A project I've been working on required me to construct 3 each of several famous set structures from the television show LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE that ran from 1974-1986. None of the structures exist today, and any of the plans and blueprints known to exist for them were destroyed in a massive fire that wiped away everything from scripts, set designs, props, concept art, costumes and anything else associated with the show's production. The first commission was for the OLESON'S MERCANTILE and The SCHOOL HOUSE/CHURCH as depicted in the TV version of WALNUT GROVE Minnesota (.......it was really in Simi Valley less than 1/2 hour from downtown LA!!) One problem with making models of structures that are movie or TV props, is that they are not real structures in most cases, and their interiors rarely match up with their exteriors. I scanned through hours and hours of episodes of the show and reviewed press photos and cast set /backstage photos and also got personal memories from Little House cast and crew for my research before the plans and drawings were started. Many of the structures over time seem to grow extra walls or details appear on some episodes and on others they are totally absent. With the case of the MERCANTILE, it's interesting to note the placements of smoke-jacks and chimneys on the outside of the building have nothing to do with where fireplaces, cook-stoves and parlor stoves are on the inside sets. Some structures walls actually grew longer......no doubt that the set was revised or enlarged once the producers knew the show was going be around for a while.
Since my sister is such a fan of the show I built her a Oleson's Mercantile and Schoolhouse for her as well, requiring me to construct 4 of each structure!
Hours and hours of the show were viewed to find rare glimpses of the buildings backsides to make this as accurate as possible!
A neat shot from the personal collection of my favorite cast member from the show!
It may be hard to tell from these shots, but all four Mercantiles feature lace curtains, shades and even goods and wares inside the windows!!
From what I can tell, that large warehouse type door was to get inside camera access and storage.
I'll show the fabrication process in a later post. Bellow is the schoolhouse during a mid point of construction, with about 20% more to go before it was completed for delivery
A interesting view from above!
After completion the excited new owner of these placed an order for more! She has requested one with her namesake!!