The family drama Little House on the Prairie was based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, featuring life in rural Minnesota in the late 1800s. Created by Bonanza star Michael Landon, the series featured an ensemble cast centered around the Ingalls family. Landon served as executive producer, frequent director, and portrayed patriarch Charles Ingalls.
Landon gave aspiring actor Charlotte Stewart the role of Eva Beadle, Walnut Grove’s sweet and caring school teacher. Apparently, Stewart took some ribbing from her boss on her character’s care-taking skills.
Charlotte Stewart called Michael Landon ‘unstoppable’
Stewart had done some guest appearances on popular TV shows including Bonanza, but had never been personally introduced to Landon until her audition for Miss Beadle.
“When I interviewed with him, I hadn’t met him, but I had done either two or three Bonanza episodes, so he might have been aware of me,” Stewart told Smashing Interviews in 2016, adding that Landon certainly caught her attention. “But I walked in that room. There were five men in there, and I only saw one.”
The Little House alum praised Landon for his sense of humor and nonstop work ethic.
“Michael was unstoppable, you know?” Stewart said of her former co-star. “To this day, I get emails all the time from people that want to know what it was like to be around him. It was hysterical. He was really funny. He was a good guy, one of the really good ones.”
Miss Beadle should have kept a closer eye on her students
As the teacher of the small school in Walnut Grove, Miss Beadle had several children of varying ages under her care. Stewart recalled Landon’s humorous critique of the schoolmarm’s negligent nature.
“Michael Landon used to tease me on the set of Little House about Miss Beadle being totally oblivious to the safety of her schoolchildren,” she wrote in a 2019 essay for LittleHouseonthePrairie.com.
Giving an example from season 3, Stewart described how little Carrie Ingalls (played by twins Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush) entered into a dangerous situation prompted by a project from Miss Beadle.
“In an episode called ‘Little Girl Lost,’ Carrie falls down an old mine shaft, and Mike chalked it up to Miss Beadle,” Stewart explained. “She’d sent the kids on an insect hunt as a school assignment.”
The Walnut Grove kids should have stayed at school
Stewart revealed another episode from season 3, where Landon gave her a heads-up that Miss Beadle would be making another wrong call when it came to her students’ safety.
“Then there was the episode called ‘Blizzard’ with the big snowstorm,” she wrote. “We started filming at Paramount, and Mike looked over at me and said, ‘Well, Miss Beadle kills the kids again.‘”
Sharing how the plot unfolded, Stewart revealed how Miss Beadle had yet another blunder at the kids’ expense.
“In the episode, the children are at the schoolhouse when it begins to snow,” Stewart wrote. “Miss Beadle looks outside, sees it’s coming down pretty heavily, and rather than keep the kids at school, she sends them home. It turns out to be the worst blizzard in Minnesota history. The parents are terribly concerned, and they show up at the schoolhouse, and when they ask where the kids are, Miss Beadle can only say, ‘I sent them home!‘”
Little House on the Prairie’s season 4 finale was Stewart’s last episode.
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