Pamela Roylance (Sarah Carter) Exclusive Interview!
1. Hi Pamela, Thanks for being interviewed for PrairieFans.com! It has been 30 years now since Little House first aired on TV. What do you think of it's success after so many years? Would you have thought it would still be as popular today as it was many years ago?
It's interesting that when I joined the show, I didn't think of it being something that would be so popular 30 years down the road. But a few years after it was cancelled, I think I knew it would last just as the books have. I didn't think about it having such worldwide appeal, however.
2. As an actress, what was it like to be on a Little House? What were your feelings like about coming on to a show that has already had years of success? Was it scary?
I felt honored to be cast as Sarah, and to join a show I had admired as a viewer for so many years. I used to come home from teaching school in Portland, put dinner in the oven, and watch LH reruns while the dinner was cooking. I'd think, "That's the kind of show I'd like to do. Why can't I get on a show like that?" And I'd think in terms of getting on the show as a regular, not as a guest or co-star. Hence, I didn't think I'd ever be a regular on LH because it was already cast with its regulars, and was in its 6th or 7th season by that time.
I had some natural concerns about joining an existing "family." They were a well oiled machine. In my mind they might not be interested in newcomers treading on their territory. After all, they had done all the work by then. They had made the show what it was, and is, today. We were walking into something that worked well. I felt extremely lucky, but wondered how we would be received. If any of the existing cast members had any reservations about us, they didn't voice it or show it in anyway. There were just open arms, lots of smiles and an immediate welcoming into the fold. The fun started the day we went to work and didn't end until we wrapped.
3. While growing up or before you joined Little House, have you ever read the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder?
Yes, indeed I did read the LH books as a child. They were a meaningful memory of my grade school years. I was entirely caught up in them. Sometimes we would read, and sometimes the teacher would read them to us. What stayed with me for years was the description of the holiday foods, and how Almanzo could eat so much.
4. What can you remember most about working with the cast and crew of Little House? Anybody in particular you enjoyed working with?
I enjoyed every single person I met on the set of LH. There wasn't a cast, crew or production member who wasn't a pleasure to work with. Mike Landon, and Kent and Susan McCray were amazing from the very first auditions. I owe my being cast on the show to Susan, who saw something in me that she thought Mike was looking for in Sarah Carter.
Mike was funny and fun...he was patient and smart. He knew how to help you relax in the scene. It always impressed me that he could answer every question I would have before I needed to ask it, as he explained what he wanted me to do in the scene.
Melissa Gilbert, Leslie Landon and I had a lot of enjoyable times together on the set. Melissa was so great about helping us feel comfortable when we started. Stan, Lindsay and David were constant fun. From the day we auditioned for the network to the last day of shooting, Stan was the ideal actor to work opposite. Victor French and Stan and I had wonderful times on and off the set. I was pretty much an on-camera novice at that point. I probably learned more from Victor than anyone. He generously taught me about acting for the camera, and had a polite way of being discreet about it in front of others. He was always attentive to the actor's feelings and moods.
Dean Butler was so great to be around. He had, and has, a way of making anyone feel comfortable. His manners, his courtesy, his professionalism are all impeccable. He made impression on me because he was such a good person, and reminded me of what I wanted to develop in myself.
5. What, if any, affect did your role as Sarah Carter have on your career over the years? Did it help you land roles in other projects? Are you still associated with or recognized from being on Little House?
Today, I don't know that too many people recognize me from LH until I mention I played Sarah. I do think a lot of the work I got after LH came from having played that role. I think it works in my favor in today's casting office as well. Experience is never a drawback.
6. Do you have a favorite episode of Little House? Why is it your favorite?
My personal favorite episode of LH a New Beginning was The Last Summer. It was such an honor to work with Vera Miles. I read the script and cried. I saw the episode and cried. I still cry when Jason speaks his last line.
7. What was it like to wear clothes from the pioneer era? Was it comfortable?
I love shooting period pieces. The clothes are part of the fun. We had some tremendously hot days that summer, in those long, heavy skirts, but it was always worth it.
8. If a Little House TV Reunion was to be made what do you think Mrs. Carter would be up to?
If they did a reunion of LH, I'm guessing Mrs. Carter would be enjoying her grandchildren by now. She'd be helping her son who had taken over the newspaper...most likely Jeb.
9. Finally, How are things going for you these days? Are you currently acting? Any projects in the works you wouldn't mind sharing with us?
These days? Well, for the past 8 years I've been dual careered between acting and public speaking/seminar teaching. But, now I'm focused on the acting again and activity is starting to generate in that arena. I shot a Bayer Aspirin commercial last winter that may start airing again here soon. I have a Purina Cat Chow commercial currently running. I shot an AARP commercial, which should air on cable later this month. It's a direct response ad, so if people see it and pick up the phone to call AARP and inquire about, there's a good possibility the response will help the spot to go national network.
And finally, I just shot an episode of Christine Lahti's new series, called "Jack and Bobby." Ed Begley, Jr. and I play the parents of Missy, one of the cast regulars. Ed is a Reverend and I'm his "June Cleaver" style wife. There is a possibility these roles will mature into recurring characters if all goes well. Our episode is titled: "A Man of Faith." It was the third episode they shot, so will probably air three weeks after the pilot airs on Sunday Sept. 12th, at 9pm on the WB.
10. Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. Do you have anything you would like to say to all the Little House fans around the world?
Many thanks to all of the LH fans around the world who have kept the show alive. Your support has been wonderful.
Bless you all,
Webmasters Note: Interview was done on September 03, 2004.