The widow of “Little House on the Prairie” star Michael Landon is furious that his hometown defaced a plaque dedicated to his memory – and then tossed it in the trash!
“It was sad to hear what had happened,” a distraught Cindy Landon told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview.
Two days after Christmas, the damaged 14-by-16-inch plaque was brought to a local newspaper by a person claiming to have found it in a Dumpster. Originally costing $1,400, the plaque had been removed during recent renovations to a playground called The Little Treehouse on the Prairie in Collingswood, N.J.
“I was notified about the plaque by Abbe Effron, who had led the campaign to erect it,” said Cindy, now living in Malibu, Calif.
“I paid for the park to be built and the plaque was funded by the private donations of people who loved Michael and wanted to memorialize him.
“It meant a lot to my family and his fans, and it would have meant a lot to Michael, too. The park should be restored and the plaque returned to its original place.”
Admirers of the actor wholeheartedly agree.
“Angry fans have been calling and e-mailing me from all over the world because they’re incensed that Collingswood officials could be so careless and insensitive,” actor and prairiefans.com website founder Lennon Parker told The ENQUIRER.
“Michael Landon’s memorial was intended to be honored by fans, not defaced and thrown in the Dumpster like a piece of garbage.”
The memorial was created in 1997, six years after Landon tragically died of cancer at age 54. The beloved actor, who shot to fame playing Little Joe on the TV classic “Bonanza,” was born in New York but moved to Collingswood as a tyke in 1940.
“If the mayor of Collingswood has a decent bone in his body, he’ll see to it that the plaque is fixed up and put back where it belongs,” Parker noted, adding that the minor damage the plaque suffered could probably be repaired.
Meanwhile, the town’s mayor Jim Maley denies the plaque was trashed but maintains: “There was no offense intended. We will find a spot for it.”