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2011 - 27 years of Santa Barbara

Richard Bloore : «The hardest work and yet the most rewarding was the Cruz and Eden wedding.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, August 2011

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On August 20 2011, Richard Bloore agreed to take on his time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The costume designer talks about his beginnings, his time on Santa Barbara from 1984 to 1990, and the actors he enjoyed to work with.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, can you tell us a little about you : how old are you today ? Where do you live ?

I am 56 and live still in the Los Angeles area.

How did you start your career as a costume designer ?

I went to a couple of different colleges and received my degree in theatre design, both set and costume. When I graduated there was an ad in the paper which I answered and was hired. It happened to be to work in the workroom of a rock and roll designer who had clients like The Jackson Five and The Commodores, plus many more. He started doing television and I went along with him as an assistant. And that lead to me meeting so many people who helped me over the next years.


The time of Santa Barbara

In 1984, you started to work on Santa Barbara. How did you start in this show ?

1984 I was the supervisor on the show for the first designer Bill Belew. Then a second designer was brought in, Rob Burdell. But after a couple months I was given the show. And I lasted until 1990.

Can you tell how you organize your work as a costume designer on day-to-day : do you receive some special orders from the producers ? Do you have the possibility and the financial resources to create all the costumes you want ? Are you in contact with the other artists in charge of makeup or hairstyling ?

Everything starts with the script which you break down for the characters in it and what they are doing and where they are going. You have a weekly budget that is the same every week. Unless there is a big event and usually there is a separate budget. Then you are either out shopping or if you are creating from scratch you hit the drawing board. And you must always involve the actors and producers. Everything must be okayed. Then you talk to all the other departments that set the look. It is an effort that should be from the whole group.

On Santa Barbara, did you work in contact with the actors and actresses, to know their personal taste or colors for example ?

Actors must be in the discussions too. There are things you learn from them as you work with them over the years but as Edith Heard once said, "You can lead them to water, but you can't make them wear what they don't want to wear." They can have a take on things that are different than you do. So once again it is a collaborative effort.

Who was the actor or the actress the easier to dress ? And the most difficult ?

The easiest for me to dress was Robin Mattson. She and I hit it off right away and I got the character. And that was the same way with Stella Stevens, we just clicked. The most difficult was Nancy Grahn and that is because she was not very happy with all that was going on in her life which went into her fittings.

I remember the clothes of some special characters, such as Pearl Bradford or Augusta Lockridge, very atypical on daytime soap-operas. And not mention Bunny Tagliatti and his so unforgettable "disguises" ! Would you say they were, in these special cases, more influenced by the actors or by you ?

Augusta's character had been set from the first designer so I followed the lead. When I worked with Louise (Sorel) on Days of our Lives we worked together to get something new. Now both with Pearl and Bunny they let me have free range. Joe (Marinelli) is one of the best people and has such a great sense of humor that he went with everything. Memories !

What storylines asked you the hardest work on Santa Barbara (weddings, costume parties...) ?

The hardest work and yet the most rewarding was the Cruz and Eden wedding. Besides the antebellum theme there was the shipping of the clothes to Big Sur. And the other big memory for me was the trip to Paris. Again the clothes had to be shipped which is a worry but then the excitement of the fans, it all was such a great time.

How did you make the choice of the costumes for the different weddings ?

The wedding dresses really just came to me. I always looked at the script to see if there were any crazy requirements and then the inspiration came from all sorts of places from old movies to photos.

What are your best remembrances from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

Pretty much all the actors were great to work with but the fondest was Dame Judith (Anderson). She was unique and talented and funny. And the others that give me fond memories include Robin Mattson, Louise Sorel, Justin Deas, Robin Wright, David Haskell, Valorie Armstrong, Joe Marinelli, Rick Edwards, and on and on. Then besides there were great producers, directors, crew members and the upstairs staff. Many people I do hear from and even when I run into some of the others it seems like no time has past and lots of stories surface.

How do you consider the evolutions that Santa Barbara knew through the years ? According to you, what were the reasons of the fall of the ratings in the 90's ?

The biggest change for daytime soaps came in the shape of the O.J. Simpson trial. People had it in their living rooms all day and it was reality. So once it was over no one wanted the fantasy. And the other change was the economy which caused more people to have the need for a second income. Gone were the days of a mother or grandmother able to be at home to watch their stories.

You left the show in 1990, after a nomination at the Daytime Emmy awards. What were the reasons of your departure ?

I was fired in 1990 when a new producer came in and brought his own costume designer. I would have been there to the end otherwise.


These 21 last years after Santa Barbara and now

After Santa Barbara, you continued your career in Days of our Lives. As a costume designer, what difference do you find between these two daytime soap-operas ?

Days of our Lives is much more reality based while Santa Barbara was always full of crazy fantasy. Which Days of our Lives does some of but not as much.

Is there something you'd like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world who didn't forget the show until today ?

I just hope that I will get another chance at being a part of that family feeling again. Starting something from the beginning and watch it grow. So rewarding.


Read also : The work of Richard Bloore

Once again all my thanks to Richard Bloore for his kindness and his loving memories.