In September 1991, 'Santa Barbara' became the first American daytime drama to tape in Moscow following the failed August coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after he "proposed signing a new treaty that would turn the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R) into a looser federation of autonomous states, most of which intended to turn their backs on socialism." Hungarian-born journalist Victor Sebestyen continued, "The treaty would mean the end of the U.S.S.R., and that could not be tolerated." 

BBC News recounted in 2011, "It was a moment when the future of the Soviet Union hung in the balance. That morning a group of communist hardliners had staged a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms. The Soviet leader was trapped in Crimea, and troops and tanks were on the streets of Moscow. It seemed like the era of glasnost and perestroika was at an end." The History Channel added, "Despite his success in avoiding removal from office, Gorbachev’s days in power were numbered. The Soviet Union would soon cease to exist as a nation and as a Cold War threat to the United States."

In October 1991, viewers eagerly watched the much publicized daytime soap opera, 'Santa Barbara'. Libby Slate reported, "The storyline calls for newspaper publisher Warren Lockridge, played by Jack Wagner, to journey to the Soviet Union to be at the forefront of that country's emerging democracy. His interviews will air on 'Santa Barbara's' fictional local television station. The idea for this blend of fact and fiction was conceived by Bridget Dobson."

Bridget Dobson's parents, Doris and Frank Hursley, created 'General Hospital' in 1963. 'General Hospital' consistently drew more viewers than 'Santa Barbara' in the national Neilsen ratings and normally ranked behind 'The Young and the Restless' as the most popular among all the soaps went on air. Bridget was the only writer on 'General Hospital' from 1965 to 1970, and she and Jerome Dobson were the head writers on 'General Hospital' when they left the series in 1972.

Libby Slate continued, "The shoot in Moscow celebrated the sale of 'Santa Barbara' to Soviet television. In December (1991), 'Santa Barbara' will become the first American soap to air in Russia. In August (1991) the Dobsons were in Leningrad to publicize the sale - departing a mere 3 hours before the coup. With the dramatic turn of events, Bridget Dobson said, 'it took me one day to come up with the idea (of doing interviews). I was so in admiration of the people who resisted the coup, I had to get over there.'"

In September 1991, actor Jack Wagner, producers Steven Kent and Eric Preven and Bridget Dobson returned to Moscow "operating on a shoestring $50,000 budget. They devoted one day to scouting locations, choosing, among others, the exterior of the Parliament building, Red Square, the sites of the fallen statues and the still-guarded encampments, and McDonald's." However Bridget Dobson stressed, "We didn't eat there, though. We ate at Pizza Hut."

Libby Slate continued, "Bridget Dobson then interviewed English-speaking Soviets who had been at the barricades, pre-screened by the Russian Television and Radio Network for the most compelling tales. The finalists found themselves on camera answering loosely scripted questions from Jack Wagner, taped by an all-Soviet crew." Bridget Dobson stated, "We got real stories, stories that I couldn't have fictionalized.

"They don't think of themselves as heroes. They said they couldn't let the gangs - that's what they called them - take over. The one story that stands out, that makes me cry, is when Jack asked a man, 'Were you afraid for your lives?' And he said, 'No. But my wife and I put in our pockets (a note with) our names and address (that said), 'Tell everything to my mother.'"

Libby Slate observed, "In the interviews, Jack Wagner had a great deal of latitude on the questions Bridget Dobson had charted." Bridget Dobson noted, "Things sometimes came out in his interviews that didn't come out in mine." Jack Wagner left 'General Hospital' to join the cast of 'Santa Barbara' in July 1991 remembered, "Everything was basically spontaneous. I really wanted them to feel I was asking questions unrehearsed.

"Once I got an answer, I could feed off of it and draw them out. I tried to make each interview its own. I asked one girl about her father and someone else about his family, which dated back to the czar (before 1917)." Bridget Dobson maintained, "The show ('Santa Barbara') is not going to be a documentary. I'm proud that we did this. It was important to me to celebrate these people, to celebrate their freedom. 'Entertainment Tonight' was there and said, 'Isn't it lucky for them to be on American television?' I feel just the opposite. We're the lucky ones."

In 1984, at the height of the Cold War, the Doomsday Clock reportedly ticked at 2 minutes to midnight. Ronald Reagan voiced during the Presidential debate, "No one knows whether those prophecies mean that Armageddon is a thousand years away or the day after tomorrow. So I have never seriously warned and said that we must plan according to Armageddon." After World War II, the wooden Doomsday Clock came into being on the cover of the 'Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' magazine, first published in June 1947. Each minute approaching midnight was said, signaled the beginning of the nuclear holocaust and according to experts, the extinction of mankind.

On television in July 1984, 'Santa Barbara' made its debut. R.J Johnson reported, "NBC has invested $12 million into the biggest and newest videotape production facility in the U.S. designed specifically for a daytime drama. They have also invested in a complex audio system which will someday broadcast sound in stereo. But it takes more than just expensive sets and equipment to succeed on daytime television."

Jerome Dobson insisted, "'Santa Barbara' is another generation of soaps. There is a level of intensity, a look, a sense of humor and reality in emotion and stories that are not on 'General Hospital' or 'The Guiding Light.'" Joe Harnell composed the theme to open and close 'Santa Barbara' and as mentioned the series often used original music to enhance scenes "to bring the emotion within the scenes to a higher level."

Bridget Dobson told the press, "We have the largest and most exciting studio with sets that are unequaled. The network is totally behind us. The real city of Santa Barbara has a special aura. It is the best, most beautiful place in California. There are so many fantastic locations to use there. I hope in every episode there is some true feeling of this city."

Bridget and Jerome Dobson came up with the concept for 'Santa Barbara' around 1982 when they were working on 'As The World Turns'. Bridget Dobson explained, "All of the networks approached us after our contract expired. We had a concept of all of the families and characters defined, and we had a rough idea of the stories. They've been honed and changed a lot since then (by 1984).

"The show is made up of 4 core families. The Capwells, headed by C.C. Capwell, are the wealthiest and most aristocratic. The Lockridge family finds their immense fortune on the wane. Minx Lockridge is the feisty matriarch of this family. The Perkins family sees all of the great wealth around them, but as a blue-collar family, they cannot afford the luxuries so many other residents seem to enjoy.

"And the 4th family is the Andrades, a closely-knit Mexican-American family who believe in hard work and prayer, but they encounter many obstacles to success because of their position in society. 'Santa Barbara' is the first daytime drama to feature a Mexican-American family. You couldn't do a show set in Santa Barbara without a Mexican-American family. They are an integral part of all of the lives of people living there. I like it because the Mexican-American family has very strong moral values and strong family ties…girls are not supposed to wear short skirts and sex before marriage is a no-no."

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