|Introduction to Santa Barbara|
It is immediately after the Summer Olympics of 1984 that a daytime soap-opera of a new kind appears on NBC in the United States. Santa Barbara is officially born on screen on Monday, July 30th 1984.
by Bridget and Jerome Dobson, the couple of writers at the origin of the program,
the show gets noticed at once by its innovative aspect: a steady rhythm, a light
tone, permanent humor... The writing of the scenarios as the dialogues reach a
level of requirement still never seen in the soap-operas. The storylines are
linked and are ceaselessly renewed, the outdoor shootings are legion, and
numerous comedy scenes clash for this type of program.
the beginning of 1985, the storyline of the carnation
killer leads to the disappearance of two very important characters:
Peter Flint and especially Joe Perkins, who had already had to suffer from a
change of interpreter in autumn 1984. Some new "bad guys" make their
entrance (Marcello Armonti, Jack Lee / Jerry Cooper, Kirk Cranston), whereas
others reveal themselves: Gina DeMott takes off, becoming the queen of
machinations and blackmail. 1985 is also the year when the thread-driver
storyline from the first year: Channing Capwell Junior's murder is finally
is maybe the year when Santa
Barbara reaches its peak. Many of the best storylines of the show are
gathered this year and delight the fans: the discovery of the real identity of
Brick Wallace, the killing frenzy of Kirk Cranston, the affair of the videotape
acquitting Kelly of Dylan Hartley's death... And especially, two characters
diametrically opposed are going to mark the televiewers forever: the sweet Mary
DuVall, whose unexpected death leaves the fans as orphans, and Keith Timmons,
the shady and eccentric district attorney.
marks the beginning of a new couple which, in spite of ups and downs, is going
to pursue its development till the end of the show: Julia Wainwright and Mason
Capwell. But the big storyline which is going to stand out this year is the one
surrounding Elena Nikolas, who alternately kidnaps Eden and Mason and makes them
pass as dead, tries to seduce Cruz and commits suicide by accusing him of her
death. Another couple is born, for a more limited duration this time: Kelly and
Jeffrey Conrad. In spite of the importance given to their relationship, it will
never succeed in equaling the couple Kelly and Joe, even after a luxurious
wedding at the end of November.
1988, the show suffers from the strike of the American writers, preventing the
new characters from delivering all their potential. It is in particular Pamela
Conrad who pays the price for it. The first big storyline of the year, an affair
of espionage leading Eden and Cruz in Mexico, is short of credibility and seems
too ambitious for a soap-opera. Others that almost fail follow: the manhunt
after Cruz by a mad scientist, Gina indoctrinated by a sect... But the writers
put things right when, on April 1st, they offer to the televiewers the scene
they were waiting for three years: the wedding of Eden and Cruz. Around them,
new characters get in presence on screen: in particular Dr. Scott Clark and
Pamela Conrad, Mason and Jeffrey's
presumed dead mother, who unfortunately disappears after a few months while she
was promised a more long-lasting fate. If new faces arrive (Andrea, the Donnelly
family, Celeste), Santa Barbara loses this
year one of the most likeable characters, Hayley, Gina's
Robin Wright, 1989 sees the departure of two other symbolic actors: Lane Davies
(Mason) and Todd McKee (Ted). One is replaced in his role, the other is not. To
boost the always sluggish ratings, numerous new characters make their entrance
within a few weeks: the DiNapoli sisters, the couple Laura and Ethan Asher,
Megan Richardson and her son Greg... But little are going to survive beyond the
year. Around Cruz gets established a family, with his brother Ric and his father
Rafael. It is especially the arrival in June of the character of Robert Barr
which boosts the interest, by creating a new love triangle with Eden and Cruz.
Concerning the eccentricities, if the public lost Keith, it catches with Bunny
Tagliatti, the big-hearted transvestite mafia - a character as only Santa Barbara can invent.
1990, because of decreasing ratings, Jill Farren Phelps is dismissed and
replaced by John Conboy, who worked among others on the soaps The Young and the Restless
His first decision is to re-form the Lockridge clan which had completely
disappeared years after years since 1985. Here are thus again Augusta, Lionel
and new Laken and Minx. Other founding acts to leave his print: he rebuilds the
set of the imposing and emblematic Capwell villa, and gradually replaces the
accompanying music which played as landmarks for the televiewers since the
creation of the show. New characters are integrated (Stephen Slade, Derek
Griffin, Amado Gonzalez, the Richards family), but none succeed in really making
an impact. Without doubt the fault is small personalities and the time is not
given to make an impact. Some storylines drag on (the four avenger orphans) and
others are little credible (the kidnapping of Cruz in a Middle East harem). Two
characters are however going to stand out this year: Cassandra Benedict and
Flame Beaufort. Beyond the attraction for their characters, their respective
interpreters have undoubtedly a lot to do with that. The storyline around Quinn
Armitage, who takes the place of his twin brother Robert Barr, boosts the
interest by putting several characters in danger.
a long two years trial with New World Productions, the Dobson couple is
reinstated at the beginning of 1991 as writers. Marcy Walker, after having made
several infidelities to the show to shoot TV movies, announces her intention to
leave definitively in July. To organize the departure of Eden, the character
finds herself in the center of a harrowing and very fascinating storyline of a
split personality, which damages her relationships with her family. The Dobsons
being in control, they bind these disorders with the events on the basis of the
show: Sophia's infidelity and lies, her presumed death and her guilt in the
death of Channing Junior. But the public is disconcerted.
1992, the end of the show is announced for July. At the last moment, six months
as a last chance are given to Pamela K. Long, the new head writer, to try to
raise the bar. It is her who creates the characters of the Walker family towards
whom the main storylines refocus. This is to the detriment of the "historic"
characters, confined for the greater part in lighter storylines or to play
comical stooges (Gina, Lionel…). Julia and Mason, lost in a first storyline of
a haunted house, are going to appear in their turn in the background. Priority
is also given to new young characters, supposed to get the teenagers back in
front of the show. But the frustrated passing
fancy of Lily,
Rafe, Lisa, Sawyer or Aurora do not enthrall much, in particular not the fans
from the very beginning. Only the storyline around the sexual abuse lived by
young B.J. Walker maintains an appearance of interest, whereas the fans cry foul
by seeing Cruz falling in love with his sister-in-law Kelly. The televiewers
have the impression to discover a new show in which would have lost the
characters of the past.
Barbara breaks off definitively on Friday, January 15th 1993, after 2137
: July 30 1984
to January 15 1993 on NBC, 2137 episodes (2127
episodes of 43 minutes and 10 episodes of 22 minutes)
Creators : Bridget Dobson and Jerome Dobson
Production companies : Dobson Productions, New World Television
Executive producers : Bridget Dobson (1984-1987, 1991-1993), Jerome Dobson (1984-1987, 1991-1993), Jeffrey Hayden (1984), Charles A. Pratt (1984), Mary-Ellis Bunim (1984-1986), Jill Farren-Phelps (1987-1990), John Conboy (1990-1991), Paul Rauch (1991-1993)
Producers : Gerald Ament, Diane Asselin, Debbie Bachtell, Leonard Friedlander, Julie Hanan Carruthers, Lisa S. Hesser, Francesca James, Steven Kent, Jeffrey Lerner, Edlyne (Pat) Lloyd, Angelika Markus, Daniel McCaffrey, Eric Preven, Charlotte Savitz, Dennis Steinmetz...
Writers : Bridget Dobson, Jerome Dobson, Sheri Anderson, Anne Howard Bailey, Meg Bennett, Kim Beyer-Johnson, Bettina F. Bradbury, Richard Culliton, Charlotte M. Dobbs, Christopher Dunn, Josh Griffith, Robert Guza Jr., Hoyt Hilsman, C.L. Johnson, N. Gail Lawrence, Pamela K. Long, Joan McCall, Patrick Mulcahey, Lynda Myles, Charles Pratt Jr., Thom Racina, Pete T. Rich, Michael Russnow, Frank Salisbury, Courtney Sherman, Maralyn Thoma, Gary Tomlin, Jack Turley, Michele Val Jean...
Directors : Rick Bennewitz, Gary Bowen, Peter Brinkerhoff, Linda Day, John J. Desmond, Ellen Falcon, Bill Glenn, Michael Gliona, Norman Hall, Jeffrey Hayden, Grant A. Johnson, Bob LaHendro, Stephen Messer, Karl Messerschmidt, Gordon Rigsby, Robert Schiller, John Sedwick, Nicholas Stamos, George Thompson, Andrew D. Weyman, Jorn Winther, John C. Zak...
Music : James Patrick Dunne, Joseph Harnell (theme), Anthony R. Jones, Dominic Messinger, Randy Padgett, Art Phillips, Rick Rhodes...