20170625

LAURA JOHNSON

Laura Johnson left Los Angeles for New York City in 1984 to meet with Meredith Brown of 'Soap Opera Digest'. They met at the Russian Tea Room. Laura stayed at the Pierre Hotel. Meredith pointed out, "The Russian Tea Room - New York's answer to The Beverly Hills Hotel's Polo Lounge - is a constant stream of stars and stargazers all making deals. There is nothing that remotely resembles a gift shop here, let alone a paperweight." Borscht and blinis were ordered. "I've never eaten Russian food before," Laura confessed at the time. "Will this increase the size of my chest?" 

Terry: What make you think I'll sell my vineyards to anyone - let alone you? 

Angela: Because you are a very smart little girl. And you know and I know that your only interest in wine is a full glass at dinner. 

Terry: And I know that you know that Chase is going to need those vineyards. You wouldn't try to beat him to the punch now would you Angela? 

Angela: Well our little Terry is growing up. 

Deep in the Calitornia wine country of Tuscany Valley (real life Napa Valley), Laura Johnson made her first appearance on 'Falcon Crest' in episode 8 of season 3 (back in 1983). Laura recounted, "My first day was disastrous. The director would say, 'I want you to drive up and get out of the car and walk over here.' And I would say, 'Do I say hello in my car?' He explained that there was no microphone in the car so that wouldn't be too effective. I was such a moron!" 

Of her character, "Terry is chameleon-like and will go through certain transitions. I've tried to approach her from the point of view that people are not born nasty. When I auditioned for the network I read a scene that has not aired, but I describe my (Terry's) childhood and the fact that my father neglected me in his attempts to raise Maggie (who was adopted) so well. My mother was an alcoholic, so there was the whole sense of a child not raised properly and being wounded and rejected by men. Later I turned it into her reason for becoming a prostitute - to get the love of men." 

In the 1985-86 season of 'Falcon Crest' Terry went into business with Richard Channing as co-owners of the Tuscany Downs race track and turf club, in a 50/50 partnership. Terry's vineyards were valued at $40 million. She could pay $30 million first with $10 million deferred. Richard suggested it wouldn't have to be cash and could be equity. 

Terry: That's a lot of money! 

Richard: For some. But you - it's an easy reach. 

Terry: Not that easy but gettable. 

Richard: I'm offering you a terrific chance. 

Terry: All I want is the chance to see how the mighty will fall. 

"When you've been unemployed off and on for 5 years as an actress and suddenly you're on a hot series, it certainly changes your life," Laura Johnson conceded. Robert Newman played Josh Lewis on 'Guiding Light'. He made the comment, "Soap operas are just too cushy. Actors bitch about how tough it is to do a soap, but it's not tough. Soon it becomes second nature. I got to the point with Josh where I felt I could sleepwalk through the role." 

John Kelly Genovese opined, "Big scenes are great, and necessary. But it takes the little scenes to make a show human. Soap opera being a day-to-day, on-going medium, is better served by the 'little' scenes – whether they be confrontation, humor, or simply silent reaction – which are presented within the context of an everyday, constantly building storyline. 

"Much of acting – particularly soap acting – is the reacting. 'Big' scenes are calculated, anticipated events which serve as payoff to eager audiences who have sat out a major storyline for months, sometimes years. Such scenes are so long awaited and built up to in scripts that no matter how proportionate or disproportionate the acting and directing, they almost always achieve the desired effect."

Richard Channing: Creditors can't take what I don't have.

Jordan Roberts: That's certainly won't stop them from trying.

Richard Channing: Maybe I'll file bankruptcy?

Jordan Roberts: Still won't help you dodge your tax liability.

Richard Channing: Well there's always suicide! 

Jordan Roberts: Very tacky! And besides, in your current financial state, you can't even afford a good funeral.

In 1983, British actor, Simon MacCorkindale played a professor of animal behavioral sciences who could transform himself into a black panther, a hawk, a cat and a shark. "'Manimal' did open some doors. It established again my credibility as an actor in the way I approach my work. The town knows I am very disciplined." In 1984, Simon played Angela's lawyer, Greg Reardon, who Angela would pay $35,000 a month for his exclusive services. After one year, Angela told him she would help him pursue a career in politics. In one scene, Angela told Greg, "And if you don't want to help me you could always shovel manure at that so-called ranch of yours." Greg replied, "Mrs Channing, it's maybe a lot cleaner work."

Simon MacCorkindale told Pat Hilton over lunch at Sunset Boulevard's Mirabelle Restaurant in 1984, "I think careers have to be built." Working in Equity Waiver productions, Simon recalled, "I did virtually anything I was asked to do. It was like going back to the beginning of one's career." As a result, "The town knows me as somebody who was prepared to go back to the bottom, that I'm not just here (in Hollywood) to take the pickings."

Richard Channing: I don't like partners Al. Never did!  And I especially don't like partner name Terry Ranson. And God help me it's not going to be easy getting rid of her now. My race track is going to see to that. It's going to make her even richer than she is. She got money in her blood - just like everyone else in this valley.

Al: There's nothing wrong with a little money Mr Channing.

Richard Channing: It's like opium Al. It numbs the soul. How much of that little skimming operation siphoning off the track this week?

Al: Three quarter of a million.

Richard Channing: And what was your take?

Al: 2% - same as always.

Richard Channing: That's $15,000. That's not bad for a week work. Now since Terry has provided me with the money I'm going to put a stop to this skimming.

Al: The counting room at the race track is a gold mine for both of us.

Richard Channing: I said no more Al. You see what I mean? It's becomes a habit. It gets in the blood and pretty soon it doesn't matter how much you make, it's not enough.

20170624

SOAP OPERAS

"'Dynasty' in many ways was the quintessential television show of the 1980s," it had been said. "We're convinced that there is a large and loyal audience eager to see how Blake, Krystle and Alexis are faring in the 1990s." During the Reagan-era 1980s, Blake Carrington, Krystle Grant and Alexis Morrell were household names. Some 40 million viewers each week watched the 'Dynasty' expression of Ronald Reagan Administration values. The 'Dynasty' name was also licensed to about 25 luxury products such as the Forever Krystle perfume and the men's fragrance Carrington which grossed over $40 million in 1987.

Sales Associate: Have you decided on anything Mrs Carrington?

Claudia: Yes. I think I'll take the mink. And I'll take the full length fox and the Saymoon 3 jackets, the chinchilla, the ling and the Perlman.

Sales Associate: That's 3 coats and 3 jackets?

Claudia: I believe that's what I've said. Yes.

Sales Associate: Along with the chinchilla muff and the two persian lamb ski hats?

Claudia: Are you in the business of counting or are you in the business of selling?

"We sort of anticipated the Reagan era, viscerally," Esther Shapiro explained. "We picked up on the glitz and glamor of it, we predicted what would happen with the stock market years before it happened. The pomp and circumstance, the new wealth - all of that was reflected. It's a visceral feeling I have, a gut certainty. 'Dynasty' paralleled the Reagan years - in fact, we came on the air the first week he was in office. It reflected his Administration's unapologetic attention to money, to Wall Street, to affluence."

By 1988, "The country has changed. The 'feel good' times are over. I think the stock-market crash and the fact that foreign investors have bought a huge amount of American property has changed the way people think about themselves. It seems that a good deal of our own country is getting away from us. And when you have that sort of situation, you don't want to think about glitz. You turn inward. You think about your home, your job, your kids, your one-to-one relationships. I don't think you can do anything on television that flies in the face of that.'' 

In the 1990s, Aaron Spelling believed, "I just think the time for the young shows has come." However "I think that 'Round Table,' for example, has a lot more realism than '90210'. I mean, the young Washington professionals in 'Round Table' don't live in Beverly Hills. They can't call mom and dad when they're in trouble. They are not all wealthy. In 'Round Table,' the characters know what they want. How to get it is their problem. I think in 'Melrose Place,' they don't know what the hell they want yet. All they talk about is getting through the next day." 'The Round Table' on NBC examined a generation of young professionals starting their careers in Washington. 

"I learned one hard lesson in 'Beverly Hills, 90210' and I've been apologizing ... We do not have a good ethnic mix in '90210'. We all live in an ethnic mix society, and to not depict it makes no sense ... When they go to college, though, you will see that we will have an ethnic cast in '90210.'" At its peak in 1984, Aaron Spelling remarked, "I don't know that a little cotton candy, if we have to use that term, relaxing the mind, is bad for people who are worried about paying their rent and their grocery bills and their gasoline costs or about not being able to pay for a home." 

Growing up during the Depression, "We didn't have television then, of course, but we did have movies. My sister would die to see what Ginger Rogers was wearing in her latest movie. And she would rush home to tell my dad, who was a tailor, and he'd make that dress. We lived in a fantasy world because it was the only escape we had. And I think when times - whether that would be a recession, whether that would be problems in the Gulf, whether that would be the potential obliteration of all of us - are bad, escape is tremendous. I think it's a good valve to release tensions. That's what I have never apologized for."

''I belong to American Women's Economic Development, a group that deals with women entrepreneurs,'' Esther Shapiro stated. ''Five years ago (in 1983), there were 80,000 of us. Now (in 1988) there are 5 million. In the late 1980s and 1990s, we'll be more interested in the workplace, in real one-to-one relationships between women and men - especially with women working in roles that are equal or superior to men. You couldn't do that until recently. In the early '80s, to my way of thinking, Alexis laid the groundwork. She was in charge of things in a fantasy kind of way. But now (in 1988) that it's starting to really happen, we can do it in a real way on the screen.''

By 1988, 'The Young and the Restless' topped the daytime ranking as the most popular soap opera on television. With the popular Nadia's theme opened proceedings, 'The Young and the Restless', as John Kelly Genovese observed, was "a throwback to the grand old days of soap opera. Its stories are more riveting because they are almost always rooted in character motivation, rather than ill-conceived plot tricks.

"In general, characters act and react for clearly defined reasons having to do with what and who they are. Character moves plot. Much of its identity has to do with its rhythm, a show's combination of pacing and overall tone. Scenes usually involve no more than 5 people, and in most cases only 2 or 3; close-ups and medium shots but with wider and overhead shots used only for maximum climatic effect.

"There is far more sitting and standing than there is flowing movement from one end of a set to another. Scenes are long. Constructions are built meticulously and to an often walloping intensity. Pregnant pauses are common, not due to under-scripting but rather to insure maximum tension. Characters restate their positions 2, maybe 3 times within a scene. And they are not talking in circles, either – they are speaking as people really speak."

It was understood such gradually building intensity was part of William Bell's long-term storytelling and audiences "flocked to a world in which idealism and romance triumphed over all." Speaking to Sherry Bryant Johnson in 1986, Bill Bell made the point, "The Brookses and the Fosters would still be the central families to this day (1973-1986) if we hadn't had so many defections. There were too many young actors who made their career decisions, and after X number of years on the program they felt they wanted to go off and try something else. So people did that and we'd recast the parts.

"The final one was when Jaime Lyn Bauer said that she really wanted to leave. I just felt that the time had come to, in effect, create a new show within the existing show. Paul Williams was a very marginal character at that time, Jack Abbott was a very marginal character at that time. Neither of them had families ... I built a family around each of them and within 6 months' time, I changed the emphasis from the Brookses and Fosters to the Williamses and the Abbotts and we never lost a share point."

The 3 years Douglas Marland had worked on 'Guiding Light', he insisted, "I never has any stories I wanted to tell that weren't approved and I was never asked to tell any that I didn't want to tell." Bill Bell maintained the goal of creating characters was "only if it furthered the story." In creating, Bill Bell looked for the depth and dimensions of the character and "another important element to the character's development is his back story."

As an example in 1986, "With Lindsey (Wells) we wanted to tell the deep and emotional story of a girl, who, at 18, fell in love with Jack (Abbott). He made promises to her and never kept them. Never hearing from Jack again traumatized her life. Years later, working as a management trainee at Jabot Cosmetics, Lindsey, quite accidentally, came back into Jack's life. Although she still loved Jack, her love was outweighed by the hurt and resentment she experienced as a result of his abandonment."

Bill Bell also made known, "Nikki was the last character we wanted pregnant. I would've preferred seeing Stuart Brooks pregnant! We had just started a long-term story between Nikki and Victor Newman. Since there's so much movement on the soaps today (by 1986), we knew we couldn't shoot around Melody's pregnancy (actress Melody Thomas Scott). So that meant Nikki had to be pregnant, too. We wanted the baby to be Victor's but we needed a decoy.

"At around the same time we had hired Chris Holder to play Kevin Bancroft, a possible suitor for Nikki. The character was a one-shot. Since Chris gave a very appealing performance, we decided to bring back his character in a helluva hurry. We pre-taped some flashbacks that showed they'd been intimate and then introduced Kevin's parents. The revised storyline lasted more than 2 years and was very successful."

Bill Bell stressed, "You use the character to tell the story and its success depends on the strength of concept of that character. Two of our most popular actors were leaving. Jaime Lyn Bauer, who played Laurie Brooks, and David Hasselhoff, who played Snapper Foster. With their departure, we decided it was time to bite the bullet, do a little house cleaning and introduce two new families.

"We already had Jack Abbott, but all you ever saw of him was his office and bedroom. We also slowly brought in the Williams family. With the Abbotts, the key casting was the father. Once he was cast we built the set used for the Abbotts' house. Then we went after Ashley and Traci, carefully fleshing out the family. Jack was involved with Patti Williams, so the two families touched. Within a period of a year we created an entire new show. The audience supported what we were doing, as indicated by the ratings, which shot way up."

20170622

FALCON CREST

"It's Friday evening," Karen MacNeil turned the clock back to 1985. "The TV is tuned to CBS. Fade to the Napa Valley vineyards, where the Channings and Giobertis are at it again. Will Melissa ensnare Cole for the umpteenth time? Will Angela finally put Chase out of the wine business? Will Lance have a fatal encounter with a 100-pound cask of Chardonnay? For those answers, you'll have to stay tuned to the popular prime-time soap, 'Falcon Crest'.

"But one question was more urgent. Could the clan stop fighting long enough to put 10 California wines to the taste test? Yes, replied 8 members of the cast and crew who popularized the wine-rich Napa Valley. Their tasting coincides with the 'California Wine Experience' in San Francisco, where wine experts from all over the globe including the makers of some of our selections have gathered this weekend (back in October 1985). Billed as the nation's most razzle-dazzle wine event it has been sold out for months, and the tasters wear black-tie as they sample the best bottles around. Pretty heady stuff. Often pretty expensive and rare stuff, wines beyond many folks' tastes and wallets."

In March 2015, Jane Hodges Young reported, "When the first issue of 'Sonoma Business' hit the newsstands in 1976, California’s wine industry was just starting to take off. Undeniably, life was different then. Fine wine was made in France. One year later, two Napa Valley wineries bested all French competitors in the now-famous 'Judgment of Paris' wine tasting. The contest was a game changer for California wine and the epicenter for the revolution was the North Bay counties of Napa and Sonoma.

"The Sebastiani family has been in the wine business for more than 115 years (since 1900). Looking back on the good old days, patriarch Don Sebastiani remembers, 'It was a lot more fun in the '70s. We could get on TV just by picking up the phone and calling a reporter to tell them about grape harvests. It used to be there was a lot of passion about wine at all different price categories.

"'Clearly, the last 5 years or so (since around 2010), that's started to level off and wane. It's no question that, while our passion and family spirit hasn't changed, the consumer and wine consuming marketplace view is different. For several decades, wine was continually growing and there was always something new. It was a hot property. Now, with the exception of certain high-end sectors, wine is levelling off.'

"Peter Mondavi Jr. says being in the wine industry 40 to 50 years ago (around 1976) was comparable to 'living in a bubble. Life was somewhat sheltered. We were pretty innocent. Everything revolved around the wine business and we really never envisioned where it would be today.' Napa Valley 'has come a long way since then. There are still a lot of families in business, but there's also a tremendous mix and diversity, from family-owned startups to corporate owners to venture capital firms and partnerships,' he explains.

"'And back in the early days, the concept of a virtual winery (versus bricks and mortar) didn't exist. Negociants hadn't made their way to California. Today (in 2015), there's every form of winery and lots of businesses that support those models as well. Consultants weren't the norm. I'm not sure if there actually were any! Everyone gathered at the coffee table to share ideas. Now, today (in 2015), it's so far advanced.

"'Consultants have proliferated immensely and the knowledge base is so much richer and deeper,' he continues. 'I ran across one of our wine cards from the 1960s the other day,' Mondavi laughs. 'We made 27 wines. Today (in 2015), we have 8. And selling back then was about educating consumers. Today (in 2015), wine is mainstream. There's a large core base that's well educated and understands wine. Our struggle now is to differentiate our wines from those of our neighbors—and from those of other continents.'"

"Over the last 4 decades (or since the 1970s), perhaps one of the biggest paradigm shifts is women 'coming of age' in the wine industry. Carol Shelton, graduated with a bachelors in enology from UC Davis in 1978, in an era 'when winemaking was considered to be an art and you had this very romantic image of winemaking magic - with a strong bias against women in the business.' After graduating from college, she 'couldn't even get a job in the cellar. It was the lab or sales.' In the winter, Shelton went to Australia, where the seasons were opposite, and worked as a lab tech for Peter Lehmann at Saltram's Winery.

"'He was like the Robert Mondavi and Joe Heitz of Australia,' she explains. Women weren't accepted much there, either. 'Only guys worked in the cellar, and they were union. I learned that unions and artists don't work together. Those guys saw it as a job, not a romantic avocation. And it revised my concept of winemaking so that I began to view it as a business and not just an art.'

"'Winemaking is much different than it used to be,' she says. 'Technology has allowed us to take marginal grapes and do things that are so much more remarkable. If you have excess sulfur or alcohol, you can remove it. You can correct acid and pH levels.' Some of the young winemakers coming into the business 'still think wines should make themselves,' Shelton says, which she finds frustrating. With so many tools available to improve wines these days, she doesn't understand why new winemakers don't take more advantage of them. 'Letting wines make themselves doesn't result in the best wine. If the pH is too high, they oxidize fast—they fall apart and don't last. Why not fix it?'"

"Wine and cheese parties were the way to entertain a crowd," it had been said. "Cheese debuts at the dinner table back in the good old '60s and '70s. You couldn't squeeze through a fund-raiser or college happy hour without running into a wedge of Jarlsberg or brie. Cheese is moving from the coffee table to the dinner table. It's showing up as a cheese-and-salad course following the main attraction or as dessert with fresh fruit.

"It's a time-honored practice in Europe, where many of the world's finest cheeses are made. And it's catching on here, both at home and in fine restaurants. First, a few rules: The cheeses should be of impeccable quality and fully ripe of the soft-ripening variety (such as Camembert). Plan on 2 to 4 ounces per person. They should be served at room temperature to enjoy the flavor fully.

"Remove hard varieties (Romano) from the refrigerator 2 hours in advance, soft cheeses (double-crimes) about 40 minutes in advance. If serving with a simple green salad and-crusty bread, pass a wedge or two of: Brie, Camembert, chhres (Bou-cheron or Montrachet, which are often rolled in vine ash or herbes des Provence) or any of the great blues (Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Maytag). If serving with pears, apples or grapes, most of the above but chevres will work. Also try a young Romano."

"Financially, the Falcon Crest winery is oozing red ink, the result of misdirected expansion plans and takeover plots," it was noted. "In script-writing terms, this means that this fall (the 1985-86) could be the start of a vintage year for Chase Gioberti." However Robert Foxworth as Chase lamented, "The writing … it's a kind of Murphy's Law of television. Anything that can go wrong will." As director, "this show is so stylized that you can't get real artsy. The difference is felt by people on the show, not by the people watching it. I like actors to dig a little deeper, reach for more, not settle for the easy thing. I nudge and we rehearse a little more."

20170619

FALCON CREST

Greg Reardon: I sometime wonder, which is more painful for you - winning or losing? 

Angela Gioberti: In my next life, I'm coming back as a clinging vine (a woman who showed excessive emotional dependence on a man). 

By the start of the 1986-87 TV season, Jaclyn Fierman of 'Fortune' magazine reported, "Americans drank 6.5% less table wine in 1985 than in 1984 and will probably cut consumption 5% more this year (in 1986), according to 'Impact', an industry newsletter. The wine industry's smartest response to the new abstinence is coolers, fruity beverages with a splash of wine and roughly the alcohol content of beer. Americans are demanding better quality than ever before, and premium wines have raised their share of the $8.3-billion-a-year business from 8% in 1980 to 20% today (in 1986)." 

Angela: Well you have to learn to accept this duty gracefully because I expect you to carry on with it after I die. That is, if I ever decide to die.

Lance: Just how will you know what I do after you are gone?

Angela: I'll know!

On television, "Even if 'Falcon Crest' loses 30% of the 'Dallas' viewers, the show still can draw enough 'accidental customers' to win the time period and be a hit. But the TV audience is growing increasingly sophisticated. No longer do most folks simply sit in a stuffed chair, allowing program after program on the same network to wash over them like waves at the beach. 

"Furthermore, the popularity of remote-control units allows tens of millions of people to switch channels without even lifting their backsides off the sofa. Look for it to happen this coming season (1985-86) based on the Nielsen inroads being made by 'Miami Vice' reruns during summertime. Since hitting the air last fall (1984-85), 'Miami Vice' has been starting from ground-zero every week (or starting from scratch each Friday), battling 'Falcon Crest' with almost non-existent audience 'lead-ins' from the programs that have preceded it (or no help from a popular or at least compatible program in front of it)." 

In one scene on 'Falcon Crest', Angela made a lucrative offer to buy a vineyard from Terry Ranson. 

Terry: My, what a lot of zeros! But I can get with that much money and still keep my land. Bank loans Angela, ever hear of them?

Angela: The only reason to go into debt is to have something to go into debt for.

"It's the escapist mentality," Michael Filerman explained its popularity. "People form emotional ties to characters on continuing dramas. You never know what will happen to them. You know, what will happen at the end of it." After watching 'Dynasty', Andrea Payne of 'Soap Opera Digest' remarked, "'Dynasty' uses more soap opera conventions than any other nighttime serial. 

"On 'Dynasty', plots and characters go out the window in favor of the quick fix. Alliances change as often as the costumes with characters going from point A to point Z with no explanation as to how they got there. A typical scene on 'Dynasty' begins with a calm encounter between two characters and ends 3 to 4 minutes later with at least one party storming out of the room in a huff following a verbal blowout."

In Sumatra, Indonesia, Blake Carrington, Dominique Devereaux (formerly Millie Cox) and Alexis Morrell attended the reading of Thomas Fitzsimmons Carrington's will. Tom bequeathed $5,000 to each of his 4 household staff with the bulk of his estate which estimated at $500 million consisting of primarily oil, timber, rubber and the precious holdings in Sumatra to be divided equally between his son, his former daughter-in-law and Blake's half-sister. Dominique was appointed the executor of the will. 

Alexis: You! Executor of the legacy that Blake and I were going to leave our children? I'll fight this travesty in every possible court and I'll break it. (Storming off.)

Dominique: Just a moment Alexis. Now you loathe me and I despise you. But it is time for us to face the fact - we're all one big family now! 

Andrea Payne continued, "Organ music, long associated with daytime serials, is a thing of the past; however, 'Dynasty' has replaced it with musical scores which direct scenes instead of enhancing them. If you haven't figured out how you're supposed to feel, you can take your cue from the music. 'Dynasty's' music reflects the show's approach to storyline. The more removed from reality the better. 'Dynasty's' one redeeming grace is the show's willingness to open its doors to other ethnic groups. 'Dynasty's' Dominique Devereaux was the first, and remains the only black character on any nighttime soap (until about 1988)."

Bill Conti composed the TV themes for 'Dynasty' and 'Falcon Crest' and coordinating the music to the visuals on the screen to give it dramatic force. "It's a constant challenge that requires a great dramatic sense; knowing a lot of music is not necessarily the answer," Bill Conti confessed. "Each job is different." In 'Dynasty', "the producers wanted scope, something that would convey the class and sophistication of the story." Hence "a big, lush theme with a trumpet carrying the melody." In 'Falcon Crest', "it was to suggest a big, powerful family, certainly not underprivileged, as you can tell by scenes of the mansion. I gave the theme a lot of rhythm, with strings carrying a long melodic line and horns providing the energy." 

20170618

FALCON CREST

Richard Channing met his long-lost sister Julia for lunch at the Auberge du Soleil in an episode of 'Falcon Crest' first shown in 1982. "The salmon mousse is excellent," Richard recommended, pointing at the menu. "(Or) how about just some dessert and coffee?" 'TV Guide' reported in October 2013 of a "proposed new series" of 'Falcon Crest' featuring Richard Channing and Cole Gioberti. 

William Moses played Cole told the press at the time, "Warner Bros. owns the rights and so it's a discussion between them and the writers. There is a pitch and an idea germinating that has some traction. The producers contacted me to ask if I’d be interested, and I said yes. Where it goes on the producing side, I don’t know. Life was too small for Cole in the vineyards, so he went to Australia (in 1987) to form a new life. Because the character was left open-ended, I would be curious to see what that boy became as a man. I can see him coming back to the valley with a chip on his shoulder." 

Richard: Tell me about your work. 

Julia: I am an enologist. I'm responsible for all the aging and blending of the wine at Falcon Crest. 

Richard: Sound interesting. 

Julia: It is. 

Richard: You sound devoted. 

Julia: I am. 

Before Richard arrived in Tuscany Valley in 1982, Angela was told, "For the past several years he had been working as a power-broker where a large sum of money have changed hands. From energy cartels to world banking, from Asian refugee transport to war in the Middle East." Speaking to wine writer, Thomas P. Skeen in 2002, Professor Sara Spayd of the Washington State University said of winemaking, "It's not 'Falcon Crest'. It takes a lot of determination and willingness to work a lot more hours than most people are used to. Like owning a farm, a winery is a high-risk, 365-day-a-year job." 

Winemaker Kay Simon recounted, "It made all those organic chemistry classes worth it. My mother knew 30 years ago (back in 1971) it was important to keep a young girl interested in math and sciences. I've never been raised with the thought that, 'Oh, you're a girl.'" Professor Sara Spayd stressed, "It's not gender; it's competence. Kay has very high standards and she's goal oriented."

Angela to Jacqueline: Falcon Crest belongs to those who can control it and make it live. It belongs to me because I'm strong enough to make it produce. The future here belongs to anyone who has the skills and the raw guts to take it away from me.

Kay Simon went into the wine business with viticulturist Clay Mackey alone without other partners. Clay Mackey explained, "I think both of us felt strongly that we wanted to do the things we wanted to do without being second-guessed. We were each other's partner." Kay Simon added, "Although we joked that one of us should have married rich. I don't think we fully realized how much money it was going to take to do what we wanted to do. And I don't think we realized how risky it was until we borrowed money for the first time." 

Angela: What did you find out about Carlo Agretti's financial affair?

Phillip Erikson: Melissa inherits everything including all the debts. Without liquid asset - hard cash - I'm afraid Melissa is going to find it difficult to pay any state taxes.

Angela: Poor Melissa. All that land and no money.

"They were making some changes in the pilot of 'Falcon Crest,' including some cast changes," Robert Foxworth as Angela's nephew Chase recalled. "And I got a call asking me to look at a script and meet with Earl Hamner. I talked to Earl and he was just wonderful. But I must say I didn't think 'Falcon Crest' would be a hit. Other people told me it would be, but I didn't believe them. I guess it was a lack of faith on my part. They toughened my role up. The changes are still in progress. It evolved as the writers and producers saw what I was bringing to it. I don't think the character is there yet (in the first season)."

Carlo Agretti: Let's be completely honest Angela. Each of us have always wanted what the other has (the Agretti vineyard and the Falcon Crest winery). That is why this union between Melissa (Carlo's daughter) and Lance (Angela's heir apparent grandson) is so important. It's the only way either one of us will ever realize our dreams.

Angela: I have more than mere dreams. I have plans.

Robert Foxworth continued, "I think one important thing about my character is the almost fantasy thing of changing his life in midstream. Here's a guy in his 40s, with a good career as an airline pilot and he gives that up to start in the vineyards. As a result of that he gets involved in politics. The Napa Valley is filled with people like that. I think it enhances the character because it's a fantasy fulfillment."

In at least the first 7 episodes of the 1982-83 TV season of 'Falcon Crest', viewers were shown the "democratic process" function as well as the "judiciary system" and how the board voted on issues such as water rights and public land when Chase became an elected official and member of supervisor of the Tuscany County. Arguing "Mr Gioberti is a politician and I am a business woman", Angela told Chase, "I am a business woman and this is a business decision. Falcon Crest is a business Chase - not a charity. Good business is to pay for as little as you can. Don't think the wine industry is run like a charity because it isn't. It's a business - a tough business and I want Falcon Crest up on the top. Nobody said competition was easy on the stomach."

In June 1988, Mildred Howle reported, "In a sadly-funny footnote to history, the charming old Parrott Mansion, on the side of Spring Mountain above St. Helena, is now identified by a series of small, blue and white road signs, as Falcon Crest. The pilgrimages of devoted fans became so commonplace at Spring Mountain Winery, where the Parrott Mansion is a private home, that owner Mike Robbins was finally forced to add a tasting room and open the grounds to visitors.

"Later, realizing that those who came to taste his wines were being mightily disturbed by those who came to gawk and gape at the gables and cornices of the house, he separated the two audiences by transforming the gardener’s cottage into a gift shop where wine could be purchased, out not tasted, and where the devotees buy 'Falcon Crest' tee-shirts, posters, postcards and other memorabilia. It works well, particularly since many of the purely 'Falcon Crest' viewers are often accompanied by small children who quickly tire of watching people sip and swirl.

"There is also an escorted walking tour through the grounds which surround the house, with adequate stops along the way for photo opportunities. The $4 charge for the tour may be applied toward the purchase of a bottle of wine or 9 souvenir. For the winery-oriented, there are two winery tours - one at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 2:30 p.m. Spring Mountain Winery is constructed on the famous Miravalle vineyards where Tiburcio Parrott grew select French varietals and made wine which was nationally acclaimed 100 years ago (in 1888).

"The wines are available in all 50 states, with the bulk of the production selling in New York, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and California. All the wines, even some of the 1979 vintage, are available for tasting at the winery. Don't look for the stars of the television series, however, when you drop by. Greg Vita, winemaker, tells us the production company has so much footage that they have shot over the years (1981 to 1987) that they only spend 4 or 5 days a year at the winery.

"'Every year,' he adds, 'the producers of 'Falcon Crest' tell us that the show will probably only run a year or two longer, but it just keeps going.' There is, of course, a Falcon Crest wine, with the famous mansion on the label, so, as you watch re-runs, you can double your 'Falcon Crest' involvement. This may not be the first place you will read this story, nor will it be the last, but it is the sort of icon-toppler that all of those fighting wine snobbism love. It concerns a blend tasting of California cabernets - including such gems as a 1978 Jordan, 1983 Caymus and a 1983 Joseph Phelps Insignia."

20170612

FALCON CREST

"Television is most enlightening when it becomes a mirror, capturing our most human moments and our most trying situations," Fred Rothenberg observed. On 'Falcon Crest', David Selby played Richard Channing, the publisher of 'The San Francisco Globe' and also its chairman of the board. When Richard Channing expressed his desire to leave the Cartel headquarter in New York City for California, Henri Denault, his adoptive father complained, "Newspapers? They’re a dying business. Second anachronism." 

Richard's secretary Diana also remarked, "Newspapers are hardly a large profit area." However Richard maintained, "The papers give us a chance to use another form of power - information. Control what people think and you control their lives." David Selby explained, "Because of television's hectic nature, an actor playing a character on a weekly series inevitably draws more on his own personality. I have a real temper and I use that for Richard. 

"I don't hold grudges or anything like that, but my rages are immediate and strong. I let Channing use that. You've got to use part of yourself or you'll go crazy. Then the writers start writing to your personality. I've worked very hard at building a character, and I think Channing is one of the best male characters on television today (by 1985). He has a conscience. If anything defeats him, it will be his conscience." 

In 1942, at the height of World War II, Angela Channing gave birth to her son Richard. Viewers were told in 1987, Angela's ex-husband Douglas Channing and his mistress, Angela's former sister-in-law, Jacqueline Perrault, the chief of the Cartel, told Angela her first child was stillborn. When Richard was 4, Henri Denault, a Nazi collaborator, adopted Richard at an orphanage in Europe. For 10 years since 1972, Richard Channing spent close to $500,000 searching for his mother.

In episode 12 of season 2, aptly titled "…Divided We Fall", Richard Channing announced at a party held at Falcon Crest and attended by "three generations of beautiful Gioberti women (2 by marriage and one by birth)" that Jacqueline Perrault was the mother he had been searching for since arriving in Tuscany Valley. Angela was horrified to learn it was Jacqueline, her former sister-in-law, who had turned out to be the woman who broke up her marriage to Douglas Channing in 1947, in the early years of the Cold War. Angela also learnt Jacqueline then married Jean Pierre Charbon, Henri Denault's half-brother after she divorced Angela's brother, Jason. Jacqueline sold Angela's son Richard to Henri. There was never any adoption.

The Cartel, a multi-billion dollar per annum business specializing in Brazilian timber, African diamonds, Indonesian copra, American wheat and Japanese steel. It took 30 years (or since the start of the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953) to bring the Cartel to this point, according to Henri Denault, who was said also played the European money markets. 

Henri Denault (to Richard Channing): As your adoptive father I only want to be a good teacher, that's all. I was never anything more. When you were 12 (*) years old, you contacted every adoptive agencies in the country in spite of the fact that your records have been – that I have them - destroyed. You discovered your real name was Channing. You took that name for yourself. Then I knew this day would come. And now you want more, you want out (of the Cartel). You want your freedom. You want to see if you can do what I have done. But freedom is never free. Quid pro quo - something for something. 

(*) Joanne Walmsley advised, "Number 12 represents the completed cycle of experience and when an individual reincarnates as the number 12 they have completed a full cycle of experience and learned of the possibility of regeneration toward a higher-consciousness. They belong to a group of developed souls who have accumulated an unusual inner-strength through many and varied lifetimes. They may still, however, be hindered by old habits that need to be changed. The soul then attracts what it needs as a learning experience. A reversal of negative thoughts can bring about very favourable and positive effects and can aid in achieving their goals and aspirations." 

Quid pro quo, Richard told Henri Denault in exchange for initial funding and the assistance of a secretary, Diana Hunter, he would help solve the Cartel's cash-flow problem by delivering the California wine industry which included real estate, governmental subsidies and enormous profit. David Selby made the observation, "Careers are funny. I look back and I think, it hasn't been a bad career for a guy who started out as a ghost (in 'Dark Shadows'). 

"I had started to do something on 'Flamingo Road' (voodoo) that I didn't get a chance to develop. Michael Tyrone remained a rather broad character, a total Machiavellian with very little redeeming virtue. Channing has become much more complicated than Tyrone. There are more subtleties, even if they do dress alike. When Earl (Hamner) asked me to come over, I told him it was only because I already had the wardrobe. 

"Acting wasn't something that was a choice. I come from a family of coal miners and farmers. I think I started thinking about acting watching films and television. I was a big dreamer. And television was a real avenue for dreams in West Virginia. It was hard to get out of West Virginia. We weren't the aristocracy of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. If you went to a college like Yale or Carnegie-Mellon, there's a real network that helps you get started. The first time I got out, I literally hopped on a train with $25 in my pocket." 

Susan Sullivan remembered, "The scripts constantly surprise me. We can’t write too far ahead because we have to see what’s working." Bob Foxworth added, "With a large cast, the acting part gets, frankly, kind of boring … It’s really hard to define a role of this sort. It’s not a type or a character that fits into a pigeonhole." Dramas such as 'Dallas' and 'Falcon Crest', Susan pointed out, "These are fantasy shows, escapes. 

"This is not hard-core reality. It has escapism value. It’s nice to escape reality for an hour." However "you need an IQ of 140 to follow the storyline. With 14 characters we have so many storylines. In order to keep up you must watch and pay attention … Still, I feel the audiences are real smart. And I think the studios sometimes forget that and go too far. And when they do, when they take that extra, unnecessary step, they lose you guys out there." Earl Hamner described "'Falcon Crest' is like a book with different chapters, with satisfying experiences within each chapter." 

Psychiatrist Dr. Gregory Young spent close to 20 years researching 12 styles of personality and wrote his findings in the 1978 book, 'Your Personality And How To Live With It'. Speaking to Barbara Burtoff, he gave as TV examples of Ambitious Personality: J.R. Ewing on 'Dallas', Alexis Morrell on 'Dynasty' or Angela Gioberti on 'Falcon Crest'.

"Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing. The ambitious person sees all of life as a challenge. He/she can be competitive, aggressive and walk all over you if that’s the only way to reach the goal." On 'Falcon Crest', Angela married 4 times to keep Falcon Crest (Douglas Channing, Phillip Erikson, Peter Stavros and Frank Agretti). "This person can be charming, likable, agreeable provided you don’t obstruct success plans." Angela had made grandson, Lance, heir and positioned great grandson Joseph (named after her grandfather), as future winemaker.  

"At work, the ambitious person functions well in an independent capacity. He/she makes a good boss – happy when you do well because that makes him/her look well and get ahead." In one scene, Angela reminded daughter Julia that her son, Angela "carry Lance into the vineyard before he could walk - just like my father did with me. We spent every waking hour coaching, teaching and grooming him to treasure what we have here. He just has to be taught a lesson."

"But don’t trust the ambitious individual when working beside you on the team or in a less superior capacity. This person is always plotting, scheming how to reach the next step up the ladder to the top – nothing less will do. In romance, this person does not take time to smell the roses. Goal-oriented, this individual has a mental rating system for a mate and may jump quickly for the seemingly right man or woman."

In one scene, Douglas Channing told Angela she was the heart and soul of Falcon Crest, "It was your first love. I could never compete Angela." However Angela reasoned, "What about your newspapers? You were just as involved in your work as I was with mine." Douglas lamented, "Sometimes I wish we're different." Angela offered, "Oh we have some good times Doug but it just couldn't work out. We're so much alike - so independent." 

"In family life, this person has a tough time gearing down from the rigorous striving of the work world. He/she may allow work to take time away from family or apply the same goals to satisfying parenting. The ambitious mom may feel frustrated if unable to accomplish goals beyond homemaking, either in a career or community activities."

Emma: At meal time I am as hungry as a lion and then when I get to the table and I see all your faces I lose my appetite.

Julia: Are we so grim? 

Emma: Grim is not the word. Lance is rude. Melissa is two-faced. You are moody and mother is plotting the overthrow of the entire world especially anyone who look at her cross swords.

Susan Sullivan made the comment, "On these kind of soap opera type of shows, they give you a character and then they cast it and I think they cast it so the actor sort of fill it in like a paint by number. You bring your personality and your own idiosyncrasy to the character and hopefully that makes it work." Lorenzo Lamas believed, "Acting and driving are very similar. Both take tremendous concentration and discipline. (In the 1985-86 season) I started finding bits of humor in the mundane dialog we have to use. I began to see a little humor in the fact that Lance, the character I play, is completely unaware of everything around him. He’s in his own little world and nothing touches him. I found humor in that and played on it."

20170610

SEINFELD

The "World's Theory" was explored in the November 1995 episode of the TV sitcom 'Seinfeld'. 'The Pool Guy', written by David Mandel and directed by Andy Ackerman was the No. 2 most watched program that week attracting 22.0% household ratings and 33% audience share. Some 33.4 million viewers were counted watching. In the episode, Elaine was trying to find a date to accompany her to the historical clothing exhibit at "the Met" (the Metropolitan Museum of Art). 

Jerry suggested Elaine invited George's fiancee Susan. Kramer immediately told Jerry it was a bad idea pointing out, "Jerry, don't you see? This world here (George's inner circle), this is George's sanctuary. If Susan comes into contact with this world, his worlds collide." George added, "Yes! It blows up! You couldn't figure out the 'World's Theory' for yourself? It's just common sense. Anybody knows, ya gotta keep your worlds apart. You have no idea of the magnitude of this thing. 

"If she is allowed to infiltrate this world, then George Costanza as you know him, ceases to exist! You see, right now, I have 'Relationship George' (George with Susan), but there is also 'Independent George' (George with Jerry, Elaine and Kramer). That's the George you know, the George you grew up with - Movie George, Coffee shop George, Liar George, Bawdy George. If 'Relationship George' walks through this door, he will kill 'Independent George'! A George, divided against itself, cannot stand!" 

The theory being when 'Independent George' was around Jerry, Elaine and Kramer, he behaved in a certain way than when the 'Relationship George' was around Susan. Hence if the two separate Georges became one George or as the "worlds are colliding", one George would cease to exist. For a generation, 'Seinfeld' was regarded "an institution". 

Marianne Moody Jennings of the 'Arizona Republic' observed, "'Seinfeld' has been to television what Versace was to fashion. Coco Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and Christian Dior aside, Versace was fashion. Carl Reiner, James Brooks and Norman Lear aside, Jerry Seinfeld is television comedy. 'Seinfeld' was as vulgar as Versace's fashions. 'Seinfeld' was the '90s. 'Seinfeld' was Andrew Lloyd Webber glitziness and Bill Clinton comfort. 

"'Seinfeld' rose to its peak about the time Bill Clinton was elected President. The simultaneous success is easily understood. Folks watch 'Seinfeld' for the same reason they voted Clinton into office twice." Marty Ozer, the general manager of Channel 11 in Reno, Navada at the time maintained, "Life is basically about nothing, when you break it down to the simplicities of it. I think that grabs people's attention." 

Terry Jackson of 'Knight Ridder Newspapers' begged to differ, "It's not a show about nothing. Using the wonderfully warped characters of Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine, 'Seinfeld' is a window on a world where there are no happy endings, no neat little morality lessons told in 22 minutes plus commercials. Its setting is Manhattan's Upper West Side, but it looks pretty familiar no matter where you live." 

TV critic Gail Pennington offered, "The fact: As a TV viewing nation, we have connected with 'Seinfeld' in a way that is unique for a sitcom. In nine seasons (1989-1998), ‘Seinfeld’ has struck chords that have resonated deep in us and are still resonating. The puzzle: Why? Probably, nothing can really explain the alchemy that made 'Seinfeld' more than just a sitcom. But in large part, we may love 'Seinfeld' because we realize, guiltily, that these four selfish, superficial, perpetual adolescents are us. 

"They're the worst of us; they're the devil sitting on our shoulders, suggesting that, instead of the right thing, we do the wrong thing. We always found out, because the worst always happened, whether Jerry and his friends took the low road or the high. In fact, the occasional noble impulse invariably caused more harm than good. The show captured something universal that we all can recognize, yet it also poked holes at a lot of life's conventions in an unapologetic way." 

1992 Q&A. Question: Are there any episodes or incidents in your life growing up or growing older that help you lock into the characters you play? 

Answer: Growing up or growing older – that pretty much covers our whole lives. And that has been a help to us, that we have grown up and older. It's been research for us in playing our characters, being human beings all this time.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus played Selina Meyer in 'Veep', the comedy on HBO created by Armando Iannucci. She spoke to Jane Mulkerrins of the U.K. 'Telegraph' in May 2016, "Politics is just such an incredibly intriguing landscape. You're up, you're down; you're alive politically, you're dead politically, then you're resurrected. It has so many challenges and pitfalls that it's great for telling a story.

"I like to think that if we incorporated some of the things (Donald) Trump (before elected President) is saying in a script, we'd get notes from HBO saying it was too broad, too cartoony, too over-the-top. Malcolm Turnbull, in Australia, his campaign slogan is Continuity and Change. We wrote what we thought was the most empty, banal, moronic political slogan we could come up with – Continuity with Change – and then he came up with that on his own. Politics is wild and woolly stuff.”

Seinfeld made the observation, "To me, the difference between being single and married is the form of government. When you are single, you are the dictator of your own life. You have complete power. When I give the order to fall asleep on the sofa with TV on in the middle of the day, no one can overrule me! When you're married, you are part of a vast decision-making body. Before anything is accomplished, there's got to be meetings, committees have to study the situation."

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