Monday, 13 October 2014

An Enduring Love - No. 1

 This is the first of an occasional post about something that is probably quite trivial, but that means an incredible amount to me...as you can tell from the photograph, my first subject is 'Little House on the Prairie'!

I'm rapidly heading for 50...and yet this 1970's tv series still tugs my heartstrings like nothing else. First, a few provisos...I have all of Laura Ingalls Wilder's original books and adore those, too. I know that the tv series stopped being faithful to the books fairly early on...I am aware that many of the episodes (especially the later series) are formulaic, contrived...and overly sentimental. And, being a keen historian, I know very well that the 'golden life' portrayed is very far from the reality of growing up and living in 1870's pioneer America. I know all of that. And yet....and yet...
Much as I love Laura, Mary, Carrie and the other characters...for me, 'Little House' has really always been about Ma & Pa...
 It's a strange thing, because on the whole we had a very lovely childhood....we were lucky to have parents who loved each other and are still happily married. And yet, Caroline...
 & Charles Ingalls...
 represented absolute perfection in marriage & parenting to me back then!
 A lot of this is to do with the actors who portrayed them. Karen Grassle and Michael Landon had a brilliant chemistry....and Michael Landon, who was the driving force behind the whole concept, had an uncanny knack for pitching it just right...
 I sobbed buckets when he died so tragically early...BLOODY cancer again. I know that Charles cried a lot, pontificated a lot and was always eager for a fist fight. But he was decent, good, kind, worked so hard for his family...and he loved them all so much!
 Caroline was incredibly beautiful but also serene, gentle, brave...and she could be feisty when the occasion called for it!

Esther and I used to run home from school at full tilt every Thursday, when the show screened at 4.20pm (you see, I can even remember that!) And probably being one of 3 sisters meant that we all especially identified with the family...
 Just the other day, when my youngest sister Lucy was feeling under the weather, she sent me a text to say that she was curled up on her sofa watching an episode of 'Little House' (she is over 40...) and she's not the only one of my female friends and family who admit that, for them, this is one of their ultimate comforting indulgences. As for me...well, I can't exactly analyse why this series still warms my heart so much...and I'm not sure that I need to, really! I just know that when I see that little wagon roll across the screen in front of those rich, blue prairie skies and hear the horns that begin the iconic theme...
I feel like I'm enfolded in a gigantic hug!

Do you have a 'comfort' show like this? I'd love to know!

Happy week x

13 comments:

  1. Ahhhh Ray,
    I have very little to add to this as this is my little comfort as well. Just beautiful from start to finish. My other TV pleasure as you know is Quincy. I just can't go past an episode if it's on! everything is cheesy and formulaic from start to finish, but Jack Klugman is so brilliant and compelling and it's a real 'curl up' and watch, I guess my other is 'A touch of Frost' don't know why, I just love it oh and now I'm on a roll, 'As time goes by' cheesy too but divine!!! Thanks for getting me thinking as usual. love love love

    ReplyDelete
  2. My favorite comfort show? Rosemary & Thyme from the Uk although I live in Minnesota in the US! The beauty of the gardens, their cheerful personalities and the simple life they live strikes a strong cord in my heart. Love it!
    Carol Delmonico
    P.S, I can't figure out the "Comment as."

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is definitely one of my favorite "comfort shows," and just last week I reviewed Melissa Gilbert's new book, My Prairie Cookbook. Years ago I was lucky enough to interview Sidney Greenbush, one of the twins who played Carrie. That post remains the most visited one on my blog, a testament to the enduring power of the series.

    I also love "The Waltons," which though filmed in California took place in Virginia, and I was happy to visit Earl Hamner's family home in Schyler, VA, where there's also a museum full of interesting memorabilia.

    ReplyDelete
  4. HI Rachel, I can so relate to this post! I loved Little House growing up! And I too sobbed when Michael Landon passed away. It was like we lost a little piece of our childhood! Gosh I loved that show! But I have to put The Waltons at the top of my "comfort show" list! I can't go one episode without at least tearing up! I loved John & Olivia and all those kids, especially John Boy - the sentimental writer who always did the right thing ♥ I own all the seasons on DVD and every once in a while I have my own little marathon. It feels good to be corny once in a while! : ) xo

    ReplyDelete
  5. I adored the show. It touched my heart so many times and I cried when Michael Landon died. I also enjoyed the show DR. QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN as well as TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Rachel, my sweet grandmother and I used to watch this show together. It was her favorite because she said that was just how she was raised by loving parents in the Ozarks of Arkansas. It reminded her of dear days gone by. I think it was my favorite, too, because I saw how happy she was when we watched it. Like most of us reading a good book or watching a movie, we feel like we are right there in the story with them. Little House on the Prairie reminded her of her childhood home and her family. Grandma passed away in 1985 and when I watch this TV show now, I feel like she is sitting right there beside me, just like we used to do. I think that's pretty wonderful! ♥ Thank you for a beautiful post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is interesting, Rachel! I also think it is interesting, that the adage, "the grass is always greener somewhere else" tugs at the human heart, too! I loved the Little House books and watched the series as a child, too, and loved Dr. Quinn, as someone mentioned, but living in a mid American state for a few years (I won't mention, because I don't want to insult anyone) I have sadly, perhaps, maybe made wiser, had my eyes opened to the sad, hard reality of what life was like here and I cannot look at it the same. The reverberations are still seen and felt as I look around me. No, I think America "lost" something after the first wave of colonists, who brought with them such strong sense of faith, yet world related knowledge and education, and I am most grateful for having lived there and learned so much about that. So much else was sacrificed in the later American experience -- the world of the mind and history of the world and civilization -- that it stunted and dulled something in the American spirit. Unlike the early colonists, many of us have had to play catch up to learn the true roots of our ancestral heritage; the strength and wonders of Christianity in the 4th, 5th, 6th centuries, for example. I have made it a point to do so, but many have not, and that makes me sad. That's just my opinion and probably more than you wanted to hear!! On a lighter note: Our favorite "comfort" show is "Time Goes By" with Judi Dench. Just the whole back story of that is so heart warming. Two people finding each other after having been separated by circumstances beyond their control, yet reunited so many years later, and never having stopped loving one another. The English wit and accent so engaging. It is lovely. Again, "the grass is greener. . ." I guess. C. S. Lewis said we have a great longing for a land not yet visited. Maybe that is it. The English countryside and Ireland come closest to what I imagine that to be like. Thanks agin so much for your thoughts. Very interesting. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rachel, you have set me to pondering ... I'm several years older than you, but I loved Little House, too; never read the books, so cannot make comparisons. The Waltons was another series I enjoyed as well. Our TV is seldom on these days, but occasionally we'll catch episodes of the Andy Griffith Show and immediately be transported back in time with Opie, Barney, and Aunt Bea. Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver were a couple of favorites when I was growing up...and, of course, The Mickey Mouse Club!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon, it sounds like you and I are the same age! I watched all those same shows, as well. I loved Little House and The Waltons and watched them as an adult. Takes one back to a simpler time. Thanks for this post, Rachel! So sweet. xo....Karen

      Delete
  9. Hello Rachel, Can you believe I have never watched a single episode of Little House on the Prairie? I remember episodes playing on TV when I was a child, but I never tuned in. It doesn't help that I've never been a big TV watcher. Reading how heartwarming this show is to you has made me curious about it. The movie, Anne of Green Gables gives me that similar, cozy feeling. I've always loved Anne.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I liked this show too, and I also like the chemistry between them!
    I would say that "The Andy Griffith Show" along with "The Dick Van Dyke Show" was very special to me..Oh! and "I Love Lucy"! Oh, I have a lot of favorites...I loved "Bewitched" too! Loved all the Westerns too, "Bonanza" had Michael Landon as "Little Joe", that was a great one!
    Of course, I have to say that all the cartoons were special to me as a kid, "BUGS BUNNY"...I know all of them by heart!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I used to watch it when I was a child, but do not remember a single thing about it. Little anecdote: The house when I grew up was nicknamed by my family the little house in the prairie because it was so darn remote at the time. We were the first house in a neighbourhood that was then empty.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I was smiling through this entire posting. Yes, I too loved it and thrived on it just as I thrived on The Waltons. The magic was love. Period. Love.

    When I was given to a new editor at Random House I was worried that she wouldn't like my novels. NOT TO WORRY, she is a fan of Anne of Green Gables and the Little House series. Safe.

    Sending love to you and Paul, oh, and of course Alice.

    Sharon

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your thoughts....