I am fully willing to admit that I have my own share of reality TV addictions. Luckily, as the craze continues, I have found myself paring down my viewing to cover just a handful of the "real life" series.
(Image of Kyle Chavarria (Laura Ingalls) and dog Jack from Little House On The Prairie - Copyright ABC - Kimberly French - all rights reserved)
Lately I have found myself craving old fashioned, high quality television viewing. You know, the kind where the family gets together, you make popcorn and light a fire. Those types of television mini-series or epics where everyone from young to old can enjoy the story, the richness of the scenery, the top notch acting and of course the hair and make-up. Did I say hair and make-up? Well of course. Neither topic leaves my brain for more than a few seconds at any given time. Especially when considering the ramifications of hair care back in the early 1900s in the wilds of Kansas.
Just in time to satisfy my craving for first rate television viewing is the upcoming limited ABC's series about famous writer Laura Ingalls Wilder and her pioneer family as they braved all types of challenges in the rugged Kansas Territory at the turn of the 20th century.
(Image to the side L-R from top to bottom - Erin Cottrell as Ma Ingalls, Kyle Chavarria as Laura, Cameron Bancroft as Pa and Danielle Ryan Chuchran as Mary Ingalls (Copyright ABC -Kimberly French - all rights reserved).
The limited series, based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, Little House on the Prairie, airs as part of ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney premieres with a two-hour telecast on Saturday, March 26th, 2005 (8:00 - 10:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. Additional episodes will air on subsequent Saturdays, April 2, 9, 16 & 23, 2005 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET each night).
It is important to note that the upcoming series is in no way related to the television show of the 1970s that had the same name. This upcoming series is very closely tied to the autobiographical book penned by Ms. Wilder.
(Image above: LR, Danielle Ryan Chuchran, Kyle Chavarria - ABC/Kimberly French - All rights reserved).
Originally published in 1935, Little House on the Prairie was the third in a series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder about her childhood years. The Little House books have been published in more than 21 languages and have become literary favorites.
The first episode -- "Night One" -- chronicles dad Charles Ingalls' decision to uproot his wife, two young daughters and faithful dog, Jack, from their Wisconsin home to claim a new parcel of land on the Kansas prairie.
(Image to side Kyle Chavarria, Danielle Ryan Chuchran - ABC/Kimberly French - all rights reserved).
The expedition is decidedly perilous - rough terrain, wild animals and complete isolation are faced with only the aid of whatever they could fit in the covered wagon. But to two young girls (Laura and Mary, see image above), this land of high grass, mysterious Indian hunting trails and limitless sky is full of magical adventure.
Young Laura and her sister Mary are dazzled by their father's ability to build their new home, hunt skillfully and begin the process of farming the wild land. He also befriends their most entertaining neighbor, Mr. Edwards, whose sense of humor makes up for his lack of manners - to everyone except Ma Ingalls.
To give the film as much period reality as possible, the limited series was actually filmed on location in a pristine region of Calgary over more than four months. This epic production of " Laura Ingalls Wilder`s Little House on the Prairie " recaptures the scope and magnitude of the frontier and recreates the literary saga with painstaking accuracy.
Although I am a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and have read all of her books back in the day, I am most fascinated to see the way that the producers recreated the period sets along with the costumes, hair and make-up.
After all, just imagine what it was like back in the days of the Ingalls women when it came to dealing with taking care of their hair, skin and clothing.
The wilds of Kansas obviously didn't come fully equipped with electricity for hot showers, the latest ionic blow dryers, thermal strand straighteners or hot rollers. In fact, the weather conditions made it difficult to handle bathing let alone complicated hair styling.
Research into that time in pioneer living nets the information that hair was generally worn long and naturally. You basically made the best of whatever hair texture that you were born with whether it was long and stick straight, wavy or super curly.
(Image to the side Erin Cottrell, Danielle Ryan Chuchran and Kyle Chavarria from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Hours on the Prairie - Saturday, April 2, 2005 (8:00 - 9:00 ET) on the ABC Television Network (ABC/Kimberly French - all rights reserved).
Because of the severe weather conditions, a variety of headgear was often utilized such as straw hats and the traditional pioneer bonnets that tied under the chin.
The limited series stars Cameron Bancroft as Charles Ingalls, Erin Cottrell as Caroline Ingalls, Kyle Chavarria as Laura Ingalls and Danielle Ryan Chuchran as Mary Ingalls. This series, destined I'm sure, to win tons of awards, was executive produced by Ed Friendly and is an Ed Friendly Production in association with Voice Pictures, Inc., Productions.
Emmy Award-winning producer Hans Propper (ABC's Anne Frnak" miniseries) produced. Wendy Hill-Tout is co-executive producer. Katie Ford wrote the scripts and David L. Cunningham directed.
Make sure you have lots of popcorn and firewood on hand to settle in and enjoy this fabulous series. Or if you prefer, set up your Tivo so that you can enjoy the epic whenever you wish. Whatever you do, don't miss this opportunity to see a fabulous show.