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Chris B

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I miss Steve :( I started watching some of hfxmusicman's TEX videos on YouTube, and I love it so far. I was hoping to discuss it with Steve whenever he got back, but...:(

I'm watching the Endless Passion strand of videos...didn't realize that there's a whopping 400+ videos in the series, but I plan to watch them all, no matter how long it takes. I'm only on 12 so far, and here are some brief thoughts:

1. Lisby Larson and Queen Bev are FABULOUS together. They go toe-to-toe with each other, with neither one of them backing down to let the other take command of the scene. Perfect rivalry chemistry. In a way, Paige and Alex are very similar, and that's what they don't like about each other.

2. Billy Joe is annoying as hell, and the actor who plays him tries entirely too hard to do the whole "This is TEXAS!" routine. The Dennis actor isn't all that great either, but he's all right.

3. Vivien is awesome! I love her dull, dry delivery.

4. Randy Hamilton as Rikki Dekker :wub:

6. Question: Will Reena play a major part in the Endless Passion videos? Because she's the TX character I've heard the most about, but I haven't seen much of her yet.

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I was only seven years old when TEXAS started on NBC but i can still remember being anxious to watch this show with my mom. It is too bad that the show came on during the height of Luke and Laura on GH (it was aired in the same time slot at first, here anyway.) I think the show had a rocky start but I remember becoming a huge fan of (then) Diane Thompson Neil (and now as Alexandra Neil) as Ruby. She made that show for me. I vaguely remember a story near the end of its run involving her, Harley Kozak, Randy Hamilton, and Mark Woods (?) in an "Indiana Jones" -style story in the caves. They were searching for something and the character of Joel had been hit over the head and left outside in the desert sun causing him to go blind? I absolutely loved that story! Does anyone have more information about that? More details on the story and was it shortly before its cancellation? I wish NBC would have stuck it out with this show a little longer because I thought that it was really good. (but i was 9 when it was cancelled..what did i know?)

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Carla Borelli called me this afternoon. Donald May is in the hospital. Our lunch has been postponed.

I hope he's ok. If you do have lunch with her, please tell her that there are still fans out here who miss seeing her on tv. I liked her alot and loved her acting.

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I am happy to report that my long awaited lunch with Donald May and Carla Borelli took place this past Thursday (March 11). They could not have been more gracious and hospitable to me. We had a wonderful conversation, so much so, that I, foolishly did not take any photographs while I was there. They have a beautiful piece of property. 130 acres! They've had the property now close to 30 years. And they're starting their own maple syrup venture.

They were very interested in hearing about my upcoming participation in the American Popular Culture Association's annual conference where I will be speaking about Donald and The Edge of Night.

The conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri from March 31 - April 3.

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I think I was in 5th grade when Texas came on. I LOVED it! My cousin and I were addicted and devastated when it went off the air.

I was so happy when AOL showed videos of Texas and Another World and was almost as equally devastated when they cancelled it again!

I wish I had put them on dvd or saved them on my computer so i could re watch them again! And it was just starting to get good too!!!!

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Daniel Davis started working in television when he was eleven-years old, but the seeds for becoming "a ham," were planted even earlier. His mother ("A very talented homemaker, a talent you realize when you see how other homes are run") and father ran a movie theater when Daniel was small. He was relegated to the "cry room," a space reserved for children who bawled during a performance. "It was soundproof and had a mirror with a window. The children could watch the movie without disturbing the patrons." From his high chair, fully equipped with Dr. pepper and popcorn, Davis watched Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, and Ronald Colman. The screen idols weaved their way into the young boy's playtime. "If I was going to play at being Zorro, I had to have the black mask, cape, and hat, I had to look like Tyrone Power," Davis laughs.

When his family moved to Little Rock, Daniel Davis became entranced with a children's show patterned after "The Mickey Mouse Club," called "Betty's Little Rascals." After insisting on being in the audience, Daniel marched into Betty's office one day and demanded to be a "secretary" of the clubhouse - one of the fifteen children who were called upon to sing and do skits. Davis' parents verified that their son sang, danced, and did imitations. "We'd rather see him do him do it on television than drive us crazy at home," his mother quipped to Betty. Davis was hired and worked on the show till he was in his teens. "I love it," Daniel said simply.

After high school, Daniel Davis attended an offshoot of the University of Arkansas. Ex-governor Winthrop Rockefeller had built a huge center for the performing arts where classes were taught. It was there that Davis received a strong background in the classics. "If we were doing a scene from 'Oedipus Rex,' the actor playing Oedipus had to write a biography of his childhood growing up in Greece. We had to have a complete sketch of the character's life." This kind of discipline is one Daniel Davis still uses.

Upon graduation, he studied and taught at San Francisco's famed American Conservatory Theater, and six years later, after numerous stage productions, including a run in "Coco" with Katharine Hepburn, Daniel Davis was given his first opportunity to act in a daytime drama. Davis tested for the role of Zachary Colton on "Another World," but old friend Curt Dawson won out. When the part of Eliot Carrington came up, the Procter and Gamble people, as well as Liz Woodman, the casting director, remembered Davis. It was a long shot, since Davis is a good deal younger than Eliot, but a day after the audition, Daniel Davis signed his contract for "Texas."

I met Davis in one of those nondescript conference rooms at NBC to discuss Eliot Carrington, "Texas," and life in general. Wearing a suit and tie, he looked considerably younger than Eliot. Not surprising, since Davis is only 35. If Eliot is starting to look more youthful on-screen, that too, is no accident. Davis finally protested against the streaks of gray they were putting in his hair, since the chemicals were causing clumps to fall out.

If there is any similarity between Daniel Davis and Eliot Carrington, it is their genuine niceness and intelligence. Both are gentlemen.


SOD: Eliot is a rather strange character for a soap opera. A good, intelligent man, a newspaper journalist who has been in a Cambodian prison camp, and changed by the experience. How did you prepare for the part?

DD: I found out from Beverlee McKinsey (Iris Wheeler) what Eliot was originally like; that he had been a journalist and was working on a story in Cambodia when he was caught. Then, I imagined all sorts of events he had been through.

SOD: Such as?

DD: Well, I decided he was working for an international news organization, based in London. Eliot was brought on, basically, to be a troublemaker. But when you've played as many evil Shakespearean villains as I have, you know that no one is pure evil or good. So I decided there were colors. There was a basic sweetness and goodness to Eliot. There had to be a cause for his malevolence. I decided that the Cambodian prison camp experience took someone who was a very sensitive, feeling, intelligent person and cracked him. When he came back home to the one person he really clung to, Dennis (Jim Poyner), well, he wasn't in Houston was 48 hours before Iris told him Dennis wasn't his son, and that finished him. From then on, Eliot wasn't responsible for his actions. He was living a schizophrenic existence. There were places he didn't remember going to and things he didn't remember doing. Of course, I'm talking about offcamera.

SOD: What kind of things would you invent for him offcamera?

DD: I imagined that he would suddenly find himself in a restaurant and not know how he got there. Or he'd find a letter in his apartment and not recognize the handwriting. Eliot, I imagined, didn't want to go for help because he was afraid of being incarcerated again.

SOD: Did you do any research on POW victims to help you understand the character?

DD: I used books I had read, like Kovak's "Born on the Fourth of July." He describes his experience in Vietnam. And you know, I grew up in the Vietnam era. The war was going on in my late teens and early twenties. My high school friends were in the war, killed in the war, so I have a way of personalizing those experiences and making them happen to my character.

I made up certain things about Eliot's prison experience. I had ideas of torture, or of just sitting for days on end with no human contact, being given only life-sustaining food. During this time, Eliot would obsess about Dennis, getting back to Dennis and trying to make up for lost time, imagining all the things they'd do together.

SOD: What do you have in common with Eliot?

DD: If I may be so immodest, I think the intelligence, sensitive, the care he has. The care and concern for the well-being of the people he loves and the world at large.

SOD: Since "Texas" takes place in Houston, it's surprising to many that there are no Chicanos or Blacks in the cast. Houston does have a very large population of both ethnic groups. Do you care to comment?

DD: A few of us have talked about that and we would like to see it corrected. There is a very large Mexican-American community in Texas. I thought for a while that they were going to make the Dekkers Chicanos, but that never materialized. As of this interview, the only Black or Mexican performers we've had on the show have been secretaries or waitresses. I don't understand why they are not more a part of the show, or daytime in general.

SOD: Have you noticed a change since Gail Kobe took over as "Texas" managing executive producer?

DD: Definitely. We have all struggled very hard to make "Texas" succeed, and it is growing and finding its audience. Gail is a remarkable woman that we all respect. We admire her fight, her courage, her work attitude: giving you support, giving you notes, bringing you down if you need that, or boosting you up when you need encouragement. We all, from the time we're children, need to win the approval of people above us. We want our teachers to like what we do, our parents to approve of our activity. We want our bosses to like our work, it's only natural.

SOD: You worked in regional theater for a long time. Now, suddenly, your face is splashed across the screen and thousands of people watch you each day. Are you frightened by that kind of success?

DD: Yes, I'm afraid of the limitations success puts on people. Suddenly, actors gets pigeonholed, they are trapped in terms of the kinds of roles they are thought to be right for. Also, there is the money thing. I make as much in a day now as I did in regional theater in a week. That frightens me. I don't want to start living a life that says I have to have X number of dollars before I start to do this or that. I, as an artist, never expected to make this much money and the fact that I am is terrifying! So, I sock it away. The only way my lifestyle has changed in the last fourteen years, is that I've finally bought furniture again instead of renting it. (laugh) I went to the sale at W.J. Sloane this year.

SOD: Who taught you how to live so simply?

DD: Well, I've worked my life out pretty well. I know I have a complex personality, but very simple needs and I keep them that way - that I learned from Katharine Hepburn. I spent a year with her on the road, Hepburn lives very simply. She has maybe 40 black turtleneck sweaters, and 50 pairs of khaki pants, so she doesn't have to waste a minute in the morning deciding how she is going to present herself to the world that day.

I also learned more about professional that year than I learned before or since. Hepburn believes that everything you do in your life feeds into your work. If you go to a gallery, read a book, see a movie, watch a sunset, it's all feeding into your work. If you do it right, the work is reflecting life back to the audience.

SOD: How has your belief in God affected your life?

DD: It's relaxed me. You know, C.S. Lewis, who wrote children's books, was also a Christian writer, and he said some interesting things. He talks about the way God perceives your life. God, says Lewis, sees things in the beginning, middle and end, because he has it all mapped out. So if you ask for something from God on a Tuesday in your prayers, he doesn't necessarily know what Tuesday you're talking about. There are five million Tuesdays in God's eyes! So relax! Get out of the way and let your life happen. That doesn't mean taking a back seat to your life. You work, and go on working, and try to figure out what "the plan" is.

When I was in a rush to succeed early on, Hepburn said to me, "Is acting your whole life? Do you see yourself doing this forever?" "Absolutely," I said. "Then why do it all now?" she answered. "Spread it out. Wait for it! Let it happen!" Do you understand?

SOD: We think so.

DD: If I lose out on an audition, I don't beat myself to death because I lost the part. I realize I did the best I could and just didn't get it. Of course, if I blow it because of stupidity, then I'm furious with myself. But this philosophy allows me to say, "I'm going to give you the best show I can give, and if it wasn't what you want or need, then it wasn't mean to be."

SOD: What about the importance of pleasing yourself?

DD: It's very important to please yourself and be satisfied with what you do. You should congratulate yourself when you've done well, or be hard on yourself if you've intentionally blown something. Of course, as I said before, there is always someone else we are doing something for, that's the reward syndrome, I guess. But I think the struggle of life is all about getting into yourself, to know who you are. I don't mean to sound dull or cliched, but I think to make yourself as near to realizing all that is within you, is wonderful. (laugh) You know, I think there is nothing worse than getting what you want. (laughs again) Except, maybe, not getting it.

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