[Interview conducted over two emails, mid 1999. Previously unpublished]
Ferd: Andrew, good to hear from you.......
How do I feel about exploitation films today?? I love every film I ever made. It was a part of my life and enjoyed making them. True there are some things I would not make today, because I would not want to warp some mind out there in movie land. If everyone was normal it would be OK. People would know it is just make believe. However we have some sickos out there and I would not want to be responsible for pushing them over the line.
You didn't say on Gator Bait if you had 1 or 2. If you have Gator 1 with Claudia Jennings, that's great. Claudia, is no longer alive. She was one of my closest friends. She died in a auto accident in Malibu, California. I will always miss her.
We also made a Gator Bait 2. Paramount is the distributor. The female lead in that one is Jan Duncan. She married my oldest son after that show.
If you haven't seen The American Angels, your missing another good one. Paramount is again the distributor. It is about female wrestlers. It will do very well for you.
Andrew: You talked about some of your films possibly being taken the wrong way by "sickos" - do you mean the early ones like The Hitchhikers etc? How do you think they could be viewed?
Sickos is the wrong word. Impressionable would be better. It's not just my films, it's any film. Mine are just the only ones that I had control of. I believe we are a product of our art. We create the world’s morals and we haven't been doing a very good job. You mentioned The Hitchhikers. That is a great example. In most of my films the good guys win, even if they’re anti-heroes. In The Hitchhikers people who rob and steal win. It looks like fun, and an easy way to live. A kid could say, why work, look at those guys. They got the babes, the money, and are having a blast. That is what I meant. Not really a sicko, I think we get into them in the more violent films.
How did you meet Beverly, and what got you both into making films?
Beverly and I meet at a roller skating rink in Houston, Texas when we were 18 & 19 years old. We ran away and got married 10 days after we met. We have been together for 47 years. We got into films by. First I was a photographer, then went into TV commercials, then movies. We made enough money in TV coms so we financed our first movie. Sounds like a big deal, I Need it cost $7500. Like in most of our films we did all the work. But in that one I mean ALL, there was only the two of us and the cast which was about 4 people.
Claudia Jennings is an amazing presence on screen. What was she like as a person, and as an actress to work with?
As I told you, Claudia was mine and Beverly's best friend. We loved her dearly. She was the most free person I have ever met. I first worked with her on a film I made for Dimension Pictures, The Single Girls. It is not on your list it was made after The Hitchhikers. That is when our friendship started. She ask us to write a show that she could star in. We wrote Gator Bait. She was fun, honest, sexy, I think the best of the B actresses, easy to work with and a true friend.
I haven't seen Red White & Blue, but I read that Dave Friedman was interviewed in it, and he released it. I'm a big fan of the films he produced (and directed), can you tell me more about him and Red White & Blue?
RW&B was about the President’s commission on obscenity. We followed the commission report, and then interviewed the people they did separately and showed the type of work they did. I really did it for Dave, he was my best male friend in Hollywood. Dave was a great promoter. He started going ahead of carnivals as a front man drumming up the crowds. He was meant to exploit films he was the best. He was likable, lovable and looked like the Kentucky Colonel. His nick name was the Colonel.
Some of your mid 70s films like Delta Fox are really great action films made on ultra-low budgets, with top actors. How did you do it with the money you had?
We just used very small crews and again we do so much of the work ourselves. Also Beverly is the best producer and scheduler I have ever seen. Danial Pertie, a big director in Hollywood at that time (it's his son you hear of now), asked me to come out to his set and show him how to save money. I went out and never saw so much waste in my life. I started telling him all the people I would get rid of. He said why? I said because they would get in my way. I would not be able to move fast enough because I would trip over them.
Paramount. At that time Gator Bait was the #1 grossing film in Europe, and they wanted one. So I made Gator Bait 2. Claudia was dead so found a new actress. Jan Duncan, who later changed her name to Jan Mckenzie, who later changed it to Jan Sebastian. She is my daughter-in-law. No, she is not a pro wrestler. I had a choice of getting a pro wrestler and teaching her to act or get an actress and teaching her to wrestle. I chose the latter.
The last film I could find your name on was Running Cool in 1993. It seemed like a real labour of love - were all the bikers friends and members of your Ministry? Do you have any more movies in the works?
All the bikers were friends, however although many may be Christians, they are not part of my ministry. Beverly thinks we might make one more. She saves retired racing greyhounds and is considering writing a show about greyhound racing. Really I have my hands full helping people with Jesus. Although if she did it I would do it with her.
I seem to get my fill of the entertainment business with my son and Jan; they produce and direct a national TV show which is now in it's second year. Maybe in another 5 years it will make its way over, or under. It's called Real Life 101, it is a teenage show.
I Need (1967)
The Love Clinic (1968)
Marital Fulfillment (1970)
Red White & Blue (1970)
The Hitchhikers (1971)
Gator Bait (1973)
The Single Girls/Bloody Friday (1974)
Flash & The Firecat (1975)
Delta Fox (1977)
On The Air Live With Captain Midnight (1979)
Rocktober Blood (1984)
Gator Bait 2 (1986)
All American Girls (198?)
Running Cool (1993)If you ever find a print on I Need or The Love Clinic let me know. The lab went bankrupt and all the negatives they had were stolen. So they might show up some day.
Andrew, don't let the blood rush to your head walking around upside down all day. Hope this helped you. Ferd
About 2jesus...... About 11 years ago I got very ill and without Jesus I would be dead. I will put my testimony below and you will see how he changed my life.........
My name is Ferd Sebastian, I am 65 years old. I've wasted most of my life fighting the world, trying to get ahead. Eleven years ago, I found I was not Superman. There was always someone faster, meaner, or uglier to aggravate my life. After pounding my body to the breaking point I was brought to my knees. My heart was clogged up from stress and improper eating. I needed open heart surgery! But I wasn't whipped yet. I had money. So I told my Doctor to get the best surgeon, which he did and my operation was a success. However after six months my bypasses started stopping up. I got the bad news. I was down for the count. The doctors said my best chance would be if they blocked off or killed half of my heart. I would be severally restricted in my activity but that if I didn't do it I was sure to have a massive heart attack which would probably kill me. I told them I would let them know my decision and left.
I was a film producer living in Los Angeles at that time, so dejectedly I went to the studio. However Jesus jolted me. A thought came as clear as day. Ferd, you can't handle this. There is nothing you or your money can do. You need help.. Somehow, thank God, I knew Jesus was the answer. I asked my son if he would pray with me and we went out to a vacant sound stage. As we were walking out to the stage, I remembered something my father told me as a child. That Jesus made promises to his followers. One of them being answering prayers. I was 56 years old at the time of my heart problems, and I hadn't been to church or picked up a Bible in probably 40 years. But I wanted to claim Jesus' promise. So we prayed to Jesus to heal me. I told Jesus I didn't know where it said this in the Bible but I had faith that he could and would heal me. I felt a small snap in my chest. Jesus reached down and picked me up and said. "Why didn't you call on me sooner? I've been with you all the time, but you wouldn't listen." So He healed my body., renewed my mind, and filled me with His Spirit and love.
From that day on I got stronger. I told the doctors, Jesus had healed me. They didn't believe me. They gave me a test where they put a radio active solution in my veins and photographed my heart. It was healed. I had full circulation. They told me that something else must have happened, but I knew Jesus was a man of his word, even if I didn't know where the word was. That was the start of waking me up to Jesus. I had not been putting Jesus first in my life. Jesus was lucky to be in fifth place after work, money, family and play. In other words I though of Him very seldom. But he had not forgotten me. He gave me the chance to live and I thank Him with every breath I take.
I wanted to help other people so I started to talk to heart patients as my main ministry as I could related to how they felt. At that time I didn't know why my prayer worked. I started reading the Bible and asking God to make His word clear to me. It became interesting to me and I started reading it like a novel. It never made much sense to me before but now it did. From a Minister in California, I learned that the Bible was God talking to me. I also found that every time I read the Bible I learned something new. I will read a particular book, say John, that I have read many times before and find something that I wonder how did that get there. How could I have missed that. The only thing I can think of is God keeps opening my mind and revealing new things to me. Thank God for His teaching, now I can better serve other people by going over with them passages in the Bible.
In 1996, my Doctor told me my lab reports indicated that I had prostate cancer. What did I want to do about it? I told him I would be back in a month and take another test. I went home and prayed to Jesus to heal me. After 30 days I went back to the Doctor to take another test. The test was NEGATIVE. Praise The Lord!
When I was 64 years old, I had a stroke. My left side was paralyzed with no feeling. You could drive a nail thorough my arm and leg and I would not feel it. My wife called 911 for an ambulance to take me to the hospital. While we were waiting we called our son long distance and with the phone to my ear, we all prayed together for Jesus to heal me. Before we were through with the prayer my left arm started tingling and I could move it. By the time the ambulance arrived I could walk and I had all my feelings back. PRAISE GOD, I LOVE JESUS SO MUCH. HE HAS BEEN SO GOOD TO ME!
They took me to the hospital and gave me a cat scan, they were looking for the clot. I told them they would not find it. Jesus took it away. They didn't find it, but this time, I think one of the nurses believed me. They kept me in the hospital three days for observation, everything was OK. My wife picked me up to go home and on the way we decided to stop for lunch. The owner of the small cafe was a friend of mine and was concerned about my being in the hospital. I told him not to worry Jesus healed me. He asked would I talk to his cook. His father had just had a stroke and the boy was terribly worried about him. I turned to my wife and said "Now I know that having my stroke like my other two illness was a blessing. I've got a whole new group to minister to. If you are a Christian, God can always turn your misfortune into blessing. Use your misfortune. God is instructing you so pay attention and use these lessons in life to glorify God.
You have the POWER to help other people!
(John 14:12-14,) Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son will bring glory to the Father. You may ask anything in My name, and I will do it."
I'm not trying to claim that anything I do is Christ like. Far from it. However, I do have FAITH and TRUST in JESUS. Thank God that when He looks at me, He doesn't see this faulty person I am. All He sees is the Christ that lives inside of me and to Him that makes me perfect.
"PRAISE GOD, THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON TO SAVE US. THANK YOU JESUS FOR COMING!
Why did I get all of these ailments? God certainly didn't give them to me. No, that would be counter productive, and that isn't how God operates. God doesn't make you sick, just so He could heal you. I got all of these illness because I am 65 years old and live a normal American lifestyle. By the time you are 65, you will probably have one or more of these illnesses also. Will you let them kill you? Or do you want to live? Don't wait as long as I did to find the key to health and happiness in this lifetime.
COME 2 JESUS!
So... Andrew, now you see why I've changed and why I have 2jesus. I was meeting with people that were sick and explaining how Jesus heals. A lot of them have been healed I would say about 80%. Were talking cancer, heart problems, major illnesses.
Ihad to start 2jesus to reach more people. We get over 2000 hits a day. I have people from all over the world that through Jesus I am able to help. We have people from Australia, China, South Africa, South America to name just a few. We've had many diseases cured and people that have attempted suicide have come 2jesus and have had their lives changed.
There is no contest as to what I have to do the rest of my life. I had pleasure in entertaining people. But that is no comparison to the pleasure of seeing a 33 yr old man with terminal brain cancer that the doctors have given up on, go back to the doctors after prayer and they can not find any trace of the tumor.
Andrew, thank you for asking about me. Visit me anytime.
God bless you, Ferd
Click on Ferd's Monster Film Partners website for an on-line infomercial on the Sebastians' latest film projects