It was during the early '80s that my mom decided Little House on the Prairie would be more beneficial to my development than Welcome Back Kotter, so the TV dial went from channel 5 to channel 11 every night during dinner at 5 P.M. I haven't seen an episode of Little House on the Prairie in over 20 years but some of the scenes are burned into my memory... some good but mostly bad.
Screencap courtesy of Little House Memories websiteHere are my strongest memories of Little House on the Prairie.
"A Harvest of Friends" September 11, 1974 Episode #1002
I have strong memories of a nice family picnic ending in a kite flying tragedy thanks to Charles and the gang. I'm not sure how often kite flying accidents happen but Charles manages to make prairie life that much harder by falling out of a tree while attempting to retrieve a kite. I recall his ribs being taped up and him having difficulty moving large sacks of grain until the town folk assist him. That was nice but the memory of family picnic gone wrong is what remains.
"Plague" January 29, 1975 Episode #1018
Whoa... fleas in the corn meal bringing disease... that is all I have to say about this one. To this day I open a bag of rice and I expect to see bugs crawling in it thanks to this episode. Thank you for the strong imagery Little House on the Prairie.
"A Matter of Faith" February 4, 1976 Episode #2011
Charles and the kids go camping and Caroline stays home to do whatever Caroline likes to do in her leisure time but she accidentally cuts herself. Next thing I know there are knives and fire and screaming and fever and infection. This episode helped me have a better understanding of why I had a babysitter from time to time... because if I was left home alone there could be knives and fire and screaming and fever and infection.
"My Ellen" September 26, 1977 Episode #4007
This episode spooked me something good. Laura's friend drowns when they go swimming and the distraught grieving mother traps Laura in a cellar and pretends that Laura is her recently deceased daughter. Very creepy. This episode reinforced all the times my mom told me not to wander off because a stranger would abduct me. This episode made me a believer.
"May We Make Them Proud" February 4, 1980 Episode #6018
Albert was smoking in the attic of the school for the blind and accidentally sets it on fire. That was enough to reinforce the 'smoking is bad' message in me but the fire also kills Mary's baby. Mission accomplished Little House I've never smoked a cigarette in my life.
"Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow (Part 1)" February 15, 1982 Episode #8417
I'll never forget an anguished Almonzo Wilder in a rainstorm trying to protect his crops. But that's all I remember so I looked up the episode recap to get a better idea of what was going on. Oh, well Almonzo had diphtheria and while worrying about the condition of his crops, a hailstorm comes, Almonzo runs outside during the hailstorm and has a stroke which leaves him crippled... oh and his crops were destroyed. Maybe I should have been reading the books instead of watching the television show.
Did it work? Was Little House on the Prairie beneficial to my development?
I'm a semi productive member of society. I once helped an elderly woman onto the curb because it was icy. I don't smoke. I don't talk to strangers because of a deep fear of being trapped in a cellar. I don't fly kites. So, yes... I think it was a success.