Television was said "your true mirror of reality". "TV is oral, not written," it was noted. For example, TV news was "designed to serve not the written but the spoken word." Hence the audience "need not be literate in the same way that the readers of the print medium must be." On television in the 1980s, prime time soaps were TV's most popular shows. 

Morgan Fairchild: "Everyone expects me to act like a bitch just because that's the sort of character I play. I've spent many years studying that kind of character and trying to play her. It's become amusing to pull it off so well that people actually believe it." One professor observed, "Soaps, I think, tend to be kind of like sophisticated morality plays. Eventually the stories do get resolved, good is rewarded and bad is punished. It may take a year or 2 years. An interesting thing is if a character is so bad that there's no way for them to repent they generally get killed off." 

Donna Mills: "I don't think Abby (on 'Knots Landing') is really evil. She's just naughty and unfeeling. She wants power and will do anything to get it. Many people, I'm sure, also find a vicarious thrill in watching Abby mess up people's lives. The destructive impulse is in all of us."

Linda Evans: "Part of my excitement in doing the show ('Dynasty'), was that I had been through so much of what Krystle was going through. I knew I could show that to women because I had been there … I've learned to understand that you just can't rush everything in your life … If you want to be a beautiful flower, first you have to be a seed in the ground, then you have to be a stem and then you have to sprout leaves." 

By its 7th season, Linda Gray as Sue Ellen had become a pivotal character in 'Dallas'. Leonard Katzman: "We were looking for a beauty but at that point we thought of Sue Ellen as all polish and no brains. The fact that Sue Ellen has evolved into a character of depth and power is all due to Linda."

"Television is the ultimate derivative medium," it was explained. "If something's working, you're going to have 10 like it." On a regular month when the first-run episodes were shown, those watching every episodes of a prime time soap comprised of 25% regular viewers who were the loyal fans. Nighttime soaps were considered "powerful TV entertainment" because they attracted 35% higher ratings than the average TV program, particularly amongst women viewers ages 18 to 49. 

Victoria Principal: "'Dallas' broke all the rules. It was a continuing show with no beginning, middle or end. It was the very first show in the U.S. to do that. I knew it was going to work from the very beginning, and I loved the character of Pam. As I was an agent, I called the producers and made my own appointment to read for the role. I knew that this was going to be a hit. I read it and recognized that moment to be one of those times in life where you say: 'If this happens, my life will change.' And it really did. To be paid to work at being someone else I think is wonderful. I think of it as a very luxurious line of work – I really think I am very lucky to be able to make my living this way." 

Old Hollywood stars could be seen in new prime time TV series. In December 1981, the 67-year-old Jane Wyman could be seen playing "a powerful California wine baroness in 'Falcon Crest'". She told Marianne Costantinou, "I read the pilot for 'Falcon Crest' and all of a sudden, it just struck a bell. Angie Channing is a very heads-up lady; so why don't we just go ahead and play her? I really like her – a lot. She's very much a 1981 kind of lady. You just can't miss on a thing like this. You really can't. If you do, you're dumb."

Jane also made the observation, "The younger persons I have worked with kind of wing it and you can't wing it because then you're depending upon your own personality and you're not in character at all. These younger actors really don't have the background and the discipline that we had – all those years and years of it ... Yet, I don't blame the kids, and I’ll tell you why. There's no place for them to get the background that we all had when we were under contract to a studio ... I feel sorry for the poor little things. I wish there was a way for them to learn. They just have to learn by the process of elimination."

In 1985, the 61-year-old Chuck Heston, who was discovered in 1950 by Cecil B. De Mille in the 15mm film, 'Julius Caesar' played Jason Colby on 'The Colbys'. "I always resisted television series because the way I see it is that most series on television explore and develop a set of characters and then, in effect, put the characters through the same story each week. But that is different with 'Dynasty II'.

"Each week on 'The Colbys' the story goes on and it keeps developing, which gives an actor a chance to explore and continually change and develop the character he is playing. It fascinated me, extending a character against changing storylines each week, and it seemed to me like a good thing to try. I am paid an awful lot of money (around $80,000 per episode) for something I would really do for free if they'd feed me. It's peanut butter. I am addicted to it. I cannot let a day pass without my peanut butter fix. I love what I do."

Back in 1984, then 64-year-old John Forsythe described his role Blake Carrington on 'Dynasty', "I had a knock-down, drag-out session with scriptwriters Richard and Esther Shapiro. I told them that I was leaving unless they put more humanity and variety into Blake's character. All they were doing was emphasizing all the despicable aspects without the redeeming factors.

"When I challenged them, Richard Shapiro said Blake was the kind of man who would have had President Kennedy shot. That was when I really exploded and said I wanted out. Fortunately, Joan (Collins) joined the cast and helped take the pressure off me by playing the woman you love to hate. Blake is a sadder, more sympathetic villain than J.R.. He can be brutal, ruthless, but also loving and tender. J.R. is really a moustache-twirling cartoon bad guy."

Joan Collins: "It worries me that people think Alexis Carrington is who I am. I'd like the audience to think I'm sending up the whole thing when I'm acting. When I was offered the part I couldn't wait to do it. I like the thought of playing a character people will love to hate. And I know I play those roles well. I've done them since I was 16, when I made my first movie. I played a wayward girl in 'I Believe In You'. I came to Hollywood in the really lean days when television was just starting to take over."

Behind the scenes, one crew member revealed, "Joan is our main villainess. She's the best one on television. Diahann (Carroll) is a good counterbalance and an instrument through which Joan can get her just deserts. But nobody will take her dominance away. Joan Collins has become known as the best bitch in the country and the producers don't want to tamper with that too much."

On 'Knots Landing', 62-year-old Ava Gardner guest starred in 1985. "Nobody's going to offer me another job after this, I promise you. I look like hell among those babies," Ava told 'The Los Angeles Times'. Donna Mills begged to differ, "One of the things that I loved about Ava is that she was a broad. She was just very easy, and very down and dirty. She was very much her own woman. She knew who she was. She was still an incredibly beautiful woman."

As William Devane's on-screen stepmom, Ava confessed she was "scared out of my wits. Joining a bunch of young people who've been together for some time. One day, I was so nervous I couldn't remember my lines, not at all. That was embarrassing. And usually when I'm filming, I stay as close to the director as possible. He's the key. But on these shows, they change every week. You just get to know one and then he's gone."

Ava also shared, "I did some silly things. When I was living in Spain (in the 1950s), I was offered a fortune to do a soap commercial. A fortune. I said, 'Not unless you give me a Rolls-Royce too.' Finally they came back. 'OK,' they said, 'we'll give you a Rolls-Royce as well.' Still I said no. Wasn't that crazy?" Ava said the furniture from Spain were put in storage in New York. In 1985, "That furniture has been in storage for almost 20 years now. Isn't that ridiculous? Now I'm going to fly to New York and take a look at it and sell it. Some of it I don't even remember."

In 1984, Catherine Oxenberg, the daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, brought European royalty on American television playing John and Joan's on-screen daughter Amanda in 'Dynasty'. At the end of the 1984-85 season, viewers were treated to the "television wedding of the year" when Amanda married the Prince of Moldavia in a make-believe royal fairytale wedding.

Catherine Oxenberg: "Somebody like Princess Diana to Americans can be just a young girl, and then the Cinderella story comes true. But to me they are just normal people because I've grown up with royalty. I am just a commoner like everyone else. I took my father's name (Oxenberg). I had a strange thought for a young girl, that actors don't have to be drunks or unbalanced human beings. I felt the best way to be a good actor would be to create a strong enough core before launching yourself into becoming these different personalities."

In 1983, Deborah Adair joined the cast of 'Dynasty' playing a "satellite character in a large ensemble." David Walstad informed readers Deborah was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, just before her naval officer father, Mr Miller, was shipped off to Korea. When he returned to the U.S.,  the family relocated to San Diego to allow Deborah's father to finish his military service. When Mr Miller resumed civilian life, the family relocated to New York City until when Deborah was 12, the family settled in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Deborah then lived for 8 years in Seattle (4 years studying at the University of Washington and 4 years working in local radio, television and theater). Deborah gradually made her way down to Los Angeles. "I said to myself: 'I think I need to leave Seattle so I think I'll join an airline (Pan American) and maybe be based in L.A., and then I'll try to be in the movies.'

"My toes curl when I think of my early days in Los Angeles. I was lonely and scared. I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing with the airline (as a flight attendant) and quit that job before long … I knew I wanted to act but didn't have the guts to try. I took some acting lessons, though, and managed to get an agent. To support myself, I ended up serving ribs at a restaurant for a year. It was good money but I come home smelling of barbecue sauce and with sore feet every night."

Deborah played the part of Jill Foster Abbott on the daytime soap opera, 'The Young and the Restless' for 3 years before her 'Dynasty' gig. Her last TV acting role was as Kate Roberts in 'Days of our Lives' in 1995. John Forsythe once made the remark, "Hummingbirds are the most marvelous creatures – wondrous flying machines. I am really passionate about hummingbirds."

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