I’d like to start with the Little House on the Prairie episode, “The Music Box”. Can you tell me how the casting process went for the part of Anna?
Little House auditions were relatively easy compared to other theatrical auditions I had been on. I went in one afternoon to the old two story buildings that lined the west end of Paramount Studios. It was the first time I read for this casting director. There were only a few other girls there. I went in and read the scene where Nellie makes me say Peter Piper. The casting director went out to the waiting room and asked my mom if we had time to wait for Michael so that he could hear me read and my mom said that would be fine. The casting director made a phone call and about 8 minutes later Michael Landon walked in the door. My mom and I just about fell out of our chairs. I did not know that the CD was referring to THE Michael. I read for Michael Landon, the casting director said “thank you” and Mom and I went home all a twitter. As soon as I got home I called Tami Lynn, my manager, to tell her about my adventure reading for THE Michael Landon and she told me that I got the job. I was thrilled. Little house was my favorite show. I was on top of the world.
How many days did it take to shoot your scenes? Also, do you have any memories about the production of the episode?
We shot for ten business days, first on location in Simi Valley at Big Sky Ranch and then we did the interiors on a big old sound stage at Paramount. My memories of working on the Music Box could fill a book. If I could pick my most profound memory it would be the first direction that I got from Michael. We were shooting the exterior part of the scene where Nellie comes to my house to invite me to be in the club. We took one take and Michael comes up to me and says “Slow down Katy, this isn’t a commercial”. On commercials the script supervisor is timing everything with a stopwatch. You’ve got 30 seconds to tell the story so you had better be quick about it. The Music Box was my first theatrical (non-commercial) job. This direction from Michael was more than ‘the obvious’ for me. What I heard was not “Slow down Katy, this isn’t a commercial”. What I heard was “Take your time and don’t sell anything”. If you know anything about acting, you know how profound that direction is, “Take your time and don’t sell anything.” It’s a direction I still take to this day.
I think you only had one short scene with Melissa Sue Anderson. Most of your scenes were with Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim. How was your working relationship with Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim? Do you have any stories that you would like to share?
Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim did everything they could to make me feel comfortable, welcome and at home. Alison nicknamed me “Porky Pig on the Prairie”. They were, and are still, such sweet people. Melissa Sue Anderson was kind and professional. When I worked with her that one time, I remember her looking right into me with eyes that are bluer than mine. She seemed so much older than I. I was 11 and placed in this world that they had all been living in for about 4 years already. Still, they were all supportive and I could tell that they cared that I did well. It was like being a guest in their house, their Little House.
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Psychology and Candy Worked for Casting of Young Ingalls (The Dispatch, 1978) (About the casting of "I Remember")
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Video Clip Filmography
Little House on the Prairie - The Music Box (1977)
Very Good Friends (1977)
Little House on the Prairie - I Remember, I Remember (1978)
Fantasy Island - Family Reunion/Voodoo (1978)
The Awakening Land (1978)
When Every Day Was the Fourth of July (1978)
Child of Glass (1978)
The New Adventures of Heidi (1978)
Long Journey Back (1978)
How the West Was Won - The Scavengers (1979)
The Love Boat - Super Mom (1979)
Trapper John, M.D.
God Sex & Apple Pie (1998)
The Pool Boy (2001)
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