Melissa Sue Anderson

Mary McDonough interview about Midnight Offerings (1981)

Q&A with Mary McDonough about
Midnight Offerings

How were you cast in the movie?

Mary: I was cast in MIDNIGHT OFFERINGS after meeting with the director Rod Holcomb. They had contacted my agent about the MOW and I was thrilled to get the part of Robin Prentiss.

Melissa Sue Anderson mentions that she had to arrange the shooting of the movie around her schedule for Little House. Were you working on The Waltons during the production of Midnight Offerings?

Mary: Yes, I was filming THE WALTONS while shooting MO. The production company arranged my schedule around and I went back and forth. They rewrote some scenes for THE WALTONS to exclude me so I could do MO. I think Melissa worked the first 10 days only so she could go to Little House. We worked another few weeks after she was finished.

Do you have any memories of shooting at Mira Costa High School? It seems to be a popular setting for television and movie production (The O.C. and CSI Miami).

Mary: I have a LOT of memories of filming there. I write about them in my book, LESSONS FROM THE MOUNTAIN, WHAT I LEARNED FROM ERIN WALTON. The fog, the school, working there at night, the bonfire where Melissa tries to burn me at the stake! LOL… too fun. I loved doing that movie and was so excited to work with Melissa. The fact that we were witches was even better, so different from our Walton and Prairie roles. I remember they stood me by that bonfire after I “escaped” with the help of Catherine Damon. They had me run into a shot and threw burning logs at me. They were supposed to be the ones Melissa had “thrown” at me with her powers. So there I was with a crew member throwing burning logs and I had no fireproof clothes on! Such a great time.

How was your working relationship with Patrick Cassidy? You had a lot of scenes with him
and had great chemistry.

Mary: Thanks. It was one of Patrick’s first roles, so he wanted to rehearse a lot. We ran lines the whole time up until the cameras rolled. He was great fun and I write about them in the book too. There are even a few pictures. At the wrap party we bought the crew a cake with the movie witch theme on it. Lots of fun. Patrick and I stayed friends and I saw him on Broadway and in Pirates in San Francisco. Our kids even went to the same school. He’s a good guy.

I enjoyed the scenes of your first meeting on the football field with Melissa and the confrontation in the shop with you and Melissa. How was your working relationship with Melissa? Had you met before the shooting of the movie?

Mary: I don’t think I had met Melissa before the movie. It seems like we should have been at the same party or parade events, but I think MO was our first actual meeting. We only worked together a few days. The cheerleader scenes were first. There’s a WHOLE story about the bonfire scene in my book and I don’t want to be a spoiler, but I had a great time. I hope she had as much fun. We had a funny night together.
The scene in the woodshop was hilarious. We kept cracking up when we shot the PR stills. It was fun to figure out how our “powers” would work. Did we fling things across the room with our eyes, or our hands, or our fingers…or the twitch of a nose, oh wait that’s another witch show. It was cool to work with Rod to decide how to work out “powers,” and then have special effects step in and do the magic. It seemed kooky and made us laugh.

How long has it been since you have seen the movie? What was your impression of the movie
when you first saw it?

Mary: I haven’t seen the movie in many years. I loved it when it was on. Years later, as I traveled to schools as a speaker with Young Artists United, I found many kids didn’t know me as Erin at all, but remembered me as Robin. It seems MO became a favorite at pajama sleepover parties.

Do you include anything about the movie Midnight Offerings in your book, Lessons From the Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton?

Mary: See above. There is a whole section about it. I tell of a night we spent during filming and more!
Thanks for all your help Michael. Your FB expertise has been wonderful. I am grateful for all your help and tips. Can’t wait to see the clips of MO etc. SO FUN! Hope to meet you in TX someday!

Thanks, Mary. Hope to meet you also. (We did get a chance to meet)

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