Little House on the Prairie

Season 2 Episode 13

The Talking Machine

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 14, 1976 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • WhileJasonis having dinner with Laura and her family Mary says "you will have a talking machine on your steam engine airplane". Since this is the late 1800s, the word airplane did not exist, they were first called flying machines when invented by the Wright brothers.The word airplane was in fact just invented by the French around this time, however it would hardly have been known as being a popular word in English yet.The word airplane first appeared in use by the English around 1907, so Mary simply followed a script writers mistake.

    • When Nellie is in her room throwing a temper tantrum after dinner, her squeaky mattress can clearly be seen bouncing up and down as she pounds her fists on it. Though patented in Germany in the mid-1870's, innerspring mattresses were rarely available in the United States until Sealy Co. began mass producing them in 1906. Nellie would more likely have had a bed like everyone else in Walnut Grove, a thin "mattress" filled with horsehair, down and/or hay, atop a wood bed frame.

  • Quotes

    • Mr. Godfrey: You know, I bet that you would get a pure pleasure out of hearing your wife's voice on this here machine.
      Harriet: (calling to him) NELS!
      Nels: The only joy I'd derive from that, Mr. Godfrey, would be in turning it off. Good day.

    • Laura: If Ma says it's all right, can I invite Jason to supper tomorrow night?
      Charles: If your Ma says it's all right, I don't see why not.
      Laura: Thanks, Pa. If I'm not gonna be afraid of Nellie's talking machine, I don't see why she should be afraid of Ma's dumplings!

    • Nels: (about the talking machine) That's amazing...but who cares?
      Mr. Godfrey: Who cares?!
      Nels: I mean, what is it for?
      Mr. Godfrey: Well, you heard it. It plays music!
      Nels: Well, we've got a piano.
      Mr. Godfrey: Yeah, but you can put your own voice on there.
      Nels: (pauses) What for?
      Mr. Godfrey: So you can hear your own voice talking back to you.
      Harriet: I am quite capable of hearing my own voice, Mr. Godfrey. I can hear quite clearly right now, and it tells me no. We don't want to buy your machine.
      Mr. Godfrey: Is that your final word?
      Nels: Well, it's my wife's, so that makes it the final word.

    • Laura: I'm not pretty enough.
      Charles: Come on, you are too pretty enough. Besides, pretty isn't everything.
      Laura: Almost.
      Charles: Nope, not even almost. It's what's in your heart and in your mind that's important. If a boy has any sense, that's what he looks for.

    • Laura: Nellie sure is lucky. She can have anything she wants.
      Charles: What about friends?
      Laura: What do you mean?
      Charles: Well, you said Nellie can have anything she wants. What you mean is anything she can buy. You can buy friends, too, but not real ones. There's not enough money in the whole wide world to buy a real friend--or a boyfriend, either.
      Laura: (about Jason) Then why did he run off with her?
      Charles: Because he was interested in the machine. How would you like it if a boy only liked you because you had something like a talking machine?
      Laura: Not so good, I guess.

    • Charles: Where's your sister?
      Mary: She said she'd be late.
      Charles: Did she get a bad grade on the test?
      Mary: (walking away casually) Nope. She's in love with a scientist.

    • Harriet: (when Nels is about to whip Nellie) Nels! What are you going to do?
      Nels: Something I should have done years ago.
      Harriet: NO! I won't hear of it!
      Nels: (puts her hand on the talking machine) Crank. You won't have to!

    • Nellie: (in a sweet, perky voice) Hi, Laura!
      Laura: Hi.
      Nellie: How's your cold?
      Laura: All better. Just an inflammation of the nasal membranes--sounds worse than it is.

    • (Miss Beadle walks into the classroom and finds the words "Jason Loves Laura" on the blackboard; Laura is very upset)
      Miss Beadle: I don't know who did this, but I intend to find out. Now, we are not opening one book until whoever wrote this on the blackboard stands up and apologizes to Jason and to Laura. (long pause) Nellie?
      Nellie: I didn't do it!
      Miss Beadle: I certainly hope not. You've done enough already. Well, I'm waiting for an answer!
      Jason: (stands up) I did it, Miss Beadle, and I'm not sorry, because it's the truth!

    • Laura: I don't know what to do, Pa.
      Charles: Well, then, just don't do anything. You didn't do anything wrong. There are a lot of funny notions born inside of us, Half-Pint, and one of the funniest is that we're supposed to hide the way we feel about others. Let me tell you something, everyone needs to feel that they're loved, needed, and cared about. Anyone who doesn't want to know that has something wrong with them.
      Laura: (about Jason) What will he think of me?
      Charles: Well, if he liked you then, I think he'll like you a lot more now. There's nothing bad that can come from telling someone how you feel.
      Laura: I know what you're saying is true, Pa. But it was just such a terrible thing to do!
      Charles: Oh, I know it was. I know it was. (kisses her)
      Laura: I don't want to be a scientist anymore. I don't want to invent things that hurt people.
      Charles: Well, it's not the inventions that hurt people. It's the people, and the way they use them. That's what hurts. Everything's going to be all right.

    • Laura: (after Nellie talked Laura into saying a bunch of stuff about Jason and played the machine for the class) He must think I'm a goose for saying all those things.
      Charles: I don't think so.
      Laura: He'll never speak to me again. Never!
      Charles: Well, if he doesn't, then I don't think he's worth crying about.

    • Mary: I told Laura not to believe that Nellie Oleson!
      Charles: Why? What did she do?
      Mary: Nellie was very sweet to Laura yesterday. She even brought her up to see her bedroom.
      Charles: And?
      Mary: She got Laura to say things about Jason--a whole bunch of love stuff. Laura didn't know the machine was on. Then this morning, Nellie played it for the whole class.
      Charles: Dear, sweet Nellie, huh?

    • Laura: You know what Ma always says--turn the other cheek.
      Mary: Yeah, well you know what Pa always says--turn the other cheek, but watch out.
      Laura: (about Nellie) Well, I think she's changed. People can change, you know.
      Mary: I'll believe it when I see it. That Nellie Oleson is a mean, spiteful thing, and if she gave you gumballs, it's because she's after something!

    • Charles: I'm sorry to bother you, Nels, but did Nellie tell you she brought her talking machine to school today?
      Nels: Yeah, she mentioned it.
      Charles: But she didn't mention to you what she played on it?
      Nels: Well, no, she didn't.
      Charles: She made a recording of Laura's voice, without Laura knowing about it. She played it for the class. Laura said some things about a boy. Now, these are things that may not matter much to an adult, but to a little girl like that--
      Harriet: Mr. Ingalls, it sounds like you're making a mountain out of a--
      Nels: Be quiet, Harriet! Charles, you said she said things about a boy. Was it Jason?
      Charles: Yes, it was. Nels, I usually like my girls to fight their own battles, but in this case I wasn't going to let it go by without your knowing about it.

    • Mary: I told Ma you just got the sniffles.
      Laura: Inflammation of the nasal membrane.
      Mary: Huh?

  • Notes

    • Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.

    • When a boy whom Nellie and Laura both have a crush on seems to prefer Laura, Nellie snobbishly remarks that she's "surprised he wears shoes." Later, though, Nellie seems to be far less particular when she dates (and marries) Luke Sims in "Here Come the Brides." Luke NEVER wore shoes--a fact that Mrs. Oleson sniped about throughout that episode.

    • Edison demonstrated the phonograph in late 1877, which would probably place this story at least a year or so later in time. So it seems to be a contradiction that the later episode "Centennial" from the same season of Little House on the Prairie indicates the year 1876 (the Centennial was the 100th anniversary of the US Declaration of Independence in 1776).

  • Allusions