Michael Landon: Sent to us from Heaven?

MIchael Landon
MIchael Landon | Source
Landon in Ponderosa
Landon in Ponderosa | Source
Source

A Homage to Michael Landon

My fellow Hubber’s refer to Michael Landon over and over in our correspondence. Eventually it occurred to me that my writing was the kind of thing that would appeal to anyone who loved Little House on the Prairie series. I was probably its biggest fan with its emphasis on family values. Each and every episode seems to tug at my heartstrings.

It is the creative genius of Michael Landon that made it all happen, of course. Michael was multi-talented: singer, actor, writer, director, and producer. He never failed to become a best friend with all those around him, often taking them into his home and treating them like family.

Family Values Abound

It could be that Michael learned much about family values when he appeared in the Bonanza series. He was one of the three sons. Yep--it was a story about a father and his sons. That was pretty much it. The stories took place well after the father had acquired his fortune. He wielded power, fame, and fortune and the sons shared in the limelight. Michael soon became involved in writing and directing some of the episodes and most would agree that these were always the better episodes. Michael was beginning to blossom with his emotional stories that tugged at the heart.

It was no surprise, as we look back, that Michael pitched the idea “Little House on the Prairie” and made it his own creation. This series features a husband and wife raising their two daughters. Four characters were featured as in the Bonanza series and having a wife could add more dimensions to the scripts. Gone was the power of the family that was featured in Bonanza and we find it replaced with the struggle to make ends meet and survive in the wilderness. One could say that it was much like Bonanza if it had taken place about ten years earlier.

Having children featured into the stories rather than older teens and young adults gives the scripts something meatier to grab onto. There can be problems with the bully at school, competition with the brat, problems learning, and just about anything.

With the new format, the father has an opportunity to teach his children lessons in morals. Not having money to solve problems can tug at the heartstrings too. Yes, Michael had found his creative niche here and it could be argued that he was an angel from heaven sent to teach us the great moral lessons.

My Personal Story

In my youth, I was at a YMCA teen dance and Michael Landon and his wife dropped in and made an unscheduled appearance. There was no question that he was a star. He had a presence that electrified the air. He kept his wife close at this side and it was obvious they were in love. He did little more that say a few words and wave goodbye, but it left an impression to this day. I had seen greatness first hand.

Two Angels Were Sent From Heaven

This was Michael in Every Way
This was Michael in Every Way | Source

RJ' Peek at Heaven

"Highway to Heaven" was Michael in Every Way

He went on to produce a number of series, most notably, Highway to Heaven. This was the next step, two angels sent to redeem themselves by doing good deeds. Family values and lessons in morals could abound without being subtle. Michael owned this series outright. This was Michael in every respect.

We do know he was not a perfect individual and often drank Vodka and had tantrums on the set. I see that weakness as the price one pays for stardom—the pressures of meeting deadlines, keeping everything afloat, knowing that the success or failure of everyone hangs entirely upon you. That is a minor transgression, indeed when one can see the legacy he has left behind for all of us to see.

Life without "LIttle House?"

Imagine that you had two sons and hoped they would turn out to be forthright individuals.

If you left one to enjoy the Little House episodes and the other to watch music videos on a daily basis for many years, which one is likely to turn out the better son?

I learned from Michael

I am pretty much the person I am today because of this series. I remember a moment in my life that may have been influenced by the series. I had just graduated from college with an art degree. I was determined to be involved in art all my life. I was on the phone and the personnel director said I could have one of two jobs: art teacher or special ed. I had five seconds to give my answer and suddenly I saw a new path before me. “I’ll take the special ed. position, please.”

“Thank you Reynold—you have the job.”

I taught for thirty three years and never regretted a moment of that decision. I think there was an angel on my shoulder.

A Moment of Reflection...

Now I can stand back and look at my novels. Am I influenced by Mr. Landon? In my premise “Seeds from Heaven” a family is sent from heaven to save the world. A grandfather, father, and son and daughter make up the four seeds. God has not told them who they are. They believe that they are everyday ordinary people. They live their lives slowly discovering who they are and find themselves battling evil at every turn. Sometimes it is something small, like how do I teach these children?” Other times it is far reaching and extends to battling evil empires that threaten to engulf the world.

Well now, this does sound like something Michael would cook up. I guess a little of Michael shows up in my writing. Those little moral lessons he loved so much appear on every page.

His legacy will live on through others and I’m proud to be a small part of it.

~*~

Try reading the entire novel Lean against the Wind available at Amazon.

Look over Signed novels by Reynold Jay.

Michael Landon at Wikipedia

Join the Michael Landon Fan Club

Seeds from Heaven

Michael Landon tribute with music: "The day before you came..."

Seeds from Heaven

More by this Author


Comments 67 comments

DIY Backlinks profile image

DIY Backlinks 5 years ago

Nice hub, he was a great actor!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Reynold Jay: Michael was one of the few, maybe the only actor I appreciated. Actor,director,producer you could see his love for man in all his work.

I also appreciate the work of Ron Howard,aka. Opie who has done much to make the industry look at family values.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Yes, Ron Howard carries the same compassion in all his work too. We might wish to add Clint Eastwood to the list. What do all 3 have in common? They were actors all their lives, and as they matured, we can sense their "voice" in their work. All began as actors and being masters of storytelling, became some of the great storytellers of our our time. "Humble Gentle, Humanity" is found in all their later works. No special effects are required for these artists.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

Another talented soul that leaves an impact on those who followed his work. Michael Landon lives on in his films never to be forgotten.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Diana--It is difficult to believe that it has been two decades since he passed on... 1991.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Little house was on when my children were growing up. I think my daughter was especially attracted to it. Probably an age thing.I've been watching some old Rawhide episodes and I agree that Eastwood was an outstanding actor even then. Odd that he had trouble getting work afterward, if the news I had read was correct. The reason he went outside the US was that he could sell himself as a foreign actor after that.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Yep--he did have trouble getting work, and did "A Fistful of Dollars" in Spain. From there he became a megastar. Rawhide wasn't that much of a TV series and his role in it wasn't anything that would make him a star. He was nearly a bit player in that the series wasn't that popular. In fact, the series has not been on cable at all as far as I know.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

It must have had some popularity as I believe it lasted eight years.I'm watching it now om MeTV. I didn't see it much at the time because I was in college and didn't have the time. After that I probably didn't have access to a tv.He played the ramrod on the trail drive and sometimes the trail boss.Watching it now I thinks it was a good show with many good actors. It also had guest stars. Maybe it is me, I loved the 1960's tv westerns. Rawhide did compete with Wagon Train which was similar in a way.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

When Little House on The Prarie was on, I was at the age when you thought all that kind of programme was sentimental drivel. I was wrong. The strong sense of moral value that was conveyed, and the great characters, enhanced my life, but I didn't realise it until years later.

Thanks Reynold.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Christopher, I am much like you and did not really know my values were forming either. Writing this HUB brought it into focus like never before. This is why we write; we discover ourselves when we let it all out and give it a little reflection. Universal themes could never be considered to be senitmental drivel by those with moral compasses.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

Thanks for the memories, everybody! This was a great tribute, ReyJay, to somebody I admired in the industry from early on. Bonanza was a bonanza for its day, and whether one liked Rawhide or not, it, too, had its claim to fame. I liked Rawhide better than Wagon Train, but I remember both. I think Cactus Flower might have been the movie that sent me over the edge to stay in love w/Clint. May have wrong movie. Oh, well, he's done so many, and I've absolutely loved 'em all! He just gets better! Like you, I was stunned when you mentioned ML's death had been 20 yrs! Yikes! He, too, got better and better. Little House was my sister's fave show (she's a bit younger), but I watched it quite a bit and did love the way humanity worked in it!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I'm going to search for Rawhide and view these ASAP. If it ran for 8 seasons, it had to be a hit. I really have not seen an eposide in twenty years or so. Sometimes a second look is needed and I suspect I should not have dismissed it so readily.


Cookinmom11 profile image

Cookinmom11 5 years ago from Saint George, Georgia

I grew up with Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons. Our household held many, if not all, of the same values those shows portrayed, and I identified with those kids (especially Laura Ingalls).

Now, I think it was amazing how Michael Landon was able to take the characters, the time, the place, and some of the incidents in the real Laura's books, and fill in the blanks with a weekly TV series. He was a genius. :)


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

An there is a little Angel in you too with that "Angel food cake from scratch" recipe! I loved the Walton's too.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

Hey, RJ, haven't you ever picked up a book and couldn't get into it and put it away and then tried it again years later and thought it seemed familiar and it really grabbed you? Well, Rawhide, may not "grab you" but it may remind you of the old western series (lots) besides Bonanza. I always liked the one w/Matt D and "Miss Kitty" --yikes--a senior moment! No names come to mind!


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Loved Little House on the Prairie. Michael Landon was truly an inspiring actor.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Teylina_ My hobby is collecting B westerns. I gott'm all! The GUNSMOKE series arguably is the best TV series of all time. They hold up today by any standard, and being a writer, I go absolutely ballistic on many of the early scripts. All these early westerns serve as a wealth of ideas for my novels as the scripts are broken down into the absolute barest of plots. They may have been "B-westerns" however the stories and acting hold up well. "Encore West" a cable option runs weterns 24 hours a day and keeps me busy when I'm not HUBBING.

I may write a HUB about "Watching TV and learning how to write!"

Gypsy Rose-- Little house is a good place to learn how to write compasionate stories. Landon showed us the way.


angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 5 years ago

Hi! Reynold Beautiful Hub.I remember Ponderosa and Little House on the Prairie, Michael Landon was a great actor. Angie


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Thanks Angie, for the comment this morning. Much appreciated.


Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

Thanks for reminding me it was Gunsmoke: I just seem to remember a lot of great one-liners along w/the great personification of those on it! Back to Landon: he 'was' compassion--on and off screen in many ways.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

James Arness playing Matt Dillion had a great one liner. "I woke up mean today and tomorrow I'm gonna wake up meaner, don't make me come back!"


Teylina profile image

Teylina 5 years ago

Love it! May 'borrow' it for me! Personal use phrase "I got up this morning w/one nerve left, and you're fixin' to step on it." The line you quote from Arness could be put to a lot of those good ole guys--hey, from Eastwood (w/his own, of course) to Big John Wayne--even a few lesser known; sounds like a good Western phrase. Wonder if WillStarr could 'borrow'?? Glad you put it out there!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Thank you for a wonderful tribute to a fantastic actor. I was such a fan and I still am a fan of his. From Bonanza to Highway to Heaven I couldn't get enough of this beautiful soul. Thanks again :)


Rachelle Williams profile image

Rachelle Williams 5 years ago from Tempe, AZ

Indeed, Michael Landon was a great actor and he seemed like a wonderful human being.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Teylina--I'd bet Will could write a novelette around the single phrase if he wanted!

Sunshine and Rachelle--Yep we all love Michael. Thank you for taking time to make a comment. The three of you made my day!


joejagodensky profile image

joejagodensky 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Beautifully done. Don't forget about Hop Sing or there would have been no supper on Bonanza!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hey!! I did forget about him! Shame on me as he was quite a character and I remember at least one episode was written around him too.


Gerber Ink profile image

Gerber Ink 5 years ago from upstate New York

Great tribute to a wonderful man! I grew up watching him on Ponderosa and then Little House. (I envy that you got to meet him in person!). My children watch the re-runs and enjoy our own little farm here in upstate NY. Keep up the great work!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Thanks for stopping by.


jenubouka 5 years ago

Wow blast from the past, I miss highway to heaven, great info on an american hero. Thank you for the link..Up and yup


jenubouka 5 years ago

Wow blast from the past, I miss highway to heaven, great info on an american hero. Thank you for the link..Up and yup


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I thought you might enjoy this.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

I already posted on this hub but I'm back again because I REALLY, REALLY LOVE Michael Landon. He's gone but NEVER forgotten. Thank you SO MUCH for this AWESOME HUB!!! :)


dianne anglin profile image

dianne anglin 5 years ago

love him, good story


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

That's really cool and I come back here all the time too! Wait a minute--I run this HUB and gotta come back. I got something new for you to do. Check out Ben and Quantum Leap . If you read it already, that's OK. I added Ben's favorite song at the top from U-Tube and it s worth going there for the song and discover IK, a Hawian vocalist. In the final notes, you get to see his funeral and the spreading of his ashes upon the waters.


Just Pez profile image

Just Pez 5 years ago from Portland, OR

You're right, I did enjoy this article very much. I remember my grandparents watching "Highway to Heaven" regularly and I often spent those evenings with them. There was something about those shows that were not only compelling, but tugged on the angel over your shoulder who made me better, even when the devil on the other was making a good argument. A man worthy of tribute. Have you considered adding links to purchase your novels?


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I told ya so! Hey I would not mislead a rightous gal like you. The links are there and, in case someone misses it, I have it in my profile. All this effort has led to near zilch sales as the numbers at HUB are tiny compared to the jiggillion hits we so often hear about. Go ahead and see the layout at Amazon by clicking on the link if you wish. It's impressive with the reviews etc. Thanks for your comments.


inko profile image

inko 5 years ago from Japan

Wow. this is really good :) I'm embarrassed to say that I actually ddnt know much about Michael Landon before this. Which probably has something to do with me being born in 1993... haha But thank u for this, somehow I feel smarter knowing about this man.


reynold jay 5 years ago

What? Never heard of him? When you find time to watch some of the old episodes on cable, you'll discover a wonderful world being presented for you.


Susan Verre 4 years ago

Michael Landon

I Love You Really Really I Wish Our Heart Touched ToGhter Always Very Soon Love Susan Verre. Angel.


Susan Verre 4 years ago

Michael Landon

You Are My Angel I Wish Our Heart Touched Toghter OF US

I Had A Wonderful Dream ABout yOU And Susan Verre My Love


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 4 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Thank you Susan for 2 comments. You sound like an angel too.


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

You are right about,Michael Landon. You did another great job. He did some of the most memorable shows. I voted up.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 4 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I'm very likely his biggest fan ever. Thank you for the visit and comment


Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi RJ

My grade four teacher use to read us a chapter from Little House in the Prairie every afternoon.

I had a dream where Michael Landon appeared. He had a big beautiful smile and I woke up with such a sense of peace.

Voted up and awesome.

I hope you are doing well.

Have a good day. :)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

I always loved Michael. Joan Rivers put him down before he got sick talking about his Christianity and I think she will one day answer for that if she hasn't already, unless she asked forgiveness which I doubt would even occur to her to do. I just know it hurt me to hear any bad about him, especially the one great thing about him; his principles and high standards in writing subject matter. ^


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 3 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Sue, Just now see that you stopped in some time ago. Thank you--that must have been a wonderful dream.

Jackie--Shame on Joan Rivers. It is difficult for me to imagine a put-down like that. Certainly, few would ever want to be much like Joan Rivers. If only we could have m0re people like Michael the world would be a very different place. We could use world leaders with his values. Oh-oh, now that I think of it, my Watchdogg character is pretty much like Michael Landon. RJ


JESSIE HEUER 3 years ago

Michael Landon has touched my heart for years. He's my favorite actor of all time. The most beautiful soul, beautiful face, to ever grace the TV screen. He was and is an angel from Heaven. I love you Michael.

www.mikelandonfanclub.com


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 3 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I'll look up your web site, Jessie. I imagine we are Michael's two biggest fans. I'm watching Bonanza as I write this note. Thank you for your comment.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 3 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Jessie, I can run a link to your web site from this HUB. Please reciprocate as this HUB would fit in nicely with your web site. I LOVED IT! RJ


Susan Verre 2 years ago

Michael landon you are my angel I miss you a lot I will pray for you love Susan


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Susan,

He was an angel for all of us. Thank you for the comment.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

Hello Mr. Jay!

Beautifully written tribute to a wonderful actor! I grew up with Little House too. And I love that show. I tried to emulate Laura while I grew up. I still can find this series run today, when I am lucky enough to find it on when I am home. The Waltons was another great family show with family values. I look forward to reading more of your work.

May the Angels always enlighten and bring you creativity. Up, shared.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

I'm married to Jo for nearly 50 years. I'm working on an 8 part children's series that (of course) will instill values. Thank you.


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

Yes my friend, Michael and others like him, added something wonderful to all of our lives. Thank you for sharing this nice tribute.whonu


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Thank you for your kind comment.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Jay, this is a very touching tribute to Michael. He was familiar to me on Bonanza. I loved him then, and still love him through the Love Comes Softly movies that he directed. Happy for you that you met this star and was influenced by him. Great job!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Thank you Dora. I need to search for those movies!!!!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

He is my favorite actor. Wow...High Way to Heaven...thanks to remind me about my favorite American television drama series when I was kid. I like it very much. Thanks for writing and beautiful tribute to Michael London. Voted up!

Prasetio


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 2 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Hi Prasetio, Thank you your praise today. Now I must see what you are writing today.


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 19 months ago from Florida

Hi,

I loved Michael Landon in his movies and everything he directed. His son Michael Landon Jr, is a wonderful director like his father.

Little House was a show I never missed as it was one of my favorites.

A great tribute to Michael and his work. I still miss him---and I watch Bonanza when I slow down---and it is still special with family values and true family love.

Bobbi Purvis

I will share this with Twitter, G+ and pin on my Re-pin board on Pinterest.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 19 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Than you Bobbi. Family values are what it is about for the two of us. I'll be writing you about what you are doing for my HUBS!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas

What a wonderful tribute to Michael Landon! I remember Bonanza well, and saw a few episodes of Little House On the Prairie, but when I was growing up we could only get one channel on our TV -- living on a farm out in the sticks. So we had to watch whatever CBS put in front of us when we weren't doing chores. Voted up!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 17 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

I loved every episode of Little House On the Prairie and Bonanza. I only have to hear the music that was played at the start of both TV series and immediately I associate the human values that they represented. Honor,respect and be discerning at all times.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 17 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

u fait and Nadine May...Nadine and I can recommend those Little House on the Prairie episodes for you during a dull moment. You did miss out, hover it is good you turned out just fine without them. Thank you both RJ


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 13 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i love little house on the prairie, had been watching since I was in kindy


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 13 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan Author

Great...You can easily understand what all the kind words are all about. Thank you Peach!

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