LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE/NBC/1974-83 (Blind)
Mary Ingalls Kendall (Melissa Sue Anderson), the daughter of Minnesota farmer Charles Ingalls Michael Landon) who lost her sight after a bout with scarlet fever that destroyed her corona on the two-part episode “I’ll Be Waving As You Drive Away.”
To help her cope, Mary was sent to a school for the blind (The Sleepy Eye School for the Blind) and later married her instructor (himself blind).
Over the life of the series, the blind couple moved to the Dakotas, then returned to Walnut Grove (Mary’s hometown) and finally left for New York when Mary’s husband, Adam Kendall (Linwood Boomer) took a job as a lawyer with his father’s firm after he (Adam) miraculously regained his sight via a freak accident.
Adam Charles Holbrook Kendall Jr., the baby boy of Adam and Mary Kendall was killed in the fire at the blind school.
Christopher Bowman played the recurring blind student, George at the blind school where Mary and Adam worked. He is first seen in “Blind Journey” in which the school moved with the help of Charles and Joe Kagan from Winoka to Walnut Grove.
Here are the key episodes dealing with Mary and her blindness.
- “Four Eyes” (Sept. 17, 1975): Mary needs to get glasses. Her schoolwork improves but the kids at school tease her so she loses her glasses on purpose.
- “I’ll Be Waving as You Drive Away” (Mar. 6 & 13, 1978): Mary goes blind. Her family sends her to a school for the blind. Mary meets Adam Kendall and learns to live with her condition.
- “The Wedding” (Nov. 6, 1978): Mary and Adam get married.
- “Darkness is My Friend” (Jan. 21, 1980): The blind school is taken over by escaped convicts while Adam is away. Mary and her sister, Laura are taken hostage. Their Pa comes to the rescue and disarm the convicts.
- “May We Make Them Proud” (Feb. 4, 1980): The community helps build a new blind school. Unfortunately, the building burns down and the resulting fire kills Alice Garvey and Mary’s baby boy. The fire was caused by Albert who left a lite pipe in a box of rags. A guilt-ridden Albert later confesses to Mary that he was responsible for the fire and death of her baby.
- “To See the Light” (Dec. 1 & 8, 1980): An explosion gives Adam a concussion which makes him see again. He applies to law school and pursues a degree.
Note: This frontier series was based on the Little House novels written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.