Little House on the Prairie: A Reunion of Actors from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Little House on the Prairie, which first aired in 1974 (a whole decade after Voyage was first released to the TV screen), was like a reunion of cast members from Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea series. A very familiar face from Little House, Richard Bull (Nels Olsen) had also been a regular cast member on Voyage. He had portrayed the recurring role of Doc several years before playing the well-off shopkeeper of Walnut Grove.

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Kevin Hagen, Hiram Baker – the country physician/veterinarian, was also a fairly major actor in Little House. Previously, he had guest starred several twice on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in the episodes “The Shape of Doom” and “Attack!,” playing two different roles. He had guest starred a few times in Irwin Allen’s The Time Tunnel. Hagen also played Inspector Kobick, a recurring character in Allen’s Land of the Giants series.

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Richard Basehart, a superb actor in the realms of theatre, film, television, and sound, played Admiral Nelson in the four-season TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. He also guest starred on Little House in the episode entitled “Troublemaker.” He was the strict substitute teacher Hannibal Applewood, nicknamed by many of his students as “Crabapple.” Basehart even had a sequence with Richard Bull, the Doc of Voyage. I wonder if they liked working together again.

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Charles Aidman, a well-known TV actor, portrayed Dr. Hollis in the Voyage episode “Werewolf,” an episode in which Richard Bull’s role was also key. Aidman’s character was a scientist who had had a cut inflicted on him by his associate who had been attacked by a mad, seemingly unkillable wolf living on a volcanic island. A virus akin to the rabbis virus was thereby transmitted into Hollis’s bloodstream. The virus in him acted up on occasion (often due to a certain amount of radiation exposure).

This resulted in an alteration in the man’s physical appearance, causing certain features such as his hair and teeth to grow beyond their natural boundaries. It was one of the more memorable stories of the series, prompting a sequel episode in which Nelson (Richard Basehart), who had previously been scratched by Hollis, started to develop the same werewolf symptoms. Charles Aidman went on to guest star in the Little House on the Prairie episode “The Election” as Sam Dobkins.

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The last actor connection between the two series lies with Jan Merlin. He played a few villainous/murderous characters on Voyage in the episodes “No Way Out,” “The X Factor,” and “Death from the Past.” In the last episode mentioned, he plays one of two Nazis who had been perfectly preserved since World War II. He also had played one of those silver aliens in Allen’s The Time Tunnel. In Little House, Jan Merlin portrayed Jon Nordstrom in “Town Party-Country Party.” Nordstrom was a man who did not want help from anyone for himself or his daughter. He was very protective of his daughter who was slightly impaired because of a condition with her leg. When Mr. Ingalls makes a special shoe for the daughter, Nordstrom is, at first, pretty ticked off with Ingalls.

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