TVGuide.com: As you can understand, it gives a veteran
TV-lover like myself a warm feeling to see you back on screen
again.Melissa Anderson: Aww, thank you....
TVGuide.com: Why 10.5: Apocalypse for your
"return"?Anderson: [Writer-director] John
Lafia and [executive producer] Gary Pearl
found out that I had retired because I had kids, and they really
wanted the first lady to be warm and really into her daughter and
all that, so they thought I would be the person for it. I went
in and met with them, and it worked out great!
TVGuide.com: You must have liked the idea of having
Bridges for your husband.Anderson:
I was thrilled. Thrilled. I had to tell him on the very
first day that I had seen, with my best friends, The
Other Side of the Mountain about five times — and sobbed
every time. [Laughs] He loved that.
TVGuide.com: It's rather "in vogue" these days to play a
TV president, vice president or first lady. Look at 24,
in Chief....Anderson: That's
right, that's right. I have to say, of all the characters I ever
thought I would play, a first lady never occurred to me. It was very
fun to do.
TVGuide.com: This must have been semifamiliar territory
for you, having starred in the TV-movie Earthquake in New
York.Anderson: Yes, yes, and I was happy to be
able to stay clean and look nice the whole time! A lot of my roles
haven't been that way. Even on The
Equalizer, I was kidnapped and always in peril.... It was
nice to be on the other end for a change!
TVGuide.com: I still get a lump in my throat when I think
of Little House's Mary going blind. But I forget, did it
happen in a fire or...?Anderson: No, the fire thing
came after. It was scarlet fever that weakened the nerves and
eventually made her go blind.
TVGuide.com: I do remember you had this
"ethereal" look to your eyes....Anderson: My eyes are
very blue, sort of aquamarine, so — especially in the daylight
— they tend to photograph very, very blue.
TVGuide.com: Back then, being sans Entertainment
Tonight or the like, didn't people actually think you
had gone blind?Anderson: They did. I
received many letters, often from blind people. It was touching and
it made me feel great that my research had come through. I really
worked hard on that.
TVGuide.com: So tell me, when Melissa
Gilbert was Screen Actors Guild president, did
you get away with murder, or what?Anderson:
TVGuide.com: Did you need to ask her for any presidential
pardons? Or did Half-Pint ever threaten you with an ol' fashioned
whoopin' if you were late with dues?Anderson: No, no...
none of that happened....
TVGuide.com: Did you at least vote for
her?Anderson: I did, of course!
TVGuide.com: What's the edgiest TV show Melissa Anderson
watches?Anderson: I'm a pretty big fan of The
TVGuide.com: They should have you on! Christopher could
slug you, like Lauren Bacall!Anderson: I would
kill... this always sounds funny for me, but I would
literally kill to be on The Sopranos.
[Laughs] I was in L.A. a year and a half or so ago at
Disney, and I was wearing my Sopranos baseball cap, and we
got in for free! "Wow, you're so cool!"
TVGuide.com: Did they think you were Lorraine
Bracco or something? Anderson: I
don't know what they thought, but they were so thrilled
they let us in!
TVGuide.com: Just how many times were you on
Love Boat?Anderson: Oh, my
gosh... I did at least three of the Hollywood-shot ones, and then I
did one cruise.
TVGuide.com: Ever get to ask someone into your cabin "for
a nightcap"?Anderson: [Laughs] I don't
TVGuide.com: Life was so much simpler in the "Would you
like to come in for a nightcap?" days. Which of your roles has been
the guiltiest pleasure?Anderson: [The 1981 horror film]
Birthday to Me would be my pick, except that about halfway
through they changed the ending and made me the good guy as opposed
to the bad guy, and it kind of screwed up the movie. I certainly
didn't like it — I was tired of being the "good girl" all the
time! I liked it the way it was originally.
TVGuide.com: Wow, this is totally screaming for a
digitally remastered, 25th-anniversary director's-cut
TVGuide.com: Looking ahead, do you hope to treat us to TV
appearances more frequently than every five years or
so?Anderson: I think so. My kids are older now —
my son is almost 10, and he's my "little one" — so they now
think it's kind of cool that I might get out and work a little. All
in all, I'd like to edge my way back in a bit, yeah!