Scout in Pomona

Mary Badham, the actress who played the little girl, Scout, in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” will speak from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ebell Museum, 585 E. Holt Ave., Pomona, as part of the Big Read program. She’ll talk about the role and the impact it had on her life. Admission is free.

Some of us saw Badham in Rancho Cucamonga in 2007 for that city’s Big Read. She’s a good speaker and if you’ve seen the movie, this will be worth your time.

(Incidentally, the Pomona Public Library will screen the movie at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a discussion contrasting the book and the movie.)

One thing you’ll notice during Badham’s talk is that she doesn’t have many specific memories of the film shoot. I think that’s something we tend to forget about child actors: They don’t have the memories an adult might. Most childhood memories are fragmentary and hers are no exception.

Most of what Badham will relate, and she said so herself in Rancho, is second-hand information, even though it involves her. (It’s still interesting, as are her stories about her lifelong friendship with Gregory Peck.)

I witnessed the same situation in Studio City in April when Jon Provost, who grew up in Pomona, talked about his role as Timmy in the “Lassie” TV show.

Provost had acted in movies as young as infancy. People in the audience eagerly asked him about his pre-”Lassie” work and didn’t quite grasp that he was a baby, toddler or very young boy at the time and, hence, doesn’t remember a thing. I suppose because he, and Badham, are preserved on film, their childhood seems more “present” than ours.

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