Five Quick Questions with Beverly and Ferd Sebastian

running cool

Beverly and Ferd Sebastian are the dynamic husband wife team that produced, directed, wrote, and worked as other crew members, for most of their films.  They dedicated their time and money to bring us, “Gatorbait”, “Gatorbait II: Cajun Justice”, “Delta Fox”, “Running Cool”, and many other classic B movies throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

They moved to Florida to film “Running Cool,” in 1993 and ended up making Florida their permanent residency.  Beverly’s next screenplay was about a dog and after doing research at a greyhound race she was inspired to start up her National Greyhound Foundation in 1994.  She is also involved in many other charities, organizations and programs.  Her main organization is  http://giveasecondchance.com  “This unique Prison Program will be replicated in Department of Correction Facilities across the country giving Inmates the chance to learn compassion, team skills, vocational skills and to become human again while saving the life of a retired racing Greyhound .” as stated on their website.

Along with all their organizations, Beverly has been working hard with her son Ben on a very exciting interactive CSI-Live web series for YouTube.  Since Beverly and Ferd began in the drive-in market, and early cable market, it’s fitting for their son Ben to be using the internet for his project.  The web series has become a family project, Beverly is writing, and both she and Ferd are assisting/consulting Ben.

Their Kickstarter page was recently launched and there are some great videos on the page, including an insightful “Meet the Producers” with Beverly and Ferd you will enjoy.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2096556867/csi-live-can-you-solve-the-crime

Additionally, Ferd is also busy remastering all his and Beverly’s classics.  As Beverly told me, anybody who has the blood, sweat, and tears to complete low budget films deserves to have them preserved for posterity.

If you would like to contact Beverly or Ferd regarding their organization or the CSI-Live, feel free to email them at topdog@4greyhounds.org

 

Five Quick Questions with Beverly and Ferd Sebastian

 “I Need a Man” was directed by you Ferd and Beverly you were an actress in the movie. Is that when your relationship started to build?

BEVERLY: You’ve really dug deep! No, I was never an actress in I NEED. Only fill in when they don’t show up, if possible. We were married 10 days after we met in 1953 and just celebrated out 59th wedding anniversary. As they say in Hollywood, “to the same man?”

 

 

Ferd you experienced a life-threatening heart condition. When did that happen and what life changes did you make to fortunately live a healthy life afterwards?

FERD: Keith, It happened when I was 55 years old. I hadn’t eaten properly, hadn’t exercised properly, just worked properly. So I had a triple bypass surgery which lasted me 9 months. It was supposed to last me 12 years but it lasted me 9 months. I was having the same problems when I went in. I knew what the problem was. My heart was blocked up. I’d felt it before. Went back to the doctor, he said after tests, all my by passes were blocked and he could not change them. I would be dead within two weeks.  My only hope was that he would try an operation that he said I might die on the operation table, but it was my only chance. I said what are you going to do? He said he was going to kill half of my heart. He said he was going to hope I would be alive when it was over. I asked him, if I live what kind of life will I have. He said “I could not read exciting books, I could not watch exciting television, I had to walk slowly wherever I went as my heart would not be able to produce enough oxygen to supply my system under any time of stress. So I told him, I’d let him know what I wanted to do. I was going back to the studio and talked this over with Beverly. I got in the car and started going back to Paramount where we were casting a film we were fixing to do, RUNNING COOL.

As I was driving a voice came as clear as day. It sounded like someone was sitting in the seat next to me although there was no one there. The voice said only four words. JESUS IS THE ANSWER. I hadn’t thought of Jesus in many years. But I knew man could not help me. And so, when I got to the studio I asked my wife to go out on the vacant sound stage and pray with me. My older son Ben was working with me on the show and he also went out. My younger son Tracy was still in school. So we went out. Beverly held my hand. Ben was behind me with his arms around me. I did not know what to pray. I didn’t know what promise to claim. I just said probably the world’s simplest prayer. JESUS, please heal me. At that moment there was a snap in my chest like a big rubber band went snap in my chest. And I was healed. Thank you Jesus! Went on making Running Cool on location in Florida. After I came back to LA, I had many calls from the Doctor. I returned the call. He said, Ferd, I thought you were dead. You should have been. Come in right now. We’ve got to do that operation. I told him I’d come in and see you but I’m not having an operation. Jesus healed me. He said, “That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard of. I know you do not want to do this but you have too. I said I’ll come see you, but I repeat, I’m not having an operation”. So I went to see him and as soon as I walked in the office, he wanted to take me across the street to the hospital. I told him NO. You have to give me a test, the one you gave me to show me how my heart was blocked. So we went down the hall to the radiologist where they performed the test. The first test, I had a ping pong ball size in my chest that was pink. This time I had a basketball size in my chest and it was blood red. He said Ferd, you have full circulation. I said, I know. Jesus healed me. He said, I still can’t believe that, but I know one thing for sure. You’re healed!

How that changed my life: I started studying about Jesus and I started a website called 2Jesus.org

2Jesus.org does basically two things, 1. How to have a close relationship with Jesus. 2. How to receive Jesus healing power. For the past twenty years many people have come 2Jesus and been saved and healed. Their testimonies are on the website.

About the film library: For over twenty years I have not made another theatrical year and all the contracts have reverted back to us. I had held up releasing these for many years because some of the pictures are violent and some are sexual. I didn’t want to do anything to offend Jesus. The first of this year I had a peace in my spirit that said to release these films. What I also felt is that Jesus wanted me to put my testimony on these films as we could reach people that might never be reached any other way. And so I’m releasing these films one at a time as I remaster them and produce them in Hi Fidelity on DVD. Each film has my testimony on it of how Jesus healed me. And Beverly has her testimony on how Jesus has changed her life. We also have a section on them that tells the behind the scene and everything that would help a young film maker produce films of this type. As of right now, three of our films are being released on DVD, Running Cool, Gator bait, and Gator bait 11. The others will be out as soon as I get them completed.

 

 

Claudia Jennings had many highs and lows in her life. How was it overall working with her?

BEVERLY: She was a fantastic person spiritually and a wonderful friend to both Ferd and myself. We were with her on our boat only a few days before she was killed. She was Ferd’s and my best friend at the time. I wrote Gatorbait specifically for her. She wanted to do a film where she didn’t have too many lines to learn!

 

 

What are the best and worst memories you have from your filming experiences?

FERD: I made a picture that I had spoken with Paramount about. They said they wanted it. When I got it completed I took it to them and they said that Paramount was no longer going to put out any more smaller pictures as it took too much time away from their bigger pictures. I was disappointed as I wasn’t doing distribution at the time. I finally sold the rights to Vestron and they went bankrupt within a few months and it reverted back to me. Other than that I haven’t had any disappointments in the business.

BEVERLY: Working with people in this industry that are not men or women of their word. Ferd and I grew up (he from Texas) me from Florida, with the character trait of your word is your bond. Don’t know if the younger generations ever learned that or not, especially in Hollywood.

 

 

When and how did your foundation “2ND Chance at Life” come about and is there anything about the foundation you’d like to share?

BEVERLY & FERD: We moved to Florida in 1993 after finishing Running Cool, it being filmed and finished in Florida. Ferd never wanted to leave. I was writing another project for Paramount and decided to do a story about a dog. Went to the races with Ben one night and fell in love with the greyhounds. After researching for the script (which by the way, if I had the funds, I’d produce it now) on greyhounds and finding out the terrible way they lived, I had to get involved. Me, who has never been involved in a cause in my life! I formed the National Greyhound Foundation Inc. in 1994, creating a non-profit organization that has now grown to a national organization, with membership in the prestigious Animal Charities of America, and a member of Homeland Security’s Combined Federal Workplace Campaign which helps me raise funds for the programs we do.

I’ve created programs like, American Heroes (teaching children in school about the animal heroes); Pet Meals on Wheels tm (locally); 2nd Chance at Life: Prison & Greyhounds Partnership(tm) (International); Purple Heart Greyhound Service Dogs ™ (National) and a new one titled Rescue Greyhounds Now ™ (involved in saving the dogs that will die when greyhound racing is stopped in Florida). Since the beginning I have wanted to show the human/animal bond and how important these greyhounds and all animals are to people. I can’t imagine living in a world without my animals of all kinds, can you? Anyway, Ferd and I are slowing down from the physical side, but we’re still going strong on the mental side. I nearly lost Ferd in December from a ruptured appendix and that changed my whole thought pattern on life. Now, I spend more time with him than I do involve in too many causes. When you get to be our age you realize the journey could soon be over and we’ve almost completed God’s plan for our lives. I still can’t’ believe our age. Don’t feel it, don’t look it. Don’t think it! Ferd will be 80 in July. I’ll be 78. We’ve been married 59 years this past March.

I’d like to complete a project I’ve been working on and off for years.  Writing a book about us and the Independent movie business as we know it. Titled ALL THE FUN WAS GETTING THERE! An autobiography of the Sebastians. It’s mostly on recordings, interviews etc., outlined and going back from the start. I’m going to concentrate of doing a chapter per month. Maybe I can get it finished one of these days!

 

 

I can’t thank Beverly and Ferd enough for sharing all their amazing experiences with B Movie Nation.

As mentioned above, there is a lot of information including videos on their YouTube, Kickstarter, and second chance website.   Be sure to take a look at them.

If you have some thoughts to share about this article or you’d like to discuss B movies with other B movie fans and filmmakers please visit our B Movie Nation Facebook group.