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Christine Visits Joshua Slow in America: Cul-de-sac, Paley Center & Hollywood Show!
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us..."
So begins one of the greatest novels ever written, Charles Dicken's A TALE OF TWO CITIES about life in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. Only this, I think, could capture all the feelings I must have gone through during Christine's recent visit to California. She and her husband Ray spent nearly three weeks travelling up and down the Sunshine State, some of it up north in San Francisco, some of it down south in Palm Springs. And some of it right here in Los Angeles.
Of course it was wonderful for me again to see Christine, her blonde hair and green eyes shining more brightly than ever. And that smile that lights up my heart and the whole room as well. (I hadn't seen her since my trip to Europe several summers ago.) And her dashing husband Ray, loyally maneuvering their rental car as Christine repeated directions from their portable German-language GPS. "Bitte rechts abbiegen, bitte links abbiegen," says the automated voice of what the Germans and the French like to call a Navigateur, and Christine will sometimes echo the commands.
Okay, at times it sounded more like a covert Luftwaffe operation than a trip to a dead-end street in the San Fernanado Valley, but whatever. I now have been the faithful cul-de-sac tour guide to so many KL fans who speak with foreign accents: There was Knots Man from Scotland, Michele from Tel Aviv--and of course Tommy Fairgate, whose Boston accent often wasn't as hard to decipher as the fashion choices of his diva alter ego, Shelley Novak.
The Navigateur mostly does its job beautifully as the three of us spend time together (sometimes the whole day), navigating to and from L. A. KNOTS sites--everywhere from Torrance Beach to Granada Hills to Beverly Hills to visit the Paley Center for Media (formerly known as the Museum of Television and Radio) and of course to Burbank to see the Hollywood Show.
Our first day together we must first and foremost see the cul-de-sac. This command came straight from Christine's mouth, not from the GPS. It's a Thursday (appropriate as that was KNOTS LANDING's air day for so many years), but the downside is that it must be a work day for many of the Crystalaire Place residents. There are plenty of garbage cans around but not so many people. That afternoon, we travel south to visit Torrance High School, knot a KNOTS site but a place where BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was filmed. We end up being stopped TWICE by security guards. The first one tells us we can't take pictures of the front of the high school during school hours. But Christine still wants to go inside to look at the fountain. So after he leaves we enter the school. Then we get stopped by a second security guard who tells us we can't sight-see at all during the school day. We have to come back after 3 p. m. This is Christine's first big disappointment, I think. The second follows shortly when we aimlessly looked for "Buffy's house" (which is nearby) but to no avail.
I suggest a trip to Santa Monica to go online, confirm the address of Buffy's house, leisurely stroll up and down the pier (and maybe ride some rides), promenade on the Third Street Promenade and relax at a French restaurant called Le Pain Quotidien ("the Daily Bread"). This leisure-relaxation idea ends up knot being so very leisurely and relaxing as Christine wants to promptly reappear at the Torrance High School at 3 p. m. So we scarf down the food (not much time for me to practice my French), race across the Promenade, dash to the pier (no time for rides, most aren't operating anyway) and then take a taxi to a Fed-Ex Office to use the computer for a couple of minutes and scribble down an address. I guess her idea of a relaxing afternoon and mine differ slightly. (I am exaggerating, but you get the point.)
Anyway, we do safely return to Torrance High School in the late-afternoon. This time there are few teenagers around and we're allowed to take as many photos as we want (provided that we don't take any with students in them). Someone in an administrative building gleefully speaks German to Ray, but it's knot Christine's idea of a good time, I think. There are so many more places to go, so many more things to see.
This time we do find our way to the correct address of Buffy's house, our handy GPS often speaking pleasnt requests to us in German--please turn right here, please turn left there. Last but not least, shortly before the sun begins to set, we whirl our way to the Torrance Beach, site of the KNOTS scenes from the pilot where Valene sees the ocean for the very first time and frolics in the waves. A very kind older lady walking her dog points us twice in the right direction. All the way to the end, she advises (basically the first and second time we see her). That's where they do all the film shooting, she explains. Christine doesn't exactly have time to put on a sundress and dance in the Pacific as the sun will set soon and the ocean air is a little brisk. Suddenly it was the winter of despair.
On Friday, we visit the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. We had everything before us, yes...but at times we had nothing before us. I was like a kid in a TV candy shop when I found out that they had all the episodes of these old TV shows for screening, and you only have to give an optional donation of your choosing to spend the whole day there. Another time I could return and spend the whole afternoon watching MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN reruns. But perhpas most importantly for both of us was at long last getting to see what other Knots Knuts here on the forum had already seen: The Museum of Television and Radio's Salute to KNOTS LANDING. We decide that we will watch the whole thing except for the episode that was re-shown, "Celebation" from season four, in which Ciji Dunne (Lisa Hartman-Black) ends up dead as driftwood. We have a number of hours in the afternoon, yes; but as the Paley Center is not open in the mornings, we have to use those minutes carefully. That evening we will be attending a filming of the Charlie Sheen sitcom TWO AND A HALF MEN and must be in Burbank at 5:30 p. m. sharp.
It ends up KNOT being a good idea to fast-forward through "Celebration." At one point I press the End key instead of FF, and this ends up screwing up the tape big-time. Yes, they still have videotapes and not DVD's. As I am a person who also own a lot of videos, I normally would find this charming, not irritating. But as ten, twenty minutes go by and the tape still has not been readjusted, I long for advanced technology. Christine is not too happy with me, I think, as my finger on the End button caused all the delays. And when the tape finally begins to run again...it suddenly stops for no apparent reason. More delays.
But the story does have a happy ending. We do finally get to screen the whole tribute in all its glory. Constance McCashin's occasional eye rolls at David Jacobs, and her funny reappearance after John Pleshette's tale of Hartman and McCashin's prank with the fake mustaches. Her excuse? "I had to pee." Constance, always so candid! It was refreshing to hear Don Murray tell of how he found David Jacobs to be one of the men in the industry "most free of destructive ego." And curious to decipher the seating arrangements. Who put Constance right by David Jacobs? And you had to feel sorry for Kathleen Noone and Stacy Galina, who scarcely got to say anything.
We have a little more time to view other things (but not a whole lot). Christine also wants to see a salute to BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, I want to see the one to MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN. Ray, meanwhile, is watching an interview with political filmmaker Michael Moore. I get to see enough of the MARY HARTMAN tribute to hear "Mary's daughter," Claudia Lamb, utter the wonderful remark, "I ended up being one of the five child actors not in the Betty Ford Clinic or in jail.
The Paley Center ended up looking like a total success in comparison to what would happen at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. Christine had ordered tickets online quite awhile in advance of the filming of tonight's episode of TWO AND A HALF MEN, and we had already been so worried that Charlie Sheen might be in jail instead of the studio that night. Nonetheless, there were reportedly so many VIP's in attendance, that we still couldn't get in. We waited a good hour after the start of the filming "just in case" someone left, but to no avail.
Saturday is of course the Hollywood Show. A chance for Knots fans to meet their favorite stars in the flesh. Michele Lee, Kevin Dobson, Donna Mills, Ted Shackelford and Joan van Ark are all there. So by the way are fellow Knots Knuts Cambeck and Anakin. Currently I have an extra 15 pounds to lose, so I shy away from all the photographers. And I also shy away from paying anything besides the entrance fee of $30.
You must be joking! Joshua thinks to himself. They want $20 for an autograph--and that's not even for the KL group but for ONE PERSON! And then $10 more for a photo with each of them.
But I dutifully wait in line with Christine to give my line, "Christine came ALL THE WAY from Germany" to see if anyone begins speaking German to her. I am right in my prediction. Joan van Ark offers a "Guten Tag" and Ted says, "Du kommst aus Deutschland" and starts talking about how he breeds dogs and often visits Germany. Ted is polite but formal--it seems to me that he would prefer to be with his dogs right now. Kevin Dobson is warm, sincere and affectionate. He shakes my hand, smiles and gives me such a warm, fatherly look. He is also the only one who allows Christine to take a photo with him FOR FREE when she tells him that she came all the way from Germany to meet them and later greets her with "my German friend." Donna Mills is gracious and nice. At one point I glance at her from a distance, smile and she smiles back sweetly. Michele Lee was friendly and bubbly. She shook my hand and smiled very broadly, it really touched me. Others came up to her and started seeing songs that she had done, and she started singing with them.
Maybe to the German sensibility Michele Lee's theatricality was even a little too much, a tad showy.
But later I had to deliver the following remark to Christine about Joan van Ark: "I didn't think her [Joan van Ark's] friendliness was showy because I didn't think she was very friendly." I delivered my line to Joan about how Christine had come all the way from Germany. Joan said "Guten Tag" to Christine but hardly looked at me. Then Joan launches into talking about her interview with the German TV station RTL and how they took so much longer to do the interview than they were supposed to "and then they only wrote mean things." Another German there also told Christine that within the expanse of only two days Joan told him that same story THREE TIMES. Apparently whenever anyone says they're German, she tells them this story.
Looking at the photos of herself on the table, I also say to Joan, "I think the one with fleur-de-lis is very nice." She responds, "That's really who I am, I think." She makes little eye contact when she speaks to me, does not smile and does not act very appreciative. Then when I say, "Have a happy Valentine's Day," she "corrects" me and says, "Wish me that tomorrow" because it is only the 13th. Yeah, whatever.
Christine decides she wants to go back for a second day when she finds out that Arnold Schwartzenegger may be joining the TERMINATOR table. Well...not to get political, but that means I DEFINITELY won't return with her on Sunday.
There's more I could say, but I'm at a library which is closing. Christine...anything you want to add? Again, it was great seeing her and Ray again.
So Joan wasn't very friendly to you? Did she say anything else to you guys?
Thanks for your responses, knotsfan616168 and Karin. Maybe when she gets a chance Christine will want to add some of her own fondest memories of her trip and maybe upload a few more pics.
In answer to 616168's question, no, I did not find Joan to be especially friendly. I know another Knots Knutter there echoed my same sentiments.
It may be partially my own fault. At one point I was standing in line with Christine to see Joan and we were almost to the front. Christine suddenly decides her camera isn't good enough for a picture with Joan, she wants a fellow German to come back over and use HIS camera. So I scream at her, right in front of Joan: "So you want us to wait in this f------ line all over again?!"
Joan may have heard me swearing and yelling at Christine and pegged me for an abusive husband (no wonder she hated me then).
I think Joan was much friendlier to Christine. Christine even had her hair up in little pigtails (as Valene sometimes wore her hair). This I think helped endear Joan to Christine. Joan called Christine "cutie"...and well, I guess I'll let Christine tell herself anything else Joan may have said to her.
I also remember that early on on Saturday Joan said to Kevin, "What up, Kevin?" And Christine and I were nearby when a guy presented Joan with a photo of her and Patrick Duffy to sign. Joan yelled to Ted, who seemed slighly irritated about her interrupting him from his own fans, "Did Bobby get off all right?" It make both Christine and me laugh.
I believe on the other thread about the Hollywood Show James from London asked if the actors collect the money themselves. The answer is no, each actor has an assitant sitting with him/her. The assistant typically does all the business of collecting the money, giving them the photo they paid for, etc., and the money is then put in a big glass case or whatever.
Kevin at one point jokingly asked why Ted got to sit in the middle.
Thanks for sharing more about the event, Joshua. I really enjoyed reading what you had to say. I'd love to hear about it from Christine as well.
That's funny about Joan yelling to Ted "Did Bobby get off alright".
Thanks for sharing your story with us. I'm disappointed about Joan though. Fans deserve a bit more than that.
"If You Love Something....Let It Go....If It Comes Back To You It's Yours...If Not, It Never Was."
It's all a matter of perception though. I for one thought Joan was super nice and very sincere too. I had my problems with Michele Lee though and Joshua thought she was very nice...so....
Originally Posted by Tatianna
I'll come back with more comments....
I think it's best to add some comments here and there...
I picked a work day for my first visit on purpose. I actually did not want to see any of the real life owners, this would have been an embarrassing situation to me. I dunno why. So but now that the houses were empty I could spend as much time there as I wished to. That was nice. It would have made me nervous seeing the real residents around, maybe even in the front yard.
Our first day together we must first and foremost see the cul-de-sac. This command came straight from Christine's mouth, not from the GPS. It's a Thursday (appropriate as that was KNOTS LANDING's air day for so many years), but the downside is that it must be a work day for many of the Crystalaire Place residents. There are plenty of garbage cans around but not so many people.
And I know...Knots Man got to go inside Valene's house and Michele got to go inside too. And Joshua Slow got to go twice. But do I really need to go inside I ask myself? The answer is no. The real house looks very different inside and this would only confuse me. Like it consufed me being at THE "Melrose Place" and there was no pool inside, .
So yeah, I prefered having some quiet moments in the cul-de-sac. I think we spent at least 15 minutes there and I took lots and lots of pictures. Me in front of every house in different ancles, then only the houses ..I also did some filming with my digital camera.
And for the record: My first visit to the cul-de-sac on Thursday - there were no garbage cans. When we went back there on Monday, they all had their garbage cans outside. But luckily I had already taken lots of pictures on Thursday.
Visiting the beach where Valene saw the ocean for the first time was fun too. A million years ago I had read here in this very forum that this beach scene was filmed in Torrance. The name stuck with me cause I knew that the "West Beverly Hills High School" was not in Beverly Hills but in Torrance. Now, the West Beverly Hills High was of course also the "Sunnydale High School" where Buffy went to. And I definitely had to see it!
When we were done taking hundreds of pictures of the backyard (by the fountain) and the school front we thought, what the heck, let's try and find Val's beach too. Our GPS did not find a "Torrance Beach" though but it found us "Rodondo Beach". And once we found Rodondo we saw that further down the road there is another big parking lot and this might be Torrance Beach. And then the lady who was walking her dog from Rodondo to Torrance Beach confirmed that yes, this was Torrance Beach over there. When we got there Joshua and I were both not sure if this is the beach now or not. But then..when we saw the ramp we knew this was Val's beach. Okay to be honest, it wasn't until we saw the pilot the next day that we were completely sure. Just a thought Christine for future viewings of tv locations: You might want to re-watch the shows first. Just a sidenote: A few days later I went to see the hotel that was used on "Angel" and I took lots of pictures but I am still not sure if it was the right one. So I guess I need to be better in my preperation the next time I visit sunny California.
Okay...I'll be back with more comments ....
Last edited by Christine; 03-03-2010 at 01:59 PM.
Thanks for posting your comments, Christine. I look forward to hearing more later (if you come back on and write about the Hollywood show). I'm glad to hear you thought Joan was nice. I'd love to hear what else Joan and the other cast members said to you.
That's interesting that you didn't really like Michele Lee (or whatever the case was). I know some people who went really liked Michele. Everyone I knew who went also said that Joan was really nice, so it was interesting to hear that she wasn't that nice to you, Joshua. Maybe she did hear you swearing at Christine, but I guess that wouldn't explain why another fan, who you (Joshua) mentioned also thought Joan wasn't very friendly.
Also, by the way, Christine, if you don't mind me asking, what did you think of Constance in action when you got to watch the tribute? I've been really wanting to see it for years too, so I do think it's exciting.
Thanks to the people who have posted replies. And, Christine, I enjoyed reading your own account (so far) of your experiences in California. Of course you were here for awhile, and you saw a lot of things.
Today I remembered something else that I had meant to write about but forgot.
At one point Christine and her husband visited the Palm Springs area and went out to Indio to go Devane's restaurant. They were disappointed to find that...it's not open for business anymore. That's unfortunate.
But the good news, which I only recently found out about, is that Devane's isn't closed, it has only moved. It is now in Rancho Mirage, CA (40101 Monterey--still near Palm Springs, I think).
And yes, I guess everyone has his/her own perception of people. Some of the Germans found Michele Lee's friendliness to be a bit of a show, while Christine in contrast found it refreshing that Joan was just being Joan--she was just being herself, who she is. That's how Christine saw her. (Christine, if I put words in your mouth, you can of course correct me.)
I personally didn't find Michele Lee to be showy. Just someone who, well, wants to be a Pollyanna and make your day a really memorable one that you'll talk about for a long time. And Kevin Dobson was really so very warm and sincere and compassionate and fatherlike--Christine and I both were in agreement on this.
Christine, maybe when you have a little more time you can write more. And maybe some pics too?
Originally Posted by knotsfan61618
I thought it was hilarious, the way she spoke to David Jacobs. You could clearly tell she was still upset about being fired on Knots. One time they spoke about how Lisa Hartman was killed off and was later brought back as Cathy and then David Jacobs said that from that moment on he did not want to kill off major characters anymore and then Constance interrupts him and says : "Excuse me?" I think Constance is a lot like Laura.
First I need to explain that I did not like the money making ascpect of the Hollywood show. People in this forum have voiced their concerns before, many have asked if the money the actors make goes to charity and the answer is no. Well there are very few exceptions. I heard Stephanie Powers had a sign, saying the money would go to charity.
Okay I understand that actors also need to make a living but do I really need to charge 25 Dollars for writing my name and 20 Dollars for a picture, taken with the fan's OWN camera?
I just was not prepared for this and it kind of created a strange atmosphere for me.
And well then there was this incident with Michele that really upset me. Maybe I am being too sensitive about this but it's just knot a nice experience getting yelled at by your favorite tv stars. Here's the story:
Michele Lee yelled at me cause I was taking pictures of Michele, Donna and Joan posing with a fan. I noticed that many fans were taking pictures of this and so I thought "hey, I want a pic of this too" so I start taking some pics when all of a sudden she yells at me: "Noooo! THEY paid for this!!!".
This was a huge disappointment for me. It was only half an hour ago that I had even PAID her for an autograph, 25 Dollars and she got that I was from Germany and she told me she liked my shirt. So she MUST have remembered me that half an hour later. Well, so here's me thinking "great, I am spending around thousand dollars (flight, hotel, etc.) to see her and her cast mates and now she's yelling at me".
Well later Michele explained to another fan (I was overhearing the conversation) that the organizers of the show had them sign a contract with certain rules, etc. So I guess no pictures for free...
The problem is that that as a con guest you could just not know the rules. They didn't have any signs. And German conventions are a lot different, you can take as many pictures as you like of the stars, sitting at their table, posing with fans, as long as you don't use flash.
At the Hollywood show, people were taking pictures of the stars with flash and no-one seemed to mind. So I just didn't know I was doing something wrong. I basically just did what other fans did, thinking it was alright.
I just think she could have said it in a nicer tone....
I totally understand that you had to pay 20 Dollars to get a picture of the star with you IN the picture. But taking photos of them was actually allowed so I don't know why this situation was any different. The people who paid Michele, Donna and Joan to be in a photo with them paid so that they would be IN the pic (with the three ladys it was a shot for 75 Dollars!!!). But do I need to pay them for taking a picture of them without me in it?
Ah, this is all strange....money, money, money...
Yes and well, this is sticking with me now. It's just that Knots Landing is my all time favorite show, I've been watching it since I was 14 and the show has been so super important to me. So yes, it did hurt my feelings, being yelled at by "Karen".
Last edited by Christine; 03-06-2010 at 03:45 PM.
Thanks for the account of the event. It sounds great, I'm more jealous that you got to go to the beach
These events are about the money. Its quite unforfunate how far the crest has fallen. If it were for charity I could understand her yelling in a jokey fashion but she must be desperate for cash or something.
I know we love these shows but there is something uncomfortably sychophantic about it all when they are chargeing for a photo. Its like celebrity prostitution.
You guys are wonderful to write such detailed accounts of your trip. As others have stated, really makes you want to attend one!
Your Knots weekend sounds WONDERFUL!
Thanks for sharing!
Christine, I can't believe you got yelled at by Karen MacKenzie!
Yes it just felt odd.
Originally Posted by Pamela
And after the yelling part I kind of avoided further contact with Ms. Lee...
Originally Posted by Pamela
Canon, I wish I was a Pollyanna. (then I would not take it so personally...or whatever....I just can't seem to get over it....)
And just for the record.....
this was allowed...they were posing like that for a few minutes and fans were allowed to take pics.....so how am I supposed to know one hour later that the rules have changed all of a sudden?
Last edited by Christine; 03-07-2010 at 04:53 PM.
You'd think Mack would be the shouty one.
Michele's hair looks better than it has in ages. More to the point, if anyone was going to be a diva it was going to be her. How could you guys not anticipate that? Joan is shy and aloof. Donna (like most women who plays bitches) is probably a sweetheart and the men are just along for the ride. I almost went to this thing but didn't see the post in time and ultimately decided to spend my tax return on a new iPod, HDTV, tickets to South Pacific and a bunch of clothes.
I'm glad I didn't go after reading this post. I don't like the idea of having the pay for photos when you guys spent so much money to fly out to LA. Christine, you also brought your husband so that's double the money! I wish they would factor the price of photos into the tickets. I know with most soap events that's how it is and there is no charge for photos. They had merchandise for whatever the show is and individual actors will have their own stuff that people can buy. T-shirts, hats, dvds, cds, etc. OR another way they make money is by throwing their own private parties at a bar or something after the main event is over.
The most interesting part of your journey is the trip to the Paley Center and of course the cul-de-sac. I'd love to visit the Paley Center for so many reasons. Another place I'd love to visit is UCLA which has a massive collection of soap stuff, but most of it isn't available for public viewing. I'd beg, cry or say I came all the way from Africa to try and watch some of those videos.
Sorry you didn't get to stop by Devane's. I wonder if they have a website for the restaurant. That would've been helpful. Oh well, there is always next time.
Glad you guys had fun.