The morning reading of Jacqueline Perrault's will was first shown on TV back in November 1983 in the 7th episode of the 3rd season of 'Falcon Crest'. Written by Stephen Black and Henry Stern, 'The Last Laugh' attracted a 23.3% rating (roughly 19.5 million TV households were counted watching). In the episode, attorney John Osborne read Jacqueline Perrault's last will and testament. 

Attending the reading were Angela, Lance and Melissa, Phillip Erikson, Chase, Maggie and Cole, Dr. Michael Ranson and Richard. In her will, Jacqueline Perrault gave and bequeathed her grandchildren, Cole and Victoria $1 million each; daughter-in-law Maggie all her jewels and furs; nephew Michael Ranson the McCave vineyard in the fictional Tuscany Valley (real life Napa Valley) which at the time was occupied by Richard so Michael could use as his personal residence.

Jacqueline gave and bequeathed her son Chase and Angela's son Richard (the Cain and Abel of 'Falcon Crest') $5 million each with $50 million to be equally divided by the end of the year (either 1983 or 1984) on the condition Richard made a sincere and honest effort to become friend with Chase - otherwise the $50 million would be given and bequeathed to the Sisters of Hope at the covenant of St. Martha in Paris, France. 

The net cash balance valued at $250 million would to be reinvested in corporate ventures; Melissa's son Joseph, Jacqueline gave and bequeathed $1 million to be held in trust until Joseph turned 21 and on the condition Joseph would to leave Falcon Crest and acknowledged her grandson Cole was his father. At this stage Angela made the outburst, "The audacity of that woman! Joseph Cumson is my great grandson. He belongs to me. It’s outrageous." Angela vowed to fight Joseph's inheritance "as long as there is a breath left in my body." 

And for the last laugh, Jacqueline hereby gave and bequeathed her former sister-in-law, Angela, a room key to suite 1825 at the Taste hotel in San Francisco where Angela would to find a note left on the pillow revealing it was on that bed Jacqueline and Angela's lawyer Phillip Erikson had made love. By the end of the 1982-83 TV season, 'Falcon Crest' - which immediately followed 'Dallas' every Friday night - appeared "to have ingrained itself into the consciousness of many viewers." 

By 1983, Michael Robbins started selling world-class wine from his famous $20 million Napa Valley wine estate, Spring Mountain Vineyards - the setting for 'Falcon Crest'. He conceded, "It ('Falcon Crest') was almost heaven sent. Our sales are better by 10% over last year (mid-1982). We'd been looking for a second label to do something with our leftover wines and wines we could buy. We want to turn out a fine varietal wine at a fraction of the price of Spring Mountain, which is expensive."

Walt Shotwell told readers Mike Robbins, then 58 years old "was a Depression kid who graduated from Dowling High School in 1941. He then received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Acdemy at Annapolis, Maryland (where he once dated Grace Kelly). He had commanded an LST landing craft. In 1954, he left the Navy with an engineering degree. Mike Robbins wanted to open an electrical shop in Des Moines but it didn't work out, so he left for California where he did well on real estate and received a law degree from the University of San Francisco. He met and married Shirley and took his first sip of wine – an act that changed his life."

The success of 'Falcon Crest' which attracted a 35% share of the audience in the 1982-83 season brought unwelcome publicity for Mike Robbins. He explained, "I live here. And now we're hiding out from the 'Falcon Crest' groupies. You can imagine trying to live with that kind of situation. We'll look up and see people looking through our windows.

"When we're away, they'll come into the house and start browsing through the library, going through our silver. They're not looking to steal anything, they just want the thrill." It was understood over 80% of the weekend traffic at the time winding up Spring Mountain Road was the result of 'Falcon Crest' with one tourist family in the summer of 1983 wishing to know where Jane Wyman lived.

1989 marked the end of Ronald Reagan's 2 terms in office. The 40th President of the United States was said to feel satisfied with his Reagan Revolution which "aimed to reinvigorate the American people and reduce their reliance upon government." That year, 'Falcon Crest' underwent a total revamp. The new producer Jerry Thorpe of 'I Love Lucy' outlined, "The whole 'Falcon Crest' staff and crew has changed from top to bottom.

"We are starting from scratch. That is not a criticism of the former staff, which did a good job. But to do a turnaround and revamping, you need a different crew. I find all this exciting. It's a challenge. TV, I feel, needs innovative changes. There are so many derivatives already." It was noted the Reagan Revolution had also been described as an "innovative program".

Jerry Thorpe of 'I Love Lucy' continued, "None of us comes from a soap background but it seems to us the 'gothic mysteries' are not working anymore; the show now will be a hybrid of 'Wiseguy' and 'Falcon Crest'. The show will also open up – even though we're not going up to Napa on location this year (the 1989-1990 season), we're shooting outside 3 or 4 days a segment instead of 2." Shirley Eder reminded, "Six weeks a year, the cast and crew of 'Falcon Crest' takes up residence in the Napa Valley to do mostly exterior scenes around the real houses we see on the show."

Jerry Thorpe added, "I've done everything, except a soap opera. They've pretty much run their course. The shows that are working are like 'Wiseguy'. What I am setting out to do with 'Falcon Crest' is have a show not exactly like 'Wiseguy' but pointed towards that tone. 'Falcon Crest' will be less cerebral and less gothic. We're going to change the show's rhythms.

"As an example, traditionally major scenes tend to run 5, 6, 7 pages, and they become somewhat talky. You're always at the risk of them playing out long before they're over. Ours will not exceed 2, 2½ pages. The writing is focused much more on the visual. We'll rattle some cages, I'll tell you that. But it's better to be theatrical and entertaining than not.

"Our new composer/arranger is from the group 'Missing Persons'. The look and lighting will be more 'film noir' – darker, mysterious. The show's been changed drastically. There'll be deeper shadows, danger lurking and much more of a sense of movement. It will be kind of like a 'film noir', except in color." Jane Wyman would continue in her role. Margaret Ladd maintained, "She's the glue that holds us all together as a family." 

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