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The Pilot - fresh overview, 40 YEARS AFTER

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Luke Fuller, Apr 4, 2020.

  1. Luke Fuller

    Luke Fuller Soap Chat Member

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    Yesterday I watched the Pilot again. It was a coincidence that it happened almost 40 years after the start of shooting with actors. According to my notes, The Pilot was shot from April 14th to May 8th 1980 (with George Peppard) and from October 27th to November 13th 1980 (with John Forsythe). Of course, I watched it many times before but I was nicely surprised how much I was thrilled. Three parts format seems to be still monumental, but a little impractical. (It took me two weeks to have enough time to watch the show as a whole.) For the first and last time we got a plenty of exterior shots, a lot of hired actors, a lot of food and a lot of (political) irony in dialogues – and American flag on the mansion and the opening gate with BC initials. I am not able to see The Pilot without having the following seasons of Dynasty on my mind. And it only supports my impression from what I saw (although I know that the majority of the first season is not as good as this and although I am a big fan of seasons 5, 2 and 3). I would say that the first season is really experimental (as Ester Shapiro said in a bonus on DVD) and The Pilot was a sort of an experiment inside the experiment. (An expensive experiment, Aarong Spelling would add.)

    This time I concentrated on details in dialogues. And I was surprised that I discovered a lot of new or forgotten things. Let me share the results.

    The things, facts, details which I remembered:

    The very same reverend from the first wedding of Blake and Krystle again appeared at the wedding of Alexis and Cecil in season 3 (and again in season 8).
    Blake has wealth of 200 million of dollars and owns a football team - according to friends of Krystle.
    Matthew is saying the sentences later used for a recording in season 4 (during a dialogue with Claudia in a bistro).
    Matthew spent a year and half in the Middle East.
    Claudia was in a sanatorium named River Haven and was released a month ago. She visits a doctor three times a week.
    Krystle admits that horses do not like her.
    It is mentioned for the first time that Krystle was born in Dayton, Ohio. (Lindsay reads this information in the news.)
    Lindsay thinks over about being a vegetarian.
    Jeanette and Hilda are not here among servants. They joined the show in The Honeymoon episode, just after The Pilot.
    Jeff mentioned (twice) a second wedding of his mother.
    A funny conversation between Steven and Jeff about president Roosevelt. Was he a president of Bulgaria or Czechoslovakia? (Later, there was another remark about my country when Fallon mentioned tennis champion Ivan Lendl in Mark episode. Lendl was still a Czechoslovakian citizen in 1982.)
    Blake offered 320 thousand of dollars and 2 % from future profit in an exchange for Walter´s leases.
    It is mentioned (at least twice) that a mother of Steven and Fallon LEFT.

    The things, facts, details which I forgot, never realized:

    Blake owns 70 % of Denver Carrington.
    Blake has the biggest house / the mansion in all Colorado – according to friends of Krystle.
    Steven left he university two years ago.
    Steven was crying at the end of a dialogue with Blake about homosexuality (well, one spot in one eye).
    There are small white statues in Denver Carrington which later appeared many times, including in a flat of Jeff in season 8 (and Fallon criticized them as an example of bad taste of Sammy Jo).
    Lindsay has a small TV-set in a room of her.
    Matthew lost 30 thousand of dollars because of the last business with Walter.
    Krystle told Blake that her father had died in the past (during a “flip-coin” conversation in the plane).
    There is Bunky Jones (a friend of Linda Evans) among girls preparing Krystle for the wedding. At least, I would say it is her (she is not credited in the closing titles). Bunky Jones later appeared as a nurse in season 3, Julia from Denver Carrington in season 4, a (probably rich) friend of Krystle in season 5 and a nurse in California in season 7.
    Fallon changed hair-style radically during a conversation with Steven and Blake (dinner at a long table, later used for the opening credit of Al Corley). The change was a result of mix of shots from spring and autumn.
    Fallon remembers Jeff from summer camp when she was 11. (Later, they claimed that Jeff and Fallon had known each other from the very early years.)
    Blake refused to answer a direct question whether he is responsible for a sabotage on a Walter´s rig.
    The last shot was on Krystle, not on Blake and Krystle as I remembered.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
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  2. Tony

    Tony Soap Chat Active Member

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    Re the pilot, the director Ralph Senesky has updated his posts on the making on his website. Fascinating little titbits like changing the start from Matthew in the Middle East, to Blake in the mansion - an obvious move since the mansion would play such a central part. And how they shot pickups to film around George Peppard when John Forsythe replaced him.

    http://senensky.com/special-another-look-dynasty/
     
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    Almost 97!
     
  4. Hilda Potroast

    Hilda Potroast Soap Chat Member

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    I always felt the stature they wanted to show to the world through Dynasty and the Carringtons didn't last after the first glimpses we saw in the pilot.
    The pilot was beautiful in a classic way, but almost all the characters had a harshness that was unpleasant.
    Dynasty is difficult, it is and it isn't at the same time. It still warps the mind 35-40 years later.
    The underlying picture is rather brilliant, although, oddly enough, we seldom got to see this. They had so much it crippled them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  5. colbyco

    colbyco Soap Chat Active Member

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    The pilot is really outstanding in style, script and running time. Long scenes, great dialouge, fascinating three dimensional characters. It´s more a movie then a pilot for a prime time sopa opera that´s why the director made it and later left. It´s more art than trash.

    If Alexis had been alreday there and the show would have been a hit the show could have been more art and less trash ... only Alexis beeing the grand jet-setting drama queen and the others more human ...
     
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  6. Hilda Potroast

    Hilda Potroast Soap Chat Member

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    I love the exterior shots, the calmness, the birds chirping, Blake leading the horse, the serenity -- in the long chaos waiting to be unleashed.
     
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  7. thomaswak

    thomaswak Soap Chat Addict

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    The first time I watched Dynasty's pilot, I was a kid. I was amazed of its grander and its many exterior scenes. I remember my mom saying that she was impressed because Dallas didn't have many (outside shots)... Little did we know, a few years laters Dynasty would be mainly shot in studios. Till season 9 : Paulsen gave the show regular exterior shots, and Dynasty could breath, again.
     
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  8. Matthew Blaisdel

    Matthew Blaisdel Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    That's so cool, love that guy! I don't even dare to hope to ever reach that age, but if i do, i'd love to be like him and keep up with modern technology. So awesome!
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  9. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Mega Star

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    I don't remember thinking DALLAS did not have outside shots--quite the opposite. But DALLAS was, perhaps by design, parochial, and that was a complete turn off for me. The grandeur, as you mentioned, the magnitude of DYNASTY's pilot scope was sublime in setting (FiLoLi and its estate), in music, cinematography, and certainly in the grand design of the characters and the dialogue.

    Frankly, even the rest of season 1 pales somewhat to its pilot. But the show did have exterior shots in the first three seasons--for better or worse, we had La Mirage, and of course Arden Villa; they just dwindled later on.
    As for season 9, Paulsen indeed claimed he had to reduce Collins' appearances to get money for location shooting, and while he used that money for some nice exterior shots, he also used it to build the fake "pretend outside" in front of the mansion, so it's a mixed bag.
     
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  10. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I can understand that in a way -- DALLAS had its Texas location shooting and the ranch, but its blur of tiny, re-dressed offices could create as claustrophobic an atmosphere as DYNASTY's blur of overstuffed white couches set against white walls.
     
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  11. Luke Fuller

    Luke Fuller Soap Chat Member

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    We have three hour The Pilot at the beggining and four hour The Reunion at the end. What an arch between them. And what a difference in quality between them too.
     
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  12. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Mega Star

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    And while I would not expect something as good as the pilot, I would have liked something better for the Reunion than the awful contrived plot which also ignored years of stories--and which did not even take place in the original mansion. If Paulsen had proven something in season 9, is that he had more story for the Carringtons, even if everybody else had run out. I would have fought tooth and nail to have him included in some capacity, but instead the team that produced it was the same team that had run out of steam years ago.
     
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  13. thomaswak

    thomaswak Soap Chat Addict

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    Quoted for agreement.

    Paulsen would have delivered something way better than the awful - I want it out from my very existence - Reunion.
     
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  14. AdamCarringtons1truelove

    AdamCarringtons1truelove Soap Chat Newbie

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    He might also have been able to sort out the scheduling problem with Gordon Thomson and prevented that horrendous recast
     
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  15. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    For me, the 1980 pilot is a metaphor for the '70s shift into the '80s, especially given that DYNASTY has always been seen as the series most reflective of and by the '80.

    As I've asserted many times, the calendar year of 1980 was the de facto final year of the '70s, and the melancholy tone of the pilot (and, more modestly, much of Season 1) evokes that. There was something about the '70s that permitted a movie or TV show to create a sense of a history for a character from the moment they appeared on screen, even if the script doesn't really elaborate on that. And that's what the pilot ("Oil" Parts 1 thru 3, although that still seems as wrong a title for the pilot as it does the series --- the pilot indeed feels more like a "Mile High") had going for it: a very '70s sense of forlornness, the end of that ~15 year period when Blake, Fallon and Steven occupied that big mansion all by themselves, alone with their quiet servants, the large, hushed hallways dimly illuminated by the corrupt yellow from an occasional window. The eight minute real time scene between Blake and Steven in the library a near-perfect example -- you really feel the years and sense of time behind it.

    [​IMG]

    Obviously, the tone had to quickly shift as the '80s were coming in fast, and Season 2 began that '80s flavor But the '70s zeitgeist of angsty loss was a nice place for DYNASY to start (just as the wintry 1978 mini-series was a good place for DALLAS to get its footing).

    If only the series had stayed focused on plot and character after 1982 or so.

    And that's why I found Season 9 to be strangely touching -- it reminded me of the lost, yet smash hit, series that had been wandering around on another frequency for six years.

    [​IMG]


    It would have been interesting (i.e., better) had Paulsen been allowed to bring his Season 10 bible to THE REUNION, but the Shapiros (and certainly the Pollocks) weren't interested in that. After all, Esther went around claiming that "the show was taken away from us" (when she'd sought Paulsen out for Season 9, and before that for Season 6) and that ABC wanted the Pollocks brought back (another fib, as all ABC wanted for years was to cancel it).
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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  16. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    If I remember correctly (and I may not) Ralph Senensky said the first scene shot was the hillside exchange between Krystle and Matthew on April 14, 1980 -- forty years ago this week.

    [​IMG]
     
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