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Michael Landon night on NBC

Michael Landon night on NBC

Dec. 15, 1976: Actor, writer, director, producer Michael Landon takes break during filming of “Little House on the Prairie” to read script.

This photo was published in the Dec. 20, 1976, Los Angeles Times. That night NBC broadcasted two 90-minute programs produced and directed by Michael Landon.

Times Television Critic Cecil Smith reported:

NBC has designed tonight as Michael Landon Night in honor of the star performer who, in the oldest tradition of the theater, is also a gifted writer, director and producer. The network has reason to do him honor. Landon is providing its total prime-time product tonight.

First, Landon directed and produced a special 90-minute edition of Little House on the Prairie, the series in which he stars as Charles Ingalls, head of the pioneer Ingalls family made famous in the children’s books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the episode (Channel 4 at 8) Burl Ives plays a blind man who saves the life of Ingalls.

Following is a remarkable TV movie that Landon has finally been permitted to make after more than five years of trying. It’s “The Loneliest Runner,” starring Lance Kerwin, Brian Keith and DeAnn Mears.

It’s about bed-wetting. Landon not only wrote, produced and directed it: he lived it.

The film is an achingly sensitive probing of a kid’s feelings of guilt, humiliation and despair. This is no little kid: it’s a boy moving into his teens who still wets the bed at night. Landon says millions of kids are similarly afflicted in this country. …

“The Loneliest Runner” was nominated for two Emmy awards.

For more on Landon, check out his Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk page: Michael Landon.

Dec. 15, 1976: Actor Michael Landon on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.”

Dec. 15, 1976: Actor Michael Landon on the set of “Little House on the Prairie.” Credit: Robert Lachman/Los Angeles Times

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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1 Comment

  1. September 2, 2015, 8:20 am

    I remember watching "The Loneliness of the Lone Distance Runner" as a kid when it originally aired. I didn't recall that Mr. Landon directed it…

    …but I remember it to this day.

    By: Finny1626

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