‘Little House on the Prairie’: The One Time Melissa Gilbert Rendered Michael Landon ‘Speechless’

The young actress played by Laura Ingalls Toilet on the Moor, Melissa Gilbert had a special connection with Michael Landon, the actor played by Charles Ingalls. Gilbert cared deeply about making Landon proud, and Landon treated Gilbert as a real girl both on and off screen. In her memoir, Gilbert writes about the one time she made Landon speechless (an act that was utterly impossible).

Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert
Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert Frank Carroll / NBCU Photo Bank

Melissa Gilbert’s performance as Helen Keller in ‘The Miracle Worker’

After Gilbert was on Toilet on the Prairie for a few seasons, her mother wanted her to move into more dramatic careers. So The Miracle Worker it came into being. After a grueling prediction process, and running as a play to work out the kinks, The Miracle Worker filming began.

“We used the same team from Toilet, the only exterior in Simi Valley, and by then we had moved to MGM from Paramount and fired on the inside for The Miracle Worker there, ”Gilbert wrote the memoir. “I felt surrounded by family, comfortable and safe. Mike even visited the set a couple of times. ”

Then Gilbert turned around and saw Landon, “who had tears streaming down his face. ”

“I jumped into his arms and he let me squeeze until I seemed to melt into his chest,” she wrote. He said, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.’ It was hard to give him speechless, but I was done. “

For a while, Gilbert thought The Miracle Worker “apex of [her] role. ”

“I thought the sky was the lowest,” she said. “I didn’t think acting could get better. ”

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