Child Actors: A Weird Part of Growing Up in L.A.

One of the strange aspects of growing up in Los Angeles is that you cross paths with people who wind up in the movie industry. In my case, that included going to school for a brief time with both “General Hospital” star Genie Francis and “Race to Witch Mountain’s” Ike Eisenmann.

Being a snotty kid even then, I never saw “Witch Mountain,” having little appetite for the live-action Disney fare. But I remember it was a big deal for most of our peers. Anyway, the Los Angeles Times ran a feature the other day about Eisenmann and  his 1975 co-star Kim Richards, which brought a flood of memories back about the weirdness of being 12 years old and realizing that we had a sort-of celebrity in our midst. (Frankly, I paid more attention — albeit from a respectful distance — to Francis, junior high school hormones being what they are. Unfortunately, this pattern would be reenacted with other girls, famous or otherwise, until roughly my sophomore year of college.)

The Times story didn’t mention Eisenmann’s longstanding Southern California connection/roots, but it did contain one oddity that I at first attributed to another screw-up slipping by the paper’s decimated copy desk: Eisenmann, who moved to Florida, has changed his name to Iake Eissinmann. Given the paper’s recent glut of typos, it probably would have been a good idea to include that explanation on the front page, instead of waiting until the jump.

Eissinmann wasn’t asked about his motivation for the spelling change, but I assume it was to avoid being harassed as an adult by Google-ing fans. This has given me an idea, inasmuch as 20 years worth of bylines has allowed former high-school classmates and what-not to easily track me down, even when I didn’t want them to. So when I finally hang up my critic spurs and want to be avoid being bothered by outraged readers, I just might change my name to Briain Lowereye, which sounds a bit like something out of “The Lord of the Rings.”

Or Luke Skywalker. I’m still working out the details.

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