JAMES AT 15. Lance at 49.

In 1977 NBC premiered a made for tv movie called James at 15. Until I went searching through a stack of my movie tie-in books I’d completely forgotten about the series and the young actor Lance Kerwin.

Click on image to see it larger.

I found this book on a book exchange table years ago at my post office. It contains the old style library check-out pocket on the inside cover along with the stamped check-out card. I’m far more excited to see that than the book.

As I recall I liked the movie and the one season series that followed. James was a high school student with a vivid Walter Mitty imagination who loved photography, which is also how I would probably define myself in high school in the mid-1960s.
James at 15 (subsequently changed to James at 16) is an American drama series that aired on NBC during the 1977-1978 season. The series was preceded by the 1977 made-for-TV movie James at 15, which aired on Monday September 5, 1977 and was intended as a pilot for the series. Both were written by Dan Wakefield, a journalist and fiction writer whose novel Going All the Way, a tale of coming of age in the 1950s….
Protagonist James Hunter (Lance Kerwin) was the son of a college professor (Linden Chiles) who moved his family across the country to take a teaching job, transplanting James from Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts. James, who had Walter Mitty-like dreams and dabbled in photography, had a hard time fitting into his new surroundings. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Basically a forgotten show with a forgotten actor. That pretty much describes an awful lot of people in Hollywood. That town will eat its young alive if there’s a buck to be made. I could tell you such stories about the people at the Hollywood Post Office there to collect their checks that would make you cringe.

I found the pilot movie online and as soon as I heard the theme song bits and pieces of the show started to fall into place. Check the bottom of this post to watch the episode.

So what became of the young actor, Lance Kerwin, who starred in the show? Go ahead and guess. Put the pieces together yourself: Hollywood, child star, drugs. It’s too predictable.

In July of 2010 he was convicted of theft and placed on five years probation in Hawaii. Turns out Lance, now age 49 and a pastor at the Calvary Chapel Kapaa and a U-Turn for Christ program leader, attempted to obtain state medical assistance and food stamps by falsifying documents. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t all that destitute because he owned three properties on the mainland. He also has a past history of drug use, including crack.

It’s all pretty sad because along with his starring role in the tv series, his fall from grace will always be part of his online bio. Thanks to the internet your past and present are virtually the same. Think twice before wanting to be famous whether in showbiz or on Facebook.

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