This month's news from Alison...
Alison Arngrim Home Page
Saturday, May 9th
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch
Laurie Beechman Theatre
New York City
I'm still doing my May 9th show -
just now it's LIVE PAY PER VIEW from my living room!!!
GET TICKETS HERE:
So . . May is here. Warming up a bit, I see. And for some reason, the air is very clear. No smog to speak of. And the traffic. Did I mention that, for some reason, there is absolutely no traffic on the freeways anymore? Not even rush hour on the 405? Almost like an episode of The Twilight Zone . . .
No reason? It's because we're all staying home in droves. We're still under the semi-quarantine of 'Safe at Home' and 'Social Distancing'. And it appears to be working. The epidemic is leveling off, and testing is increasing, and there are so many treatments being researched that I couldn't list them all if I wanted to. We're getting there. We have to be patient . . .
So, what's been happening since we talked last? Not much has changed. My job is considered essential, so I still go to work every day. And Alison has made the best of things. She decided, sort of as a lark or a way to not be too depressed with all events being canceled, to begin reading the Little House books, start to finish, cover to cover, all of them in order. And she decided to share the experience with her fans by reading the books, a couple of chapters at a time, every day on Facebook Live.
Well, that was just the beginning. Here's what's happening now:
1. Daily Little House Book Readings - Every day, usually at 1:30 pm Pacific time, Alison goes on Facebook and reads from the Little House books. Here's the link to her page: FaceBook Daily Readings
2. Guest Readers - So far, Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder) and Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle) have done guest readings for Alison. Dean read most of the second book, Farmer Boy. And Charlotte was on yesterday reading the "School" chapter about Miss Beadle, from the fourth book, On the Banks of Plum Creek. Here you go:
Dean - Dean - Farmer Boy
Charlotte - Charlotte - School
3. Bonnets - Well, Alison started wearing her Prairie bonnets to do her daily readings. And a few people said they would also like to have one. Now, Alison gets her hand-made bonnets from the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in the real Walnut Grove. She sells them at her online store, 'Not Your Mothers Mercantile'. So they ordered them, and we got more. And they ordered those, and we got more. Now, we can't keep them in the store, they sell out immediately. She put 25 more bonnets in the store yesterday, and an hour later there were only 3 left. Here's the link to the store: Alison Mercantile (Don't worry, we'll get more!) And there are many other items available. Check it out.
4. Cameo - Alison is now signed up for Cameo. Cameo is the app that lets you order a personalized video greeting from your favorite celebrity. There are other Prairie people also signed up. Dean Butler, (Almanzo!), Melissa Gilbert, (Laura! duh!), Patrick Labyorteaux, (Andy Garvey!), Bonnie Bartlett, (Grace Edwards!) and Charlotte Stewart, (Miss Beadle) are all now on Cameo. You can now have your favorite Little House cast member record a personal video greeting - Happy Birthday, Congratulations, Get Well Soon, you name it!
Check it out: Cameo Website
Or... cut to the chase: Alison Cameo
I remember at this point we used to go over Alison's schedule of appearances. Hmmm . . . . Just where did we leave off? Oh, I remember!
May 1, 2 & 3rd - Ru Paul's Drag Con, LA Convention Center - CANCELLED
Saturday, May 9th - Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Laurie Beechman Theatre, New York City - CANCELLED
May 22, 23rd, and 24th - Wyatt Earp Days, Tombstone, Arizona - Well, let's see. This one may or may not be cancelled. We don't yet know for sure. The event may still go on. However, Alison's appearance at the event has been CANCELLED.
So, not much of a schedule. It's difficult to appear at events that aren't being held, and it's difficult to hold events when people can't attend, and it's difficult to meet and plan events for the future while we're all trying to stay distant enough from each other to get a handle on this epidemic. Things may start loosening up in a couple of weeks, which will allow planning to begin for events in the late summer or fall. But we all need to be careful to wait long enough for the infection rate to level off and drop. If we all go back out there too soon, the infections will only spread and things will get worse. Patience . . . .
1. Ireland. The land of Alison's ancestors. Should she go back there? (She's never been)
2. France?? In the fall?? Could it be??
3. Cooking? But wait, Nellie doesn't cook...oh wait, Alison DOES....
Radio Show / Podcast
OK, she is back on the air. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, Alison now interviews the guests on her show in a virtual studio. Well, the guests are in their living rooms, or kitchens, or wherever, and Alison is in her living room, and they meet somewhere in the cloud and have an interview. Or whatever! Anyway, she's back, and the shows are as much fun as ever. Her last couple of guests were Steve Wishnoff (TV series OZ, Life Interrupted) and Drew Droege (Actor, Writer, Prairie Oke Alumnus) Coming up this Tuesday will be Tami Bula (Marcia Woolery on The Waltons), and then the following week will be Lulu Roman from Hee Haw. The show is on every Tuesday night at 5:00 pm Pacific Time. The best way to catch the show live is to go to Alison's page on FaceBook. Or go to UBNGO Website for their website. (She's on Channel 1) I make a point of coming home from work early every Tuesday so Sock Monkey and I can gather around the computer and watch! ("You were late last week!", growled Sock Monkey.)
Carrie Ingalls Birthday - This year would be the 150th birthday of Carrie Ingalls Swanzey. (Baby Carrie all grown up) There was going to be a birthday party and festival on July 25th & 26th, 2020, in Keystone, South Dakota, sponsored by the Keystone Area Historical Society. However, their website now reads: "Carrie Ingalls 150th Birthday Festival Postponed until July 2021"
Livin’ On A Prairie - Exciting news! The award winning short series, “Livin’ On A Prairie” which features appearances by both Alison and Charlotte Stewart, is going to be premiering on www.LivinOnaPrairieTV.com via Facebook Live in May. (The exact date will be announced shortly, so make sure you follow it on Social Media and go to the website: www.LivinOnaPrairie.com !) Each short episode will be launched over the course of the month-and it’s a real hoot! It’s a dark comedy about a woman who’s disillusionment and disappointment with life is only comforted by her drug of choice...Little House On the Prairie. But here’s the best part—After each episode, there will be an “After the Show” discussion with some of your favorite cast members. First up will be Alison and Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle). So, if you have a burning question for them, you can enter it by visiting www.LivinOnAPrairieTV.com for a chance to win prizes and be on the broadcast! Each week there will be a different guest, so make sure you check the website or @PrairieTV to find out who it will be. But wait, there’s more! After the final episode, there will be a Little House on the Prairie cast reunion, benefiting The Actors’ Fund! (Sock Monkey and I will both be watching every episode, that's for sure!)
Blast from the Past - Some of you may remember Prairie Oke, a loving tribute to the Cinnamon Chicken episode of LHOTP, in a karaoke mash-up with 80s Rock n Roll. Here's the trailer: Prairie Oke Trailer And some of you may have even been fortunate enough to have seen one of the live performances. This next clip is the final musical number. At one point, you'll see the young actress in a yellow dress take the microphone from Blind Mary (!) and get a rousing cheer when she begins to sing. That is Baby Carrie finally getting to speak clearly! And Nellie was the huge man in the very yellow dress. That was Drew Droege, who was a recent guest on Alison's radio show. Here's the link: Prairie Oke Final Number Enjoy!! And if this thing ever gets produced again, take time off work, cancel other events, fly in from wherever, and don't miss it! It will be worth every penny!
Mothers Day Show - Did I say that Alison's Mothers Day Show at the Beechman had been cancelled? Well, maybe the 'at the Beechman' part has been cancelled, but the show must go on!! Her show, now entitled Confessions of a Prairie Terror, will be available on a live, pay-per-view broadcast on Saturday, May 9th at 8 pm eastern and 5 pm Pacific, and again on Saturday, May 16th at 11 pm eastern and 8 pm Pacific times. Both live, both a little different, and you will not be able to find them on you tube when it's over. These are live, and will not be offered after the broadcast. Tickets are only $10 per show. You can read about it and get tickets here: Terror Confession Tickets Or on twitter, if you must: Terror Confessions Twitter So, New Yorkers, didn't I say you would have Nellie for Mothers Day, as usual? Hmmm . . . And Sock Monkey will be joining the crew for this one. I think he's Key Grip, or something. (Assistant Director!!, shouted Sock Monkey.) Oh, if you've ever seen Alison's show, you know that she takes and answers questions from the audience. And this time is no different. You can submit your questions online in advance. Check it out here: Terror Confessions Questions
Maintaining - Seriously though, how are we doing out there? "These are the times that try men's souls", a quote from Thomas Paine that I think applies here. Remember, we are all in this together. And it is stressful, even if we don't feel the stress. It's there. People are just a little more cautious, and a little more irritable, than they normally would be. Take some time for yourself, give yourself permission to freak out if you need to, and then let's get back to living. Watch the Prairie Oke clip listed above. That final song is a message for our times. Don't Stop Believing. Now, wash your hands (No really, wash them again!), wear your mask, and be kind to everyone you meet. Patience, patience . . . .
This is a recent headline from several publications: "Little House On The Prairie fans have claimed that the show 'predicted' the COVID-19 pandemic with its episodes called 'Plague' and 'Quarantine'." Here's a link to one of them: Daily Mail Prairie Plague No, the show did not predict COVID-19, unless it was to point out that there will always be another epidemic. They were talking about things that were happening in the 1800s. Look back over history. "Plague of Locusts", black plague, bubonic plague, Influenza Epidemic, Yellow Fever, Polio, smallpox, AIDS, to name just a few. If we've learned anything from history, it's that there will always be another epidemic coming to challenge us, at some point in the future. The best we can do is be prepared, and trust that science is our best weapon to figure it out and find a way to get past it.
OK, all of the LHOTP sites around the country operate based on tourism and gift shop sales. So, what do you think is going on now? You guessed it, not much! So, here are links to a few of them if you would like to check it out and be supportive. Many of them are nonprofit organizations, so donations could be tax deductable.
Wilder Museum, Walnut Grove: Wilder Museum
De Smet, South Dakota: Discover Laura Ingalls Homestead
Mansfield, Missouri: Wilder Home
Wilder Home, New York: Almanzo Farm
This month we are going to check in with our Prairie folks, and see if they have a message for us.
Hersha Parady (Mrs. Garvey) - Alice Garvey says: "Keep the faith and be hopeful when this has been defeated and understood . . . that the world will be a better place than it was before this new but not unexpected disease came to us. Oh . . and Alice and Mary's baby will see you all at our next get together!" Thank you, Hersha!!
Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter) - "Nothing to report but huge gratitude on a daily basis for another day of good health. Hoping all in the Little House family, (and of course that includes our family of viewers), are doing well and forging ahead in that Prairie Strong spirit. We're in it together. We'll get out of it together. Love to all!" Thank you, Pam!!
Radames Pera (John Edwards, Jr.) - As some of you know, our own Radames Pera (Mr. Edwards' oldest adopted son, John) was in another hit series before his three years on Little House. A show called Kung Fu in which he played Grasshopper. He shares these words, directly from scripts of that series which all of America watched together at one time: "'Can anyone be truly free who serves no one but himself?'' and 'Those who truly value freedom must sometimes choose to lose it.' ... Well, there you go." Thank you, Radames!!
And one from the archives:
Mitch Vogel (Johnny Johnson) - Mitch Vogel played Johnny Johnson in two episodes, The Love of Johnny Johnson (1974), and To See The World (1975). As far as I could discover, he is no longer acting and currently lives in Southern California with his wife and two daughters.
The Saga of Sock Monkey (Chapter Eighty-Four)
Sock Monkey finished his drink, and looked out the window at the lights of Los Angeles. It had been a good flight, Alison signing autographs for the flight crew and bringing him the good cognac from first class, but he was eager to be home. He even missed that darn cat! The sky seemed very clear, and he could see the mountains in the distance. As he looked, he noticed something that seemed strange. The freeways were almost empty! At this time of night, there should have been a steady stream of light, bright white in one direction and red in the other. But they were empty. Sock Monkey started to feel a wee bit apprehensive. Then they were landing, and he was busy getting his things together. Alison was talking to the flight attendant, and she did not seem pleased. "Here, put this on, Monkey", said Alison. She handed him a small, monkey-sized face mask. He looked around the plane, and all the flight attendants and most of the passengers were wearing masks. "What could possibly be going on?", thought Sock Monkey. As they waited to be able to leave, Alison leaned over and whispered, "There's been an epidemic, Monkey. We're going to have to be very careful about where we go and what we do." Sock Monkey started to panic. Could it be another outbreak of the Algerian Monkey Flu? Or maybe a recurrence of the Banana Brain Rot that made all monkeys crazy a few years back. He had been spared by those, but now . . . . "It's a virus that affects humans," said Alison, "But you will have to be careful, too!" Sock Monkey sighed with relief, and then felt a little guilty. Alison could get infected, their friends could get infected, and who knows, maybe the cat could get it, too! (Sock Monkey smiled at that thought!) He made a silent vow to be very careful, and to help those that were at greater risk than he.
(To be continued . . . )
Catahoula is taking a hiatus (Not our choice!) from performing at our favorite club, Viva Rancho Cantina. Or anywhere else for that matter, until this thing settles down. Check out our updated website: www.catahoulamusic.com And we may be showing up somewhere deep in the bowels of the internet! As soon as things start to open up, we will be booking and posting on our website. And if you really need a shot of Catahoula, you can always get copies of our CDs at Alison's Mercantile, or at I-tunes: Catahoula I-Tunes Or Spotify: Catahoula Spotify As always, "Laissez les bon temps rouler!!", with or without Catahoula! We will be back with you just as soon as we possibly can! Stay safe!
There you have it. The Fourth Nellie Newsletter for 2020. Stay safe, keep the faith, and this too shall pass.
As usual (Comme d’habitude), be good bonnet heads, and I’ll talk to you next month.