It had been said, "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping." Not so for 'Berrenger's', supposedly located not far from Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue in New York City. 'Berrenger's' was originally shown on the toughest hour of the week, Saturday nights at 10:00pm. It was pointed out the audiences on Saturday night were "uneven with the very old and very young."
Prime time soaps watchers had already committed to Wednesday nights ('Dynasty'), Thursday nights ('Knots Landing') and Friday nights ('Dallas' and 'Falcon Crest') and would not commit to another night. Michele Brustin of NBC acknowledged, "We were expecting a low share to begin with but it turned out to be much lower than we could tolerate." From the outset Brandon Tartikoff made known, "As we've seen in the past, it is extremely difficult to launch a continuing drama in the crunch of the highly competitive fall season. 'Berrenger's' was always planned to have its premiere in mid-season."
By April 1985, 'The New York Times' reported "Soap Opera formula to be re-evaluated." Jeff Benson of Lorimar revealed, "Our research shows that video-cassette recorder use is at its highest level at 10 o'clock on Saturday night (in 1985). Research also showed that people weren't that interested in a department store as a milieu." At the time Jeff told reporter Stephen Farber, "The form may have seen its day."
He also mentioned, "We're developing a new series called 'Family Honor,' about 3 generations of a New York police family. Originally, it was going to have some serialized elements, but we've eliminated those." Michele maintained, "If we do another serial, the arena must be so unique that people will not be reminded of other shows they're already watching. Or, failing that, there must be a huge star attached to it - someone whom people have not seen for a very long time and are dying to see again."
However Aaron Spelling begged to differ, "Just because 2 shows failed does not mean the serial is bad. They keep working in daytime. I don't feel the market is saturated. Maybe serials will have to take a new form, and that's why we've given 'Dark Mansions' a supernatural angle. The serials that do work all have a strong family unit at the center. In 'Paper Dolls' and 'Berrenger's,' there was more emphasis on business than on family."
Leonard Goldberg believed, "A serial must have constant exposure, otherwise people can't remember the characters. 'Paper Dolls' was preempted 3 times in the first 8 weeks, and that's fatal." As well, "we had far too many characters. We had about 18 or 19 running characters, and we should have eliminated at least a third of those." David Jacobs made the point, "When I did 'Dallas' (in 1978), there were 7 characters and a couple of little stories and we were able to watch them and develop what worked as we went along. Now (in 1985), the network people want you to have everything in place." Leonard made the comment, "Also, we needed stronger positive characters. The evil characters are, of course, a lot of fun on a serial, but they must have formidable opposition, and we didn't have that."
Alan Feinstein played Max Kaufman on 'Berrenger's'. He told the Associated Press' in 1989, "I grew up in Queens, New York, and started acting as a senior in high school. The very first play I did I blew my lines. I heard my cue, walked on stage and repeated the cue. I couldn't remember my line. I muddled around and then got off stage as fast as I could. It didn't deter me from pursuing this wonderfully capricious business."
Alan made his TV acting debut on 'Naked City' in 1962, "I was only in it for a second. Sandy Dennis and Aldo Ray were the stars of the episode. I kept a photocopy of the check for $24 that I received. I was a walk-on in 'Naked City'. I remember I walked in front of the camera for a split second and that was my debut."
Alan told fans, "As a kid I never watched the cartoons. I watched Lash LaRue, 'Range Rider', Crash Corrigan and Rough Riders. I did a lot of daydreaming and play-acting. At the age of 7 my ambition was to be a cowboy in the movies. Like most children, I fantasized and played games and out of that came my desire to be an actor. My mother once told me that someone asked, 'When you grow up, little boy, what do you want to be?' I replied that I was going to be a cowboy in movies."
Alan told Dick Maurice of 'Copley News Service' in 1978, "I found the biggest difference (between working on stage and in front of the camera) to be when you're working on the stage in front of an audience, you get a reaction from the audience. In a television studio it's the same crew you work with day in and day out and so there is no reaction. I guess that's what makes theater exciting, performing and acting in front of a live audience – that's what it's all about." Before becoming an actor, "I was a short-order cook, a maitre d’ at Luchow’s, a salesman for home improvements and siding, a temporary office clerk."