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Who Should Have Been on Knots?

Discussion in 'Knots Landing' started by ClassyCo, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat TV Fanatic EXP: 6 Years

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    I'm talking about actors, characters, and all of the above.

    Was there anyone you wished would have came in, and who would they have played?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  2. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat TV Fanatic EXP: 6 Years

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    I think Knots Landing could have benefited from the use of old Hollywood actors in recurring or guest roles. Sure, the show used Julie Harris, Howard Duff, Ruth Roman, and Ava Gardner, but they still seemed like they could have used someone else in the mix to spice things up.

    Maybe it's because I'm an old Hollywood geek, but I like it when the soaps brought in familiar faces from Hollywood's yesteryear. Falcon Crest was probably the most frequent user of this trend, which is one of the reasons I have a soft spot for the vineyards in my heart.

    Knots Landing was not as a glitzy as Dynasty or Dallas, so it would not have made any real sense for a Rock Hudson or Donna Reed to drop in. They needed someone a little more flat in their image, but I'm not too sure who.

    Maybe Carroll Baker could have dropped in as Cathy's mother, or maybe Lena Horne could have played a nightclub singer.

    I don't know. I seem to be rambling a little, but it would certainly have intrigued me had the producers felt the need to bring in old Hollywood stars to familiarize audiences with them.

    They might have saw it as a "jump the shark" thing, and they may not have wanted any criticism surrounding their apparent attempt to "prop" their Nielsen ratings with former matinee idols.

    Who knows?
     
  3. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    Most times when Knots did hire a 'big name,' the character was more important than who was playing it--in other words, I saw Ruth Galveston trading barbs with Laura Avery rather than Ava Gardner with Constance McCashin. FC did the stunt casting in reverse, it seemed--they would line up a big name, then try to come up with a character for that actor and (usually, but not always) it ended up being "OMG, Maggie's talking to Kim Novak!"

    I mention Ava because she's the only one (of Ruth Roman, Howard Duff, etc.) who felt like a real "stunt casting" rather than just hiring a really good actor for a role*. Articles written at the time bear this out, since they originally wanted Olivia de Havilland for the role, and homed in on Ava Gardner when de Havilland had a schedule conflict or something. The writers had (correctly, I say) imagined the role being occupied by someone with a large screen presence--I mean, she'd be Greg Sumner's mother!--so hiring a film star would be logical. But Ruth was dreamed up long before they settled on who would play the role. CBS likely applied some pressure for KL to join the stunt-casting sweepstakes to "keep up with the Joneses (and Ewings and Carringtons and Channings…)" but obviously they didn't jump in as enthusiastically as the others, likely because the stunt castings often distracted from the business of writing a good soap.

    * I don't count Michael York because he wasn't a "really good actor for the role". It was indeed stunt casting, but turned out so unwatchable that I try to forget it happened.

    That said....if the show had decided to "be more like the others" during the middle years (seasons five through eight), they could have hired a larger-name actor to play Mark St. Claire. They didn't even need to change any aspect of the plotline, but the story might have been given a bit more "umph". It might have been some well-liked actor trying to shed his good-guy image, or maybe an actor famous for being the heavy in westerns or whatever who gave St. Claire even more menace simply by being played by that actor.

    The role of Dr. Ackerman also strikes me as a juicy part for a more notable actor looking for a brief but pivotal role. Ideally, it would be some actor well-known for playing a kindly doctor (Robert Young?) who makes the viewers think Val is in good hands...only to see his real motivation/actions and be horrified. Ackerman's interactions with Val and others were staged as ominous from the first time we saw him, but using such an actor's image to fool the viewer at first would be interesting.

    Maybe they could have hired a "real musician" (a rock star trying his hand at acting) for the short-term part of Sonny, the reporter who posed as a musician to get close to Cathy to expose what really happened with Joshua. They could have adjusted the role to have him do a number with Lisa Hartman. Rick Springfield had already been on General Hospital (with Doug Sheehan!) so that would have been fun.

    Can you imagine if TPTB had decided to hire short-term Dallas featured-player Brad Pitt to play Jason Lochner?

    As for the characters mentioned but never seen, I thought Mack's sister Megan was a character that could have been brought in at several points.
     
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  4. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Winner EXP: 18 Years

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    [​IMG]

    Introducing Ms. Donna Reed as Karen´s mum Sprayson Cooper...​
     
  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    Esther Shapiro as a guest in Open Mike.
     
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  6. Jimmy Todd

    Jimmy Todd Soap Chat Addict EXP: 1 Year

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    This is a really good question, @ClassyCo. It's hard for me to think of any offhand. I generally liked KL's choices. The only one I can remember not liking were Michael York because I thought he was terrible in that role, and he trashed KL after he was on it as if it was beneath him when the fact is that anyone in the KL cast could act him off the screen.
    I wasn't too keen on Herb Edelman but not because of his talent. I just associate him with the comedy The Golden Girls, not a the murder story of which he was a part.

    In terms of new casting, I'd have to create a character and then think of the actor. For example, Karen's mother. Who would be perfect for that role? Or Abby's father? Richard's new wife after he left Laura?
    I'll have to give it some thought.
    Not that anyone asked, but one of my favorite actors/characters aside from the main cast was Detective Janet Baines played by Joanna Petit.
     
  7. Toni

    Toni Soap Chat Winner EXP: 18 Years

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    Her. I´d have her guest-star every time the twins or Meg needed to be explained something complex like who their father is, why Mama cooked the crabs or why the fish died. Public service too!


    [​IMG]
     
  8. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    Since Abby was born as a late-in-life pregnancy, Sid and Abby's parents were long gone by the time S&A reached adulthood; their older brother, Paul had moved out and started his own life also. This dynamic of Sid basically raising his little sister was an important part of why he overlooked so much of her bad behavior, and why Abby practically worshipped her older brother. So while the elder Fairgates were probably gone since Abby was a pre-teen (guessing), it might have been interesting to bring in Paul Sr. as a 'third party' in the period immediately after Sid's death. No one she cared about* pointed the accusatory finger at Abby in that period (concerning her role in Sid's death), so it might have been an interesting (if short-lived) visit from the other older brother, perhaps someone who had the same benefit of distance that Karen had to call her out on her selfishness. The role would have had to be filled by an actor who looked slightly older than Don Murray but had some of the "Fairgate features" (blond hair, fair skin). It might have been too stunt-cast-y, but Tab Hunter could have done it. We met Paul Jr. in one episode and the actor who played him (Kale Browne) had that same blond hair and strong chin.

    * Who cares what Karen thinks? ;)

    As for Richard's new wife, I will never give up my dream of how that plot would have played out. During the final season, when Karen went to New York to visit Diana, she also made a brief stop-over in Pittsburgh to see Richard. They meet at the airport lounge (she's between flights) and he will sing the praises of his new, settled life back in Pittsburgh with his new wife, and convinces her that he's finally worked through all his inner demons with the help of the Second Mrs. Avery. We then see him return to his home to be greeted by his wife, Jason, and Daniel at the door--with the new wife played by a dark-haired Constance McCashin. We only see them reunite from a distance. As they head into the house, the viewer is left with 1001 questions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
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  9. Franko

    Franko Soap Chat Member EXP: 1 Year

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    Just throwing out a few ideas:
    Mark St. Claire: He's only available for 1983-84 and you did mention it could be a juicy role for an actor trying to avoid typecasting. Thus, I give you the newly-unemployed ... Michael Landon. My alternate choice is Andy Griffith, but I really see him as more of a Paul Galveston.

    Dr. Ackerman: In addition to Robert Young, there's Vince Edwards, Chad Everett or Richard Chamberlain (although in the wake of The Thorn Birds, I think he'd probably be too expensive).

    Speaking of The Thorn Birds, how about Rachel Ward as Jean Hackney?

    Sonny: Rick Springfield would be my pick, too. Alternate: Rex Smith.

    Now, who to play Megan McKenzie? Was she older or younger than Mack? Of all people, Patty Duke came to mind. Egad, between her, Lee and Dobson on a bad day, that soundstage would be DEVOURED!
     
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  10. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    I held off on recasting Jean Hackney because, frankly I don't think anyone could have made that stuff enjoyable. As it was, Wendy Fulton's relentless deadpan expression could be classified a silent objection to the material. Either that or maybe chronic constipation. I'm sure @tommie loved the dream sequence where Jean pumped Val full of lead, so at least someone got a few minutes of enjoyment out of it. Would it have been a whole new experience, though, if someone like Sally Struthers had been cast and the script direction not to smile made her look like Gloria Stivic about to throw a tantrum?

    Megan was definitely referred to as being younger than Mack, but only a few years (not enough to notice in adulthood). Imagine Louise Lasser in full Mary Hartman depression/dysfunction moping around Maison MacKenzie. They could keep walking in the kitchen to find her sticking her head in the oven. Even Valene would exclaim "That chick's not right!"
     
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