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Interview with Doug McKeon

How were you cast for the film, Innocent Love?

It was a unique time in my career. I had finished two feature films, “On Golden Pond” and

Disney’s “Night Crossing” during the summer and late winter, respectively, in 1980. Sometime in

the spring of 1981 CBS had contacted my agents about me being in “An Innocent Love”. I flew

out to Los Angeles and met with the producers Steve Binder and Buck Houghton and got the job.

The movie itself didn’t air on television until the following year in 1982.

When did you meet Melissa Sue Anderson for the first time?

I actually met Melissa for the first time at the airport in Los Angeles before flying to Seattle. I

was fourteen at the time and was traveling with a guardian (usually my grandfather, but I think

one of my older sisters accompanied me at the beginning of this trip). Melissa was an adult and

traveling alone. Although we weren’t seated next to each other on the plane, Melissa was

gracious enough to invite me over so we could get acquainted. It was a great way to “break the

ice” and become friends.

How many days did it take to shoot the film?

Television movies are usually 3 weeks (6 days of shooting, 1 day off). If memory serves it was

scheduled to be around 18-21 days.


I thought that the scenes in the backyard looking through the telescope and
the ending of the movie with your goodbye to Melissa as she leaves for UCLA
were touching. You and Melissa had great chemistry in the film. How was
your working relationship?

My working relationship with Melissa was terrific. She was not only a real “pro” because of her

own extensive background in the business, she also made the work fun. I think she realized what I

was going through both as a young actor and teen, and she made an extra effort to joke with me

at times and make me feel comfortable.


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Was the film shot entirely on location in Seattle including Harry Woodward’s
home? The scenes on the campus of the University of Washington were well done.

Yes, we shot the entire movie in Seattle and surrounding areas. The University of Washington is

a beautiful campus - even though it rained a lot.


How was your working relationship with Rocky (Steven) Bauer? You had some

good chemistry with him.

Rocky was very nice to me. My character, Harry, is a little jealous of his character, Duncan,

because of his relationship with Melissa (Molly), but Rocky never showed any animosity towards

me on or off the set. The only time I ever really saw Rocky was when we were filming together.


I enjoyed the scene with your mother (Pat Finley) in your bedroom where your mother shares about a past relationship. Most of the film, she plays the overprotective mother, but she shows a sensitive side by sharing her story with Harry. How was your working relationship with Pat Finley?

Funny, but I didn’t get to know Pat very well, and part of that was due to our schedule. I was

involved in a lot of scenes, so my days were full. People think actors’ lives are so “free” and

“glamorous”, but it’s not always the case. Especially for a child actor, it’s leave the hotel, go to

work, go to school with your tutor, back to work, then back to the hotel and go to bed. Repeat

the next day. Regarding Pat, we both showed up to do our scenes and moved on. She’s a terrific

actress and made our scenes between “mother and son” easy and enjoyable.


It looked like you were enjoying yourself with Max (Bill Calvert) and Mario (Christoff St. John) during your scenes together. You were hitting each other pretty hard during the pillow fight. How was your working relationship with them?

I think one of the reasons Bill, Christoff and I had so much fun was because we were around the

same age and could relate to one another. The director, Roger Young, allowed us to ad lib when

necessary and created a “free” environment so our friendship appeared “real” on film.

The pillow fight scene was a perfect example of that. Roger made it clear to us that he didn’t

want any of us getting hurt, but he did want us to enjoy the moment.

The three of us had a great working relationship. We used to like pulling “pranks” on one

another. They got me good one day, too. Bill and Christoff somehow snuck into my hotel room

while I was away on set. I was working fairly late, so when I got back to my hotel room, they had

“music” playing and the appearance that someone was “sleeping” in my bed. It freaked me out. I

ended up asking some of the crew members to “sweep” my room and get the intruder out. At

first, they were fooled, too - they thought someone was actually in there. When we discovered it

was a prank I caught a lot of good natured grief over it.

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Do have any stories or special memories about working on the film and with
Melissa Sue Anderson?

Aside from the aforementioned “prank”, I think one of the most enjoyable aspects of doing “An

Innocent Love” was how the production (Director, Producers, Actors...) welcomed and

supported me. For me, this was a “starring” role, and they were all very supportive of my work.

Another fun memory was how Melissa loved drinking “Tab” soda, and at the time I enjoyed

“Mountain Dew”. There was a production truck that stored two large ice chests: one filled with

“Tab”, the other with “Mountain Dew”. To a fourteen year old kid, that was pretty cool.


Melissa told me that you send Christmas cards to each other every year. Have
you seen each other in person since you worked on the movie?

We do send Christmas cards every year and have probably been doing so for the last 25 years or


More often than not, when you make a movie you become fast friends with the actors and crew,

and that sometimes carries over after the movie is finished. Even though I lived in New Jersey at

the time, I would come out to L.A. for either work or auditions and I sometimes met Melissa for


Unfortunately, both our lives are so different now. She lives in Canada with her beautiful family,

and I’m in Los Angeles with mine. If she ever comes down to L.A. I’d be happy to buy her a cup

of coffee...


I enjoyed On Golden Pond when it came out at the theaters. How was your
experience working with screen legends Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn?

It was a privilege working with both Henry and Katharine, as well as everyone else associated

with “On Golden Pond”. We filmed on location in New Hampshire in the summer of 1980, and it

was really special.

You couldn’t have had two more “professional” actors than Henry Fonda and Katharine

Hepburn. They were an example of what acting was all about, and I learned a great deal by not

only working with them, but watching them work as well. It forever remains a “highlight” in my


What film or television work did you enjoy working on the most?


Hard question. Every project has something “enjoyable” to remember, whether it was the actors

involved, the material, the locale, etc.


For me, the most “enjoyable” film I worked on was “Mischief”. I turned 18 during the making of the

film, and thus I was an “adult” for the first time in my career and didn’t need a guardian with me

anymore. Moreover, all the actors on that film (Chris Nash, Kelly Preston, Catharine Mary Stewart,

and Jami Gertz) were so much fun to be around. Furthermore, the film took place in the 1950’s, and

driving the old cars, listening to that era’s music, wearing the clothes, etc. It was really enjoyable.


The film that I’m most proud of as an actor is probably a mini-series called “At Mother’s Request”. I

played a real life murderer (Marc Schreuder) and the role was mentally challenging for me. The

scenes were emotionally draining but rewarding.


Do you enjoy acting or directing more?

Another tough question. In my heart I will always be an actor because it’s such a part of me and my

thinking. However, I really enjoy the challenge of being a director - to be a “storyteller” on film. The

process of working with other actors and helping them create or guide their performance is exciting

for me.


What projects are you working on?

I’ve written several screenplays over the years and they’re in different stages of development:

“Silent Knights” is about an all-deaf college football team. It’s in the hands of producers Golan

Ramras and J. Todd Harris with actress Marlee Matlin attached.

“Digital Diva” is based on the young adult novel by author Kari Lee Townsend. It’s a comedic, quirky

story about a teenage girl who becomes “hardwired” with her cell phone after touching a meteorite,

transforming her into a new age superhero.

“Foreign Exchange” is a comedy based on a true story about a young female diplomat who must

“escort” the remains of a dead prime minister back to the United States within a twenty-four hour


I also own the film rights to the thriller, “Flowertown” by author S.G. Redling. It’s a dramatic story

about a rural town in Iowa that is quarantined by the government after a toxic chemical spill takes

place. I will write the screenplay adaptation next year.


Thanks, Doug for answering my questions.

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