Friday, October 31, 2014
Happy Birthday, Michael Landon
It is the birthday of Michael Landon, the first man who captured my heart.
It was when he became Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza (1959-1973) that I became attracted to him, and in my youthful mind, I plotted ways to get out to the Ponderosa and claim him for my own.
We would all gather around the television on Sunday nights to see what trouble our heroes would get into that week. All the girls in our group loved him, some secretly, some who declared their love openly. A few of them pretended to like Adam, but deep down, it was Little Joe all the way. Poor Hoss! No one loved Hoss, but we were always glad to see him when he rode up with Pa to rescue Little Joe. When I started to high school, it was no longer cool to watch Bonanza, so my one-sided infatuation ended.
In 1974, Little Joe showed up in Little House on the Prairie, and morphed into Charles "Pa" Ingalls. We loved that show when my sons were young, and they actually learned things from watching it. I still watch Little House sometimes, especially the Christmas programs where Pa read the Bible aloud and no one filed a lawsuit to make him apologize. No one got on CNN and called Christians hateful and offensive. I miss those days.
After Little House ended in 1983, he starred as the angel Jonathan Smith in Highway to Heaven until 1989.
He died in 1991 from cancer, when he was only 54 years old. We could really, really use some men like him today. I still love and respect him after all these years.