These 'Bonanza' Actors Appeared On 'Little House On The Prairie'
Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie kept viewers tuning in to NBC for over two decades! Airing between 1959 and 1983, the two shows were a transition for Bonanza star Michael Landon, who joined Little House after his long-running Western series. But this wasn't the only crossover between the classic TV favourites. Read on to learn the actors and connections shared between Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie.
When you think Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie, the first thing that comes to mind is probably actor Michael Landon. And rightly so. The TV legend starred on both NBC shows, becoming a star on Bonanza (1959-1972) before transitioning to Little House (1974-1983).
But did you know that he's not the only Bonanza actor to appear on Little House? Let's take a look at all the crossovers between these two beloved TV series.
Bonanza actors who were cast on Little House on the Prairie
Fortunately for Michael Landon fans, NBC delivered on a new project with the actor shortly after Bonanza concluded in 1972. He joined the network's adaptation of the Little House novels, bringing his Bonanza star power to his new role as "Charles Ingalls" in 1974.
But Landon wasn't the only familiar face to appear on Little House on the Prairie in its early seasons. Fans also saw Landon's adopted Bonanza brother, "Jamie Hunter-Cartwright," on Little House seasons 1 and 2.
Yes, Bonanza actor Mitch Vogel guest-starred in two Little House episodes as "Johnny Johnson," a boy who comes between "Laura" and "Mary." In season 1, "Laura" had feelings for "Johnny," but the older boy was only interested in "Mary."
Vogel made another appearance in a season 2 episode, with "Johnny" venturing out to "see the world" after an argument with his father. So, Vogel and Landon were technically the only two main actors to feature on both shows. But another connection came when late Bonanza star Dan Blocker's son Dirk guest-starred in Little House season 9 as "Abel Makay," an illiterate man "Carole" taught to read.
Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza: Connections
In addition to the on-screen cast, the two classic shows both featured work by director Leo Penn, who worked on many popular '70s and '80s programs. Fans have also observed similarities between plots on the shows, particularly on Little House episodes directed by Michael Landon.
It all amounted to a legendary career for Landon, who amassed a significant TV fanbase as "Little Joe Cartwright" on Bonanza beginning in 1959 and closing out Little House in 1983. He followed a similar path post-Little House, again joining NBC's Highway to Heaven (1984-1989). He sadly passed away at age 54 in 1991.