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Valley of the Dolls, '94 Primetime Soap Version


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#1 EricMontreal22

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:01 AM

Anyone remember much about this or know of any online or youtube clips? I admit the original novel/movie and the TV miniseries remake fascinated me in their over the top sheer awfulness and campiness (surely Dynasty, Melrose and all owe them a lot) as a teen and yet I never heard of a 90s primetime version.

I got this info from imdb "This syndicated soap (which tried to push the current boundaries for nudity on television, especially when it comes to males) was test-marketed for 13 weeks in selected cities, including Boston and Atlanta. The combining of the original plotline with 90's sensibilities, along with warping a few relationships (Helen Lawson, who in the movie and novel was a huge Broadway star for whom Jennifer North appeared as a showgirl is now Jennifer's mother and a movie star!) New World basically cancelled the project before it was aired, but those original 13 weeks were adult soap opera at it's most interesting. Of special note is that I believe this soap was the first portrayal of a functioning and healthy gay relationship between two men. Ahead of it's time, I hope this show doesn't disappear into oblivion. "

The cast has some familiar names (from soaps and other projects) like John O'Hurly, Kamar De Los Reyes, Sally Kirkland, etc...


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#2 dc11786

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:12 AM

The only clip I've seen online is this one:


There is a fairly decent synopsis of the series here:
http://www.tv.com/va...iews;continue;0
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#3 EricMontreal22

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:19 AM

Wow I stand corrected--it was a late night soap--not primetime. Every reference goes on about all the male nudity--could American TV get away with all that much even late night? Still pretty interesting--thanks for all that!
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#4 JackPeyton

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:21 AM

late night, non network? yes.

it still prob pushed the lines too far for its time.

america is very hungup on male nudity.
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#5 SteveFrame

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 08:59 AM

This was pre-nipplegate so yes they could.

Male and female partial nudity was even being accepted during this same time on daytime and in late primetime.

On daytime we got the see the butts of Doug Davidson, Don Diamont, the foreign actor that played Peter Bergman's son on Y&R, John Bolger and a few others.

Y&R was the first one to experiment with it and it was accepted without any fuss. Then AW did the scene with John Bolger and Robin Christopher in the tub. We got to see the side of Christophers breasts and one half of Bolger's butt.

In primetime shows like ER and NYPD Blue on the networks were showing male and female naked butts.

Later ATWT would show us Mike Kasnoff's naked butt through the shower glass.

But after nipplegate it all went away. Daytime backed off and the sex scenes suddenly got very very very tame.

QUOTE (JackPeyton @ Sep 3 2008, 08:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
late night, non network? yes.

it still prob pushed the lines too far for its time.

america is very hungup on male nudity.


Valley of the Dolls was network - it was CBS.

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#6 JackPeyton

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:22 AM

QUOTE (SteveFrame @ Sep 3 2008, 05:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Valley of the Dolls was network - it was CBS.

Most things on the net about it say it was Synd.

It may have aired on many CBS stations, but wasnt a CBS show. CBS may had even promoed it, much like ABC does with say Oprah, but it wasnt made for and a strictly cbs show.

And for those of you waning to see it search for those soap opera tape trading sites. I did see it one about a year ago but idk what one.
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#7 Cat

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:30 AM

I don't know whether anybody here has read the book by Jacqueline Susann (set in 1949/1950)? But given TV's love of recent history in its dramas, it's a pity Showtime or AMC do not try for a Valley of the Dolls adaption. The sex scenes in the book are fullsome enough to sell well on cable. And the reason I cite the post-war time period is because at least two of the characters in the book -- Neely and Jennifer -- are 100% based on Judy Garland, a notorious doll-popper.

I would have been interested to see what this show would have done without explicit reference to prescription drug addiction. The whole point was that these three women wanted to get ahead, make something of their lives, and when they were frustrated by the glass ceiling and society's double standards, they popped pills to dull the pain (rather like housewives popped valium).

LOL, too bad about nipplegate. The world needs more naked ass on its screens, a little less CSI hybrids showcasing bullets in slow-mo smashing into somebody's brain cavity.

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#8 SteveFrame

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:07 PM

I agree with you Cat. I can't believe how far we came in regards to things and then to go almost further back at least in the soap world than we did.

Even before we started getting butt shots the sex scenes were still some of the hottest in daytime. Now except for the recent Antonio/Talia and EJ/Sami ones the sex scenes have been so dull in daytime. And even very scarce. I think someone counted last year that that for like 6 months there was only 1 sex scene on Days. And one of the big couples on that show finally had sex and it was all shows offscreen.

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#9 SteveFrame

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 02:25 PM

Oh one more thing on the subject of Valley of the Dolls. Cat made me remember something. I still have my notes around here somewhere and may even dig it back up.

But even before the Internet came about I love to write fan fiction. One of the first ones I ever did was a version of Valley of the Dolls.

My cast was:

Genie Francis as Anne
Lisa Brown as Neely
Josh Taylor as Lyon
Catherine Hickland as Jennifer (she had just come on Texas at the time)
Eileen Fulton as the bitchy Helen Lawson

I can't find the others but all these were either pretty new soap stars or old soap stars at the time.
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#10 Tishy

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 05:48 PM

Sharon Case played Anne Welles in this version. I remembered this and then checked imdb. I vaguely remember her in a nightgown. However I don't remember anything else about it. I read the book and the sequel (which sucked because Susann didn't write it) and I really love the first book
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#11 Paul Raven

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:28 AM

There was A CBS mini series that retold the movie/book plotlines in 81.

It was a ratings success.

Catherine Hicks was Anne,Lisa Hartman was Neely and Veronica Hamel was Jennifer.

Jean Simmons played Helen Lawson.

The later version was syndicated.Interestingly,Carol Lawrence (ex Angela Ekhart GH) played on both versions(as different characters))
It was produced by New World Television and I think Brian Frons was involved.
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#12 Cat

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 10:40 AM

OT but Carol Lawrence was also Maria in the original stage version of West Side Story. smile.gif
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#13 Tishy

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:43 PM

I never thought that they should make a movie out of this. I really would love to see it on Broadway. The role of Neely would be amazing. I did see the movie version with Patty Duke in it.

I love this book, It is one of two that I read faithfully every year
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#14 EricMontreal22

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 07:15 AM

QUOTE (SteveFrame @ Sep 3 2008, 09:59 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This was pre-nipplegate so yes they could.

Male and female partial nudity was even being accepted during this same time on daytime and in late primetime.

On daytime we got the see the butts of Doug Davidson, Don Diamont, the foreign actor that played Peter Bergman's son on Y&R, John Bolger and a few others.

Y&R was the first one to experiment with it and it was accepted without any fuss. Then AW did the scene with John Bolger and Robin Christopher in the tub. We got to see the side of Christophers breasts and one half of Bolger's butt.

In primetime shows like ER and NYPD Blue on the networks were showing male and female naked butts.

Later ATWT would show us Mike Kasnoff's naked butt through the shower glass.

But after nipplegate it all went away. Daytime backed off and the sex scenes suddenly got very very very tame.


Right I posted about that in another thread about nudity on Soaps a few months back (Once and Again, which is actgually more of a family show though one of my faves, even had several scenes). I just thought Dolls in the first half of the 90s came before networks briefly experimented with that--but I guess I forgot that NYPD Blues started the nudity fairly early on tongue.gif I don't remember ER having nudity.

I read the book as a teen (along with Love Machine and Once IUs Not Enough--alwasy wanted to track down the movies of those, apparantly awful, but John Phillip Law who I've had a crush on since Barbarlla stared in Love Machine and Once is Not Enough even got an oscar nom in acting) and I love it but I do think it's trash. If that makes any sense (i know some will be insulted I called it that). The movie's a camp classic, I'd love to see the miniseries and the soap (at the end of disc two of the special edition they give a website to email if you'd liek to see either on DVD but the site is gone) but neither it nor the novel IMHO are elvated pulp the way really good soap opera are and some otgher classic melodramas--they're justy trashy pulp. And great for that.

Re sex scenes in soaps in the late 80s and early 90s they were at their hottest I think--maybe even the 80s without the nudity. Nudity aside by the late 90s--pre Nipplegate--I already think for some reason soaps had toned down their sex scenes. I still remember being a kid and watching on Geraldo and Donauhue when the conversation was about if soaps were pornographic (!! imagine that now) and should they be on when kids could watch (again with cable etc this isn't even an issue). I remember being shocked by one show that had the actor who played Dimitri on AMC confess that he got a "woody" (his term) during sex scenes! lol


Edited by EricMontreal22, 05 September 2008 - 07:21 AM.

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#15 EricMontreal22

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 07:24 AM

QUOTE (Cat @ Sep 4 2008, 11:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
OT but Carol Lawrence was also Maria in the original stage version of West Side Story. smile.gif

And brilliant! I never put two and two together ohmy.gif

Judy Garland was actually cast very briefly in the movie according to the DVD--the theme song was written with her voice in mind, when she left it was given to (my 60s fave) Dionne Warwick at the suggestion of Barbara Parkins who was a big fan
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#16 Cat

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 09:09 AM

That would have been some irony if Judy Garland had sung the theme song to the movie! I swear, when I read the book (which is trashy pulp, EricMontreal, but enjoyable trash, like Judith Krantz!), all I could picture was Garland in the Neely scenes.

On the issue of skin, I honestly think TV has its priorities screwed. Obviously, I'm not saying network soaps should screen hardcore porn at 2 in the afternoon. But how come an honest-to-god love scene between a pairing you have been rooting for on a TV show is practically verboten? Meanwhile, Law & Order: SVU has no compunction about showing and then dissecting in detail incest/molestation/violent rape? Viewers are worried about "the children" but surely gratuitous violence has more harmful an impact on young psyches than the glimpse of a bare buttock and rolling around under the bedcovers?
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#17 SteveFrame

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 10:34 AM

QUOTE (EricMontreal22 @ Sep 5 2008, 07:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Right I posted about that in another thread about nudity on Soaps a few months back (Once and Again, which is actgually more of a family show though one of my faves, even had several scenes). I just thought Dolls in the first half of the 90s came before networks briefly experimented with that--but I guess I forgot that NYPD Blues started the nudity fairly early on tongue.gif I don't remember ER having nudity.

I read the book as a teen (along with Love Machine and Once IUs Not Enough--alwasy wanted to track down the movies of those, apparantly awful, but John Phillip Law who I've had a crush on since Barbarlla stared in Love Machine and Once is Not Enough even got an oscar nom in acting) and I love it but I do think it's trash. If that makes any sense (i know some will be insulted I called it that). The movie's a camp classic, I'd love to see the miniseries and the soap (at the end of disc two of the special edition they give a website to email if you'd liek to see either on DVD but the site is gone) but neither it nor the novel IMHO are elvated pulp the way really good soap opera are and some otgher classic melodramas--they're justy trashy pulp. And great for that.

Re sex scenes in soaps in the late 80s and early 90s they were at their hottest I think--maybe even the 80s without the nudity. Nudity aside by the late 90s--pre Nipplegate--I already think for some reason soaps had toned down their sex scenes. I still remember being a kid and watching on Geraldo and Donauhue when the conversation was about if soaps were pornographic (!! imagine that now) and should they be on when kids could watch (again with cable etc this isn't even an issue). I remember being shocked by one show that had the actor who played Dimitri on AMC confess that he got a "woody" (his term) during sex scenes! lol


ER didn't have a lot of nudity but they would occassionally throw one in there. They were different from NYPD Blue who advertised theirs. I remember the first time being sort of stunned when it happened. The first nudity on ER was between Carol (Julianna Margulies) and her finace Tag. I don't remember who played him. But they had just had sex and he got up out of bed and the camera just kind of focused on his bare butt as he slipped into a pair of pants.

TV Guide and all ran stories on it after that and couldn't believe they didn't try to advertise or publicize it was going to happen. They just chose not too - going the nonchalant route about it.

I agree with Doug Davidson on the issue. When he was asked about doing his first nude scene he made some statments to Soap Opera Digest about it. He said he always had a hard time understanding the reasoning behind the love scenes on Y&R. At that time Y&R did some pretty hot scenes esp. between Paul and Lauren.

Doug laughed and said something to the affect when he is involved in some hot making out at home, he is always naked but when Paul always gets out of the bed with Lauren he has boxer shorts on. He thought that was the most stupid thing ever. So he was glad when he got to get out of bed on this occassion after hot sex with Lauren wearing nothing.


I remember when Tristan Rogers first came on to GH he did interviews where he thought it was so ridiculous some of the standards in the love scenes on American soaps. Back then they had a rule that a man could not lie directly on top of a woman. Soaps are the one's who invented the position they used most often back then. It wasn't exactly man on top of woman but it appeared to be. That was created on Y&R. It is in that stupid Daytime TV Yearly Special book that I cannot find. It even had it's own name. Afterward many other soaps copied it.

Also during the filming of a love scene, both individuals had to have their privates covered, and a woman had to have a bra on and the strap had to be scene by the camera so many times in a given time frame. Also the man and the woman both had to keep one foot on the floor during any bed scene.

I remember Gloria Monty was one of the first to break some of the rules by letting Tony Geary tape his love scenes with Emma Samms in the nude - not sure how Emma felt about that.

Tony told back in the 90's and then again recently on One Day With.... on SoapNet that it was during one of those love scene shoots that his dangling bits aired on ABC in the 80's. He and Holly were in the woods and made love inside a sleeping bag. During the filming, Tony emerged from the sleeping bag completely in the buff. The cameras were supposed to film him from the waste up but they didn't. They filmed all of him - not only back but front. It was supposed to get edited out but didn't.

Tony says he knows someone out there somewhere has that on tape and one day will discover it and his manhood will be all the Internet for all to see. Of course he made some better jokes about it - his shortcomings as he called them.

I just think in many ways too many people are too restrictive in matters like that. I don't want to see porno in the afternoons - if I want porno I will rent one. But I have no problem with two people being in bed and they get up and they are naked.

Or even for that matter let the talk match real life talk too. Punch it up. Make it more realistic in that sense.
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#18 EricMontreal22

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 06:31 PM

QUOTE (Cat @ Sep 5 2008, 10:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That would have been some irony if Judy Garland had sung the theme song to the movie! I swear, when I read the book (which is trashy pulp, EricMontreal, but enjoyable trash, like Judith Krantz!), all I could picture was Garland in the Neely scenes.

On the issue of skin, I honestly think TV has its priorities screwed. Obviously, I'm not saying network soaps should screen hardcore porn at 2 in the afternoon. But how come an honest-to-god love scene between a pairing you have been rooting for on a TV show is practically verboten? Meanwhile, Law & Order: SVU has no compunction about showing and then dissecting in detail incest/molestation/violent rape? Viewers are worried about "the children" but surely gratuitous violence has more harmful an impact on young psyches than the glimpse of a bare buttock and rolling around under the bedcovers?


Oh I think I was being a bit too snobby there... I've never read Judith Krantz (maybe I should? lol) but what I meant was that Valley of the Dolls is prob trash pulp of the finest order--but it never quite transcends that. On the other hand I think maybe the best years of some of our classic soaps, *have* transcended that pulp to become something more and "better"--it's all relative and personal opinion I admit. But it's like the 50s and 60s "women's pictures" and melodramas produced by Ross Hunter which I love and wrote a few school papers on for a genre film class--most of them (1961's Back Street is a fave of mine, or Madame X) are over the top pure pulp--high production values but pulp none the less. But the ones he got Douglas Sirk to direct (whow as basically the Hitchcock of his genre of melodrama), like All That Heaven Allows, Magnificent Obsession and Imitation of Life are so artuflly done that they transcend that pulp. But this all gets into issues of taste-what's "art" what's not, and stuff like that which can get pretty silly.

I think Canada is a BIT better about the sex vs violence thing (it amuses me that SoapNet--a cable station--had to cut out the male nudity that caused no reaction when it aire din Primetime here in Canada in MVP) but that has alwasy bugged me. Growing up my parents were strict about what we could watch--but much more strict about gorey violence, than about sex and nudity (violent sex though was obviously the worse). I swear nearly all my friends parents were the opposite--they could care less about a birthday party of 7 year olds renting Pet Semetary (true story) but if there was the slightest bit of nudity would get VERY upset. Something's wrong there.

And as you say now with the success of shows like La w and Order SVU (a good show don't get me wrong), sexualized violence is common place on TV and seems to be more allowed than non violent sexuality. It's like people, and mainstream right wing America in particular (again sorry if I offend anyone tongue.gif ) are only comfortable with sexuality when it is violent!
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#19 Chris B

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 01:09 AM

Watching that clip I'm surprised to see that the production values are more similar to a daytime soap. That makes me wanna see it even more! The movies are great.
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#20 EricMontreal22

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 06:26 PM

Well it was a nightly late night thing--not weekly
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