In 1979 Lindsay Wagner starred in a time-travel romance called “The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan.” I remember watching the movie on TV as a girl and being fascinated by the idea of going back in time to see what an old house looked like when it was new.
I watched it again recently with my daughter Lily, and she was as intrigued by the Queen Anne Victorian as I was. With a little research, we learned it was filmed at the famous and historic Camarillo Ranch in California.
Note: There are affiliate links in this post that may earn me a commission.
A TV Guide Ad for “The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan:”
The movie was about a woman who buys a Victorian known as the Reynolds House. It comes with an old wedding dress in the attic, and when she tries it on, she’s transported back to the 1880s.
“Reynolds House” as it was known in the movie:
When Jennie and Michael are house hunting and see Reynolds House for the first time, the real estate agent tells them, “Most people don’t want these big, lovely, old houses. They consider them white elephants. That’s why it’s a steal at this price. Where else are you going to find bedrooms this size?”
Even as a kid, I remember thinking, “Really? No one wants a house like that??” Because I sure did! 🙂
Jennie loves the house but is sad to see that all the original woodwork has been painted over. “Imagine them painting over all this beautiful wood!” (A later scene shows her painstakingly trying to strip the trim around one of the windows.)
This movie was a departure for Lindsay Wagner, who had just ended
her famous role as “The Bionic Woman” on TV.
When she sees the door to the attic, the Realtor tells her, “You don’t want to go up there, Ma’am.” When a real estate agent says that, you should probably hear alarm bells. And immediately investigate whatever part of the house he warned you away from. (Ha.) But Jennie closes the attic door and moves on.
After moving in, Jennie finally investigates the attic and finds a vintage wedding gown on a dress form.
It has a small tear in the shoulder but fits her perfectly.
Jennie wants to show Michael the gown she found, but he’s busy watching a game.
She’s starting to feel like he doesn’t share her romantic sensibilities…
She wants to dance around the living room.
He wants to drink his beer.
They invite their friends over for tea on the porch and she models the vintage gown for them:
She loves wearing the gown, but sometimes Jennie gets a sharp pain in her neck
and everything around her starts to spin.
When she “comes to,” she finds herself 100 years in the past.
The house in the 1800s has purple trim and a picket fence:
When Jennie is transported into the 1800s, she’s delighted to find that the house had purple trim,
and the yard had grass, gardens, and a white picket fence instead of asphalt.
Also, bonus: A hunky artist named David lives there.
She meets the original owner David Reynolds, who mistakes her for the ghost of his dead bride Pamela.
She’s thrilled to see what the house used to look like with the original wallpaper and woodwork.
David (played by Marc Singer) was an artist who couldn’t afford shirts with buttons. 😉
Linda Gray played Elizabeth Herrington, a woman determined to have David Reynolds for herself:
But David only has eyes for the mysterious time-traveling Jennie…
The Attic in the 1800s:
David paints a portrait of Jennie that she’s already seen in a museum (cue the “Twilight Zone” music):
Jennie prefers the past to her present life and spends more and more time in it.
Will she choose her present-day life with her husband Michael, or will she decide to stay in the past and live a different kind of life with David? I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, but there’s a twist at the end!
The Victorian Today:
The movie was filmed at this famous white Victorian (photo via Wikipedia/Creative Commons):
Camarillo Ranch House is a Queen Anne-style Victorian house in Camarillo, California.
Built in 1892, the 6,000-square-foot house was designed by architects Herman Anlauf and Franklin Ward.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The house is currently operated by the Rancho Camarillo Foundation and is open to the public for docent-led tours on Saturdays and Sundays. It is also available to be rented for weddings and other special events.
Camarillo Ranch on “The Bachelor:”
If it looks familiar, that may because it’s been used as a filming location for all kinds of TV shows and movies over the years. For instance, Ben took his date Lauren to Camarillo Ranch on his season of “The Bachelor.”
It has also appeared in commercials like this classic one for Country Time Lemonade:
The City of Camarillo and the Camarillo Ranch Foundation worked to complete a $1.5 million restoration of the house, barn and stables.
Since its completion in 2001, the Victorian has been a fully furnished museum that provides tours and holds events.
(You can see old photos of the property and learn more at the Camarillo Ranch Foundation.)
Second Sight: The Novel the Movie Was Based On
“Jennie Logan” was based on a novel by David Williams called Second Sight (Amazon affiliate link).
Lily gave me a copy of it for Christmas, and it’s fun to see the differences between it and the movie.
For one thing, in the book Jennie finds a drawing of the dress in the attic and has it made into a gown for herself that transports her to the past.
For more photos and information about the house and movie:
- Camarillo Ranch House (Official Site)
- Wiki page
- Time Pilgrims
- Mimi’s Suitcase
- The DVD on Amazon (Amazon affiliate)
Does anyone else remember this movie? It made a big impression on me as a girl. I had fun watching it again with Lily and am glad she insisted we find out more about the house. Now if we could just manage a trip to Camarillo to see it in person — without having to go on “The Bachelor” to do it. 😉
Laura Ingalls Gunn says
Julia I am cracking up! “David ( played by Marc Singer) was an artist who couldn’t afford shirts with buttons” LOL!
Now I have to watch this movie. Where did you find it? Netflix? Hulu?
Hi Laura! We watched in on YouTube, but it’s on DVD, too. Gotta love a poor, chest-baring artist who lives in a house like this, right? Ha. 🙂
Hello Julia, This reminds me of the book/movie Burnt Offerings, in which a decrepit Victorian mansion grows younger each time it destroys a human victim. The book is better than the movie, but the movie, filmed at Dunsmuir House in Oakland, does have some good visuals.
I looked for Burnt Offerings on your site, but could not find it. If you are not familiar with it, you should check out the Dunsmuir House.
I don’t think I’ve seen that one. Sounds intriguing — thanks, Jim!
VERY creepy film from 1976. Bette Davis is in it too!
The house was used in quite a few films.
I found a trailer for it on YouTube and yikes! It does look creepy!
Burnt Offerings scares the hell out of me every time I watch it.
Oh my gosh…that movie was scary! I found it on Netflix at one point. I remember how awesome the house was tho.
I absolutely LOVED the Two Worlds of Jenny Logan. I remember buying the VHS when it came out and have since gotten it on DVD. To me, the house and the dress were the stars, not the actors themselves. I’ll watch movies like this just to see the houses and furnishings. My poor husband just groans when I watch them because he knows he’ll have a “project” when I’m done! Thankfully, as an engineer, he can build just about anything. Our house proves it! LOL Now I see a road trip in the future…I want to see the “Reynolds” house in person!!
Irene Harrison says
I never heard of this movie…it really sounds intriguing! Thank you for introducing it to those of us who didn’t know about it.
Clair Bear226 says
The plot sounds similar in concept to the show on Starz, “Outlander”. If you liked this movie, you’ll probably like the Starz show. It takes place in Scotland, includes a sexy kilted Scot from the past, and a castle that the main character sees both in the current time and in the past. It also sounds a bit like ” Somewhere in Time”, a favorite of mine with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.
Oh, yes, love both of those, too! In fact, after watching this with Lily, I showed her “Somewhere in Time,” another old favorite from my childhood.
P.S. I got to interview Diana Gabaldon about her novel Outlander for Writer’s Digest years ago, which was a huge thrill for me. Big fan of that book. 🙂
Thanks Julia, I really enjoyed this. Now I want to see the movie!
#1 – Marc Singer… sigh and chest-clutch… I had such a crush on him back in the original V days.
#2 – The movie reminds me a little of Somewhere in Time… which I love… and need to watch again soon.
Oh… and the house is STUNNING in the original. I would have apoplexy if they had painted all that beautiful wood.
I just love the snarky comments! I remember the movie, but I don’t think I ever watched it. I’ll have to ask my sister if she did, because this exactly her type of movie. I want to the know the twist!
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the house. I think you can see it from the highway. Although that part of Ventura County has gotten so built up over the years, you probably can’t anymore.
I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this movie – and the house is not too far from me (and my best friend lives in Camarillo). I think a field trip is in order!
I have not seen the movie either and will try to make time to watch it on the youtube link. I love Lindsay Wagner and yes you cracked me up too with the Mr. can’t afford buttons on his shirt. I love stories about time travel and I want a real estate agent that says this kind of house is a steal cuz nobody wants it! I wonder why Indians are dancing in the yard at the house in the 1800s.
Lovely house. The story reminds me a bit about one of my favorite books as a child, “Time At The Top” by David Ormondroyd. A girl named Susan gets on the elevator in her apartment building, pushes the top button and ends up in the past in the house that used to stand there. It fascinated me. I will have to check out this movie.
There are so many wonderful time travel books. “Time and Again” by Jack Finney has a wonderfully evocative description of late 19 century New York and the Dakota Apartments when they were new.
I loved this movie as a teenager and had a crush on Marc Singer afterwards. Last year I found the movie on Ebay and bought it. It was not good quality, but I still enjoy watching it. In fact I think I will curl up on the couch and watch it this weekend.
I remember this movie from when I was a kid too! It has two of my favorite things- time travel & an old house. Thanks for writing about it! I’m going to watch it again. An old favorite time traveling book I remember was The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser.
Suzanne Melton says
Hmmm, I see you’re getting your daughter “hooked” on houses!
Well, I’ve raised her right! Ha. 🙂
Julia! I just lost an hour and a half of my late afternoon watching that movie (I scrolled through but I got the salient points) on Youtube! No dinner for my family. Pizza anyone? Your posts are awesome. Really, I love your site. Thank you.
Love it! Glad you had a chance to check it out, Karen. 🙂
What a remarkable home.
Love all the details on the movie now I have to watch it. Thanks!
Oh my gosh Julia! I have talked about this movie for years and no one else has ever known about it until I read this today! Oh happy day! I’m Australian and this was one of those midday movies that was on in the mid to late 1980’s. I remember I was home from high school that day and watched it. It has stayed with me ever since. I must have annoyed my family for weeks talking about it and the house lol. Thank you for this post, thank you. Off to order the book now which I didn’t know about and hunt down the movie to watch again. Honestly you have made my day.
Lisa from @my_vintage_emporium on Instagram 🙂
Oh, yay! I was afraid no one else would remember this movie but me. It made such a big impression on me as a kid. I’m so glad I’m not the only one! 🙂
sharon / tpt says
Wow! That house gets around! And the movie story line is a hoot ~ and Sooo like its time.
I live a hop skip and jump from this beauty. That makes me do for a drive by.
Hi Julia – I love the house and I watched the movie last night – Wow! My husband thought I was crazy! Thank you so much for sharing.
Alie B says
This is exactly the kind of story I enjoy. Romance, history and a fabulous house. What more could a girl ask for? 🙂 I would love to be able to time travel, to see what my home and neighborhood looked like, back in the 1800’s. This story reminded me of Somewhere in Time as well, but it also reminded me of a 1950’s novel, called Tom’s Midnight Garden. I read this story when I was a kid, and I loved it so much! Apparently the movie adaptation wasn’t as good (as is often the way). If Lily enjoyed this movie, I think she would like Tom’s Midnight Garden too.
I haven’t heard of that one, so we’ll have to track it down. Thanks, Alie! 🙂
Nica Fleming says
I TOTALLY remember this movie! I was such a Lindsay Wagner fan as a girl (and a lover of time travel stories), so this was a perfect combination. Funny thing, I thought it was John Beck who played the buttonless David. I’m going to have to find this and watch it again. Thanks for the memories!
I remember this movie (I was the geeky kid who watched old movies all night every Friday and Saturday) but just cannot remember how it ends. Now I’ll have to see it again. Thanks for the memories!
Me, too! I’d actually highlight all the classic old movies in the TV Guide each week I wanted to see so I wouldn’t miss any. 🙂
I can remember when they switched from broadcasting mostly old movies in the dead of the night to showing reruns of lame old TV series.
I grew up watching old movies, so I love them. I even remember telling my mom that if I could go back to any period in history, I’d like to live in the 1930s because all they did then was wear fancy clothes, live in beautiful houses, and go to parties all the time. Ha! Astaire and Rodgers are NOT real history.
Thank God for TCM.
I felt the same way. I was convinced I was born too late! 🙂
cecile delouvrier says
omg i can’t believe it, i’ve been looking for that house for a long time; when i clicked on your page tonight and saw the pic of that victorian beauty i recognized it from a supposedly ghost tv movie i had seen several times (only cause of the location) called The haunting of seacliff inn (a dud with ally sheedy). And watching your pics about that other tv movie reminded me i’d seen it too as a teen (a while ago so i absolutely do not remember the story and the twist at the end) but i do remember the dress and of course marc singer in his unbuttoned shirt (which suits him soooo well indeed). thank you for finding it, it’s beautiful, i wish i could see the floor plans (couldn’t find it), and i’ll definitly whatch that tv movie again asap. THANX. sending you my best from france – aix en provence
Niki Richardson says
Thank you for featuring the Camarillo Ranch House on your website! As Development and PR Director it’s always fun for me to get other people’s take on our gorgeous property and historic home. If you’re ever up in Camarillo, please email or call me and I would be happy to take you on a guided tour. Docent-led tours are available Sat – Mon 11 – 3pm unless the property is being used for a private event.
Again, thank you so much for this. It was fun to see those pictures and now I am going to have to track down the movie! =)
So nice to hear from you, Niki — thanks! 🙂
Nita Lynn says
This one was fascinating, since like the others I also love old houses and hints of time travel. I’ve never heard of the movie, but if you, like me, are too impatient to watch it, I will tell you that Wikipedia will give you the whole story including the “twist” ending 😉 It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite novels “The Mercy of Thin Air.”
Alicia Sullivan says
I saw this movie in 1979 when I was 13 years old and just loved it. I think for a few years they would play it at Halloween time. I believe the last time I saw it I was in my early 20’s.
Oh my attention was nabbed right away when I saw Camarillo Ranch House! What a fantastic house museum. We lived in Camarillo for several years and I enjoyed touring the house. The kitchen was my favorite part. I recommend a trip to Camarillo for any old house enthusiasts who live close enough.
I never saw this movie and since I see Bette Davis is in it, will all the more so. I love Bette Davis.
Thank you for giving me another movie to see.
Kim Blair says
OMG – I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this movie. I was a HUGE Lindsey Wagner fan. Absolutely LOVE your comment about him not being able to afford shirts with buttons – priceless.
I always loved her, too, and she was SO beautiful in this movie! I wanted hair just like hers when I was a girl, but alas, it was not to be… ha.
I’ve actually been to a wedding there, I think they were in mid renovations at the time parts were fixed up and parts still needed work. Also the barn on property was used on greys Anatomy for April kepners Aborted wedding.
How fun that you got to attend a wedding at the ranch. Looks like a great spot for one. I didn’t know the barn was on Grey’s — thanks, Annie!