Thursday, August 8, 2013

TOS Review - Legacy Documentaries

Like everyone else at the time, I watched Little House on the Prairie growing up, however, as an adult, I would not look back and say I was a fan.  
I didn't like Pa Ingalls.  I think it was his hair.  
Now that Julianna is getting older and growing out of a lot of the younger programs, I wanted to look for something wholesome that we could all enjoy.  Full circle back to Little House.  Julianna loves them and I will admit, I am enjoying them much more now than in my early years.  The sad thing is, a show like this, which is easily considered a classic, would not be made for today's TV viewers.  Not necessarily because they wouldn't want  to watch it, but that the production companies wouldn't make it.  Just confirms our decision not to have cable.  I digress.  ;-)

Dean Butler was one of the Little House actors. He played a minor character named Almanzo Wilder. (Just kidding!) Considering that Laura Ingalls married Almanzo Wilder, he played a pretty big part. He now has a production company named Legacy Documentaries that has created three DVDs honoring the heritage of Little House: Almanzo Wilder: Life Before Laura, Pa's Fiddle: The Music of America and The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder (available through the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum website.)  Laura's DVD is what we chose to review.

My musings:

The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a well done documentary.  It has a nice blend still photographs, live action reenactments and beautiful art and music throughout.  The story begins after Laura is already married to Almanzo Wilder and focuses on how Laura and Almanzo began their life together and all the hardships they faced....physically and financially. She actually begins her professional writing career as a columnist in a local newspaper writing about topics from a farmer's wife point of view.  She developed her writing through journal entries begun as her family (while she was growing up) was traveling across the West and through letters written to Almanzo when she was visiting her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, on the West Coast.  Rose and Laura had a rocky relationship, but, through her literary connections, she did help get her mother's foot into the publishing door.  It was through these connections that Laura's first book was published as a children's novel, Little House in the Big Woods.  It was quite a success and Laura was even signed to a three book deal.  
Her second book, Farmer Boy, was rejected on her first draft.  During this time, one of the greatest difficulties in her relationship with her daughter was faced when Rose used, without permission, her mother's ideas and characters from her first failed publishing attempt, Pioneer Girl, in a work of her own.  It never said how Laura reacted to this, but only that Rose realized that she hurt her mother and tried to make amends by helping with research for the revisions on Farmer Boy.  The remainder of the documentary highlights how the rest of her books came to be and how the series ended.  As well as, the awards and accolades achieved and then the deaths of both Almanzo and herself.  
Unfortunately, Julianna wasn't really interested in the documentary, but both Michael and I found it interesting.  I would definitely say it would be best for older elementary school aged students and above.

The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder DVD is around 75 minutes and includes bonus footage:  Director's Diary and trailers for the Almanzo and Pa's Fiddle DVDs.  If you are a Little House fan, I would recommend that you add this documentary (and maybe the others too!) to your library.


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