Pa's Beard

Pa’s beard has always been a huge bone of contention between TV show and book fans. Landon’s lack of a beard is almost always mentioned in early critiques of the show by book fans and I still hear mentioned on a regular basis today. Pa’s real beard was absolutely horrible and I have only seen one beard as ugly on a living person. I thought you might enjoy reading what they were saying about the beard at the time the TV show first came out.

Van Horn, Gail. “Walnut Grove residents celebrate fall TV show go-ahead.” Messenger Independent. 5 June 1974: 3B.

“An NBC press release notes, for those who know that Pa Ingalls always wore a full beard, illustrated by Garth Williams in Laura’s books, note that great pains were put into fitting Michael Landon with a beard, both of natural growth and by makeup artists. But it was decided that he just did not look good with any kind of facial hair. You may recall having seen Landon with a beard on one Bonanza show and so may know why the TV version of Pa will be beardless.”

Sarah S. Uthoff

Posted in Charles Ingalls (Pa), Television series -- Little House on the Prairie Tagged with: , ,
3 comments on “Pa's Beard
  1. MarcyT says:

    I remember…I was 10 years old. I sat on the floor in front of my tv, the music started and I saw the girls running down the hill. The wagon drew up and there sat Ma and…wait? who? that was not Pa sitting next to her! And I never felt he was Pa the entire series. I know some people felt I’m blaspheming, but as nice as he was, Michael Landon was never Pa. Pa had a beard, it was a big part of his identity and how Laura identified him. That lack of a beard ruined the show for me and as far as I was concerned, that show was never about MY Laura Ingalls and her family.

  2. Laura says:

    I also had problems with Pa’s lack of beard. When the series started straying more, I wrote to Ed Friendly about it. He answered the letter, but didn’t seem to be too worried about my concerns.

    I have come to realize that the show itself was a good one. I just have to separate it from My Laura.

  3. Kate says:

    His beard was indeed horrible….how funny that Ma and Laura were so very worried that Pa might have shaved it off for the minstrel show…. If only he had!!