The show's casting director, Susan McCray, worked for many years with Michael Landon. She cast all the roles on Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy and Highway to Heaven. She married Kent McCray. He executive produced this series as well as Landon's other ones. He and Landon began their association back on Bonanza.
Eddie Quillan was a leading man in Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s. When lead parts dried up, he became a character actor and found later success on television. He was a close personal friend of Michael Landon, and Landon wrote him into episodes of almost every season of 'Little House on the Prairie.' It is not surprising that Landon put him in this first episode of 'Highway to Heaven.'
On a TVLand interview that featured Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson from Little House on the Prairie), she stated that the reason Landon blew up the town at the end of that series was because he no longer wished to use standing sets in his television programs (most of the sets, furniture and clothes are reused from episode to episode and show to show). This seems correct, because during the run of Highway to Heaven, Jonathan and Mark are constantly on the road and the sets on this show are not usually repeated. Much of the action is filmed on location (usually in the Los Angeles area, with southern California substituting as other places).
Ronee Blakley is billed as a special guest. Prior to her appearance on this series, she had been Oscar-nominated for her work as a country singer in the 1975 film NASHVILLE.
The opening credits say 'and introducing James Troesh as Scotty' which indicates Landon's intention of using him in a recurring role. He would be featured in several more episodes during the first few seasons of Highway to Heaven.
Helen Kleeb appeared in a season 9 episode of Little House entitled Marvin's Garden
Daniel Davis is best known as "Niles," the wisecracking butler on Fran Drescher's hit TV series The Nanny.
Goof: It seems very strange given how close they were in the pilot that Mark doesn't invite (or at least mention she was invited but couldn't make it) his sister Leslie to his wedding.
NITPICK:When Joey introduces himself to Petros, his last name is revealed.
Don Beddoe appeared in the season 8 episode of 'Little House' entitled 'He Was Only Twelve (Part 2).'
Charles Tyner appeared on 'Father Murphy' in the recurring role of Mr. Rodman.
Michael Landon produced four Christmas episodes for this series. Season 2 is the only year he didn't. It is likely that this one, from the show's first season, was rebroadcast during the second year.
Just two days earlier, on Monday December 17, 1984 NBC aired the final installment of 'Little House on the Prairie'-- a Christmas-themed episode entitled 'Bless All the Dear Children.' Victor French was the director and Michael Landon produced as well as provided narration. The reason these shows overlapped is because instead of airing this episode of 'Little House' during the 1983 holiday season, the episode was held back a year and was broadcast after 'Highway to Heaven' had begun airing.
Ramon Bieri is billed as a special guest star in this episode.
David Faustino previously worked with Michael Landon in the season 7 episode of 'Little House on the Prairie' entitled 'The Silent Cry.' He would go on to star in 1987 as Bud Bundy on Married With Children.
John Lawlor is seen again in season 4's 'The People Next Door,' playing another role.
James Troesh returns in the recurring role of Scotty. He is the co-author of this episode.
Eileen Heckart appeared in the season 5 episode of 'Little House' called 'Dance With Me.'
This episode is based on events from Michael Landon's own life. This is not the first time a Landon script has made use of these details. His telefilm from the 1970s called The Loneliest Runner covers similar ground as this episode. So does his 1984 feature film, 'Sam's Son.' Also, an episode that Landon wrote for 'Father Murphy' details a boy's bedwetting problem which is again used in this episode.
Richard Bull co-starred with Michael Landon during the run of Little House on the Prairie in the role of Nels Oleson. He returns as a different character in season 4's episode A Mother's Love.