The Pamelyn Ferdin Interview
from Feminist Baseball

Here is a March 1995 interview with Pamelyn Ferdin that appeared in Feminist Baseball, a Seattle music and media 'zine, issue #14 from the summer of 1995.

You might like a copy of the real magazine, it has several pictures of Pamelyn interspersed throughout the article text. Copies of this issue are $3 postage paid in the USA from Jeff Smith, P.O. Box 9609, Seattle WA 98109. Send cash or checks to "Jeff Smith." This article is Copyright 1995 Jeffrey Smith <>. Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.

Thanks goes to Hugh Graves for OCR'ing the printed article. All abbreviations and typographical quirks are present in the original text. Some corrections have been made at Pam's request.

Basically, just a really nice little girl
Pamelyn Ferdin: Her Life & Work

If you grew up watching TV in the '70s, Pamelyn Ferdin's cheerful, crackly voice is instantly recognizable. She was nearly always buoyant, kind, happy and glowing on the outside while often (both in her roles and in real life) crying + falling apart on the inside.

She was Pam on The Curiosity Shop, Fern in Charlotte's Web, Lucy in (some of) The Peanuts Specials, appeared in dozens of other TV guest appearances & cartoon voiceovers, commercials, was Amy in The Beguiled (w/Clint Eastwood & Geraldine Page), and, perhaps most memorably, played the titular dead girl singing from heaven in Happy Birthday, Wanda June. Many of her characters had a wise & sad beyond their years quality and simultaneously a comforting, everything's-going-to-be-alright air mixed with a dreamy wistful sadness.

I remember her as an ideal, slightly older, pretty yet tomboyish big sister/girl next door from The Paul Lynde Show in 1973.

I spoke w/Pamelyn by telephone on St. Patrick's Day, 1995. She spoke quickly yet clearly with precise recall and a happy-go-lucky demeanor. She's all grown up now but when she laughs her '70s voice still ripples through. Often she evoked lost epochs so clearly, that we became nearly unstuck in time, to borrow Vonnegut's phrase. So grab yourself a tall glass of milk, a pop tart (ideally a Danish Go Round) and turn on an old b/w television to set the mood...

Feminist Baseball: I saw both '59 + '60 as birthdates for you and I wasn't sure which was correct?

Pamelyn Ferdin: '59.

FB: How & when did you get started?

Pam: Well, probably when I was about 3 or 4, My mother, I guess, she had always wanted to be an actress, so she started putting me in little plays when I was 3 & 4. I had such a good memory back then, I wish I had the same memory today, but I had such a great memory back then, that even though I couldn't read, people would just read the script to me and I would be able to just memorize my lines. Then from there I started going out on commercials & things like that.

FB: Did you go to school or were you working full time and studying with a tutor?

Pam: Since I did so much, especially during the age of 5, when you go to school, to 16, I had a tutor on the set. Different school teachers for different projects. Basically they had teachers provided for the young actors. So in between the projects I would go to a public school, which was very difficult because kids can be so brutal, so mean to one another. I think that's when I really discovered a lot of hatred and evilness in the world.

FB: Wow. That kind of leads into my next question, did you feel like a star by the time you were 10 or 12 or so?

Pam: NO! In fact, I felt horrible. I was very insecure 'cos kids would come up to me and I was doing the voice of Lucy on "Charlie Brown" and they'd make fun of me. I guess, in looking back at it now as an adult, I can understand that they were uncomfortable and maybe jealous and just nervous about being around this gal who was in & out of their school, who they saw on television and so instead of being kind & compassionate to me, they turned it around. There was a guy who used to come up and hit me, and bug me and I didn't realize that it was because the kids themselves were having a hard time handling it. So basically I just felt very insecure and, I guess in a way very lonely and out of place there. I felt much more comfortable with adults. When I used to do my projects, I was usually the only or one of a few children, and so I felt much more comfortable with adults. I thought they were a lot nicer.

FB: Children can be awfully mean...

Pam:...they really can, it's really a shame.

FB: People talk about "the innocence of children" but I think that's an idealized, Victorian thing of children being served cucumber sandwiches & tea.

Pam: (laughs) Absolutely right! I think kids and I don't know why, but starting from as long as I could remember, starting from elementary school. They were very stand-offish. Then it got worse + worse through Jr. High & High School to where I didn't even want to go. Kids are just very competitive. They're very insecure themselves, so unfortunately the people that are different, whether they're handicapped or whatever, in order to make themselves feel better, they have to put other kids that are different down, I think it's a shame, 'cos I had a really lousy, lousy time in school. I didn't have any friends, hardly at all my own age. So basically, I was alone.

FB: Wow! That's really awful! What really good roles were you up for that you didn't get?

Pam: Some of the roles, like for instance, I was up for Family Affair. to play Buffy and I didn't get that. And I know my mother, it just killed her, 'cos she REALLLLLY wanted me to get that part, And so when I didn't get it, I felt horrible. I mean, just horrible. Not just because I didn't get the part 'cos I really didn't care. I wasn't one of these precocious actresses, little kids that said "Oh! Mommy! Mommy! I want to be in acting." This was a whole different relationship.

I never even wanted to be an actress. My mother would get me very emotionally involved in getting a part, and rehearsing with me, and putting all of her dreams and hopes in a role, so when I didn't get a role--which, thank God!, wasn't that often-- (laughs) thank God for me! (nervous laugh) Then she would just be very, very upset so I picked up her disappointment, that exaggerated the whole thing. So I remember that, even though I did some Family Affairs as guest appearances, I played her neighbor & they really liked me, for some reason I didn't get the role and my mother was just very, very upset. And then some of the other roles that I didn't get, that I couldn't even go out on, were things like The Brady Bunch because I was doing another series at the time. My mom was very frustrated about my having a conflict.

FB: Plus you weren't blond.

Pam: Uh, huh, no I was blond back then. (laughs) Not BLOND blond but she could've dyed my hair--my mom would have gone to any extreme to get me a part! Are you kidding?!

FB: You said you were on one Brady Bunch, which I hadn't found on my own, "A Birthday for Jan"? (Erin Smith ould've known this!) [Ed. note: it's actually "Will the Real Jan Brady Please Stand Up?"]

Pam: It's a pretty popular one, it's amazing how many people remember me from that one! It's when Jan was really upset, the middle kid Eve Plumb was really upset 'cos she looked like her other two sisters and she wanted to be different so she went out and bought a dark, brunette wig. And she wore it to my birthday party and I gave her a real hard time. Then at the end, I came over & apologized and told her that "we like her because of who she is" and da, da, da!

FB: Was doing voiceovers hard when you were 10 or whenever you started? There's not usually that many children doing voiceovers.

Pam: That's true and I guess really you just have to be good with words. You have to have clear speech, you have to be able to read well. Actually voiceovers weren't hard for me at all, In fact I enjoyed doing them, since you weren't in front of a camera, you could wear whatever you want, you didn't have to go through make up, you didn't have to worry about how you looked & everything, you could come in jeans & whatever. And I liked it. I thought the people in voiceovers were a very happy, fun bunch of people-- they weren't quite as serious as acting before a camera. It was like one, happy family.

FB: In the early '70s you were doing two or three cartoons at the same time...

Pam: Uh, huh, uh, huh (laughs) Hanna Barbera, I did 2001 I think, no not 2001. I don't know. I can't even remember!

FB: I combined your lists with others, so I think i have a fairly definitive order. (We talk about filmographies + TV appearances.)

Pam: It's funny and I don't know why but nobody kept a real, adequate list of what I did, So when I was an adult I couldn't remember what I did.

FB: You were on a number of shows when you were very young, which since you're a bit older than me, I missed a lot of that early stuff. I've never seen The John Forsyth Show. I don't think some of that's ever been re-run.

Pam: No, That was a cute show, he played a principal at a school and in fact, Peggy Lipton was one of the students. The maid from The Brady Bunch was the PE teacher, I forgot her name...

FB: Ann B. Davis, Blondie is another one, I was probably six then and I don't think we had a TV yet.

Pam: Mmmmm. That was cute, unfortunately. I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate, for some reason, the series that I did were never huge successes or ran a long time,

FB: Mostly a year or two, I didn't know anything about from the '70s, Space Academy?

Pam: Space Academy! That was a great show! That was on Saturday morning and it was kind of billed as the first dramatic, adult format for kids. It was basically like Star Trek-Jr Next Generation but all the people in it were teenagers or young adults. The star of that show was the guy who played on Lost in Space as that strange character...uh...the one with the robot. No one liked him...

FB: Was it Jonathan Williams?

Pam: Jonathan! Yeah, He starred as our commander, that probably lasted a couple years on Saturday mornings.

FB: Did yr parents let you go see some of the more risque movies that you were in like The Beguiled or Mephisto Waltz?

Pam: I would go and then, at the scenes that were risque, my mother would take her hand and cover my eyes.

FB: Wow!

Pam: In front of everybody!

FB: That must have been weird, having been in the movie and then being censored afterwards or whatever you'd call it?

Pam: Well not really because I really enjoyed being a quote "good girl." I was kind of known in the business for being a real trooper--I would go from one interview to another. I might have 5 interviews after school and each one was for a different character, so I'd be in the car changing clothes, as we would go from one to the other. Even when I was sick. I remember doing a Mattel commercial--where I was really young-in between the takes, I would go throw up 'cos I was so sick, I had a really high fever, then I'd come back and do my bit, And everybody said, "OH! Pam! You look so good! You have such rosy cheeks!" Because I had such a high fever!

So it's kind of like, I saw myself as a really nice girl, a good girl. I never went through a period of rebellion, like a lot of kids do. Never, ever got into drugs. I was just your REALLY goodie, two shoes! And that's kind of how I saw myself, so I was kind of proud of the fact that I wasn't tainted - because so many kids in the business, at that age, were like really spoiled. They just had reputations of being conceited and very arrogant, being into drugs so I kind of liked my being a little bit special. People kind of knowing that Pamelyn Ferdin was just a really nice little girl.

FB: In a lot of your roles, you seem like the girl-next- door or the big sister, little sister. I watched What's The Matter With Helen? Your little part in that is kind of a Shirley Temple homage..

Pam: Uh huh...

FB: ..with a little "America First"/"Up With People."

Pam: Exactly! Exactly, so that's how people saw me and really--that's how I was! Basically, I was a pretty, I was just one of those goodie girls.

FB: What was it like to kiss Clint Eastwood, in The Beguiled? That's a pretty amazing scene!

Pam: Well, you know that was pretty interesting for me because I was...when he kissed me, it wasn't in the script. How we rehearsed it up to the point, where they started the camera rolling--he was supposed to cover my mouth--because I saw, apparently, I was scared and he didn't want me to scream 'cos I saw some troops coming by. So that was the way we'd rehearsed it when we were up there in the bayou, so he went over--without my knowing it--I guess he had this idea that, it might be--I don't know, a little more provocative I guess.

I don't know cos I wasn't privy to the conversation. He went over to Don Siegal, who was the director, Clint Eastwood did, and Siegal said, "Hey! Why don't you kiss her, instead of covering her mouth with yr hand?" So basically that scene, the way I looked was actually (real). They printed the first take and that look was definitely (laughs) not a put on! Because I had NO IDEA IN THE WORLD THAT HE WAS GONNA KISS ME. So I was kinda stunned!

FB: That's my favorite of all the movies I've seen you in. I've seen all the ones that you're in very much of.

Pam: Well you know that was one of Clint Eastwood's favorite movies at the time too because he really felt it was a departure. Unfortunately it didn't do well money wise, at the box office. He thought he did a good job in that movie and it was a stretch for him because he played an entirely different character. I think he was very much looking forward to having that movie come out and unfortunately I guess it was not distributed very well or something 'cos I think it could have been a lot bigger than it was.

FB: He did a lot of good stuff right in a row there but only Dirty Harry got really famous. Play Misty for Me was another good movie that didn't really get much press either.

Pam: Uh huh. Yeah, exactly.

FB: Were you ever on Zoom? That seemed like something you would have fit in on.

Pam: (Squeals!) It would've! I did a lot of those kinds of shows but no, I was never on Zoom!

FB: And I couldn't find any Afterschool Specials. that was the other thing that I would have imagined you'd have been on.

Pam: Yeah you know I never did any of those either. I think, at that point, when the afternoon specials started coming out, I was a little old. I think, I was like 17, 18. I don't know. There was a period of time...I don't know why I didn't actually do many shows like that.

FB: There's a lot of TV movies that are on here but I've only seen part of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The last thing I remember you on, from back then, when I just sort of knew who you were was Baretta but it seems (from your resume) that you ended up playing a lot of 15 yr old hookers & runaways in TV Movie of the Week stuff?

Pam: Right.

FB: And then The Tool Box Murders, which was pretty terrible, what was up with that?!

Pam: Well at that point, I had REALLY wanted to get out of acting. And my mother was very very upset when I even THOUGHT of leaving the business. When I started having these thoughts on my own, of wanting to get out of acting, I wanted to do something in the sciences or be a nurse and help people and stuff like that, she forbid it and basically MADE me go out on a lot of these roles. I really didn't wanna continue acting so I would have never gone out on The Toolbox Murders except for the fact she really wanted me to stay in the business.

FB: At pretty much any level that you could?

Pam: What do you mean?

FB: It was so much cheaper, such a sub B-movie-- much more so than the stuff you were doing 5 or 6 years before.

Pam: Right, right, definitely and I think she just wanted me to stay in the business and since my heart, at that time, was not in the business at all, I didn't go out and promote myself. I was not in the Hollywood scene, investigating good movies. I basically just did whatever came along, to please my mother, until I was old enough to get out of the house or old enough at least to have the courage to say, "I don't want to be in acting anymore!" To say that to her and bear the brunt of her wrath. Basically. (laughs/shudders)

FB: It's always hard when you're at that age to make the transition from child to adult actor. There's usually not that many good roles for women anyways, although there were probably more in the '70s than now.

Pam: Well you know, at that time it was an awkward age. It definitely was an awkward age because I wasn't old enough + sexy enough, remember I was still pretty much the goodie girl, the nice girl-next-door. So I wasn't getting the roles that were for the really sexy, gorgeous, tall, skinny ingenue. So unfortunately there just wasn't a really good vehicle at the time for me to be in.

FB: Well how tall are you?

Pam: I'm only 5'2".

FB: I didn't realize you were that short...

Pam:...I am a tiny little thing!!

FB: I was trying to figure it out but you can't really tell in movies.

Pam: I'm pretty short. (laughs)

FB: Were their any good movies that you tried out for that you regret not getting? Or did it not really matter by the time you were 15 or 16?

Pam: Um...probably, I'm trying to think what movies, oh boy... No. (pause) Since I wasn't the one that was really interested in acting, I just kind of went out and did whatever my mother & my agent sent me out on. I didn't fall in love with roles because that wasn't the way I was, I was basically--you know what I mean?

FB: It wasn't like you were reading scripts, saying "Here's the one that's really good, I hope I can get it but Jodie Foster or Tatum O'Neal got first choice."

Pam: Right! I wasn't like that at all! I just did what I was told to do! (laughs) And tried to do, obviously, the best job I could.

FB: The last thing (that I could find) that you did was a voice in Heidi's Song from '82.

Pam: Was that after 240-Robert?

FB: The list that seems most accurate shows 240- Robert as '79.

Pam: Hmm...I don't remember the dates. For some reason, I thought 240-Robert was the last thing I did. And commercials, I did a couple commercials. My last acting that I did was a commercial for Avis Rent-a-Car and I did that when I was 27.

FB: I guess my next question is what have you been doing since the mid '80s?

Pam: Well, I became a nurse. I really got into nursing because I wanted to help people and also, I think that when you grow up in the business, there's a lot of highs and lows in the acting business. You have a lot of high highs--working with all these fabulous people--and then, when a project is through, you have a lot of low lows. So I wanted to do something that was a secure job. Actually I was pretty practical, I've always been very practical. That's one thing and I don't know how I ever learned it. I was always thinking to myself "I don't want to have to struggle, going out on interviews the rest of my life, hoping for the big part." Maybe it's because I saw so many actors, as a kid, that I didn't feel were that happy. I just didn't want that kind of life, viewing it as a kid. Even Walter Matthau once, I don't know if I had met him, or if I had read this, but I remember as a little kid Walter Matthau said something like, "You're only as good as your last movie."

Therefore, it was a very insecure business to me because even if you were a star, if you did a lousy movie, then that was it. I didn't see myself as wanting to stay in that lifestyle. I thought that nursing would be exciting and it would be pretty dramatic. It would have the same types of highs and lows acting did which was true because I ended up working in an emergency room at a county hospital which is basically like the series ER. Exactly the same thing--trauma all the time, gunshot wounds and car accidents and stabbings coming in at all hours of the night. It was like a movie, like a B rated movie--all this blood and gore! (laughs) I thought to myself, "Man! I'm really doing a B rated movie now--like The Toolbox Murders but it's real life."

So I really enjoyed doing that and then, actually, what's transpired in the last few years, is that I've gotten very involved in animal issues and animal rights. I really feel that animals, the way animals are treated in this society-- whether they're in circuses chained 12 hours, 18 hours a day in little cages--I see them as the last bastion of slavery we have. First it was civil rights, then it was women who were very repressed and now when you really look at it, when you read books, and actually see footage of these sentient beings that might not be able to talk and they might not be able to reason the way we reason but they are able to feel, they have a central nervous system and they do feel pain, they do suffer, they do feel anxiety, and fear. And when you see'em stuffed in cages, whether they're going to slaughter and they're nervous and they're crying or whatever, you just realize that it's a slavery mentality that we humans feel that we're above animals and they are for our use. (They) were put here for our use to do whatever we want and exploit them however we want, whether we're laughing at them in a circus or anything like that.

FB: Is that why you said you didn't want to participate in the Lassie reunion?

Pam: That's one of the reasons. I don't know, I just think it's wrong to have animals in entertainment. Maybe it's because of me, in a way, I can relate to animals. Animals are forced, basically, to entertain and I was too. I was kind of forced to be in acting. I just feel that unless you love doing something, you want to do it, you shouldn't be forced just because you're weaker than other people! Or other beings are more powerful than you. I don't feel that you should be forced into doing things that you don't enjoy.

FB: Definitely. It doesn't sound like you miss being on TV and in movies at all then, really?

Pam: No. The only time I have regretted, in all these years, has been recently because I really feel that if I had stayed in acting, then I could have done a lot more for the animals because obviously the media is so profound and it reaches so many people, that if I were still an actress and well known, I would be doing a lot more in that I'd want to be involved with films & television shows regarding the abuses of laboratory animals and slaughter houses, although since I'm a nurse, I go out and teach people that--in order to exist, to live and be healthy--you don't need to eat the flesh of animals. That's how I'm taking nursing and my nutrition and speaking to doctors, there's a Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine that sends me all kinds of great literature, what they're finding is that our bodies aren't made to eat the flesh of animals. We're actually herbivores, that's why we're so unhealthy--that's why there's heart attacks and strokes and cancers and they're all related to the flesh of animals, whether it's because the flesh is so fatty, or because there's so much pesticides and antibiotics that are concentrated in the muscle of the animal and that's what you eat--the muscle. So I'm going out and trying to spread the word that way.

FB: Some people also believe that the karma you get from eating animals that are killed is not a positive thing, I don't know what your religious beliefs are but from some of what you said, it sounds like that might be part of it.

Pam: I'm not traditionally religious at all, I never went to church, in fact my father was Jewish and my mother was Catholic and both were more or less atheists. As a kid and I don't know where I got that from either, but I always felt close to nature even when I was doing things like Lassie. I was out there with nature and I would be talking to Lassie and in between takes I'd be taking walks through the trees and I've just always been very much into animals and respecting nature.

I do feel that there is a spirituality where traditional religion, traditional Christianity has taught us that God put us here and we have dominion over everything else but I don't believe that! I don't believe that there's some guy with a long beard sitting up there, pointing his fingers, making these rules of "sin" and "not sin." I believe it's more of an integral, inter-connected web of life and that we're all animals. Humans are animals. We might be a different kind of animal and we might be higher on the evolutionary scale but that doesn't give us a right to exploit beings that are lower.

FB: I think I pretty much agree with that.

Pam: A book that has really changed my life is Diet for a New America by John Robbins. It's amazing! You know John Robbins? The son of the Baskin & Robbins fortune. I could relate to him too, in a way: here's a guy who was going to go into his dad's business, the only son of Baskin & Robbins Ice Cream. They have this huge mansion with an ice cream cone shaped swimming pool! His dad was, like breeding him- basically--bringing him up to take over. When his Dad said, "Listen! All this is yours," he walked away. He said, "No. That's not my calling in life. My calling in life is to make this world, this planet a better place." So he wrote Diet for a New America, which is the bible for the animal rights movement. It's a wonderful, eye opening book to what really goes on in the world.

FB: You got married, is that right?

Pam: I got married, We're very happy, I've been married now for 8 years, I'm pretty low key, we're both pretty low key, we just like hiking. My husband's a physician. I met him when I was a nurse at the county hospital and he was a resident in training. It's been really great because Jerry too has been out there teaching preventative health. Traditionally medical people make their living off people being sick, not people being well. It's in their best interest and in the best interest of the pharmaceuticals industry, in McDonalds' best interest, to not change the status quo.

But Jerry would rather make less money, he'd rather be put out of business and teach people how to stay healthy. Now he knows that eating the flesh of animals is directly responsible for so many things he sees in patients. He thinks it's ridiculous that people don't spread the word but unfortunately he kind of views it like smoking. He said that in the '40s doctors were telling their patients to smoke, to ease the stress. You should smoke, because you'll decrease your chances of dying from a heart attack, because you'll be more relaxed. That was accepted. Jerry's hoping that, in the years to come, it'll be the same thing. People will look back at us and say, "OH! My God! People actually ate the carcass and the flesh of some dead animal that they slaughtered in a factory farm!" (We talk about George Washington's being bled to death.)

FB: What do you think about the negative influences of TV and movies making people kill, light their house on fire, stuff like that?

Pam: I think, in a way, I agree with that with little kids. Once you can form your own opinions, once you're an adult and can think on your own--then you're not as impressionable. I don't know, the stuff on TV today, I guess I'm very conservative in that area. I was so impressionable! Even the movies that I was in that were scary, like Daughter of The Mind (made for TV film with Pamelyn as Ray Milland's dead daughter, whom he believes is communicating with him from beyond the grave), I was just very frightened when I saw them--and they were mundane/benign compared to what the kids see today. I think it makes them insensitive--when you see so much violence in the movies, on TV and in video games, it dulls your sensitivity. We should all be shocked, when we see a dead body on the news. We should be outraged and shocked, I think it's because we see so many of them, it becomes commonplace. That's kind of scary for me as I see society becoming more & more hardened and less compassionate.


What A Way To Go (1964) Very funny, sarcastic industry insider all-star take off on late '50s glamour/glitz super stardom w/Shirley MacLaine as a poor little rich girl/woman who keeps marrying men who drop dead leaving her richer & richer. Shirley wears even more (and even more outlandish!) Edith Head gowns than Elizabeth Taylor does in Elephant Walk! Her husbands are played by Dick Van Dyke, Paul Newman (in a spoof of a Jean Tinguely like avant- garde painter), Robert Mitchum as a super rich international tycoon, Gene Kelly as a humble clown/singer who becomes the BIGGEST/most EGOMANICIAL star in the world, and Dean Martin. It's a wonderful, fun, crazy, wild film that inspired the Flaming Lips' name. It's full of sarcastic one-liners like "The little people, I love em!" and "Remind me to tell you later that I love you." Pam's part? She shows up, 5 minutes before the end, as one of Dean & Shirley's children and has exactly one line: "What do you think I am, a baby?"

Never Too Late (1965) Produced by Norman Lear from a Broadway play starring Maureen O'Sullivan as an aging woman who becomes pregnant. Connie Stevens also trys to get pregnant. Movies become TV. The Motion Picture Guide says "It's pretty childish stuff." Leonard Maltin says "occasionally amusing."

The Reluctant Astronaut (1966) Pam's not listed in the credits + I've never seen this, so I'm guessing she's got a short cameo in a Don Knotts movie Maltin calls "predictable & often not even childishly humorous, For kids only."

Valley of Mystery (1966) As above--she's not credited in this obscure made for TV but shown in theaters film starring Peter Graves + Fernando Lamas.

The One & Only Original Family Band (1968) A true story, set in 1888 and based on that year's Democratic Convention, starring Walter Brennan, Buddy Ebsen, Lesley Anne Warren, John Davidson, and (ironically) a very young, obscure Goldie Hawn, in a tiny role, as "Giggly" girl + an even younger Kurt Russell. Pam gets featured billing in this 2 hour + Disney musical which I've never seen: she was nominated for an award as Best Performance by a Juvenile Actress.

A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) Vince Guaraldi's familar piano music is the best thing about this theatrical "Peanuts" film that lacks most of the wit & fun of the slightly later TV specials. It seemed rather flat & aimless when I watched it last month. I don't recall seeing it on CBS (w/Coca Cola "I want to teach the world to sing" + Dolly Madison ads). Charlie Brown gets his kite stuck in a tree, Lucy holds a football for him to kick & then pulls it away at the last second, Snoopy fantasizes he's a World War I flying ace and so on, Lucy Van Pelt is Pamelyn's meanest role. There's one really bizarre, Francis Schaffer on Acid sequence where Schroeder plays piano while halucinating the mutated faces of classical music icons mated over ugly gauche/watercolor freaked out backgrounds. Did somebody dose Charles Schultz?

As far as I can tell The Christine Jorgenson Story (1970) is as totally lost a movie as The Telephone, China 9, Liberty 37 or Jodorowsky's Tusk.

What's The Matter With Helen? (1971) I'm pretty sure this came out in theaters first (as I've seen reviews) but it's also listed as made-for-TV in some sources. It's a very campy melodrama in the spirit of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? starring a very messed up Shelly Winters who is genuinely creepy & Debbie Reynolds as a nearly gone to seed ingenue/dance instructor in a lurid film set in LA during the depths of the depression, Dennis Weaver co-stars as Reynolds' suitor. Pamelyn shows up 45 minutes in, and does a brief, wonderful monologue: "A salute to Our President! Franklin Delano Roosevelt! Military on Parade!" screamed at the top of her lungs + then leads a troupe of younger girls in a dance number straight out of any sixteen "Hey! Let's put on a show! My Dad knows show business, we've got an old barn out back + a dozen chorus girls!" Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland films. She looks really cute in her Majorette costume & jumps around with enormous glee. This is intercut with Winters' flashbacks to bloody murders she committed. It's an uneven film but so much of it's so over-the-top and unbelievable, it is amusing. Another highlight is Agnes Moorhead's precise evocation of crazy '30s radio preachers like Amy Semple McPherson & Father Devine.

The Beguiled (1971) is far and away, the best & most serious film Ferdin was ever in. Directed by Don Siegel, starring Clint Eastwood as a severely wounded Union soldier, Geraldine Page as the head of a small private (very David Hamilton-esque)girl's school in the deep South, and Pamelyn as Amy, the 12 yr old who finds Eastwood's character as she's hunting mushrooms in the dense woods. The kiss between a nearly dead Eastwood & a confused Ferdin is one of the most chilling + memorable moments in '70s films. I don't like to give away much about good movies and a random sampling shows that next- to-no one has seen it. It may well be the only Eastwood film to lose money but it's readily available on home video and well worth checking out, esp. if you're into dreamy, gothic mysticism. The general ethos & atmosphere of the early '70's allowed a number of serious films to be made that would never get done in today's Burger King tie-in/video game/lowest common denominator moron driven market.

The Mephisto Waltz (1971) is a half decent, far flung gothic/early '70s swinger's paradise wild party/Fellini-esque orgy/Anton LeVey hipster Devil worshipping meets Playboy's Guide to Home Stereo movie w/Pamelyn in a small role as the daughter of pianist Alan Alda, who inherits the soul of dying evil genius Curt Jurgens. Jacqueline Bisset (as Alda's suspicious wife) and Millie Perkins as Jurgen's daughter/wife (?) co-star. Pam dies pretty early on, in a freaky artsy "is it real or just a dream?" scene. This film advocates tearing pages out of library books so it's hard to recommend. I swear Encore was playing a different cut of this in '91 as I recall a scene w/Pam, Alda & Bisset sitting at a bar that's not in the video. This film's got buckets of glossy, lurid '70s colors, big glass houses and lots of scenes that make little or no sense. I had to watch the last 5 minutes twice to figure out what actually happened.

Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971) from the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. play of the same name is not (legally) available on video + it's an unlikely bootleg but if anyone has one I'd love to borrow it. I remember watching it at 3 AM in the early '80s pre-VCR days. Pam sings the title song and delivers a page long monologue from heaven (I'm going by the play's script) w/some amazing, early'70s Vonnegut nihilism: "I am Wanda June. Today was going to be my birthday, but I was hit by an ice-cream truck. I am dead now. I am in if you think of killing somebody, don't worry about it. Just go ahead and do it. Whoever you do it to should kiss you for doing it."

As a child, Charlotte's Web (1974) was one of my favorite but I couldn't really recall if I'd seen this musical cartoon adaptation of E.B. White's classic when it came out or not. I only remember going to one movie in that era, with my first mother, The Million Dollar Duck. We also never had any music around the house, except a few children's 7"s like "Teddy Bears Picnic" which I foolishly used as Frisbees around '74 when I was 11 or so. (Now I can't find a copy of that record for anything!) I liked Paul Lynde, who plays the smart mouthed rat Templeton, quite a bit so I'm pretty sure I caught this on TV. Pam plays the little girl, Fern, who has a lot of lines like "Oh! Papa!" when she gets to save the runt from the axe. Debbie Reynolds is Charlotte The Spider, Agnes Moorhead does a good job as the tough minded Goose, and Henry Gibson stars as Wilbur, "some pig." Toward the end, the cast sings the "fine swine/wish her was mine/Zuckerman's famous pig" song that The Brady Kids covered.

The Toolbox Murders (1979) is a mind numblingly bad, horrible looking and very cheap slasher movie. The lighting, acting (apart from Pam + Cameron Mitchell), script, + editing are all at a sub porno/Sun Classic Pictures level. The actors in smaller roles talk as if they'd never heard English spoken aloud before! It's neither as cheap nor as creeped out as the same year's infamous I Spit On Your Grave but parts are close. Pamelyn looks a bit puffy, uncomfortably stuffed into late '70s yeast infection jeans, playing 14 at 20. For much of this movie she's tied up, sitting in the fluffy, horse/unicorn loving bedroom of Mitchell's late daughter, whom he's tried to replace by kidnapping Pam's character. There's a few wild, freaked out bits at the end but otherwise it's the pits.

Heidi's Song (1982) is a half decent Japanese/Hanna Barbera cartoon featuring Loren Greene + Sammy Davis Jr. (as the voice of a singing rat, who in the film's best & most bizarre scene sings a strange Sammy Cohn penned ditty to scare Heidi!). Pamelyn does the voice of the poor, crippled girl whom Heidi befriends & brings out of her shell, Shirley Temple style. The story of a wheelchair bound young woman, forced to act like a child, and finally freed at the end, could be seen as a metaphor for Pamelyn's own escape from acting, as this is her last role.

TV MOVIES: 1965:Brainstorm; 1969: Wonderful World of Color "Smoke"; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; Daughter of The Mind; 1971: The Forgotten Man; 1974: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; 1975: Miles to Go Before I Sleep; 1979: 240-Robert

SERIES : 1965-66: John Forsythe Show; 1968-69: Blondie; 1971-73: The Curiosity Shop; 1973-74: The Paul Lynde Show; 1971-73: Lassie; 1972-73: Roman Holidays; 1972-73: Sealab 2020; 1974-76: These Are The Days; 1977-79: Space Academy

The Beguiled with Clint Eastwood {Picture of Clint Eastwood on crutches}


1964: The Littlest Hobo "The Babysitter"; Breaking Point "The Summer House".

1965: Bewitched "Eat at Mario's"; Andy Griffith Show "Girl Shy" + "Bazaar"; Jonathan Winters Show.

1966: Bob Hope Chrysler Theatre "City of LA" + "Free of Charge"; Andy Williarns Show; Bing Crosby Show "Manpower"; Branded "A Proud Town"; Road West; The Danny Kaye Show; Jesse James "A Burying for Rosie"; My Three Sons "Fly Away Home".

1967: Family Affair "Mrs. Beasley, Where Are You?", "The Birds, The Bees and Buffy"; The Monkees "Monkees in The Movies"; Daniel Boorie "Requiem For Craw Greene"; Custer" To The Death".

1968: Second Hundred Years "Luke's First Xmas"; The Flying Nun "The Reconversion of Sister Shapiro"; Gunsmoke "The Money Store"; Green Acres "Instant Family"; Star Trek "The Children Shall Lead"; Jerry Lewis Special Show (dancing); The Woody Woodbury Show (3 appearances dancing).

1969: Charlie Brown + Peanuts Specials (voice of Lucy) "It was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown"; High Chaparral "No Bugles, No Drums", "For The Love of Carlos".

1970: The Flying Nun "Cousins by The Dozens"; Hollywood Bowl; Mannix "Fly Little One"; Play It Again, Charlie Brown.

1971: The Psychiatrist "The Private World of Martin Dalton" (directed by Steven Speilbergl; The Odd Couple "Edna's Birthday Party" + other episodes (as Tony Randall's daughter); Marcus Welby M.D. "A Portrait of Debbie"; The Delphi Bureau "Merchant of Death".

1972: The Brady Bunch "A Birthday for Jan".

1973: Marcus Welby MD "The Tall Tree"; Doctor Kildaire episode w/Cloris Leachman.

1974: Apple's Way "The Flag".

1975: Night Gallery "Brenda"; Love American Style "Love + The Instant Father"; Chips ? episode.

1976: Streets of San Francisco "The Runaway".

1977: Baretta "The Runaways".

1978: Vegas "Serve, Volley and Kill"; Project UFO "Sighting".


1965: Baby Makes Three(aka Baby Crazy).

1966: Stranded; Mad Mad Scientist (aka Guess What I did Today?)

Other TV Appearances:

Death Valley Days, Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon(sang/danced) and other benefits.

I had a very hard time verifying a number of years, dates, and exact order so this is far from perfect but it is close to complete, Most of her TV work is very hard to catch but I did see the last hour of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on Christmas afternoon.

"Under the impact of television, I can contemplate a time in America when people can neither read nor write, but will be no better than the lower forms of plant life." --Robert Hutchins, University of Chicago

[Newspaper clipping]

When it comes to Emmy time, people shouldn't forget the performance of Weaver. The scene between him and his daughter (brilliantly played by Pamelyn Ferdin) when he comes home after five years of "death," was beautiful. As his re-married wife, Anne Francis was very good.


Dear Pam,
Just saw a private screening of "The Portrait Of Debbie" and was thrilled with the excellance and depth of your performance. It was a sensitive and touching portrayal for which you can be properly proud. Was equally delighted with your debut in "Curiosity Shop" and was surprised to find that among your many outstanding talents you also sing. With every best wish for all good things in your future.

[signed Robert Young]
Robert Young