In the 1984-85 season, 'Dynasty' was ranked the No. 1 program on television attracting a mass audience, averaging 21.2 million TV households (or 25% of the 84.9 million American households with TV sets at the time). 'Dynasty' beat 'Dallas' by an average of 250,000 TV households per episode that season. The 1985 cliffhanger attracted 39% share of the audience in its time slot (roughly 22 million TV homes were counted watching). 

At that time George Peppard was playing the former army colonel John "Hannibal" Smith in the action drama 'The A-Team'. In a conversation with Gary Deeb of 'News America Syndicate', George Peppard made known, "It was 1979. I got hired to play Blake Carrington in this ABC pilot for a series that was then called 'Oil' and later got renamed 'Dynasty'. It cost $3 million to make this 3-hour program, which was the most expensive pilot in TV history. But I was getting hassled throughout the production. 

"The President of the network sent me some acting notes, suggesting changes in the way I was portraying the character. There was nothing offensive about it, but it put me in a predicament. I knew I was doing the best I could and I knew it was good. If that was not what they wanted, I knew I was going to be a very unhappy man and they would be unhappy with me. In the simple code of an actor, you don’t discuss your character with anyone except the director. 

"I sent him a telegram offering to resign. He sent me a telegram back, saying, 'No, no – everything's okay.' And then a week later, they fired me. And at a cost of about $2 million, they reshot all my scenes, with John Forsythe taking over the role. It was a $3 million pilot which then became a $5 million pilot. And as for Forsythe, I don't mind admitting that he does a much better job with that part than I ever could have done. 

"When I worked for Universal Studios, they didn’t call me George Peppard; they called me that - Peppard. They figured, quite correctly, that I was the type of person who would jeopardize his own income in order to try to preserve the quality of a program – and in their view, that made me not only dangerous, but also probably a little bit insane. That could be what caused my dismissal from 'Dynasty'. 

"I mean, I was doing the very best I could – giving the best performance I was capable of. But they didn’t seem to like anything about it. When that happens, you know there have to be other factors at play. At any rate, I’ve no complaints. My firing turned out to be the best thing in the world for the program, for the network, for Johnny Forsythe and for me." 

"The role of Blake Carrington was simply too arresting a challenge to pass up," John Forsythe told Marilyn Beck over lunch at the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel back in 1982. "Instead of playing another father of three children, or the uncle of a niece who gets dropped off on his doorstep, I’d be portraying a man who’s powerful, manipulative, ruthless, loving, tender, virile – all the things I aspire to be. 

"Seriously, I did need a challenge. I didn’t return to TV because I needed money or work. But I had decided that if I was going to continue as an actor, there had to be something for me more meaningful than 'Charlie's Angels'. Remember, before I started doing television confections, I was a serious New York actor. Unfortunately, in the TV medium, when you do something, you’re expected to continue to do the same thing. 

"I had fought being typecast in my 'Bachelor Father' and 'To Rome With Love' sweet-guy mold with movie portrayals in which I could show my nasty side, in 'In Cold Blood' and '…And Justice for All'. And when 'Dynasty' came along, well, I was ready for the challenge of playing a complex character again. I said, 'What the hell, John, they'll be paying you well, ABC loves you, the producers love you, you'll get more love at the studio than you do anywhere else.' So I said yes – and I'm still glad I did.

"This is not an easy racket. It's a tough racket. With constant deadlines and strain – and the added tension of working too often with selfish people off on terrible ego trips. We just don't put up with that (displays of temperament). We have a job to do and with the large size of our cast, there's simply no room for anyone to play star. Even with all the problems attendant to TV, the show is a pleasure. Being a 64-year-old sex symbol is a hell of a weight to carry. But I have no desire for change. At my age, I don’t want to have to start driving a truck."

Initially John Forsythe disclosed, "They wanted Blake to be the guy you loved to hate – with no redeeming qualities. But I resisted. I saw him as the prototype of the big, successful business man: powerful, money-hungry, but honest and tender with those he loves. I know a lot of guys like that, and that's how I wanted to play Blake Carrington. I simply didn't want to be another J.R. Ewing. Then, fortunately, Joan Collins joined the cast and helped take the pressure off me in that arena by playing the woman you love to hate." On reflection, John Forsythe remarked, "For the first 5 or 6 years, I thought, for a soap opera, it ('Dynasty') had some real values." 

Pamela Sue Martin played John Forsythe and Joan Collins' on-screen daughter. She surprised the show's producers when she decided to leave the series at the end of the 1983-84 season. Pamela explained to the press in 1986, "I'm one of those people who work to live, not live to work, and I was willing to take the financial risk and back off my career for a while."

At the time she was working on the project 'Torchlight'. Pam continued, "I worked 3 years on that film. It's a decent picture. We couldn't keep it afloat in the theaters but it's doing bangup business in video rentals (at the time). I left 'Dynasty' because it ceased to be a creative environment. The idea of success was a Joan Collins fur coat. People were losing their individuality and becoming images.

"They weren't too happy about my not wanting to continue, and they tried to talk me out of it, but couldn't. I was pretty clear about my intentions, and they said they understood and would leave the door open for me to return in case I changed my mind. Deep in my heart, though, I knew that would never happen. Once I move on from something, as the old saying goes, 'You can't go home again.'

"I did miss out on a lot of money – I'm not stupid. But I made the choice. In the beginning, it was fun. But it all got to be the same. I knew I had to change that. After they tried unsuccessfully a couple of times to lure me back, they said: 'Look, we've been holding this part open for you all this time and if you don't come back we're going to hire another actress to play the part.'

"I know they've left the door open. It's there for me … for Fallon to return. I said fine, and that was it. Life on your own isn't always as comfortable as people think. What I found most desirable about being away from series work is the independence. I think with getting older, it's getting better. The more wisdom you get, the more you appreciate. I'd like to be an actress who kicks around for a long time without being a household name."

Of the movie, 'Torchlight', "It was fraught with frustration. It's such a push and struggle to get a film made, (but) I wanted to tell a story and write a film. I am part of the '60s, a generation that separated itself from the status quo, and that meant drug use. (‘Torchlight’) deals with the past decade and the runaway use of cocaine. There is an entirely different approach to drugs now (in 1985).

"'Torchlight' doesn't deal with society's dropouts. It's about professional men and women, doctors, lawyers and executives, being introduced to coke socially, people who never experimented with drugs in the '60s. Coke is a rampant social problem all over the country and that's what I wanted to get across in this picture. This is a tragic contemporary love story. If audiences are moved by the picture and become involved with the characters, then it might convince them to stay away from drugs. But we're not trying to hammer anything into their heads. This is a subtle story of what happens to people involved with drugs. Audiences will get the message."

Some 25% of each episode of the series 'The A-Team' featured action. George Peppard told 'United Press International' in 1983 'The A-Team' had broad family appeal because "the concept is male-female humor. This part is an actor's dream come true. My character is very big on disguises. In the pilot I play a Chinaman, a 70-year-old skid row drunk and a Mexican. It's the best role I've ever had in my career. Now I've got the best of both worlds. The disguises allow me to play a wide range of characters, and yet Smith is essentially a leading man, the guy who sets up all the con operations. Best of all, I get to play straight comedy for the first time in my life and I’m enjoying every minute of it."

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