Michael Landon used to challenge cars to foot races when he was younger

Whatever you do, do not let Little Joe challenge you to a race.

CBS Television Distribution

In his adult life, Michael Landon had achieved a level of success that many actors would envy. Not only had he appeared in classic television series like Bonanza, but Landon also laid his claim off-screen and created a well-deserved career for himself as a writer and director. These endeavors would culminate in the creation of the series Little House on the Prairie, a series that Landon would star in, in addition to directing several episodes.

But as a young kid, Landon had to find unconventional ways of earning money, including using his athleticism to his advantage. In an interview with The Associated Press, Landon revealed, "I'd stand in front of a diner and bet older guys in hot rods one dollar that, on foot, I could beat their cars to the corner."

Landon's confidence in his speed wasn't just ego; he'd routinely win those races, and share his winnings with his friends. The actor explained, "I'd win and buy two big steak sandwiches and cut them up for me and a dozen friends."

It wasn't the actor's only means of making money as a child. He said, "I'd pick used Christmas cards out of trash cans, erase the names or paste labels over them, and sell them for two cents, a nickel, or a chocolate bar."

Landon, who dealt with a rather tumultuous family life growing up, would typically raise money to assist his family and often found that his young age was actually an asset when selling repurposed items to the public. Landon asked of his potential customers, "Who could turn down a little kid?"

Luckily, by the time Landon joined the prestigious ranks of television actors, money didn't have to exist at the forefront of his mind, and he had the freedom to pursue his real passions in the creative field. Of his role in Bonanza, Landon commented, "It sure beats my last job."

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11 Comments

Runeshaper 1 month ago
Now that sounds like a slick kid (-:
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Weird fact: Part of the reason Landon ran so fast is that his mother hung out the sheets he "wetted" and rushed to take them down! It inspired a TV movie called "The Lonleist Runner"!
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KJExpress MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Thanks! I love riding on a carousel. 🎠 🎠 🎠
MrsPhilHarris KJExpress 1 month ago
Me too. I would imagine I was riding a real horse.
KJExpress MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Same here. But you had to be careful and make sure you got on one that went up and down. Once I rode one that didn't and I was so disappointed. 🥺
MrsPhilHarris KJExpress 1 month ago
So true. I would watch the horses while waiting and ensure I got a beauty. I loved the ones with the decorated saddles and bridles.
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