So ever since I talked with Dean Butler about his pronounciation of “Almanzo,” (see the latest issue of the Homesteader), I’ve been ruminating. Who exactly is to blame for the mis-pro? Sure it was his name, but it’s not like he calls himself by name. Other people would have to take the lead. One would assume they had table readings before each episode, so the name would be said well before filming. Was it Michael Landon’s doing? The director’s? (Ooops. Guess they’re the same.)
Today, to introduce my daughter to the young-adult version of the man named Dean that she met in Malone, I played a little bit of a recently-Tivoed Little House. It happened to be the episode “Back To School,” which all fans worth their sunbonnets know is when Almanzo first shows up in Laura’s life. So there he is, high up in the wagon, after Laura’s first day of school, just before she mangles his nickname from “Mannie” to “Manly.” (As an aside, does anyone else find odd, in light of all the liberties taken over the years on the show, the random pieces of truth Michael Landon — assuming it was him — opted to keep? Like the nickname of “Manly”?) Laura’s standing by, already lovestruck, just staring longingly at her future husband.
And who’s the first one to say “Almanzo”?
“This is my brother, Al-mahn-zo,” she says in that sing-songy voice. Might that be where it all began?
That Lazy, Lousy, Lizy Jane is always messing things up.