Thursday, July 30, 2009

FLASHBACK: Lovely 'Santa Barbara' (1984)

Soap Opera Scenes

By John N. Goudas
King Features Syndicate
July 22, 1984

Lovely Santa Barbara, home of the new rich, old rich, rock stars, the cultivated, the surfers, dreamers and hard working Mexicans, finally succumbs to Hollywood as the subject of a new NBC daytime soap (3-4 p.m. EDT), Monday, July 30.

It is said that if you can't discover happiness in Santa Barbara, a scenic Spanish jewel 90 miles north of L.A., you won't find it anywhere.

But happiness is a no-no in the soap world. The SANTA BARBARA soap will be closer to DALLAS, DYNASTY or FALCON CREST than to the real McCoy, because these are the rules of the game. You don't diddle with success.

Still, Santa Barbarans Bridge and Jerome Dobson are in charge, and a 30-year resident, Dame Judith Anderson, will occasionally show us her celebrated profile and stage presence as matriarch Minx Lockridge, blasting her wastrel won (Nicholas Coster from ONE LIFE TO LIVE).

Bridget Dobson, daughter of GENERAL HOSPITAL creators Frank and Doris Kingsley, has been a Santa Barbara resident for five yearrs with husband Jerome writing soap opera and raising a family. The Dobsons are in love with the town.

"Santa Barbara is the most special place in the world," says Bridget. "Individuality is treasured, yet the spectrum is wide. People who travel the world live side by side with those who seldom leave the country."

Clearly, the Dobsons are not about to knock their home town. The caricatures will be too broad for the natives to sue for libel.

The new mid-afternoon soap unveils the rich and powerful Capwell clan, lead by Lloyd Bochner's C.C., whose ancestors go back to the Mayflower. C.C.'s offspring is college student Eden Capwell (Marcy Walker from ALL MY CHILDREN), on the prowl for a lover to equal her old man.

The Capwells mix socially with Dame Judith Anderson's Lockridge family, but look down on the middle-class Perkins family, led by offshore oil worker Dad with a son in prison for the murder of a Capwell.

Another step below are the Andrades, first generation Mexicans. Dad Ruben (Ismael Carlo) is a gardener; wife Rosa (Margarita Cordova) is a Capwell maid; daughter Santana (Ava Lazar) does interior decorating while hunting for a baby she gave up for adoption; and handsome son Danny (Rupert Ravens) is headed for Hollywood.

Murder, power maneuvers, shiftless youth, life on off-shore oil rigs, and the move up by ambitious Mexicans form the afternoon music. Later, the Dobsons will probe into college life at the beach community. But for now, introduction of characters and the hunt for audience acceptance is foremost. SANTA BARBARA may become daytime's answer to KNOTS LANDING.

1 comment:

  1. I recently re-watch the first 3 months of SB. It is remarkable how that show improved over time. I know the conventional wisdom is that the Dobsons got the shaft when they were locked out of their soap but, I can't help but see how much better it got once they left. Those first few months were a mess. There was a whole mystery about lost coins from the Lockridge yacht that involved Warren and then was dropped. Eden was set up as a love interest for Warren and that was dropped. Warren had two other love interests that came and quickly left and he had a weird mother/son relationship with Augusta that was never explored. Then, of course, there was the earthquake which lasted for three weeks and then was never spoken of again for the next decade. It is an interesting study in how long it takes for a soap to get its legs, and don't know that a network would be that generous again,