Friday, November 4, 2011
Blast From The Past for November 4th: Radames Pera
This post initially started out as a part of the Actors I Love series but quickly took an abrupt, but wonderful, turn. I was never a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie. I was yet to be hatched when it premiered in 1974 and for some reason was not drawn to the show when I was younger. I did however go through about a month long mild obsession when I was 17 when a friend of mine lent me her prize homemade VHS copies of some of the seasons when I was home with mono during the summer. Just my luck that I was sick through most of late July and August and never got to miss one day of school!
Above: Radames in Kung Fu (1975)
What I did love about LHOTP was Alison Arngrim and her unflinching portrayal of Nellie Oleson. It must not have been easy to be universally hated but I loved Alison. Whenever an episode would come on if her name did not show up in the opening cast list I generally fast forwarded through it. Earlier this year Alison was on a publicity blitz for her book Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, the paperback. I ordered earlier this week from Amazon. I love watching her interviews, her personality, so full of life, her honesty (her tidbits about Melissa Sue Anderson are additively juicy) and her activism for child abuse and AIDS.
Above: Radames in Night Gallery (1971) Photo source and interesting article about Radames episode Silent Snow, Secret Snow at a great blog I love checking out, The Haunted Closet.
In researching Alison I came upon the part of her site where she answers questions. The question on the page brought back a long forgotten but intense memory of my crush from those old VHS tapes and that summer.
Q: Did you have a crush on anyone on "Little House"?
Here is Alison's answer (paraphrased, read Alison's response in it's entirety HERE:)
'Except for Rademes Pera. He's the one who played "John Jr.", a character who first appeared in the episode where Patricia Neal died, leaving her three orphan children to be taken in by "Mr. Edwards" (Victor French). "John Jr." went on to be "Mary's" (Melissa Sue Anderson) fiance, (back when she could still see, which is good because he was gorgeous). Unfortunately for him, Melissa Sue Anderson never really liked him. Unfortunately for me, I did.
He had long hair, big eyes, incredibly high cheekbones and read lots of books. We went to the same high school while we weren't filming, (Hollywood High).
I was 15, he was 16. I bought him gifts. (OK, if you must know, the "Dune" trilogy and a bowl of lime jello). Nothing worked. He turned me down flat and refused to go out with me on the grounds that I was too young for him. (He must have been at least eight or nine months older). This wound up being hideously ironic, as I went on to spend most of youth consorting with men anywhere form nine to sixteen years older than myself.'
I remember that beautiful long hair, those big eyes and those incredibly high cheekbones, what I did not remember was his name. With that incredible face, if I was not in my thirties I would be tempted to call him Dreamy. Radames was born for a life in the arts, his father a renowned painter and his mother an actress. At the age of 8, Ramdames was discovered by director Daniel Mann for the role as Anthony Quinn's and Irene Papas' dying son in A Dream of Kings. Besides Little House, Radames also spent time on ABC's Kung Fu in the role of young student Caine, also known as Grasshopper.
In the summer of 1978 Radames began 3 years of acting and directing studies with the legendary Stella Adler. Despite his popularity and talent, roles in the eighties were few and far between. Radames went on to work as an advocate for child actors and formed his own company designing and installing home theaters and sound systems. During this time he also performed and toured with his his then wife Marsha Mann in his performance art band, 'Freshly Wrapped Candies'. Currently Radames continues with in the Home Theatre business, this time in Austin Texas under the company name 'Get It Wired'.
Thanks to Alison Arngrim for hauling this long forgotten memory back to the surface. Silly silly girl Melissa Sue!
Alison Arngrim Official Site:
Radames Pera Official Site: