The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Growing Up Landon

By Gorman Woodfin
The 700 Club Michael Landon, Jr., worked his way up in Hollywood by taking on various jobs on TV and film sets.

But now he carries on his father’s tradition of producing, directing, and writing wholesome family TV entertainment.

His first two record-breaking Hallmark Channel movies are based on the Christian book series, Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. It was the highest rated movie in the history of the channel by 40 percent. Projects like these shine with a quality that attracts a diverse audience.

“I don’t want to just speak to the choir. I want anybody that tunes in to get something from it,” says Michael.

Michael’s productions seem to parallel his father’s family style TV shows Highway to Heaven and Little House on the Prairie.

But what was it like growing up as the son of Michael Landon?

“He was a master storyteller. [There were] jokes, definitely and gags, yes,” says Landon. “He was a very funny man. Laughter is good medicine, and he was very good at it.

"The thing that I cherished with him was our affection between one another.”

While Michael remembers having a wonderful childhood, his mother, Lynn, and his father eventually divorced.

“My family broke apart. That was very difficult on all of us. My foundation crumbled at that point in my life. I was 15 years old, and that set me off into a rebellious thing. Nothing that I felt was supposedly real and true about life. It was an issue of acting out. Driving too fast. Drinking.”

As his pain grew deeper, Michael felt more hopeless. "It was that sense of just nothing solid underneath,” he recalls.

Much of Michael’s real life drama happened in Hollywood, California, but his struggle to find himself took a dramatic turn when a relative invited him to church.

“My mom looks to me and sees the pain that I’m in -- sees that my life is out of control. She says, ‘Come to church with me’.”

You see, after her divorce, Lynn had become a Christian. Michael doubted his mother’s new found faith.

“I resisted ‘till finally [I went] just to appease her. I couldn’t tell you what that pastor said that day but he spoke to my heart. I surrendered.”

After that surrender Michael says his life took a complete turn around.

“You have your obvious things [like] drinking. That all went away. Then there’s all those subtle things that we’re not even aware [are] happening -- the relationships you create, the forgiveness that comes into your heart. Now, does it change overnight? Maybe for some. For me it was a process.”

Four years later Michael married and started his own family. Today his Hollywood career is in high gear. He’s currently working on two more Love Comes Softly movies for the Hallmark Channel. He says his faith keeps his life on track.

“You want to run the race the best as you possibly can,” he says, “yet I believe that without His grace there’s just no way to do it.”

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