July 11, 2009 - 10 years of Santa Barbara : le site Francais
July 30,
2009 - 25 years of Santa Barbara

Jed Allan : «Fans are what keep us going.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, August 2009

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On last August 12 and 13, Jed Allan agreed to take on his time to answer exclusively to most of the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actor talks about his debuts, the Santa Barbara years as the fifth interpreter of C.C. Capwell, and at last about his life since the end of the show.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, I'd like you to tell us a little about you : How old are you today ? Where do you live ? How old are your sons now and what do they do ? One of them, Mitch, played a young C.C. in 1990. Can you tell us how did that happen ?

I live in Palm Desert, California, now. My family has grown a lot over the years. My sons are Mitch, 48, Dean, 46, and Rick was 43 in May. I've got six grandkids, four girls and two boys ranging in ages from 7 to 18. Mitch is still acting, however, he did not play a young C.C.. He was on the soap Capitol for a couple of years.

To know you better, what did you bring of yourself in the character of C.C. ?

It sort of just happens, you are always offering something of yourself, but not the actual character itself. I'm a lot easier going than C.C.. I learned really what I didn't like about myself in the role. There were too many things about myself that I had to put into him that I didn't like. C.C. was immoveable and I have that stubbornness, although I've mellowed over the years.

When did you know you wanted to be an actor ?

In college I wanted to be a DJ. A teacher encouraged me perform in a play, and after my performance he told me to keep going and not give it up so I took it to heart. I really enjoyed performing.

How did you start your career ?

After college in Washington DC, I just started having photos taken and running to auditions. I lived on the east coast and in New York. It is a lot easier than California. In California, you need an agent to get things going but in New York you can walk down the street and meet producers and writers. It takes a lot of networking and meeting people and a whole lot of auditions.

 

The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara ? Did you ever watch the show when Charles Bateman or his predecessors were still playing C.C. ?

I auditioned to get on the show before it actually aired, but I couldn't get out of my Days of Our Lives contract. Then after leaving Days of Our Lives I did some plays and guest spots on Nighttime and then I audition for the part again. They weren't sure so I told them to call if they made up their minds. I was on a trip with my wife and friends in Europe when they called me back for a second audition (about five weeks later). I didn't rush back. After my vacation was over I did a second audition on tape. It took them a couple of weeks to offer me the role. I didn't watch the show before I started, my time was pretty busy traveling and doing other projects.

In your autobiography Please, Spell the Name Right, you tells how you turned out to be the one to announce to Charles Bateman that you were going to replace him as C.C.. Can you tell us this whole amazing story ?

We were invited to the same party, I saw him when I walked in. I knew that he didn't know that he was being fired. I didn't feel it was fair, he mentioned that things were looking good for him and I felt bad. After so thinking I took him into a room and told him privately. Naturally he was upset and he wanted to tell off the producers but I convinced him that it wasn't worth it.

C.C. could be a difficult character to play. He was very authoritative, narrow-minded, always too much protective with his owns... How did you succeed in making him so attracting in spite of these faults ?

That is the key in soaps. If you can't make them attractive, you don't have longevity. You have to bring a character to life and add color and dimension otherwise you have a flat, black and white character that isn't going to last too long. You don't have to draw on personal experience. You sort of become the character. Since I was the 5th C.C., I had control to do as I wished and the writing was excellent for me and when it wasn't I fixed it.

Did you try to invent to yourself a past for C.C. to justify his relationships with his each of his children ?

No, I tried to start fresh and work with the actors that were there. Each one is unique and it's not C.C.'s past that I was interested in, only his future.

As an actor, how is it to play with different actors in the same part? I particularly think of all the different interpreters of Kelly, Mason and Ted you had to play with...

It depends on how good the actor is. You have to adjust to their changes and the new personality. Some were more well rounded and better qualified for the part then others. Fans don't like when characters are recast and it can make the other actors jobs' harder if the replacement isn't as well suited for the part as the person that left.

In your autobiography, you wrote that a "lady" made your life a "living hell" during the last year of the show. But that's not enough to guess who she was... We need another clue now !

I won't name names. The only clue I will give is that she lives with a fairly well known actor, at least I think she still does. I'm not sure how he can stand living with her all these years.

My favorite year for C.C. was 1986 when, being blackmailed by Gina, he had to marry her, but continues to see Sophia, his true love. What were your favorite storylines and the ones you particularly disliked ?

The only ones I really disliked were the ones with the lady mentioned in my book. Those were no fun at all.

What do you think of the last storylines concerning C.C. in 1992 (the birth of Channing III, the love affair with Santana, then Angela...) ?

I didn't enjoy the storyline with Santana, but I believe the end of the show ended with C.C. marrying Sophia again. That I enjoyed.

What were your favorite male and female acting partners as C.C. Capwell ?

Hard question, there were a lot of good people way too many to make comparisons. A lot of what made working with people enjoyable were the storylines (or lack of) that were written at the time.

How do you consider the evolutions Santa Barbara knew through the years ? What were the reasons of the fall of the ratings in the 90's (Bad storylines ? Departure of strong characters ? Lack of eccentric bad guys like Kirk or Keith ? Lack of humour ?) ? Also, what was for you the Dobson's touch on Santa Barbara ?

I wasn't there in the beginning so I really can't answer to that. The only thing I can really say is it was the evolutions and the changes that helped the show last as long as it did. Stagnant shows don't last. As for the reason for the fall in the ratings, there was a lot of in-fighting. The fighting between the production companies caused the problems. The in-fighting caused problem with the writing and the overall production, which is what caused the ratings to fall. Viewers weren't getting the quality they were use to.

You were one of the long-time Santa Barbara actors to know the very last episode of the show. When did you learn that Santa Barbara was definitively coming to an end ? What do you think may have saved it ?

There were rumors six months before but we didn't believe it. About three months before it ended we received word that the show was definitely being cancelled. We had hopes that it might continue, but we weren't surprised. Since it wasn't the acting that created the problems, other than a major outcry from fans all over the world, there wasn't a lot that could have saved the show.

What was your best remembrance from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

Professionally, I loved the poker game which was one of the great shows. I also enjoyed the scenes where I had to play dead and hide in the coffin. It brought a lot of funny moments.

Did you keep in touch with members of the cast or the crew after your departure ?

We don't really keep in touch. I do see Louise Sorel and Judith McConnell once in a while, but that's about it.

If you hadn't play C.C., what character would you have liked to play ?

No, I enjoyed C.C., that's the part I initially auditioned for before the show started. The only other part I could have played was Nick Coster's part.

 

These 16 last years after Santa Barbara and now

You played in daytime soap-operas, nightime dramas, movies... What difference do you find in all these kind of programs as an actor ? Which one do you prefer ?

I love performing but if I could choose the perfect role for myself.

Can you come back on the following years of your career since the end of Santa Barbara ?

A lot of different things. I was in Russia and did some shows there, I did a movie of the week. I did a bunch of episodic things, Walker Texas Ranger and of course, 25 episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 among so many others I can't remember them all. The last soaps were Port Charles and a short run on General Hospital.

In 1997, you played in Arlette, a French movie with Josiane Balasko and Christopher Lambert. How did that occur ?

Interesting... I haven't seen the movie. It was basically simple. Auditions were held in Los Angeles and was one of only two English speaking actors in the movie.

Do you have projects for this year ?

I have an audition on next for Cold Case on CBS. Wish me luck. But right now I have a manager and no agent, so I'm pretty much retired.

What would you like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world ?

It's a shame that the Santa Barbara fans that even now are still loyal to the show couldn't have made more noise back then. Then maybe the show wouldn't have been cancelled. I hope that they will continue to be fans and friends of mine. Fans are what keep us going.

 

Once again all my thanks to Lori (Official Jed Allan Fan Page) who was a great help in the realization of this interview, and of course to Jed Allan for his time and his kindness.