The Colbys Writer Paul Huson Has Agreed To An Interview With Me

Discussion in 'The Colbys' started by Alexis, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    You're going to ask him 20 questions about Joan Collins, aren't you?

    You can't resist, you can't!
     
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  2. Richard Channing

    Richard Channing Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Looking forward to reading the interview Alexis. Any questions I would have I think have already been covered by other people. My main areas of interest would be what plans were in place for season 3, why Stanwyck left, and how Stephanie's performance may have shaped the way Sable was written.
     
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  3. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    He couldn't tell me anything about here I don't already know....
    :p
     
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  4. Karin Schill

    Karin Schill Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm wondering what plots were planned for Frankie & Philip if they had still been on the show the next season?

    I sensed some sort of triangle coming on and I did think the actors were more believable to play a love couple than Frankie and Jason for some reason I can't believe. Probably because they had better chemistry IMHO.
     
  5. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    If I had been Miss Ross and had had to play the love interest to somebody who looked like my grandfather (plus a very bad toupee), I wouldn´t have had chemistry with Mr. Heston too (IF I had been a woman, too).

    I wish you luck with the interview @Alexis! It´s going to be an exciting experience, I can tell you that...and I´m sure it´ll be a great read! (I was going to submit a question, but had to do with the man who played the alien and his "socks", but Miss Piggy talked me out of it saying "Bitch please!"). Oh and in case of doubt, remember...

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Philip was a criminal and a psychopath, like Sean Rowan, it would have been difficult to make him a regular character. I guess they could have stretched it with a few more (attempted) murders and then Jeff would be forced to shoot him, or something like that.
    Philip was all about plot twists, starting with the plane crash - but I never really got to know him. I don't think I would have missed him.
     
  7. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Ok so that's the email sent. I did have to edit and rejig some of the questions. Lots of people asked the same thing, like what were the plans for season 3? Then asking about plans for specific characters in season 3. Kinda the same thing! Lots asking about the Aliens etc. I think there were around 60 questions even after I edited the list down.

    I also didn't say which member asked what. I just complied a large list and tried to keep it in some kind of logical flow. As there are so many questions I asked Mr Huson to take his time and not feel he needed to rush back a reply.
     
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  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Maybe it'll inspire him to write season 3, or even revive the show! A rival show to CW Dynasty!
     
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  9. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Crap! I have got an error message saying my message wasn't sent, all kinds of waffle about servers and what not? What do I do now?
    What does this crazy talk mean?

    Your message couldn't be delivered because an email server outside Office 365 reported an error that it couldn't relay your message. It's likely that the email server isn't correctly set up to receive and relay messages from your domain. To fix this, forward this non-delivery report (NDR) message to your email admin.


    For Email Admins
    The sender's message was routed to an email server outside Office 365 but that email server returned the error below. It's likely that the email server that reported error isn't set up correctly to receive and relay messages sent from the sender's domain. The server is not an Office 365 server - it will usually be one of your on-premises servers in a hybrid environment, a server at a smart host email service that you're trying to route messages through, or possibly even a server at an email hosting service you used in the past yet still have mail flow settings pointing to (for example, when your MX record at your domain registrar still points to your previous email service provider).

    To fix this, check the server name to determine what domain, service, or server is reporting the error. The email server needs to be configured to either accept messages from anonymous users or to include the sending domain or sending IP address in its list of authenticated senders. On an Exchange server, you can set this up in the server's receive connector. If it's a smart host managed by another service or partner, contact the service or partner to configure their servers to accept and relay messages from your senders. Also, work with your domain registrar to make sure your MX records are properly configured.

    Since the problem is likely due to misconfigured settings on an email server outside Office 365, unfortunately Office 365 support won't be able to help fix this issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  10. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Urrgghhhhh..... I have gotten around it... I think.

    I HOPE.
     
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  11. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    You'd be that kind of postman who would cram a big package through the letterbox. There, delivered!
     
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  12. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Willie, you'll make me blush with your purple prose.
     
  13. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Believe it or not, but it was a compliment.
    It is my experience that an email address either works or doesn't. Imagine my surprise when you managed to fix it (or so it seems).
    He doesn't know us so I don't think it matters.
    Although...we heard Ana Alicia mentioning forum member Matthew Blaisdel during her ipodcast interview - she answered one of his questions - and I found it quite surreal because soapchat is only text, there's no sound.
    I've always wondered if she recognized that name from that other prime time soap, or did she just assume that Matthew Blaisdel was a typical German name? Oh well.
     
  14. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Well it's funny you should say that, but the last question I asked him was yours, and I did mention you by name in it. As I found the question kind of silly funny. It was the one where you asked who were Jeff and Fallon's little flower girls at their wedding. I mean it's not the kind of question you lead with.
     
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  15. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Update on the email problem. I had an email from Paul in the early hours. As he's in California, what with the time difference and all, I was sleeping and didn't see the email until late today. I didn't notice it this morning as it's from another email address. He's been having problems with his normal email address and tells me the problem was all on his end. He asked me to forward the questions to the new address which I have just done and the email has sent this time.
    Just wanted to keep you all informed.
     
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  16. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    But...but...then I'll always be known as that guy who asked the silly question, the one who doesn't take The Colbys seriously.
    @Michael Torrance is going to have a field day!

    It's over for me, I'm damaged goods, the risée of The Colbys Forum.

    The only way to deal with this is to write my memoirs: "How I destroyed my The Colbys fanship with one silly question"
     
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  17. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    I bet he says you are the only one who discovered the hidden layers of his work. :crazy:
     
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  18. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    I think it's quite fitting. It was the first question submitted in this thread and the last question I asked in the interview...
     
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  19. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    [​IMG]
    See?
     
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  20. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Champion

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    Ok, So the interview is in.... Much, much faster than I thought it would be too. I'm just copying it directly from my email as is.


    Hi Paul,

    Thanks again for agreeing to do this interview and sharing some of your time with us. The questions here have all been submitted by fans of The Colbys. I had a ton of questions come in and I have had to trim it down and combine some, as a few people had asked basically the same or very similar questions. Even after trimming there are over 50 questions.

    Please take your time in getting back to me. Absolutely no rush! So here goes....


    Have you seen The Colbys since it was released on DVD 3 years ago?
    No.


    What do you think of the show today?
    Glossy, well written and well produced nighttime soap.


    From todays perspective are you impressed with what you managed to do with the show? Considering the constraints we were under - grabbing an audience and not becoming too intellectual - yes, impressed.


    Are there any things you wish you had have done differently? Any regrets?
    Yes, that silly UFO ending.


    Are there any things you were forced to do by ABC or higher-ups that would rather not have done? That ending. It was a last minute change from our bible requested by our exec producers. who thought it would force ABC to pick us up for another season in order to unravel the riddle. It didn't work.


    How did the show change from what it was in the beginning of season 1 to what it was when it went off the air in season 2? Tonally or otherwise. And how would that have affected the showing going forward?
    We were detaching ourselves from the "Dynasty" style.


    Was there a conscious attempt to make The Colbys different from Dynasty? To give it it's own unique tone/voice? Not on the part of the exec producers who wanted to keep it safely as close to the wildly successful "Dynasty" as possible. Bill and I thought differently however, and I think it may have showed.


    Were there any story ideas that looked good on paper but just didn't work on screen? None that come to mind. Were you to give me a list I might recall some.


    Were there any story drafts or outlines laid out for a third season? Or even any ideas that were floating around in you and Bill Bast's head that could have been stories in season 3?
    No, Bill and I were planning on leaving the show. Two seasons working as show-runners were quite enough! We were exhausted.


    Were there ever any plans to explore further the mysterious death of Zach Powers' wife? Not that I recall. Good question though. Good material for Jason (or Sable perhaps?) to explore and exploit!


    Had you considered using any other (ex) Dynasty characters on The Colbys? Perhaps Kate O'Mara? There may have been on the Shapiro's part, but none that we knew of.


    It's been noted that the UFO cliffhanger was the work of Richard Shapiro in an attempt to secure a season renewal. Is it true that Esther Shapiro called up The Colbys writing team and told them about the proposed idea and said, "Anyone who laughs will be fired!"?
    I don't recall the conversation. Had it occurred it would have undoubtedly been ironic humor on Esther's part.


    Was it always you and William Bast's intention to have the UFO plot be resolved by Fallon suffering some kind of mental Breakdown?
    Yes. However it would have had to be handled carefully - we had already used Fallon's frail psychological condition as a major plot point in an earlier story, so we didn't want it to seem too deja-vu.

    If so do you think that would have been daring and darker than what the other prime time soap operas were doing at the time?
    I don't know, as Bill and I were not planning to stay on the show. In any case we had already explored what then was some fairly dark territory back when Fallon after her bout with soap-opera amnesia fantasizes an incestuous rape by Adam


    Which character was the most difficult to write for and develop?
    Connie. Stanwyck was frail so would only work restricted hours. And then it was revealed she was suffering memory problems and couldn't remember her lines. As a consequence her dialog had to be reduced more and more, to the point where she felt slighted and complained about being overlooked. Contractually we were obliged to include her in a certain number of episodes and scenes, but the character became more and more monosyllabic. Finally she complained bitterly to Spelling "What am I, a dress extra?!"


    Which was the easiest to write for and develop?
    Sable, hands down.


    What is your favourite storyline from the show and why?
    Sable's attempts to gaslight Connie.


    What is your least favourite storyline from the show and why?
    The Miles and Channing storyline. I never felt Channing had enough going for her to justify Miles interest in her.


    If you had to pick one episode from The Colbys to watch which would it be, and why? In terms of drama, probably where Sable vows to protect Miles from the consequences of what he fears may have been a murder on his part.


    Which is your favourite character from season 1 and why? Sable of course. She was everybody's favorite. We had had a hard time thinking up a name for her. Finally I recalled a fairytale written by le Comte de Caylus where the heroine - a princess who has had her heart stolen from her by a wicked fairy - is named "Sabella". This seemed to please everyone, even more so when Bill piped up with the nickname "Sable".


    Which is your favourite character from season 2 and why? Sable again. Really she is the motor for almost everything. Always gutsy and flawed.


    From your prospective what was the greatest challenge in crafting the stories you wanted for the show? Getting network approval, although they left us pretty much alone, concentrating most of their attention on keeping "Dynasty" in its lead position in the ratings.


    What effect did the Dynasty pop culture phenomenon have on the writers work for The Colbys? None that I can recall. Cat-fights were not our specialty.


    Were there any plans to have Diahann Carroll's Dominique character be a more prominent character on the show? Perhaps in season 3? None that I recall. Maybe season three, but that was not our concern.


    Were the characters of Bliss Colby and Zach Powers being written out of a possible 3rd season? Again, I cannot answer. I suspect it would all depend on contracts - how much the actors demanded and their possible use as audience grabbers.


    How was Barbara Stanwyck to work with? Was she challenging or demanding? If so in what way? Difficult. As I said, she was a star and felt overlooked and slighted. As a result she quite unprofessionally badmouthed the show when she left.


    Did you hope she would have come back to the show? Her character was kept alive off screen for quite a while after she left? I'm suspect everyone was glad to see the last of her.


    Would you have ever recast the role of Connie? No. We gleefully killed her off in a plane crash. But then of course this is soap where characters can be revivified with a little deft, if not shameless, writing.



    Why did she decide to leave the show? Basically I think she realized it was too much for her. She may even have planned on only doing one season. However I think she was also malicious enough to try to blame the quality of the show itself for her departure.


    Was the character of Frankie Colby going to die in the car crash? Or would she return in season 3? I don't recall any plans to write Frankie out. However you must remember that characters are always determined by how much use story-wise one can get out of them, and even more importantly, how much the actors are going to require on their new contracts. Hence the "fatal or non-fatal accident?" end-of -season cliffhangers that are the trademark of soaps.


    How did you feel about Joan Collins and Linda Evans refusing to do episodes of The Colbys? Were you disappointed in that? Disappointed yes, because we would have had fun with the characters. I didn't know Evans had refused. Collins refusal just struck me as spiteful at the time, though I'm sure she had her professional reasons.


    Did you like the crossing over of Dynasty characters to your show? Or did you find it tiresome, a chore? It was useful from the point of view of gaining an audience. However it was basically only a chore for the Pollocks, who aside from being the go-to experts on soap with all the tricks and dodges of the trade, were largely involved with co-ordinating the timeline and characters of "Dynasty" with "The Colbys" to avoid anachronisms.


    Why was Garrett Boydston written off the show in the season 2 premiere? As I recall he may have had another acting commitment, but I'm not sure.


    Would Channing Carter have returned or had she been written off completely? I imagine she would have departed, but then again, who knows? A lot would have depended on contracts and the wishes of the new writers.


    Did you have any mayor stories planned for the way ahead future, maybe season 4 or 5? Maybe a major death, like for example killing off Jason at some point? Any other mayor things that were supposed to happen, that would be of interest for the fans of the show? Under our circumstances, no plans.


    What do you think about what Dynasty's Season 9 did to The Colbys? That Miles and Monica were not Jason's kids and that Sable was raped by ... who knows who the father of the twins was. Could that have happened on "The Colbys" as well?
    I'm afraid I only caught a glimpse of it and what I saw did not delight me. I felt our finely nuanced Colby characters were being bent into an arch, "Dynasty" mold.



    Were there plans for Bliss and Kolya to return, or did those characters ran their course for good by the end of Season 2? Bliss would certainly have returned, with or without Kolya depending on what her story required. Again, cannot really answer that question.


    Were the cast and crew under a lot of pressure to make The Colbys a hit show?
    Yes, intense pressure. It was allegedly one of the most expensive shows ABC had ever produced.


    What do you like most about the Prime Time Soap genre? It's capacity for flights of fancy.


    Have you watched the other hit soaps? How do you think your show compares to those? I'm ashamed to say I haven't watched any other soaps, so cannot compare them.


    Unlike Dynasty, The Colbys did not have all the main characters in the opening credits. What was the reasoning for this?
    Contractual I suspect. You'd have to ask the Shapiros.


    Even though The Colbys only lasted for 2 seasons the show has become a cult favourite among soap fans. Are you proud of this? Very proud. Thank you for telling me.


    Would you have liked any other Colbys characters to have appeared in Dynasty's last season along with Sable and Monica? Not really, for the reasons I have already given.


    On The Colbys it was less obvious who to root for, was this intentional or did the story write itself, as it were? Intentional. Every character has to have good reasons for all the wretched things they may get up to. The stories were exceedingly carefully crafted with all the emotions carefully laid out for the writer/dialoguer.


    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? When we saw Heston's and Beacham's performances for the first time we realized we had two gems, so that encouraged us to focus on them. They became the motors of the serial. They were both excellent actors and knew how to get every nuance out of every line. And they sparked together. There was chemistry. And as you observe, it showed. Riccardo Montalban also had this magnetism and made for a fine, nuanced "villain". We were fortunate to have had the services of these three fine actors.


    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?
    As I recall Esther brought Mart in. The writer's job generally was pretty easy and amounted mostly to dialoguing - most of the script having been laid out by Bill and me in the extended scene-by-scene treatments. As our script editor Don Roos once remarked, all the writer basically had to do was to unpack the story treatment and stand it up. I have no idea where Arthur White came from. Possibly Mart suggested him as you infer, but I don't know.



    How involved were yourself and William Bast in the casting? Particularly Stephanie Beacham? How did you decide on her? Where there any other famous actresses that were considered at first? Bill and I had our say - in fact I recall I suggested Max Caulfield for the part of Miles. We were all, Esther, Richard, Bill and I, present at the major casting sessions and were immediately struck by Beacham. There were many other actresses under consideration; you should ask Esther for the details, she might remember.



    At what point did you realise that Stephanie Beacham was going to be the breakout star of the show and how did this affect the writing going forward? Well, as I said, she became the motor for the show.



    William Bast mentioned Elizabeth Taylor in the previous interview but were there any other stars that you'd hoped to cast on the show that either refused or were nixed by the higher powers? None that I know of; again another question Esther might answer.


    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?
    Conscious choice. Neither Bill nor I were basically soap-opera writers - it does involve quite a skill and enormous endurance. We did "The Colbys" for the experience, for the money, and because the Shapiros were two very good friends who promised to field all the extraneous crap show-runners frequently get burdened with from networks, actors and so on. However, writing soaps - any series - is an exhausting business; you are constantly running before a juggernaut that is bearing down on you, and for production purposes you have to keep ahead by several scripts. We'd been doing this for two years, and we were tired. So, been there, done that, we were happy to leave the genre.


    Prior to The Colbys, You and Bill Bast co-created the short-lived summer soap The Hamptons in 1983. What was your experience of working on that show versus working on The Colbys? "The Hamptons" was basically a nighttime summer replacement show written for daytime soap maven Gloria Monty, shot inexpensively on location on tape (a first back then, film stock being the usual medium) and it was our first attempt at soap. Bill and I had to devise our own method of working, with file cards on a huge bulletin board and so on. It was our "bible" for "The Hamptons" that landed in Esther Shapiro's hands I believe that gave her the idea of asking us to develop "The Colbys".



    Since you had not written a primetime soap before what was your template? Other primetime dramas? Other Soap Operas? No, I used the template I use for writing novels - detailed file cards to create an outline/"bible", which I then follow.


    How much freedom and leeway did you have in writing the show? Did everything have to be approved through Spelling and the Shapiros? We seemed to have lots of freedom; and yes everything was approved by Spelling and the Shapiros, and indeed the Pollocks who had executive producer/"created by" credits on the show. Our credits were producer/"developed by".


    Did the Pollock's let you do everything you wanted to? Or did they enforce any of their ideas into your show? They seemed to be happy to allow us to do everything we wanted to, and indeed were invaluable when it came to coming up with tried and true soap-opera dodges; also information about anything to do with Jeff and Fallon and other "visiting" "Dynasty" characters. They were a joy to work with and helped keep the burden of show running from becoming too onerous.



    Was there much interference from the network when the show wasn't performing as a hit? There may well have been, but if so the Shapiros shielded us from it. ABC actually seemed more concerned about keeping "Dynasty" in top place ratings-wise.


    How did yourself and William Bast end up working with Stephanie Beacham again on the Danielle Steel TV Movie Secrets? Had you remained good friends after The Colbys had finished? We were only acquaintances. Douglas Cramer, the sixth executive producer on "Colbys" (seventh if you count E. Duke Vincent), who was in charge of the "look" of the show and to whom credit goes for the glamor of sets and costumes, evidently took an option on several of Steel's novels to produce them as tele-movies. He hired Beacham - presumably on account of her performance as "Sable" - to play one of the leads, after he hired us to adapt the novel.


    Dynasty seemed meant to be modelled on old melodramas from the 1930s and 1940s, and in it's best years it has that kind of look and feel. The Colbys seems to be in a way more modelled or styled on melodramas from the 1950s and 1960s.

    The Colbys has the look and feel of a Douglas Sirk/Ross Hunter production. Were those kind of films ever in you or William Bast's mind when creating the show? In both the writing and the look of the show?
    I'm not entirely sure you can say that "Dynasty" was "meant to be modelled on" those melodramas, as you put it. Rather I think it grew out of daytime soap, but with nighttime writing and production values added. Likewise, "Colbys" was not really copying or emulating anything. Rather it was simply the product of Bill and my and the Shapiro's and Pollocks' combined thinking, enshrined in Doug Cramer's magnificent, opulent sets and costumes, which lent it that, as you say, Ross Hunter production look. It was not something consciously sought for. (And by the way, Bill and I did not contractually technically "create" the show, we "developed" it.)


    The art on The Colbys was in my opinion much better than on Dynasty, was any of your amazing art ever featured on the sets of The Colbys? No, but the art of my mother, Olga Lehmann, who among other talents was a professional portrait painter to such stars as Marlene Dietrich, does feature in the three Colby portraits, of Sable, Jason and Connie.


    And lastly this one's from member Willie Olsen


    Who were Jeff and Fallon's little flower girls at their wedding? lol Alas I do not know, I wish I did. Maybe IMDB lists the cast for the wedding?


    Again, many thanks for taking the time to share your memories and thoughts with some very serious fans of a great show that we will be forever grateful for.
    My pleasure!
    P.
     
    • Winner Winner x 11
    • Thanks Thanks x 4

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