Blame It On EJ

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”?

Eliza Jane!

“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.

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5 Responses to Blame It On EJ

  1. Rebecca says:

    There were lots of little “real life” bits thrown in here and there throughout the series, some of it actually had to have been researched to find out, and that always struck me odd, that he’d go to the trouble of having someone find out the real information when he’d completely ignore the easy to find text of the books in favor of whatever he felt like dreaming up.

    The name thing really throws me. I remember how astonished I was many years ago on my first “Little House” trip to discover the true pronunciation of the name, and yet how much sense it made… Why would you call him MANny unless it was short for AlMANzo? If he was Al-mahn-zo, then he should be called Monny for short… However, it’s been so long now since I converted to the correct pronunciation that I just can’t say it the wrong way at all. And it frustrates me when people CORRECT me. Happened just last week. Was at a family’s house, they were watching Little House, Dean appeared on the screen, and I couldn’t help but inform them that I’d just seen him… 🙂 And they gave me the funniest looks when I said Almanzo, and corrected me, “You mean AlMONzo??” And half the time, people think you’re making it up when you tell them the real pronunciation, because after all, they saw it on tv, and that makes it right. Sigh.

  2. Dakotagirl says:

    I must say that for me, Lucy Lee Flippin’s Elize Jane was the most annoying character on the show. Her voice and her mannerisms were just too annoying to listen to and watch. It was a real insult to the real EJ.

  3. Sarah Sue says:

    I really don’t think this is where Landon got it, but the one pre-TV show misprounciation I’ve found is in the Hallmark radio version of the Long Winter that got the DeSmet Pageant started. Other than that they seem to trace back to the TV show. The early pageant re-recorded the script, they didn’t mime to the original version, so unless they picked it up from that. It didn’t spread it.

    I’m just surprised Landon didn’t take the Manly nickname for himself. 😉

  4. Sarah Sue, you made me laugh out loud.

    I have to say it tickles me to hear my six-year-and (and, come to think of it, my three-year-old), say “Al-MAN-zo” — that is, correctly.

    Cheryl, I actually used to think that EJ was so perfectly cast. I guess she was — for the TV character. And a little bit for the character in Little Town; can’t you see her making the kids squirm and saying “birds in their little nests agree”? But certainly not for the real EJ.

  5. […] over at Dean Butler’s blog (check out his recent post on the Manzo/Mahnzo skirmish)how I blame it all on Eliza Jane, I ended up coming across this interview with Lucy Lee Flippin. Aw. I just can’t help liking […]

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