This month's news from Alison...
Alison Arngrim Home Page
(“Sailing, sailing, over the bounding . . .”)
Oh, hello. Is it that time again? All right, I guess I’ll put down my drink and pick up the computer.
(Monkey! Stop chasing that bear around! He’s going home with us, sailor suit and all!)
As you can tell, things are not quite normal around here. We are currently on the deck of the Wonder of the Seas, the flagship of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Fleet. I am sipping a Blue Hawaiian, and Alison is basking in the sun. This has been the BEST WEEK EVER!!!
OK, to catch you up with things, Alison came home from France, and we immediately did the “Nasty Nellie’s Scary Prairie: Strike Edition!” show from the basement Comedy Club at our house. And we had a blast! (You all seemed to like it, too!)
And then we jumped headfirst into a planning frenzy for “Alison & Bob’s 30th Wedding Anniversary Gala.” It was held at the Aurora Banquet Hall in Tujunga, complete with a champagne tower, a huge cake, and a multi-course dinner. We were resplendent in our black tuxedos (just like at the wedding), and over 130 of our favorite friends joined in the celebration. And as I said in my toast, “For those of you who were not able to attend, your loss!” It was a fabulous evening and is still all over Facebook!
And then we jumped on a plane and headed to Orlando for the “7-Night Eastern Caribbean Pre-Thanksgiving Cruise”, November 12-19th, presented by BearCruise.com. Which is where we are now. I have to say, these Bears are just the best hosts ever! We’ve had a great time, exploring the ship, and drinking, and dining, and drinking some more. We hung out on the beach in the Bahamas, took the Sky Ride Tram to the Pirates Exhibits in St. Thomas, went to a “clothing optional” beach in St. Maarten (we “opted” to stay generally covered – sunburn you know!), and had lunch at a fabulous French beach-front restaurant on the French side of the island. And the ship is just amazing! Our favorite spot is on Deck 8, called Central Park. (That’s where we’ll be dining tonight!) Alison did her Confessions show in the Royal Theatre, and it was a gas! If you like cruising (On a ship, what did you think!), you should check these guys out. ( Bear Cruise) They are currently booking five more cruises through 2025. And a great time is guaranteed!
So, as usual, let’s start off with a rundown of Alison’s various activities:
1. Daily Book Readings – The daily readings are currently on hiatus for an indefinite period. (But she’s thinking about it!) But really, we’re entering the year of the 50th anniversary, so don’t count on it anytime soon!
2. Bonnets, Etc. - Bonnets, tin cups, books, photos, Alison sells them at her online store, 'Not Your Mothers Mercantile'. Everything autographed. Here's the link to the store: Mothers Mercantile New items have been added. (To see the complete selection, click on the “Shop Now” button.) Be sure to specify how you want them signed.
3. Cameo - You can now have your favorite 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
4. Memmo – Ah, this one is no more. Memmo is gone.
5. Radio Show / Podcast - The Alison Arngrim Show is on every Tuesday at 5:00 pm Pacific Time. The best way to catch the show live is to go to the UBN Radio page on FaceBook: UBN FaceBook. Her guest next week will be actress Dinah Manoff. (Grease, Soap, Empty Nest) If you have any ideas of who you would like to see interviewed by Alison, pass them along, and we’ll see what we can do! If you miss a show, or want to catch any of the past episodes, go to her FaceBook page for the show: Alison Arngrim Show
6. Who's Going To Do The Cooking? - Alison will be appearing on her FaceBook page, cooking something with instructions, often on Monday mornings at 11:30 am. (And now, whenever she can find the time!) She has made many incredible dishes. You can find all of these on her YouTube Channel: Who's Going To Do The Cooking? It has been a while since she’s done one of these, but I have it on good authority that there will be another one soon.
Next up, Alison will join the group in Corsicana Texas on December 2nd & 3rd for another Christmas event, Have Yourself A Prairie Christmas. Cast members will include: Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson), Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder), Charlotte Stewart (Miss Beadle), Wendi Lou Lee (Baby Grace Ingalls), Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter) & Jennifer Donati (Baby Rose Wilder). Just added: David Friedman (Jason Carter), The Steffin Twins (Jennifer & Michelle) that played young Rose Wilder, Olivia Barash (Sylvia Webb) & the children of Victor French (Mr. Edwards), Victor & Tracy. On Saturday night, The Prairie Christmas Dinner will take place at the Corsicana Opry at 7:00 pm. Dinner is limited to 200. Ticket price is $150. The Sunday VIP Breakfast will be held at 8:30 am, again at the Corsicana Opry with the LHOTP cast. VIP Breakfast tickets are limited to 165 guests and are $100 each. The Saturday & Sunday LHOTP on the Prairie meet and greet will be held at the Pioneer Village from 10 am- 4pm. Ticket Cost is just $10. For tickets, go to Prairie Christmas Tickets And, to top everything off, they will be helping Corsicana to celebrate their 175th Anniversary! For additional information email: email@example.com, or phone The Corsicana Visitor Center & Gift Shop at 903-654-4850.
Okay, that’s about it for December. We’re off to Tennessee to see family. But then, January 2024 starts “The Year of the Reunions“, and I already know I’m not going to be able to keep up with it all. But here goes:
Starting off with the twenty-fourth production in the Basement Comedy Club at our house, “Nasty Nellie’s Birthday Blast” on Sunday, January 14th at 5:00 pm Pacific Time, 8:00 pm eastern. You can get tickets at: Birthday Blast Tickets And here’s the link to the Spin Cycle site for the event: Spin Cycle The show is online, and tickets are only $13. Remember, this is a live event only. It will not be recorded or available after broadcast. You have one shot to see it! Alison has always enjoyed celebrating her birthday. And this is a good way to start off the year. Sock Monkey will be directing, I will be running the camera, and the cats will be handling the lighting. (“Cats! Did someone say cats!?!”, cried Sock Monkey.) There will be cake, champagne, tomfoolery, skullduggery, and all sorts of hijinks! Honestly, I’m not sure exactly what she’ll be up to, but I know it will be fun!
Remember that rumour of Alison doing something here in SoCal for a change? Well, here we go! Alison will be presenting her highly acclaimed one-person show, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” at the Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. The show runs from Friday January 19th through Sunday, January 28th. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased on their website: Sierra Madre Tickets , or by calling them at 626-355-4318. This is going to be great fun! I’ve been to the playhouse, and it’s really nice. And for all of you who have been pining to see Alison perform locally, I expect to see all of your shining faces in the audience! No excuses!
Next, she’s off to St. Louis for the “37th Annual St. Louis Working Women’s Show” on Friday, February 16th through Sunday, February 18th , at the St. Charles Convention Center. From the website: “The Working Women's Survival Show was founded by Geri Kroon in 1985 and has enjoyed 36 years of fabulous food, fashion, fitness & fun in the St. Louis area.” Alison will be the Featured Celebrity Guest. Check out their website: Working Women Ticket prices range from $12 to $104, and children 6 and under get in free.
And then she’s off to France again. We have no dates confirmed at this point, but she will be there for a while. (Sock Monkey should be able to speak French by now, one would think!) For updates on the schedule for these shows, watch Alison’s French website: Alison France
When she returns, she will be joining the gang at the LHOTP 50th Anniversary Cast Reunion and Festival in Simi Valley. More details below.
All right, enough schedule for now.
1. I wonder how Prince Albert is doing?
2. A Little House Event in Italy?. . . .Could it be?!
3. A little House Event in France? (Other than Alison’s shows, obviously!) Could be . .
Even In Dreams – Well, you recall Alison had a part in Savannah Ostler’s “Even In Dreams” a couple of years back. It has now been released on YouTube. Here’s the link: Dreams YouTube I really enjoyed this film. I think Alison is going to work with Savannah again sometime.
Buster Brooks – I guess sometime would be now. Savannah recently wrapped filming on her new comedy, “Buster Brooks”, and Alison plays “Nellie”, the owner of a local diner. (Hmmm . . sounds a little familiar!) Here’s the IMDB link: Brooks IMDB Here’s the FaceBook page: Brooks FaceBook And here’s the link for the production company website: S & S Productions So, Savannah, seems like the pigs are flying pretty good lately!
Behind the Scenes Highlight – This is the section where we highlight one of the many people who help to keep this thing together. Last month we talked about Paul Valenti.
This month I want to put the spotlight on Patrick Loubatiere. If it has anything to do with LHOTP and France, you can bet Patrick is involved. Alison first met Patrick in 2002, on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in gale force winds. Sometime later on a beach in Malibu, the idea of doing a French version of Confessions was born. As the French tours took off and became widely successful, I believe for some years in those early days Patrick saw more of Alison than I did! After seemingly endless performances of the first show, Patrick livened things up with a second show, “La Malle au Tresors de Nellie Oleson” (Nellie Oleson’s Trunk of Treasures), and never one to rest on his laurels, went ahead and wrote a THIRD show, (!!) the currently running “Nellie Oleson Enflame Les Années 80” (Nellie Oleson Sets The Eighties On Fire). An established author, he created the definitive text on LHOTP, "Little House on the Prairie from A to Z", and currently does celebrity interviews for the Belgian weekly Télépro. Patrick is also a teacher, managing to teach both French and CHESS! A chess champion himself, I have actually seen him play in person, at an event here in California, where he SOUNDLY defeated a man who minutes before, had boastfully called himself the “hard core legend” of chess for the region!! (Pride goeth before a what? LOL.)
Over the years Patrick has become a dear friend and trusted collaborator, co-producing and sharing the stage with Alison on all of her French tours. Patrick, for all that you do, a heart-felt merci beaucoup!
Maintaining our lives in the age of COVID-19 – Well, as usual, there is a new variant spreading since October. This is Omicron HV.1, and it has quickly overtaken other variants to become the most prevalent strain. It is now thought to be responsible for one-third of all new cases. This is not really news, however. I think news would be when I can say there have been no new variants this month. This virus is here to stay, as far as we can tell, and will continue to mutate.
The goods news, which is also not really news, is that the vaccines work. There is also a vaccine for RSV. I will be seeing my doctor this month, and we will be discussing the RSV vaccine. I imagine he will just give it to me.
In the meantime, the W. H. O. is requesting information from China on the growing number of respiratory illnesses and clusters of pneumonia in children. Stay tuned . . .
I say again: Mask up, boost, wash your hands. This could keep you from getting severe illness or passing the virus on to someone at higher risk. Stay safe.
And for our Fauci moment: "I don't know how to explain to you that you should care for other people." But we must.
50th Anniversary Report
Our report from the “The Year of the Reunions“ headquarters:
Simi Valley - Well, the first one out of the gate, and well ahead of the pack at this point, is the 50th Anniversary in Simi Valley. Check out their website: Little House Festival The event is now titled "Little House on the Prairie 50th Anniversary Cast Reunion & Festival" From the website: “This 3 day festival, interactive experience, and tour celebrates the iconic television series, offering fans a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of all things Little House.” Tickets are now available on the website, and range from $15 to $200, depending on what you’re looking for. There is even a ticket giveaway contest on the Official Little House site: Ticket Giveaway I know between this one and Walnut Grove, fans are coming in from all over the world. And many of the cast members will be there. I’m not sure exactly who or how many, but I know for sure that Allison is going. (“Me too!”, cried Sock Monkey.)
Walnut Grove – Walnut Grove is also planning a 50th Anniversary Cast Reunion, but they’re being very stingy with details. It will be on July 19 – 21, 2024, and their committee is still ‘working out the details’. From their Facebook page: “Tickets for all events will not go on sale until after January 1st, 2024. The actual release dates and prices will be published well in advance for individual events.” Check it out: Walnut Grove Reunion
Rumored additional events include: Chiller Con in New Jersey, Connecticut, northeast Ohio, and various other locations around the country, and maybe Europe as well. (I’m hoping for one in France!!) As time goes by, more people are realizing that this is the 50th anniversary, and it’s a big deal. I believe there will be many more events going forward. Hard to keep up!
No other updates at this point. I’ll keep checking, though.
Charlotte Randall Yerke (LHOTP Script Supervisor) – Charlotte worked for 8 years as the script supervisor, trying to keep Michael and everyone else on track with the script and not ad-libbing. She lives in our neighborhood and has been joining in on many of the LHOTP events around the country. Here is an interview with Charlotte from 2019 on the Walnut Grove Podcast: Charlotte Interview Good times, Charlotte!
Tracie Savage (Christy Kennedy) – Tracie was recently at a ComicCon in London and ran into Barnaby. She recorded an interview for him and said that she is planning to go to Simi Valley for the reunion. Check this out: Tracie Interview (I’ll take my news wherever I can get it!)
Sherri Stoner (Rachel Brown Oleson) – Sherri played Rachel Brown Oleson in 2 episodes of LHOTP in 1983. From the internet: “Rachel was the daughter-in-law of Harriet and Nels Oleson. Her family was poor, but she was beautiful and kind. Willie fell in love with her. Harriet disliked Rachel a lot and was saying her son was not going to marry a girl like Rachel and tried to stop them from getting married.” Typical Harriett!! She did not succeed. Willie got married. Sherri went on to a huge career in animation, writing for Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, where she created and voiced the character of Slappy Squirrel. (One of our favorites!) She now lives and works in Los Angeles. Good job, Sherri!
Ronnie Scribner (Jordan Harrison / Randall Page) – Ronnie played Jordan Harrison in the episode Blind Man's Bluff in 1979, and Randall Page in the episode Rage in 1982. Ronnie is now a mortgage broker in Pasadena.
David Friedman (Jason Carter) – David played Jason Carter in 18 episodes of LHOTP. He also had parts on The Waltons and Highway to Heaven. He is now joining us for appearances around the country for the Year of the Reunions. According to Wikipedia, he retired from acting at a young age and is now a marketing consultant. What say you, David, is that accurate?
Lindsay Kennedy (Jeb Carter) – Lindsay played Jeb Carter in 18 episodes of LHOTP. He also worked on Galactica 1980 and was the voice of a pedestrian in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. In his last listing on IMDB, he played a policeman in the film Offing David in 2008. The last time we spoke to Lindsay he was the co-owner of The Village Idiot, a popular restaurant and pub on Melrose in Los Angeles. But now, according to the internet, it appears that the restaurant went out of business in April. Lindsay, is that true?
Stan Ivar (John Carter) – Stan played John Carter in 19 episodes of LHOTP. He also worked on Highway to Heaven, Star Trek: Voyager, Murder She Wrote, and NCIS, to name but a few. Stan now lives on his ranch north of us here in Southern California. I hope to see him for some of these cast spectaculars in the coming months. Hey, Stan, how’s it going?
Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter) – Pam was Sarah Carter in 15 episodes of LHOTP and is my all-time favorite party guest. Pam has never stopped working, and the most recent thing I saw her in was when she played Luca’s mom in an episode of S. W. A. T. in March 2023. According to IMDB, she has three upcoming projects: Parole Board (post-production), Weekend With Molly (completed), and Rescued Innocence (pre-production). Pam, you rock! Can’t wait to see you again!
The Saga of Sock Monkey (Chapter One Hundred Twenty-Five )
Archy hopped up on a rock and leaned back against the apple crate. “M. Monkey, what brings you to Paris? I trust you are a new arrival.” Sock Monkey was not sure how to answer. After all, he had never conversed with a cockroach before! It did not matter, because Archy was not finished. “Myself, I’m on my way to work. I’m a journalist you see, and I only work at night. Just stopped by to see that Mehitabel was in good spirits. I see that all is well, so I’ll be off now. à demain matin, ma cherie.!” And with that, he was gone. Sock Monkey was impressed, but he was also getting a little anxious. Alison would be wondering what had become of him, so he should be running along. “Mehitabel, my friend, he began, it has indeed been a pleasure, but I must be off. Rehearsal will be ending, and I should be there.” Mehitabel gave him a world-weary smile and murmured, “Ah yes, au théâtre, les répétitions sont tellement importantes. So, as with all good things, this too must end. Au revoir!”
(To be continued . . . )
There you have it. The tenth Nellie Newsletter for 2023. Stay safe, mask up, wash up, get your booster shots, and be good to each other.
As usual (Comme d’habitude), be good bonnet heads, and I’ll talk to you next month.