More on "The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder"

There has been a bit of discussion in the comments of this post regarding the Pa’s Fiddle pledge drive, the release of Dean Butler’s “Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder” documentary, and the fact that $275 is a lot of money to spend if you simply want the Laura documentary DVD (especially if you don’t watch PBS [Public Broadcasting System]). If you haven’t, I encourage you to read all the comments; there is some good information there.

To underscore a few of the most important points:

  1. The $275 bundle with everything is only the top level. Usually there are several versions of the bundle at different price ranges, and we don’t know what those are yet.
  2. Money given to PBS is a tax-deductible donation.
  3. This is just the first way the things in the bundle are being offered.

It’s true; $275 is indeed a heck of a lot of money. But we might want to look at the big picture . This pledge drive special is a good thing for the Laura Ingalls Wilder community. There is no way it will do anything but generate interest for her. This interest will, in turn, trickle down to the homesites and to groups like the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association — the only group that promotes Laura-related research and hosts events like LauraPalooza to showcase it, and also hosts this blog. (LIWLRA was actually created because even 75 years after her books began to be published avenues for Laura-related research simply did not exist. Isn’t that crazy?)

Yes, Dean’s DVD is a wonderful production, and we all want to own it. But it’s worth considering that his projects have taken a lot of his personal capital. One can’t expect him not to recoup that if he can. Moreover, we would not have his quality Little House work if he did not care about the product. Registrants of the last LauraPalooza were lucky enough to see the documentary, and to his credit, he edited it afterwards to address the audience’s concerns. He didn’t have to invest that time, or that money.

The fact is, after investigating different methods of getting this documentary out there for three years, this was the best avenue he could find. Heck, if it wasn’t for this PBS-related release, it might have been a lot longer before it was released in any form at all. Or, worst of all, it might never have been released for sale to the public; many documentaries aren’t.

If you can’t or won’t be pledging to get it, don’t despair! As time goes on, it’s highly likely you will be able to obtain it another way. The biggest implication of the pledge drive is that the people who are willing to pledge will be the pioneers and will get it first.

The best thing we can do, as ambassadors of Laura, is to spread the word about the pledge drive. Contact our local stations to make sure they run it, whether we plan on pledging or not. Pledge if we can. And if we can’t, we can wait patiently until the DVD is ready for individual sale. I haven’t been told that will happen, but I’m comfortable in saying that it seems like something that would logically follow.

I know this is disappointing to some, especially in these economic times. Perhaps Laura herself said it best. Remember the sage/onion fight in the beginning of The Long Winter? Laura first retold that story in The Missouri Ruralist. After relating how in the end how Pa didn’t even get the goose, she said:

“This little happening has helped me to be properly thankful even tho at times the seasoning of my blessings has not been just such as I would have chosen.”

Posted in Dean Butler's Legacy Documentaries, Laura's Legacy, LauraPalooza 2010: Legacies, LauraPalooza 2012, Pa's Fiddle, Research
5 comments on “More on "The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder"
  1. TLynn says:

    Well said, Sandra. And it brought my attention to something I had not considered…that perhaps not all PBS stations would consider this program for their pledge drive, without some public input and encouragement. I’m going to be sure to contact my local PBS to let them know this is definitely the program I wish to support!

  2. Betsy says:

    So did this air anywhere? Apparently the pledge drive is over? Or has it taken place yet? I’ve been scouring my local PBS’s schedule and haven’t even seen anything that indicates that a pledge drive is happening at all in June.

    • Sonya says:

      It didn’t air on all stations. My local station was like yours and didn’t seem to do the pledge drive. My mother found it on a PBS station in the next state which she could get, but I couldn’t.

  3. Connie Neumann says:

    Sandra, your article was clear and well-done. Since I grew up in the 60s with no PBS available in my area, I understand the disappointment that some are feeling about not being able to watch the “Pa’s Fiddle” program or obtain the DVD or CD.

    The good news is that the products will be for sale after July 31, 2012, according to the website/distributor. Also, Dean’s documentary on Laura Ingalls Wilder that many of us watched (and critiqued) in 2010 will be distributed by Santa Fe Productions: – but is not yet available.

    Agreements with PBS must be honored and it was picked up by over 300 stations. As Sandra said, continue to contact your local PBS station and let them know you are very interested in seeing “Pa’s Fiddle: The Music of America”.

    I just received my set after watching the program on June 5th, and, I must say, it’s wonderful! The music, the interviews, the photography were all top-notch, which is what we want to see concerning LIW. Dean’s re-edited version of the documentary kept the spirit and tone that we saw back in 2010.

    The bottom line for me is . . . . I want even more! More music productions which Dale Cockrell is planning. More in-depth biography of our favorite pioneer girl. This is a great start and let’s hope there will be more to come.

    Connie in Colorado

  4. kena in OK says:

    It’s airing on Oklahoma City’s PBS station, OETA 112, tonight (Thursday, August 23, 2012) @ 9pm. It’s great.