As a kid growing up in Park Ridge, Sean Giambrone shied away from reading R.L. Stine’s horror fiction that was so popular with his peers.
“I’m kind of a scaredy cat,” confessed the 15-year-old actor, who plays the youngest member of the Goldbergs in the ABC sitcom by the same name.
“I was too afraid to pick them up,” Sean said about Stine’s (“Goosebumps”) books. “My brother would read them and tell me the stories, so I was familiar with them.”
Sean’s now extremely familiar with one story in particular. He’s starring in the fourth season premiere of Hub Network’s anthology series, “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour.” His episode “I’m Not Martin,” based on a Stine short story, airs at 3 p.m. Saturday on the kid-focused cable network.
Sean does a turn as a boy who’s supposed to have routine surgery to get his tonsils removed. Not long after he checks in for his operation, he begins to suspect the creepy characters in the cursed hospital are determined to amputate his foot instead.
“The last time I was in a hospital was when I was a baby and I don’t really remember that,” Sean said in a phone interview from Los Angeles, where he, his parents and his brother live while “The Goldbergs” is in production.
Sean said he liked the change of pace filming on location instead of in the studio, where “The Goldbergs” is shot. He also liked dabbling in a genre other than comedy.
“It’s a whole different set of emotions,” he said. “I guess you can say I was stretching my acting wings.”
In his regular gig, Sean plays a young Adam F. Goldberg (“Fanboys”), the series’ creator whose real-life home movies inspired the funny, ’80s-set sitcom starring Chicago’s Jeff Garlin and Wendi McLendon-Covey.
The series recently started its sophomore season. So did Sean, who’s in his second year at Maine South. The northwest suburban high school sends his curriculum to Los Angeles where he has a tutor while shooting the show. He plans to come back to Maine South during the second semester to finish up the school year, just like he did as a freshman.
“I miss the food,” he said about Chicago. On the West Coast, “we don’t have the Italian beef or the hot dogs or pizza. Well, they have them, but they’re not the same.”
Lucky for Sean, his TV dad (Garlin) also misses his Chicago eats.
“He brought in a Vienna beef cart one day on set,” Sean said. “It brought back memories.”