landon originally wanted to veer away from Laura Ingalls’ books while Ed wanted to do the opposite. The duo notably fought so much that Landon told the network if Friendly wasn’t fired, he would quit the show. This resulted in Friendly’s dismissal from the series.
In Michael Landon’s defense, Melissa Sue Anderson stated that she agreed with the actor’s vision over Friendly’s. “Their visions of ‘Little House’ were just not the same,” Anderson recalls and Landon and Friendly in her “The Way I See It” memoir. “Personally, I thought Mike’s perspective was the right one for our show. I believed in his track record: His instincts were pretty right-on. He wanted to be able to veer away from the books when creatively necessary while keeping the morals and principles well defined in the original stories.”
Melissa Sue Anderson further explains that Michael Landon and Ed Friendly just couldn’t come to an agreement. They also never resolved their conflict. “By the end of the first season they would part ways for good. Ed would always receive a credit on any shows produced, but he and Mike would no longer act as partners.”
Michael Landon Admitted That Ed Friendly Was One of the Few People He Ever Had Problems With
According to Tom Ito’s “Conversation With Michael Landon” book, Landon revealed, “I’ve had problems with only a couple of people in my life. Ed Friendly was one.”
Micheal Landon further accused Friendly of doing his best to sabotage “Little House on the Prairie.” He further explained, “Fortunately he didn’t, because he made about $40 million from it.”
Melissa Sue Anderson also wrote in her memoir about Michael Landon missing an episode in the first season of “Little House on the Prairie” because of his tension with the producer. “Michael Landon wrote himself out of ‘The Award’ by having Pa and Mr. Edwards go out of town for a few weeks. Perhaps one of the reasons Mike did this was so that he would have more time to deal with the ever-growing rift between himself and our other executive producer, Ed Friendly. I think it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to get along — let alone work together.”
Michael Landon went on to tell the Los Angeles Times that he preferred the final say when it came to his work. “My problem is I don’t delegate authority very well. I have a thing about control. The only times in my life when I was unhappy is when I didn’t have [control]. I like to have it.”