Linda Cristal, Who Starred in 'High Chaparral,' Dies at 89
I just heard about her passing. It's been a long time since I really dug deep into the classic westerns, but High Chaparral is a favorite, and Linda's portrayal of Victoria is one of the genre's best.
Who's to blame for `Beacon Hill'?
Bob Wood doesn't know what went wrong with the season's most ballyhooed new show; the creator blames the producer and vice -versa Robert D. Wood, the president of CBS - TV, is the man who had to make the decision to cancel Beacon Hill, and "I'm sick about it," he says. "With the departure of Beacon Hill, a little bit of me went with it." "I couldn't fault the intention of the series or the production, which was superbly mounted," Mr. Wood goes on. "There was some nit- picking about the writing on the part of some critics, but as far as I'm concerned it was the Tiffany of TV series. And in all my years in the business, I don't remember a series getting as much promotion or as much advance notice in the consumer press.
"But the public simply rejected it. Watching the audience decline each week was like watching the rungs of a stepladder going down" Mr. Wood says he doesn't want to play Monday- morning quarterback on the reasons why Beacon Hill didn't attract a mass audience. "Maybe we were too ambitious," he says. But the creator of Beacon Hill, Sidney Carroll, says it could have survived if the producers had only followed his original plan. As Mr. Carroll explains it, he scripted the two -hour pilot and then wrote out plot outlines for the first 13 episodes of Beacon Hill. He got involved in the production of the pilot and says he was quite satisfied with how it turned out. He cites the episode's 23.1 rating and 42 share (on Monday, Aug. 25, 9 -11 p.m., NYT) as one of the indicators that "the general public liked the people in the pilot."
But between the completion of the pilot and the start of production on the first episode, according to Mr. Carroll, the producer, Jacqueline Babbin, changed the plot outlines he had written. "When I saw how the first two finished scripts differed from the way I outlined them," he says, "I walked off the series." In Mr. Carroll's eyes, the likeable characters he had created in the pilot were turned into "a lot of stinkers. They became nasty and sad and stupid." Ms. Babbin sees things a little differently. "Sidney's plots were charming little stories that could've filled 20 minutes out of each hour," she says. "But CBS wanted stronger material, stories with more bite, more guts to them." Both Ms. Babbin and Alan Wagner, the CBS vice president closest to the series, disagree with Mr. Carroll about the quality of the two -hour pilot. "With 19 characters to be introduced, it was like a French -farce situation," she says. "The characters ended up being unsympathetic because the viewer wasn't given enough time to understand any of them. And CBS over - promoted and ballyhooed the pilot to the point of stupidity." "It was really an error on our part to open up with an episode populated with with so many characters," adds Mr. Wagner. "Everything became complicated, the public got confused and you couldn't follow the characters without a scorecard" Mr. Wagner points to a second "major error."
"The series didn't find its direction early enough," he says. "The first batch of episodes were placed in too small a frame and were on too small a scale to interest an audience in 1975." Ms. Babbin adds that the public didn't know what to make of Beacon Hill's characters because "they were too real - they weren't like the cardboard cut -outs you usually see in TV series, who seem to spend all their time in fast cars."
Having Olivia back as the matriarch for the Barber/Winters clan would be such a great idea to make the family more prominent. What are we left with now? Nate (who's incredibly hot, but doesn't get a story), Devon, and Lily appearances. If Olivia was there as the mother-figure to all three it would really complete the family.