"I love the anthology format," Aaron Spelling once said. The Webster had defined an anthology as a "collection of literary pieces usually suggesting a theme." On television, an anthology series was the video equivalent of a short-story collection and had no permanent characters. Unlike the continuing-character series, television anthology show offered a different story and new characters each week.
In anthology dramas, the story and not the characters was the focus. Associated Press reported in 1973, "The anthology once flourished on the tube, and while its strength lies in its diversity, its weakness is that audience attention rises or falls with the power of the story. It has no continuing characters for viewers to identify with and no thread of familiarity to cling to."
The anthological TV series evolved in 1977 into a unique concept of a multi-story guest-star vehicle. 'Fantasy Island' (in January 1977) then 'The Love Boat' (in May 1977) successfully combined a small continuing cast to build series loyalty with totally new guests and several-plots-per-episode each week to keep each program a separate entity, unrelated to any episode that came before or after.
In 1983, Aaron Spelling introduced 'Arthur Hailey's Hotel' and in 1984, 'Glitter' (about a magazine) and 'Finder of Lost Loves'. Each week, viewers were shown a variety of stories involving various guest stars with up to eight guest stars per week. Of the 1983-84 season, the 'Boston Globe' noted, "On Wednesday nights, two-thirds of ABC's prime-time schedule will be Spelling programs. On Saturday night, they are all Spelling."
Lewis Chesler of 'The Hitchhiker' (Home Box Office or HBO, 1985) observed, "The anthology is appealing because each episode is self-contained and interesting in its own right … When you go to work the next day or go to school, you can tell friends, 'I saw a really fascinating show.' It just a little experience that you can sit down and enjoy. You'll be able to tell tales after you've seen them. You'll be able to describe a plot!"
Brandon Tartikoff added, "We've had 35 years of television (1950-1985). They've seen basically every crime story we're ever going to tell. They've seen every standard family comedy plot. What I think the audience responds to is varying the formula, changing it around, given them a surprise."
Aaron Spelling liked the multiple short-and-sweet story formats but also insisted, "I love the anthology format also because of all the stars we can bring back. I love doing anthologies because of all the people we can use. I was criticized for years for doing so many action shows and I am thrilled to be working on light anthologies, like 'Hotel', 'Love Boat', etc. With our anthology shows, we've been able to use about six former stars per episode. That's about 600 stars who will get work next year (in 1984-85 season). Helen Hayes is doing a dear role in 'Glitter' and Elizabeth Taylor is starring in a 'Hotel' episode this season (1984-85)."
Centered around the make-believe world of the St. Gregory, the lobby of the real Fairmont hotel in San Francisco was meticulously copied inside Warner Brothers sound stage 14. At a cost of nearly $500,000, the Fairmont's pillars of orange marble were duplicated at Burbank Studios in ersatx but convincing columns made of plaster and wood. The flowers were all artificial and the stairway led up to a blank wall. Only the red furniture was real. About $10,000 a week was spent on the wardrobe.
Michael Spound played bellhop Dave Kendall recounted, "Just call me lucky Louie. I didn't know what they wanted. I went in and read (for his fifth audition of the day). Then I was called back to read with five actresses up for the role of Megan Kendall, my wife, the desk clerk. Heidi Bohay was last. Everything went wrong. We dropped lines and mangled the script. As I went out shaking my head, I heard one of the network execs say, 'She was great. They were good together.' So here we are."
Speaking to the press in 1984, Aaron Spelling made the point, "Some of you ... all of you ... wrote that 'Hotel' was a land-locked 'Love Boat'. That was probably true of the pilot (starring Bette Davis), by the way. But a pilot … that's what it is, a test. I think the word came from test pilot. It's taking up an airplane for the first time. That's really what a (TV) pilot is, too. I wish there were no pilots. I think it's terrible for an entire series to be judged on its pilot. A pilot is to learn from.
"The pilot we did last year (in 1983) for 'Hotel' was very frothy … I think you've all used that word talking about my shows … but it was a pilot. Later, we made substantial changes, reshooting 10 pages, adding new pages, recasting some characters … And I know you (the critics) can't watch everything (every episodes), believe me, I know you can't. I wish you could.
"I wish there was a way I could convey to you 'Gosh, would you watch tonight's show? It's not what you expect from us.' Last year (the 1983-84 season) on 'Hotel' we did quite a remarkable show about the Ku Klux Klan. We did one on wife abuse, on a number of interesting social issues. Those shows did not get any recognition for that and that hurt a little."
In April 2018, representatives from 53 member countries of the Commonwealth (comprised some 2.4 billion people on five continents) would meet at Windsor Castle to decide on who should succeed Queen Elizabeth II as the next head of the Commonwealth. The role was not hereditary. Her Majesty had been an "icon of the Commonwealth" since 1952. She would continue to lead the Commonwealth until her death.
At the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held at Buckingham Palace, the Queen stated, "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949.
"By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us. As another birthday approaches this week (92 in April 2018), I am reminded of the extraordinary journey we have been on, and how much good has been achieved. It remains a great pleasure and honor to serve you as Head of the Commonwealth and to observe, with pride and satisfaction, that this is a flourishing network."
Associated Press reported, "Britain hopes to use the meeting as a launch pad for stronger trade ties with Commonwealth countries after the UK leaves the European Union in 2019. In 2017, 44% of British exports went to the EU and just 9% to Commonwealth countries. Still, the Commonwealth provides support for democracy and corruption-fighting, and gives its smaller members a chance to be heard as part of an international network."
Philip Murphy headed the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, told the press the Commonwealth was held together by "a kind of inertia, the fact that it’s probably more trouble to wind it up than to keep going. It’s sort of like the Holy Roman Empire — international organizations can survive long beyond their natural expiry date."
At the dining hall of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills 1984, Aaron Spelling launched the 1984-85 TV season of new programs. He held a pre-dinner cocktail party to be followed by dinner featuring veal, salmon mousse and a five-piece band playing themes from 'The Love Boat' and 'Dynasty'. At a news conference held for 110 TV critics and attended by 35 stars from various Aaron Spelling series, Aaron Spelling told the press his shows "are pure entertainment."
"I don't know that a little cotton candy relaxing the mind is bad for people worried about paying the rent and their grocery bills and gasoline costs and not being able to afford a home so they can come home at night and relax. I did not mean it to be that it's like tooth decay," Aaron Spelling continued.
Critics criticized shows such as 'The Love Boat' and 'Dynasty' for failing to tackle topical and controversial subjects. Aaron Spelling argued, "I don't think the climate is ready right now for 'Family' (1976-1980) or the kind of shows you critics would like to see. I don't think 'Family' could get on the air now. It would be very hard to make it today (in 1984) with 'Family', now that the audience is so attuned to watching this this this or shows like ours that are pure entertainment."
On reflection, Aaron Spelling remarked, "My opinion of the American audience is like we were during the Depression years. Growing up, we didn't have television but my sister and I would love to go to the movies. My sister, dying to see what Ginger Rogers was wearing, would rush home from the movies and tell my dad, who was a tailor, and who would make her that dress. And then she’d fix her hair the way Ginger wore hers. We lived in a fantasy world because it was the only escape we had.
"I think that when times are bad, whether there be a recession, or we have problems in the (Persian) Gulf, or whether it be the potential for obliteration for all of us, I think that escape is tremendous, a good valve that releases some of the tensions. It's good to have a release and that's why I never aplogize for my programs. Economically or socially, people need to be entertained and that's why I've never apologized for myself.
"People love to laugh at the rich. They love to hear that the rich have problems and to see the rich have problems. The rich can afford anything but they still have emotional problems. 'Dallas' proved that. If 'Dallas' had been about four oil workers making $250 a week, I don't think it would've been a success. It wouldn't do as well. It’s probably my fault that there isn't more (reality) in the shows.
"Viewers like entertainment and I don't try to shove social issues down their throats … If you asked me, 'Would you rather have an Emmy or a 38 (Nielsen) share?', I'd have to be gross and say a 38 share. I think Emmys, like all awards, are a great deal about quality, a great deal about popularity contests, and a great deal to do with how many people (voting members) you have in the Academy."
"We use fresh flowers rather than artificial. Maybe the difference won't be discovered by the audience, but the actors will know. And it will show up in their work. We have a slogan in our ship. The only difference between good – and I don't necessarily mean Emmy-winning, just good – television and bad television is attention to detail," Aaron Spelling maintained.
'Chicago Tribune' 1984: What comes first, the plot or the fashion?
Nolan Miller made known, "The plot, of course, I receive a script, which I do a breakdown of, and then we have a concept meeting with the co-executive producer, Doug Cramer – who has incredible taste – and our producer, Elaine Rich. Cramer sets the pace right down to the kind of carp food that Krystle feeds to the carp – every detail, and nothing less than a Baccarat glass when they're pouring champagne. It has to be crystal.
"The script will say something like, 'Alexis enters, looking breathtaking.' It just gives a rough idea, setting the mood for the scene, and then I sit down with Joan (Collins), or Linda (Evans) or Diahann (Carroll) and discuss how they would like to look. Yesterday (in the 1984-85 season), for example, I was with Joan, talking about her script for next week. She has eight changes and several of them are in the office.
"Joan said, 'Let's do something in all-white.' I said, 'OK, let's save the all-white for the scene where you and Linda really get into it.' Joan is usually in something much more dramatic, but I like little surprises, so we're going to do Joan in a white suit with a big white hat. And Linda is in dark blue. She's (Krystle) pregnant now, in maternity clothes. It's going to be fun. I love to do all the Alexis things with the hat and the fur and the suit – particularly when there's a scene between her and Krystle, where they do a little face-slapping."
The 'Wall Street Journal' understood Nolan Miller spent $165,000 a year on fabric. However Nolan Miller claimed no clothes on 'Dynasty' would be worn twice. "But we make use of it on other shows. At the end of each season, the clothes from 'Dynasty' are put into my general wardrobe and then I use them on 'The Love Boat' and 'Hotel'.
"And the new show 'Glitter' is very glamorous, so I'll be able to make use of old 'Dynasty' clothes. It's about a very high-style magazine. It has a large cast and each week there will be four or five guest stars. Of course now (in 1984) on 'Hotel', my dreams will be fulfilled. I've waited 30 years (since 1954) to do a design for Elizabeth Taylor and I have her on 'Hotel'. I'm working on sketches for her right now.
"The best thing about 'Dynasty' is that nobody ever tells me they're overdressed. I can just go mad. So with those three ladies, scripts that call for them to be well-dressed and the money to do it with, I have literally a designer's dream (budget of $18,000 a week in 1984-85 season). I had to have more money because of Diahann Carroll's coming in. They don't have poor people on 'Dynasty'. Except now (at the start of the 1984-85 season) the Carringtons are losing their money. I hope to God it doesn't last very long. I'm getting nervous."