THE LITTLE HOUSE REUNION
by Carmel Mooney
One of the most exciting moments of my life was attending the cast reunion of Little House on the Prairie from September 25 - 27 1998 in Tuolumne County, California.
As a professional writer and radio talk show host, I was fortunate enough to be an invited media guest to the thrill of a lifetime!
For three days, the cast of Little House on the Prairie met in historic Sonora, California and the surrounding areas where the series was filmed, to reunite.
I will never forget the moment Karen Grassle (Ma) and Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) spotted each other across a crowded room, possibly after decades, to embrace and share tears of joy like long-lost sisters. Such was the case when many others in the cast locked eyes and hearts after what seemed an eternity since the beloved series ceased filming years ago.
The first evening, I was enchanted to spend the entire evening at Ironstone Winery for a delightful dinner and awards ceremony with Melissa Gilbert (Laura) who arrived with her best friend, Judy. Also seated near me were Matthew Laborteaux (Albert), Leslie Landon (Etta Plum), Kevin Hagen (Doc Baker), and a very zany, very friendly Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson)! Other noted stars from Bonanza and other Westerns appeared for dinner too.
That evening I enjoyed chatting at length with these and many of the other cast members, as well as writers, producers and others involved in the making of Little House. I even had some of them sign inside my personal Little House books.
But all magical evenings must come to an end, so I rested up for the next day's events!
The following afternoon, my husband and I sat and watched "The Lord Is My Shepherd" episode with Melissa Gilbert and Leslie Landon. It was fun to watch several of Leslie's children enjoy watching their own grandfather on the big screen!
Later that day, several guest stars such as Will Hunt, along with Victor French Jr. (Victor French's - Mr Edwards - real life son) and the Greenbush twins (Carrie) joined us all for a train ride through Jamestown at the same railroad station, platform and on the same locomotive used in many of the episodes. I received a wonderful keepsake LHOTP banner which most of the cast signed, along with a cast reunion T-shirt.
The grand finale was the catered barbeque at the train station grounds that evening. I enjoyed getting to know Kevin Hagen and several other actors, and it was exciting to exchange home phone numbers and addresses with several of them too! A couple even gave me special glossy autographed photographs.
The last day, several of the cast had private get togethers and social outings, and I was sad to leave... but WHAT an experience!
I've never really been a "fan" about anything in my life, except to know LHOTP (both the series and the books), inside and out like an authority. So getting to meet and know the cast was such a complete and utter treat and dream come true.