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Paul Raven

Primetime Soaps

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^^

:wub::wub:

 

Although I have to say that the fifth (and last series) was my least favourite. No Lady Marjorie, no Elizabeth and no Hazel.... Neither Georgina nor (especially) Virginia could really live up to their predecessors.

But it was still head and shoulders above practically anything on tv today.....

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Some of the Executive Suite cast ,several of whom had appeared on other soaps

L- R Percy Rodrigues, Trisha Noble, William Smothers, Mitchell Ryan, Byron Morrow, Stephen Eliot

ex%2Bsuite.jpg

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For Love and Honor NBC. Up against Falcon Crest.

Image result for for love and honor 1983Following 'Manimal' on Friday nights in 1983 was the low-concept military drama, 'For Love And Honor' which was produced by David Gerber. Filmed on location at Fort MacArthur on the outskirts of San Pedro, California and at MGM/UA studios in Culver City, 'For Love And Honor' told the military stories of a peacetime paratrooper battalion of the fictional 88th Airborne Division. The recruits at the elite military base were in training to be combat-ready to be part of a rapid deployment force.

"It is not an Army show. We do not have the support of the US Armed Forces," David Gerber disclosed. "The military background is solely for dramatic tension, a device wherein we bring the characters together and place them in conflict, in life-and-death situations. What I've attempted to do is come up with a hybrid, a realistic drama with modern army life as a backdrop. The result is a series that has all the ingredients of a prime-time soap opera plus the action and adventure not usually found in the soaps."

Cliff Potts played First Sergeant Eugene Allards, "the balance on the seesaw between the enlisted men and the overly ambitious captain." He expressed, "One of the best things about this series is that the people involved are not only TV personalities, they're actors as well. The fact that it's set within a military structure makes it no more pro-military than 'Hill Street Blues' is pro-police. Both shows are dramas. They deal with people."

However 'For Love And Honor' was unable to attract the minimum 25% audience share to stay on air. For the 1983-84 season, the 12 episodes of 'For Love And Honor' averaged 9.1% ratings (of the 83.3 million TV households in the US at the time) and 16% audience share. David Gerber continued, "I begged NBC to get us out of that Friday night time period because we were dying in the ratings." Cliff Potts remembered, "We have some growing pains. We've been under the gun since we started. I thought we'd be a midseason replacement and have time to work out the kinks, but instead they put us on in the fall."

David Gerber continued, "First, they wanted strong, masculine adventure. Then they wanted more melodrama, like in the soaps. Then we weren't quite a soap and we weren't an adventure. Maybe I'm in the wrong pew." Cliff Potts recounted, "There have been so many changes since we did the pilot. Spell those changes s-e-x." Critic Stuart D. Bykofsky praised, "I admired 'Love And Honor' for the things it had and things it did – good scripts, believable situations, interesting characters, good acting, good directing. I also liked it for the things it avoided – gratutious sex, moronic melodrama and brainless cliff-hangers."

David Gerber voiced, "Yes, I’m going to have more melodrama." Already filmed sequences were reportedly had to be re-edited and scenes from one episode had to be moved to another episode. David Gerber continued, "They want pure soaper and action with adventure. I’ve been begging the network to take the series off. To give us time to rework the show – and bring it back next season (1984-85), in a different time slot, away from 'Falcon Crest'.

"We've been going crazy trying to keep up with the changes the network wants. They want wall-to-wall soap opera. I'm not ready to do that. I will give them melodrama from time to time, as long as I don’t lose the impact of it as a military show. But it’s going to take time to get all that sort out. I wouldn't say 'stoop'. Let me use the word 'bend' rather than 'stoop'. I'm hoping the stories are not banal while they are bigger than life. There ought to be room on TV for straight drama, for something besides soap. I'm on thin ice within myself. I don't know how it's going to come out. It's a roll of the dice at the moment."

Critic Gary Deeb noted, "Under the direction of executive producer David Gerber and head writers Leon Tokatyan and Diana Bell Tokatyan, 'For Love And Honor' steers itself into surprisingly effective territory. The stories are interesting, the characters are very touching, and there are a lot of sexually hot stares, smiles and winks exchanged throughout the program. Most of it is quite plausible dramatically."

Cliff Potts continued, "Essentially, if you want people to watch you have to have charming and attractive characters. The military has been so low-key for such a long time that people forget it's made up of people. The military is a tool and the important thing isn't what happens at our level. Young people who go into the military can't make political choices. It's up to the nation as to how this tool is used."

After the first 6 episodes including the pilot NBC had commissioned went on air, the network decided to re-order for another 6 episodes but switched time slot to Tuesday against 'Hart To Hart'. With 'The A-Team' and 'Remington Steele' provided lead-in audience, 'For Love And Honor' still only attracted, in one week, 9.4% households ratings and 17% audience share compared to 'Hart To Hart' 16.3% households ratings and 28% audience share.

Speaking to the press, Cliff Potts made known, "When I got this role my mother clapped. She says I do my best work in uniform. Mother liked what I did in (the mini-series) 'Once An Eagle' (1976-77) and I have to agree because I thought it was one of my best roles. He was a man who was too ambitious to get ahead. I'd just gotten back from Israel where I did 'Sahara' with Brooke Shields.

"It's set in 1927 and she's driving in a Sahara car rally and ends up in the middle of an Arab holy war. I play the man who designs and builds her car and goes along as her navigator and helpmate. I stopped in Paris for a week of relaxation on the way back and when I arrived I got a call from David Gerber, the producer, on Monday. I went to the network on Wednesday and started filming the next Monday."

Yaphet Kotto played drill instructor, Master Sergeant John "China" Bell, "We’re doing our 6th show now (or at the time), and I have yet to see a script that's like the movie ('An Officer And A Gentleman'). People look at the surface. They see me, a black man, they see a white guy (Cliff Potts) and a girl (Shelley Smith) and they say, it's gotta be the same. It's like saying if you do anything military with a black guy in it, you're copying 'An Officer And A Gentleman'."

Shelley Smith played Carolyn Engel, the captain in the medical corps. "We have the sense in our show that we could go to war at any time because we are a combat-ready unit," Shelley Smith explained. "In fact, I know in one episode we shot, the guys go off in a plane, and it looks like they're going to head into a troubled area (the episode reportedly filmed two weeks before the real life US invasion of Grenada in 1983).

"I don't know if people care what I have to say about this. I'm an actor. I'm not a politician and I don't know the end-all and I'm not very well read on foreign policy, but if you ask me my opinion, I think that there's a heck of a lot more to take care of in this country (the US), rather than pouring the money and the people into Lebanon (US marines were sent to Lebanon 1982-84 on a peacekeeping mission) and El Salvador (the civil war in El Salvador lasted 1980-1992) and all the other trouble spots in the world."

Of the relationship between First Sergeant Allard and Captain Engel, Cliff Potts offered, "I think they're going to have to go off and do it in a different social milieu. She's worried that he's an enlisted man and she's an officer. I'm confident enough not only to carry on a relationship with an officer but a woman who has been to college. But it's always been on her turf. The Army is his turf. What would happen to him at a cocktail party where there are a couple of VIPs and he’s just a sergeant?"

Shelley Smith shared, "When I was a top model and I worked for a lot of years, every year the prices went up. Now they’re so high that even a medium model can earn $80,000 a year – and the top models, forget it, it’s half a million. The years I was working, it wasn't that much, but it was still a lot of money. And in a certain way, easy money - $2,500 a day to put some clothes on? Unless the weather’s bad or the clients are nasty, it’s not a bad thing to have to do.

"In modeling, you have nothing to think about. It’s so exterior. So I’d make jokes all the time. That’s what got me through. I think that’s why people hired me, not for the way I look. Joke it up. You have to laugh at it. If you take it too seriously you’ve got deep trouble. I love practical jokes and I love to tease people. Sometimes I feel guilty because you hope that someone has a good enough sense of humor to take a joke, but sometimes it goes a little too far and someone might take you too seriously."

In 1970, Yaphet Kotto decided to set up his own film production company in part to search for meaty roles but also to hire minorities in behind the camera jobs. Yaphet Kotto elaborated, "I found out there weren’t many, women especially. Once, I was told, 'Women don’t do that.' I put up $25,000 out of my pocket to train 12 women as script supervisors. The other day (in 1983) at MGM a woman came up to me and said, 'I want to thank you. You put me through school so I have this job.' I still don’t know her name."

By 1983, "I think there are more opportunities now for those who really want to try but it comes down to one thing, money. I don’t think anyone is consciously saying, 'Let's keep blacks, women, minorities out of these jobs.' What they're saying is, 'How can we make money? Let's do another 'E.T.', or 'Jaws'."  As a model becoming an actress, Shelley Smith believed, "It's even more of a help now because people like Veronica (Hamel), you don’t take her lightly. People like Jessica Lange, who keeps winning the top awards for acting, are very good actresses. When I first came out here it got me in the door, it got me an agent. I had studied acting, thank goodness, and I still do, but they don’t know if you can act at that point. It gets you in the door. It doesn’t get you a job.

"Pilot season (January through March) is a tough time of year for actors and it’s a particular beef of mine. You used to be able to read for different projects and then decide, but now an actor must sign an agreement after being cast in a pilot (to turn down other projects during the holding period while the networks decided whether to buy the series for the fall or not)."

Yaphet Kotto: "Since 1968, when I did my first television, I've been fortunate to be one of those actors who has been able to move between movies, TV and the stage. I did ‘The Liberation of Lord Byron Jones', 'Report to the Commissioner', 'Blue Collar', 'Alien' without an agent. The producers called when they were just starting the project. I was hired for 'Report to the Commisioner' a year before the movie was made and the producer gave me holding money so I wouldn't get tied up with anything else.

"Television is a grind. One of my shortcomings is that I don't think about the business aspects. I get involved in a character and, sometimes, it doesn’t work out. I was interested (in 'For Love And Honor') because China's a departure for me. I've played middle-of-the-road guys, policemen, lawyers, in most of my 28 movies (to 1983), and only two bad guys, but somehow I got tagged with this 'heavy' label. This one's a romantic role. China's a Vietnam veteran who was captured and escaped. He had to leave his Vietnamese wife and child behind and has lost contact with them. Meantime, another woman has come into his life and he's caught between them. It's the working out of his conflict and finding himself that interested me. He's a real multidimensional character." 

Edited by Paul Raven

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On 4/8/2010 at 1:27 PM, quartermainefan said:

 

<lights a candle for Diahann Caroll>

I'll give you a White Collar image to go with that candle.

image.png

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The Hamptons ABC's summer soap on tape from Gloria Monty debuted at # 18 (13.8/25) in the ratings in the Summer of 83 and won it's timeslot.

 A Dynasty repeat followed at 10pm and scored a 10.5/19.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the prime time soap Savannah originally proposed by William J. Bell and the Dobson's? I seem to remember an article in soap opera weekly(?) About their plans for a soap together around 95-96? Was this scrapped and Spelling picked it up? Please tell me I'm not hallucinating!

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^^

It took me a little while to warm up to Lesley-Anne's Georgina. She was brought on as a replacement (sort of) for Elizabeth after Nicola Pagett quit the show after series 2, and I preferred Elizabeth (and still do).

 

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14 minutes ago, I Am A Swede said:

^^

It took me a little while to warm up to Lesley-Anne's Georgina. She was brought on as a replacement (sort of) for Elizabeth after Nicola Pagett quit the show after series 2, and I preferred Elizabeth (and still do).

 

What did you think of Tong? 

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42 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

 

What did you think of Tong? 

 

With Jackie Tong it was different. Her character, Daisy, replaced Pauline Collins' Sarah, and although Pauline did some wonderful work Sarah was not my favourite character. So it was easier to accept Daisy and over the years she really grew on me until by the end of the show she was one of my favourites. Daisy was one of the characters who changed the most over the years, together with Edward (who also became her husband).

 

Talking about this has given me the urge to re-watch this show now.....  :P

I think I'll do that when I'm on vacation over Christmas. It's been a while since last time.

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