Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie) Exclusive Interview!
Hi Melissa, Thanks for letting PrairieFans.com interview you about your role as Mary Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie" and your new book.
Little House has been so successful because of the family values instilled within each episode, which are as relevant today as they were when the show started. There is always an audience craving something they can watch with their children.
2. In your book, you share how you had read the "Little House" books before you landed the role of Mary. Going into this role, what were your thoughts about playing a part that would eventually have your character go blind?
That would have been putting the cart before the horse. Getting the part first was my main objective. And, of course, I never thought about Mary going blind then.
3. How was the audition for Mary Ingalls? Was it very competitive?
There were 200 girls for each of the principal roles, Mary and Laura, so it was very competitive. In my book I relate the complete audition process.
I was impressed by Michael Landon, for the obvious reasons -- by Victor French, because he was so different from the role he played and was such an interesting and fun person -- and Bill Claxton, who was my favorite director.
5. Before you landed the role as Mary, you made a guest appearance on "The Brady Bunch" and gave Mike Lookinland, Bobby Brady his first on-screen kiss. Years later, Mike Lookinland made a guest appearance on "Little House" and made an encounter with your character on a train. What was that like to work with him again? I always wondered if this scene was just a coincidence or one of those Hollywood trivia things.
In my book I talk about this scene with Mike Lookinland in the episode "Times of Change," which was purely coincidental, but surely serendipitous.
Growing up on Little House as a teenager in the 70s, the wardrobe was extremely unappealing to me. The only thing that was comfortable were the custom-made boots, but even they were black and miserably hot in the summers in Simi Valley.
7. My favorite episode of the "Little House" series is "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away" I'd like to compliment you on your amazing performance in this episode! Many people don't know this, but you actually went to a blind school and studied other blind people for your performance. What was that like for you?
I devote a complete chapter to the two-part episode "I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away" in my book. I spent time at the Foundation for the Junior Blind observing students and working with teachers there.
We also had one of the teachers on the set to answer technical
questions during those episodes.
I didn't see the 2005 mini-series version, but I believe I saw a photo of the family.
I think it was a futile effort to try to
reinvent Little House in the 21st Century, and especially without
"I'll Be Waving As You Drive Away Parts I and II" and "The Collection" with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.
been told by readers that they feel like they're experiencing the
shooting of the episodes right along with me. This is not a down and
depressing, "tell-all" memoir.
Thanks very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to
answer my questions.
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Webmasters Note: Interview was done on June 11, 2010.