Discussion in 'The Colbys' started by Alexis, Jun 16, 2018.
Indeed it was!
Miss Stanwyck just texted this from Heaven...
How much did the actors' performances influence the writing as the series developed? In particular, I'm thinking of Stephanie Beacham as Sable. As time went on her scenes, especially those with Charlton Heston, contained a visceral quality, a kind of emotional grittiness, that was very unusual in the glamorous '80s soap genre. Was that something that was always planned or was it in response to what the actors were doing on screen?
Also, I was interested to see Mart Crowley (writer of The Boys in the Band) credited as writer on a couple of episodes. How did his involvement come about? Presumably, the appearance of Arthur White (Larry in the original stage and film productions of The Boys in the Band) in the recurring role of Sable's attorney Arthur Cates was just a coincidence?
The Colbys wasn't very kind to its characters, and it was almost the opposite of Dynasty.
Dynasty had a very upwards approach i.e. Krystle (and Alexis) coming in, while The Colbys was quite downwards - Sable going out. And that's how she ended up: a very wealthy but tycoon-less divorcee, and nothing more than that. ("I'm here if you need me, Blake").
One could argue that Jeff & Fallon were the newcomers, but hey, they came from Dynasty so it was hardly a "new life".
And yet they had learned nothing from it.
The romance between Jason and Frankie felt somewhat pathetic, not necessarily because of the plots but because Jason seemed to feel guilty about it, especially in his scenes with Miles.
Sometimes it was hard to distinguish between "wanting Frankie" and "not wanting Sable anymore". Which motivation was stronger?
All of this seemed character-driven, rather than a perfectly planned story. But who knows, maybe it was carefully plotted from the very beginning (I doubt it, to be honest).
James of London is quite right. In the bible of season 1, Sable was described like Alexis and Francesca like Krystle. For instance, Sable was ready to marry Zach until she found out that he was already married (to an impotent woman - in the show that character became his sister/the mother of Sean). Then, she tried to save her marriage to Jason only because she wanted to remain a powerful woman.
As for Frankie, with Roger being absent in the bible, she appeared to be genuinely concerned for her sister's sake and even when Sable and Jason's marriage had been destroyed, she was ready to leave L.A. to help Sable win back Jason.
It's obvious that Stephanie Beacham's performance changed the initial plots of Sable.
As for Francesca, I wonder if it is because of Katharine Ross' inability to make her as loveable as Krystle of it is because of the writers' inability to realize that adding Roger Langdon in the mix would inevitably make of Francesca a manipulative woman.
I think of her as femme fatale, a woman who causes trouble for no other reason than being very desirable.
The only other femme fatale in SoapLand was Betty Anderson, and maybe Sue Ellen too, in her own way.
These are not really villains or vixens, and I found Francesca pretty straightforward. "If you're going to marry me, then your ex-wife has to go".
Objectively speaking I don't think that's such a huge demand, except that The Wife happened to be her own sister.
And she also didn't want to take any responsibility, she never wanted to deal with a situation. Out of sight, out of mind, problem solved. Bye Sable, have a good life. Bye Jeff, Cecil is going to take care of you and everything is going to be all right.
That's not manipulative, that's lazy and ignorant.
Even too lazy to reject Philip's advances.
Very typical of a femme fatale, I think.
To be fair, she was in a difficult place when she had Jeff, and Cecil was a conniving snake.
Bravo Alexis! This is quite the coup.
A lot of what I'd ask has already been asked by others and covered in that other interview that's been quoted. Like everyone else, I'd love to know what, if anything, was planned for season three but he doesn't seem to have much recollection of plans. So the main questions I'd ask are as below.
(i) Given the huge success of the Dynasty and the fact that ABC were crying out for another hit, what sort of pressure were they under to make The Colbys a hit? While they've stated that the Shapiros left them to it when it came to running the show, was there much interference from the network, particularly when it wasn't performing as they'd hoped?
(ii) William Bast mentioned Elizabeth Taylor in the previous interview but were there any other stars that they'd hoped to cast on the show that either refused or were nixed by the higher powers?
(iii) At what point did they realise that Stephanie Beacham was going to be the breakout star of the show and how did this affect the writing going forward?
(iv) In an era when writers seemed to hop from one soap to another, Huson & Bast didn't work on another primetime soap after The Colbys ended. Was that a conscious choice or did they just not receive any offers from the other shows?
(v) Prior to The Colbys, they co-created the short-lived summer soap The Hamptons in 1983. What was their experience of working on that show versus working on The Colbys?
I know it's not really that important or related to the interview, but I never really understand when people say they see Frankie as straightforward. I always just feel like I'm Sable sneaking on that flight to Corfu. I only see Frankie as Sable saw her. I want to crack my riding crop and call her a slut.
Fascinating! Where'd you find it?
Its kinda sad, because watching Katharine Ross in "Secrets of a Mother and Daughter", just 3 years prior to THE COLBYS, she seemed the perfect choice to play a Krystle character.
I tend to agree. It was her "straight-forwardness" that almost made her more narcissistically contemptible -- her blinkingly-innocent sense of entitlement.
When I first started watching clips of THE COLBYS, I remember the scene of Jason and Philip's fight ending quite differently from how it really did: after Jason stumbles off, looking like he's about to have a heart attack, Sable goes, "Oooooh, Fran-CHESS-ca! You ssssLUT!" while holding up her long nails like the Wicked Witch. And all Frankie did was stand there going "Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh..."
And of course, Sable was right.
Well, she was a woman, so I believe that Sable believed that her sister was a treacherous slut. Or maybe she just liked the idea, as it would conveniently explain why her marriage fell apart.
And yet it was Sable who kept scheming, clutching at straws to stay in her husband's life eventhough Jason told her "please, let me go".
There was nothing cut and dried about this situation.
I think that's also what happened to Alexis, initially there was the plan to destroy Blake once and for all, but the ongoing family and business battles also allowed her to maintain a part of Blake's life. It was definitely about revenge, but there was also something very clingy and territorial about it. And because of that she never really managed to move on with her life, not even with a man like Dex.
Oh, these men and their wives.
Sable doesn't need to be innocent for Frankie to be ridiculously insensitive. It's not so much the affair with Jason as Frankie's attitude about it, wandering thru her sister's house like she owned it already.
I totally agree. She shouldn't have been in that house, not even on the property, before Sable had moved out.
Then again, it was Sable's household, not her house. But in the grand scheme of things that's probably a nitpicking argument.
But Sable had no intention to leave the house at all, heck, she couldn't leave!
I don't know anything about Californian law, but usually the spouse who wants the divorce is the one who moves out (with or without a new partner) and there were plans to build a new house for themselves, but somehow the issue of The Colby Family House kept popping up. Maybe this part was a little contrived.
But there were different things going on and they happened to coincide.
Sable's done everything she could to drive Jeff out of the house and even out of the family. So a part of me feels that this was her comeuppance.
Reap what you have sown, Sable!
Here : https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8vd7432/dsc/#ref49
I bought the bibles of both seasons of "The Colbys" and a few other papers.
Sorry I didn't respond earlier @Alexis, but this was the weekend I was moving apartments.
I think since they had not done a night-time soap opera before, I would like to know what was their template--other prime-time dramas, other night-time soaps, etc. Also, how much things changed between the initial planning in the bible and then in the actual season would be interesting to know.
Plus, I would like to ask again about the leeway/guidance they had from Spelling, Shapiros, Pollocks, and the rest. Just because someone said some thing many years ago doesn't mean they will give the same answer now.
Great coup @Alexis !
It's in french but you can translate it through Google :
I mean, who wouldn't?
Anyways I'm going to tally up a list of questions and hopefully get them mailed off very late tonight. It's been two very long days at work for me.
Separate names with a comma.