Michael Landon once pulled a ‘terrible’ prank on Melissa Gilbert after she was once scared


When Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert weren’t filming little house on the prairie, he was a father figure in his life and sometimes did things to make his childhood feel less Hollywood — like pulling Halloween pranks. And one year he had it with another child actor on the show with such a “terrible” gag, they supposedly almost passed out.

What did Landon do to Gilbert that caused such a reaction? And why would she ever be a little nervous? Read on to learn more about Landon’s passion for pranks.

Melissa Gilbert and Michael Landon | NBCU Photo Bank

1 ‘Little House on the Prairie’ farce scared child actors

Little house Producer and production manager Kent McCray once recalled playing pranks on the kids on set with Landon. And one Halloween, they both tricked young actors in very different ways.

First, McCray said he dressed up and scared them at a cemetery. “One of the teachers on set told me that all the kids were going up to an old cemetery behind the motel. That gave me an idea. I ripped the sheet off my bed and took it and I hid behind a huge tombstone,” he said (per Medium).

“I could see the kids – Melissa Gilbert [Laura Ingalls]Melissa Sue Anderson [Mary Ingalls]Matthieu Labyorteaux [Albert Ingalls]and twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush [Carrie Ingalls] – go up the hill. They moved about 10 feet away from me. I pulled the sheet over my head and reared up and bellowed, ‘Yowwww!!!’ McCray explained.

“They turned around and ran down the hill,” he concluded. “They didn’t cross the fence, they crossed it.”

Michael Landon smeared his ‘boxers’ in peanut butter and gave them to Melissa Gilbert as a prank

McCray said the children returned to the motel where the actors stayed and began to cheat or treat. He shared, “Melissa Gilbert and Matthew [Labyorteaux] decided to grab a pillowcase and go from room to room, knocking on doors to see if they could pick up some candy.

They arrived in Landon’s room, and he put something in their pillowcase. But they got a surprise when they dragged their hiding place back into the room and realized they had been treated with a trick.

“Turns out Michael had given them his boxer shorts that he had smeared in peanut butter,” McCray explained. “They almost fainted!”

“Melissa’s mother told me the next day that Melissa was like, ‘This is terrible, just terrible. Get that out of here! They assumed it was something else a little rude,” he laughed. “That’s the kind of joker Mike was.”

Melissa Gilbert said Michael Landon participated in the cemetery prank

Gilbert shared his recollection of part of the prank on her Gilbert & Busfield podcast, which she hosted with her husband, Timothy Busfield.

Notably, she added to the story that Landon was the one who sent the children to the cemetery where McCray was waiting for them. As they entered the cemetery, Gilbert recalled that “from behind one of the headstones was this huge white ghost that was going ‘Ooooooooh'”.

“The ghost raised his arms and the kids started running,” she shared. “I mean so fast…”

But Gilbert finally realized who was under that sheet, thanks to a tell-all. “I saw that belly under the sheet,” she said and concluded, “It was McCray.”

RELATED: Melissa Gilbert Had A Weird Connection With Michael Landon That Had Nothing To Do With ‘Little House’


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