Sunday, September 1, 2013

Maybe Nellie Oleson was really a sweet girl

My cyberfriend Frances Garrood over there in Jolly Olde Englande has indicated in a post that she is is outraged over...well, here, just read it for yourself:

“I’m Outraged” by Frances Garrood.

I left the following comment (more or less; I have expanded it a little for this post) :

I know just how you feel, but with me it’s Little House on the Prairie. Mrs. RWP and I have been watching reruns of it every evening for several months now, just before reruns of The Waltons.

I know. It’s sad, isn’t it?

This week I decided to look online for some information about the real Laura Ingalls Wilder and Charles and Caroline and Mary and Almanzo and discovered that their names may have been used in the series but not much else in it is true. I am outraged, just like Frances. The last time this happened was when Mrs. RWP and I saw the film made of John Gresham’s book The Firm and the whole second half of the film had Tom Cruise running around Memphis, Tennessee, instead of fleeing all the way to Florida one step ahead of the bad guys, and it was filled with F-bombs galore when not one curse word appeared in Gresham’s book. I understand about literary license and all that, but I prefer that films at least try to resemble the original works. To Kill A Mockingbird did a good job of that, in my opinion.

Even in Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet (which Frances mentioned in her post), Romeo said, “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” but DID NOT THEN SAY, “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.” No, he didn’t. The film may have “stuck faithfully to the original words” but it inexplicably left out a few I was expecting.

That’s the real Charles and Caroline Ingalls in that photo. He doesn’t remind me in the least of Michael Landon.

And here’s the real Mary Ingalls:

She doesn’t look a thing like Melissa Sue Anderson. And although she did attend the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton, Iowa, between 1881 and 1889 and graduated, there is no evidence whatever that she ever married a blind teacher named Adam. She returned home and lived with her parents until their deaths, and then with her younger sister Carrie, and then with her even younger sister Grace. At least they got the names right. Wikipedia reports that Mary was able to contribute to the family income by making fly nets for horses.

And the annual Laura Ingalls Wilder pageant that has been held annually since 1971? Is it held in Walnut Grove, Minnesota?

No, it is not.

DeSmet, South Dakota.

I simply can’t go on.

The rant is ended. Long live the rant.


  1. Ranting, hissy fits, righteous whinges. All are essential some days if I am to retain my (tenuous) grasp on sanity.
    I can very rarely watch television programs or movies based on words I love - because they don't fit the images in my head and because they frequently take extreme liberties with the truth and/or text.
    Hiss and spit.

  2. EC, warning: long sentence ahead. I finished putting this post together on September 1 around 7:45 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the U.S. and flirted briefly with the idea of delaying publication until tomorrow because there were already posts dated August 31 and August 30 and I, not liking to post too frequently, I thought I would wait until September 2nd and then I remembered that it was nearly afternoon of September 2nd already in Australia, and I published it now so that you (a) would not have to wait until the middle of the night to find a new post of mine and (b) could have the pleasure of being the first to comment! I love it when a plan comes together.

  3. I envy you having a plan come to fruition. Very few of mine do (and am very chuffed at being part of the instigation for putting this post up).

  4. RWP, I think I am more touched by your reply to EC than outraged by the creative license taken with Little House on the Prairie. Too many fond memories watching it as a child to go destroying them with reality. Next thing you will be telling me is that Santa Ckaus and the Easter Bunny are not real either.

  5. Carol (in Cairns), a lot of the "creative license" on LH stemmed from the fact that Michael Landon wrote many of the scripts, and some of them were based on stories that had appeared previously on Bonanza (the western in which Michael was involved). Also, stories like Nellie marrying Percival can be traced to the fact that Michael Landon's mother was Catholic and his father was Jewish. Sorry to burst your bubble. I'm not touching Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

  6. If your reply to EC is anything to go by, your plans to take over time and space as a James Bond-like baddy is getting into full swing. Please remember your friends when the 'mwahahaha-ing' and rubbing together of palms begins and send passes to your evil underground lair.
    Also, your post is yet again full of things I had no knowledge of so most appreciated. (ps - don't look at my recent post, I'm afraid I have resorted to profanity *shakes her head.)

  7. I've never seriously watched either of these shows but I did learn sbout cancer and death through Michael Landon's final months. I remember thinking how unfortunate for him to not have more time. Now I understand all that better

    I don't like remakes either. Even when well done I find them a cheap shot

    Thanks for visiting me mr rhymeswithplaugue. I most assuredly will not mistake your he with a she. Truthfully, while not politically correct, it was your very wise sensitivity that threw me off. :-)


  8. Don't even get me started... I have always been a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I read her whole series every year, well into my adulthood, knowing there were valuable lessons about faith and humility. But I rarely watched the TV show. I'm too much of a purist. And this is why I have always taught me children: With any piece of literature, read the book before seeing the movie.

  9. LightExpectations, I agree. Did you read Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides? The movie left out great chunks of it that were important.

  10. i am wondering ifin anuyone in those laura ingall wilder days had any slot canyon incidents???some fear mingled with pure excitment captured everyones imagineation and my concise report of the incident is exqusite >><>good samaratins with compassionite natures 9

  11. Well, Putz has returned after months and months of absence just like nothing had ever happened, and true to form he wants to talk about something related to his blog instead of something related to mine. Well, since Laura Ingalls Wilder and family lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota and all the slot canyons are in the American southwest, I think the answer to your question, David, is NO, THEY DIDN'T. But welcome back, if even for a short spell. I'm glad your family members were all safe during and after the "slot canyon incident."

  12. I loved the first photograph. You and Mrs Brague certainly did make a handsome couple on your wedding day!

  13. Yorkshire Pudding, we may be ancient, but you obviously have this photograph mixed up with the one in this post of May 19th last.

  14. My apologies to All Consuming and kj, whose comments I seem to have skipped. I'll try to remedy that situation here.

    All Consuming, you know by now that I ignored your warning against going to your recent (because you had resorted to profanity), and I read a word I had never seen before. Luckily it was not profanity (although your preceded it with the most profane adjective in the English language), it was "courgette" which I had to look up on to discover that it meant zucchini.

    kj, thanks for visiting my blog. I'm glad we have my gender all straightened out now. Perhaps that could have been phrased better.

  15. The show was better when the girls were little and the oldest one could still act, at least after a fashion.