Have you ever met Michael Landon?
Share your story of meeting him.
Our thanks to the following people for sharing their memories of meeting Michael Landon:
From Barbara P. T.
I met Michael Landon twice in 1965, when I was 17. After watching Bonanza since the first season, it would be a dream come true to meet ‘Little Joe’ in person. And my dream did come true, twice in one year. Fortunately, when I got home both times, I wrote every minute down.
Michael was appearing in Buffalo, New York, at a local TV station sponsoring the Variety Club Telethon on Feb. 7. I persuaded my parents to drive me from our home near Toronto, through snow and fog across the US border to Buffalo. The lines of people waiting to get into the studio to see Little Joe were huge. When I finally got into the studio, I was so disappointed. I did not see Michael anywhere. One official said he was resting. My mother told the official we had “driven all the way from Canada,” so he allowed us to stay in a corner waiting, as the hoards in the line were moved along and out the studio door. Finally, I saw a familiar man at the top of some stairs. I almost fainted. My mother hailed him over. Little Joe was standing in front of me as my mother introduced herself and me. It was the first time I had seen him in 'living color'. I melted as he shook my hand and said my name. He was tanned and so handsome. I asked him for his autograph but he explained that, because of the crowds, he was not supposed to give out autographs. Being so nervous, I dropped my pen. He bent down and picked it up for me. When I think of it later, Little Joe on bended knee in front of me!!!! My mother asked him if I could take his picture. I will never forget his words, "No, you cannot take a picture of me Mrs. Peeling, but you can take a picture of Barbara and me."
With that, I clamoured over a barrier separating us in my skirt, trying to be lady-like in front of this man who has held so many beautiful women. Then, I felt 'lifted' by strong arms, turned and there he was, helping me over the barrier and grinning. My mother was too nervous, so the official took our picture. Half crying by now, I put my arm around his waist and clutched his green jacket as the picture was taken. Now, 43 years later, it is my most treasured possession. I stayed in the studio as long as I could, taking pictures. I was peeved that girls were grabbing my hand and rubbing 'Mike' onto their palms, knowing I had shook his hand!! He smiled and winked at me several times. Finally, I said “thank you” for the last time and left. The crowds outside were horrendous by now and extra police had been called in.
However, little did I know at the time that picture would serve me well 8 months later.
I read in the newspaper that 'Little Joe' was appearing at the Canadian National Rodeo Championships in Toronto Oct. 3. From the stands, I saw a familiar figure get out of a car and enter a house trailer. Down I went from the stands, clutching my picture. A policeman stopped me in my tracks. I waved the picture in front of him and told him that Mr. Landon was a “personal friend.” He said "then go ahead." I could not believe I had said that, so determined and brave to get past the policeman and l knocked on the door of the trailer. A man answered and I asked if I could give my picture to Mr. Landon. He looked at it and said, "Hey Mike, look at this." There was Little Joe. He looked at the picture and invited me into the trailer. My mother, watching from the stands, told me she watched in stunned disbelief as I went into the trailer with Little Joe. This time I got his autograph. When I asked if I could take pictures, he said "sure" and put on his green jacket. He chatted away as I flicked. He was shivering and visibly cold in the chill of October. I felt I had known him forever. Finally, it was time for his performance and I was asked to go back to the stands by the man who had let me in. Well, I sort of. I waited amidst all the rodeo horses and took more pictures as he mounted his. The brown horse was skittish, not Cochise, so I stayed well back so that Mike and horse would not be distracted by me. He was listening for the Bonanza theme song to be played, his cue to ride into the arena.
Once in the arena, he rolled from the horse onto the ground and fired his gun 3 times. Songs with the accompanying group the Sons of the Pioneers and chatter about "my brother Hoss" prevailed. The sky was overcast with spits of rain. However, when he sang 'I Believe', a sunbeam fell directly on him, like a spotlight. No other place. Just on him. I will never forget that sight. After he rode around the arena, touching outstretched fingertips and shaking hands, he returned to the trailer. So, did I. I got more pictures of him leaving the trailer. By now, everyone emptied the stands and were out there, waiting for him. The hoards of people were grabbing his hand and shoulders. The lone policeman had a difficult time keeping the crowds in control. He got into the same car he came in. The car swung around the exterior of the arena and was coming toward me, picking up speed. I knew it was going too fast to get a picture, but thought I would try. Imagine my shock, when the car stopped directly in front of me. As Mike waved, I took my picture as he looked directly into my camera, then picked up speed and left the arena. That was the last time I ever saw him in person.
I will never forget those two days. I
am now 61 and the memories are as clear as they were 43 years ago. I was so
lucky. Michael was so gracious and kind to me. I felt very special, even though
I was just a teenage fan. I will never forget him. Ever.
From Pat G.
It was 1984 and Michael was premiering Sam's Son here at my local theater. I knew I had to be there, since I had loved the man for a quarter of a century. Thank goodness I had my friend go with me. I was so out of it that day, I didn't think to bring my camera or anything. When he came out of the theater, my heart was beating so fast and I was so giddy, like a school girl with a mad crush, I am surprised I stayed upright. I quickly elbowed my friend for paper and a pen and proceeded to get Mike's autograph. Luckily, my friend took pictures, as I was brain dead through the whole experience. I couldn't tell you now if I said anything or if he said anything, but I do remember the smile.
It certainly was one of the highlights of my life. I have never stopped admiring him and everything he did with his life. He's always been an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others.
From Sherry Wagner:
In Sonora, California, where my parents were living and I was visiting them for the summer of 1979 (I lived in Kent, Ohio), I had the opportunity to attend a baseball game at the Sonora High School, being played by members of the cast on Little House on the Prairie and the California Highway Patrol. As I was standing with my younger brother (16) and my 8 month old daughter (in her stroller), outside of the roped area watching the game, Mathew (the actor who played the part of Albert) walked over to the concession stand for refreshments with a couple of other boy actors from the TV series. While Mathew was at the concession stand I heard some commotion and there were several young teenage girls trying to get Mathew's autograph. Mathew tried getting away from the mob of girls by walking briskly towards the roped area, in his hurried process Mathew accidentally bumped into me almost knocking me over my baby daughter's stroller. Mathew and my brother grabbed me preventing me from the fall. Mathew apologized for bumping into me and I told him "Hurry up get back in the roped off area".
Michael Landon and Victor French came over to meet up with Mathew. Michael asked Mathew what was wrong and if he was alright. Of course Mathew was upset because of the mob of girls and he only wanted to buy some snacks and a drink at the concession stand. Mathew explained also to Michael how he bumped into me in his process of hurrying away from the girls. Michael Landon looked at me and said "Are you all right Ma'am?" I said to him in return "I may never wash my left shoulder again, where Mathew bumped me, but I'm fine". Michael and Victor both laughed at what I said and Victor gave me a thumbs up sign.
That little event of actually experiencing a human event with Mathew, Michael, and Victor meant more to me than any autograph they could of ever signed. I'm actually glad Mathew bumped me at that baseball game. I felt sorry for him with that mob of girls after him, but to have had the opportunity to make Michael Landon and Victor French laugh was the greatest.
Another day back in the summer of 1979, my mother was in Standard Junction's Post Office (just outside of Sonora, California) when she noticed across the street at the Train Station that the crew and actors from Little House were filming a scene. She called me at home and told me come down to Standard Junction, which I did. We both stood in front of the Post Office and watched the filming at the Train Station for awhile. It was so unique and I saw just about everyone in the cast of the series, Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, and so on.
From Terry Pavlacka:
Like so many others, I grew up watching Bonanza. My father died when I was six years old and watching the show gave me a feeling of having a dad and brothers. I especially loved Michael Landon. When I was 25 years old, my husband and I went to visit my in-laws who had just moved to Simi Valley, California. They knew how much I loved Michael and they told me they knew where he was filming Little House on the Prairie. My father-in-law took my husband, myself and my 9 month old baby through the mountains. We passed signs that read "no trespassing" but we kept on - my heart beating the entire way. (In retrospect, I could never do that now.) We finally arrived at the set. My husband and I got out of the car and went right on to the set. No one paid any attention to us and I could not believe where or what I was doing. I approached Michael and asked him if I could get a picture taken with him. He very politely said "sure". My husband snapped the picture and away I went - never to be the same. I have the picture of myself and Michael taken 30 years ago hanging on my wall and I will never forget that moment. He could have yelled at me for coming on the set or he could have had someone remove me but he did neither. He was a great person!
From Jane of Tampa, Florida:
When I was about nine or ten years old, I lived in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee area. Every year, along side of a national telethon, a local telethon was held in Bristol, Tennessee. Every year, they managed to find a big star to help support the telethon. In our home, Sunday night was a big night, as Bonanza would be on our black and white TV, and we would all sit and watch the show. I don't believe we ever missed an episode. That year, Michael Landon was to be the Big Star. My Mother was so excited, so we all got in our old Buick and drove the 20 miles to Bristol. We were not allowed to ask for autographs. We could only file through and drop our money in a big glass box, and shake hands with Mr. Landon, and walk on through the room. As I walked up and dropped my dollar into the box, I looked up at Mr. Landon, and could not manage to speak. He smiled, winked, shook my hand, and said you have a nice day, thank you. I remember walking away looking back toward him, still unable to speak, or turn my head back around. I refused to wash my hand and showed it to anyone who would stand still and listen. If I close my eyes, I can still see that smile, his eyes, that wink, and feel him shake my hand. I am 56 now.
Everything Mr. Landon touched was clean and
wholesome and wonderful. It is and was an honor to have met him.
From Reverend Yvonne Dugay:
Years ago, when we were stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, my son, husband, mother-in-law and I went to visit the set where Mr. Landon was filming Father Murphy. There he was, with his brilliant smile. My mother-in-law kept calling out his name, trying to get his picture. She must have called him 5 or 6 times. Each time Mr. Landon turned toward her and flashed his smile. He was very patient. Then, out of the clear blue sky, my son, Jason, who was about 6 at the time, shouted out very very loud, "Look Mom, the man from Kodak!" He pointed to Mr. Landon. Mr. Landon laughed really hard and walked over to us. He ruffled Jason's hair and said, "Well, at least I'm known for something!" He then walked back to his work. At that time, Mr. Landon was shooting commercials for the Kodak company.
From Dave Gadberry:
My son Scott tells the story of meeting Michael while out walking his dog one morning. We lived in Burbank, and he walked down past the NBC Studios. Just as Scott and Gus, his dog, started to walk past the driveway to the parking lot, a limo pulled up and sort of startled Scott and Gus. The limo stopped and out came Michael to see if everything was okay, and spent quite a while talking to Scott and Gus. According to Scott, Michael was a really nice person, to take the time to do that.
From Karl Hegman:
I met Michael Landon in ballpark, 1988 or 1989 here in Houston at a convention, a TV convention where people were selling shows and new TV series looking to get financial backing from buyers and investors. A lot of TV personalities were there including Geraldo Rivera and Michael.
I saw him talking to someone, and when he turned his back from them after finishing, I figured it wouldn't hurt to go and say hi, even if he blew me off and told me to beat it, which is what I fully expected him to. I approached him, extended my hand to shake his and he gave me a firm handshake, and then I told him I was a fan of his and that I used to box myself, and that I always admired his fight scenes in Bonanza. I told him that he would have made a real good professional prizefighter and that I also knew he had made a boxing movie and sparred with former world lightweight challenger, Cisco Andrade. He gave me a big smile and said, "That is just about the best compliment I ever got! What's your name?" I told him he looked great and that he was in better shape than any of those real young guys in Hollywood, and he told me that he trained hard everyday and tried to eat right. I guess it was his assistant then who told him to come and meet somebody, so he gave me another handshake, looked me directly in the eye and said, "It was nice meeting you Karl."
He was without a doubt the nicest big name celebrity I have ever had the real pleasure of meeting and spending a brief minute or two with.
From Toni M.:
I “met” Michael Landon in Columbus, Ohio at the All American Youth Horse show in early 1970's. Not sure of the exact year. I was showing my horses at this show and he was a guest attraction. This would have been in his "Little Joe" days. He rode a paint horse around the arena, greeting all. My friend and I were standing along the rail as he rode by and he patted me on the head. I have an 8x10 photo of him on the horse at this show. I was so thrilled to be so close to him! I loved him in Bonanza and Highway to Heaven, but his Little House years were the best.
From Mieke Berlin (In honor of Adelaide):
I met Michael Landon, two years before he died, 1989, one night backstage of THE TONIGHT SHOW - he was one Carson's favorite guests. I was such a dork. He walked up to me to be introduced and all I could say was, and in a loud voice full of love, “PA!” I hugged him while admitting to my total gooberness at not being able to keep my cool in his presence. He was charming and kind. He laughed that Pa laugh and said he was used to it from women my age. He was tall and handsome - with a gorgeous head of hair.
I was crushed when he died - it all happened so fast.
That is my Michael Landon story.
I have not met Michael Landon, but my father-in-law did and told me about the experience. It was in the mid-sixties when ML was quite popular as Little Joe, and he would tour the country as his LJ character, appearing frequently in rodeos, especially for charitable causes. My FIL was a fireman at the time, and was on duty during a charity rodeo in the Midwest for firefighters. ML came around and shook everyone's hand, and expressed how he had always admired firefighters and police officers for their bravery. At that, my FIL, ever the kidder, said, "Well, most people think we're pretty stupid." ML replied, "Really? Why is that?" And my FIL said, "Because most people run out of burning buildings -- we run into them!" ML laughed at that.
Later, as ML was preparing to leave, there was a young girl in a wheelchair who had not had a chance to meet him, and was crying that she had missed out. Though ML's handlers were pressing him to leave because he had to catch a plane, he insisted on staying and pushing this little girl around in her wheelchair for over an hour, introducing her to several of the performers and firefighters. He missed his plane.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like a pretty corny story, but my father-in-law swears it is absolutely true and said that ML was one of the nicest people he had ever met.
Some links to stories of meeting Michael that were found online (no guarantees how long the links will be good for):
Michael entertaining a small tyke by talking in a funny Donald Duck voice
Getting an autograph from Michael
Chatting with Little Joe
Sampling a cookie with Michael
Michael runs a red light
Having a bit part in Sam's Son
Interviewing Michael over the years .... to having to stake out his home in 1991
Old Tucson (AZ) western set (scroll down to post # 17)
Hanging out at a L.A. Rams game [Note: I think the person might be talking about the race at the end of The Loneliest Runner]
The Sons of the Pioneers
Meeting Little Joe in St. Louis
A brief chat with Michael in an elevator (scroll down to Ellie's comment)
Michael's visit to Pleasure Island
Michael renting Disneyland for a night
Meeting Michael at a celebrity tennis tournament (scroll down to Tiffany's July 12th comment)
Meeting Michael at a festival (scroll down to Penny's comment)
Meeting Michael at a Livestock Show
Meeting Michael as a youngster (scroll down to post # 10 by Adam13)
Meeting Michael on a beach (scroll down to post # 137 by transtamper)
A kiss on the cheek from Michael at a rodeo (scroll down to DianneMaire's post)
Seeing Michael at a rodeo in 1967 (go to Janelle's post)
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