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Chris and Patrick Petersen: 1970s Little Dragon Kids
During the late 1970s, as networks scrambled to find enough child actors to fill their "after school special" kid-angst movies, Brothers Chris and Pat Petersen (no relation to the 1950s teen idol Paul Petersen) were important players.
Chris, the oldest (born August 18, 1963), was everywhere in 1978 and 1979, on tv: Little House on the Prairie (1978), The Incredible Hulk (1979), The Baxters (1979), Chips (1983), and in movies When Every Day was the Fourth of July (1978), The Swarm (1978). His roles often involved buddy-bonds: like Playing baseball with Larry B. Scott in The Rag-Tag Champs, an ABC Afterschool Special (1978), Lost in the Colorado Rockies with Guillermo San Juan in Joey and Redhawk on CBS Afternoon Playhouse. Karate-kicking with younger brother Pat in the precursor to the 1990s ninja kid craze, The Little Dragons (1979), Fighting racism with Moosie Drier in The House at 12 Rose Street (1980).
After finishing his year on The Baxters, just as his brother Pat was rising to prominence as Michael Fairgate on the CBS primetime drama Knots Landing, Chris Petersen's acting career was coming to its end. In October 1981, he had a small role on the NBC mystery-crime drama Quincy, M.E.. In the episode titled Memories of Allison, Petersen appeared as one of the students attending a high school "career day"; his character is simply credited as "Boy". The following month (November 1981), Petersen made what would be his final on-screen acting appearance, in an episode of M*A*S*H, titled "Wheelers and Dealers". Petersen appeared in a small role as one of three young recruits whom B. J. Hunnicutt challenges to a game of pinball; this time simply credited as "Second Recruit".
When Chris hit his teen years, the roles dried up, and he retired from acting.
His brother Patrick (born August 9, 1966) had a longer career, starting with the tv series The Kallikas (1977), How the West was Won (1979), and Shirley (1980), plus some after school specials of his own: The Ransom of Red Chief (1977, 1979), an ABC Schoolbreak Special about a boy terrorizing his kidnappers and The Contest Kid (1978, 1979), an ABC Schoolbreak Special about a boy who enters contests, and his best friend (Ronnie Scribner).
In 1979, he landed the role of Michael Fairgate on the evening soap Knot's Landing. Michael provided shirtless teen-idol photos in tight jeans in such fan magazines as Tiger Beat & Teen Beat. In Knot's Laning he plays the teenage son of Sid and Karen Fairgate, who worked in an auto garage and kept getting dumped by girls.
When Knot's Landing ended in 1991, Pat retired from acting and opened a health food store.