In some ways, the fire scene at the Garvey barn is more humorous than anything else. First of all, almost everyone knows that the "stop, drop, and roll" method has saved many lives when people's bodies have caught fire, but it is ridiculous to think that Jonathan didn't even so much as suffer any burns when he was on fire like that. Secondly, in the shots where you see Jonathan shooing the animals out of the barn as his own body is catching fire, notice how much heavier he is. Either the actor had a stunt man playing him in this scene, or he was wearing some kind of visible padding. Lastly, after Alice throws the blanket over her husband and stands over him as he looks miserably back at the burning barn, you'll notice that the woman standing there does not look a thing like Alice! It's quite possible that there was a stunt woman there, too.
Mary and Carrie Ingalls do not appear in this episode.
Listen to Michael Landon's voice in the memorable "laughter" scene at the end. As he is laughing hysterically, he says to Jonathan, "Your wife didn't say you were crazy; YOU said you were crazy!" With this one line, his voice sounds unusually different, high-pitched, and quite frankly, almost like a girl.
This episode was originally written for an April 13, 1977 air date (right at the end of Season 3), and it was the Edwards family that was supposed to go through the painful experience in the story, but because Victor French (Mr. Edwards) left the show for a while, the episode material was set aside for a while, and it was used on the Garvey family in the following season.
Laura: (when the Garveys plan to divorce) Why do people get divorced?
Charles: I don't know, darling. Different reasons, I guess. To be honest, I don't think we ever knew anyone who's gotten a divorce.
Laura: I wish we still didn't.
Caroline: When you love somebody, it's worth putting your pride behind you.
Alice: It's more than pride.
Caroline: Is it?
Alice: Yes. I never did a single thing to break up this marriage. It was Jonathan's doing from the start, and when he walked out, that was his doing, too!
Caroline: So you're right, and he's wrong?
Caroline: Well, I hope being right is enough for you, because you're sure paying a high price for it, and so is your son.
Andy: I just like dreaming, I guess. I was just thinking if I could wake up and this would all be a dream.......and Ma and Pa would be back together again. Why did this all have to happen, anyway?
Laura: I don't know, Andy.
Andy: Nobody knows! One day, everything's good and loving, and then all of a sudden, it's all over, and nobody knows why.
Andy: At least when kids fight, they know what it's about. They make up and get it over with. I think God did everything backwards. Kids should get married and have parents!
Charles: Honey, what's the matter?
Laura: I don't want you fighting.
Charles: Baby, we weren't fighting.
Laura: You were!
Caroline: Darling, we were just having a disagreement.
Laura: No you weren't. You were fighting just like Mr. and Mrs. Garvey. Now they're getting divorced and won't even talk to each other!
Hersha Parady (Alice Garvey) credits this as one of her very favorite episodes. She especially loves the scene where she ran down the road after having a fight with her husband. "It was definitely not a stretch for me," Parady once said in an interview. "I ran down many a dirt road, bawling over some guy. It was nice to get paid for it!"
This is Merlin Olsen's (Jonathan Garvey) favorite episode.
Ancient actor Eddie Quillan, appearing here as the judge presiding over the Garveys' divorce hearing, befriended Michael Landon in the 1970's. Landon took an instant liking to him, and as a result, Quillan appeared in seven different Little House episodes, never playing the same character twice. Perhaps his best-know LH appearance came during season 7, when he played the crotchety "hitchhiker" picked up by Charles in The In-Laws. Quillen started his career in vaudeville in 1922, and died in October 1990.
The first of three fires to devastate the Garvey family. See also Episodes 108 & 133
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