TODAY   |  April 30, 2014

‘Little House’ cast: We were a family

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Little House on the Prairie,” Kathie Lee and Hoda are joined by eight members of the original cast. They say they were like family while shooting the show, and reminisce about being done with the day’s shooting in time to get home for dinner.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> that sure does bring back some memories, doesn't it?

>> uh-huh.

>> that is the opening of the hit nbc show " little house on the prairie ."

>> oh. it's hard to believe 40 years have passed since the pilot aired, and thanks to re-runs, the show's fan base has continued to grow across the globe.

>> " little house on the prairie " aired for nine seasons and made the ingalls family a household name along with their friends and their neighbors and their enemies in the town of walnut grove .

>> each week viewers were transported to a time when life was simple and family meant everything. and you can capture that feeling all over again with the first few seasons now digitally remastered in hd, by the way.

>> and blu-ray. and they're all falling apart already! sobbing. please, people, you're professionals! hold it together. together with us for the first time, as we said, in over 20 years, the cast. the entire cast, melissa gilbert , karen grassley, melissa anderson .

>> go slow.

>> lindsay greenbush . dean butler. there he is. allison arnigan, math rue lebartol and michael landon jr. welcome, everybody.

>> what was it like, you guys, watching that clip?

>> well, i got tears in my eyes. first of all, i'm sitting here with these three daughters, really for the first time since michael's funeral.

>> wow.

>> and then to see them come running, and this one following me just kills me. i'm not really that sentimental.

>> we heard you don't even really like a lot of people. just kidding. let's go down the line, melissa. right after she started, you started.

>> yeah. well, i'm a crier anyway and also incredibly codefendant. it's a very emotional experience. especially because we were all together for so long, and it was such an intense experience. and we were a family there. and to see it all again and to see it the way it was originally -- the way it was meant to be seen.

>> because you were 9 when you started?

>> i was 9 when i started and 19 when it ended.

>> how old were you when it started?

>> 11.

>> so you guys grew up there. did that feel like your childhood home when you look back at it?

>> it did. the set to me was like a warm blanket, you know. paramount studios at that time. it really felt, you know, i remember going in after lunch in the warm lights on you. i don't know, there was just this setting up a scene, and it was very comforting was a great word, you know?

>> did you get sick of playing the blind girl after a while, or did you love it?

>> yes, i did.

>> i just wanted the truth.

>> i did. i've heard every joke under the sun. yes.

>> i'm sure. you're such a good actress. a lot of people thought that might be the truth.

>> i got letters from many blind people saying how nice of the writers to write it in.

>> dean. dean.

>> they listened.

>> they listened to us. sorry, sorry. sorry.

>> send the letter to dean.

>> he did not mean that in any negative way.

>> nothing derogatory.

>> you know.

>> sorry.

>> lindsay, what do you get asked the most about the show?

>> probably if it was me or my twin sister that fell down the hill in the beginning.

>> who was it?

>> my twin sister .

>> but it was one of them running? one of them falling and the other one, you know, continuing on?

>> yes, yes, it was. it was. so my sister did it first, and she fell. and then they wanted her to do it again, and she said no.

>> how old were you guys then?

>> 3.

>> oh, my gosh.

>> good for her, standing up.

>> even then.

>> it wasn't staged, you know, it just happened, and it was so adorable. they said oh, keep that.

>> there were wire flowers put in.

>> there were?

>> yes.

>> so make it look.

>> i think we did trip over them.

>> all michael landon 's fault is happened, right?

>> he was a prankster. indeed.

>> so's this one, really. him, too.

>> maybe it's the time right now that we should ask. everybody said that he was like the father to everybody on the set. did you sometimes think, well, how come my father's so late at the set and not home with me?

>> you know, the great thing about the series, though, is the hours that my father set.

>> yeah.

>> it doesn't happen anymore, but he was home for dinner.

>> he was?

>> yes, yes.

>> that's unheard.

>> yeah.

>> our set wrapped so that everybody could be home, the crew, everybody could be home for dinner at 6:00 at night.

>> indeed.

>> there are three hunks in the back, obviously, but our backstage pass people were dying to meet both of you, heartthrobs in the back there. what kind of reaction do you get?

>> fermented.

>> fermented. what do you miss the most about it?

>> i just think it was a magical experience to be part of something that has touched people in their hearts.

>> yeah, it really has.

>> for so many years. now, in watching -- none of us would be here today without michael.

>> yeah.

>> having brought this thing to life. and for me as an observer of it, to come in, i came in the sixth season. we're here to celebrate seasons one and two, but watching it all develop, watching this one grow up. everything. the world.

>> we're going to take a tv break. your segment is all next.

>> yeah, yeah. bring it.

>> after the break. don't you worry, she's going -- a smackdown is happening. what does