For three seasons, “Sunset Beach” was a TV series that actually filmed in Seal Beach (and elsewhere) between 1997-99. You can easily see Seal Beach’s Pier, the Beach, Main Street and other spots in the first daytime soap produced by Aaron Spelling of “The Love Boat,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Dynasty” fame. The show focused on friendships, betrayals, greed and love in its 755 episodes and gave some local actors employment.
In one episode, a romantic lead in the show was Frank Pangborn, a Buena Park resident and former stagecoach robber at Knotts Berry Farm, who still gets stopped on the street by TV fans. If you didn’t catch him on the beach wooing a damsel, perhaps you saw him on “Dallas,” “ Murder She Wrote,” Days of Our Lives” or “Silver Spoons.”
Pangborn, who has been a featured singer at The Sunset Beach Mother’s Day Art Festival, looks like he’s a natural out of Central Casting. He has appeared in more than 50 other TV shows, including a recurring role as Sam the bartender at Sam’s Place in the hit, “The Young and the Restless;” a doctor in “General Hospital;” a jail guard in “Murder She Wrote;” the sheriff in “Moonlighting” and “Dallas;” a divorcee in “Divorce Court;” the head waiter in “Melrose Place” … the list goes on and on.
The nearly 77-year-old, former Army Vietnam veteran and retired business professor at Irvine Valley College, reminisced and gave tips on being a Hollywood Actor.
“Working in TV was a fascinating occupation. The people you met were incredible,” he said. “Angela Lansbury was a delight to work with on ‘Murder She Wrote.’ The humble star made it a point to greet and get to know every actor, no matter what role they had.”
“Bruce Willis in ‘Moonlighting’ also was very down-to-earth and treated everyone, actors and crew, the same. Erin Gray of “Silver Spoons” was so nice. She respected me because of my service in Vietnam and we talked about our families.”
“Sure, there were some who weren’t so nice, who felt threatened and were real jerks.”
Pangborn, started entertaining as a singer in Orange County, then had significant roles in TV commercials for Fresh Start Laundry (1981) and the American Dental Council (1983). This helped launch his TV acting career.
He offers these valuable tips for people wanting to get into acting: Always give yourself plenty of time to get to auditions. Don’t overdress for the role you’re going after. Try to get the “sides” (script) before you go in for a cold reading. Make eye contact with each of the people watching you in the room and make sure you’re courteous to every secretary and assistant because many go on to become casting directors.
“Treat everyone with respect. You never know who they are,” he said. “Once, I was going for a part in ‘The Young and the Restless’ and entered an elevator on my way to the second floor stage. Another man entered and we chatted pleasantly. He asked what I thought of the show. I said it was great and looked forward to meeting the cast and director. He said, ‘Good luck,’ and we went our separate directions. That man turned out to be the director and he liked me.”
He also has been a singer at Buena Park’s Silverado Days, the Orange County Fair, Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum Concerts, the Los Angeles Hilton and on TV. Pangborn performed with the Forever Young Band, made up of America’s oldest professional entertainers.
A Christian, who now mentors veterans at Calvary Chapel Big Bear, Pangborn has written and recorded a wonderful song that can be heard in a music video on You Tube. Type in “Christmas USA by Frank Pangborn.” It’s a touching, emotional song he wrote about being in the Army in Vietnam on Christmas Day. You can contact him at 714-322-1861 or email email@example.com.