Joan Van Ark is a soulful woman. In an illustrious career that has spanned 35 years, Van Ark has graced stage and screen with an uncommon dignity. She has often played troubled women, women in distress, women scorned. It is in television, though, that Van Ark has become legendary. In fifteen years playing Valene Ewing on Dallas and Knots Landing, the native of Boulder, Colorado created a lightning rod. Everyone could see a portion of himself or herself in Val.
Indeed, while others in the world of primetime soaps may have become more famous and adorned more magazine covers, Van Ark’s simple country girl received the lion’s share of the stellar stories on Knots. Who could forget when Val’s babies were kidnapped and when they were returned? When Jill Bennett (Teri Austin) tried to murder her? When in the throes of postpartum depression Val embarked on a surreal journey to Nevada and Tennessee, adopting the persona of one of her novel’s characters?
And one can go on. There’s a reason why people were attracted to Val, and it comes from the uncanny skill of Joan Van Ark. But she’s also very funny…
AS: Let’s begin.
Chris from Winston-Salem, North Carolina asks
We’ve had a polite discussion on the Knots Forum about Val and maybe you can settle it. Some say that Val was weak and needy. I contend that she was actually a VERY strong woman. ALL that she was put through and she still got out of bed every morning… raised two kids… got her man back and became a successful author. What do you think? Was Val weak?
Joan Van Ark: God, no. No she wasn’t. For the very reason that she went through so much and landed on both feet. She was strong in a realistic kind of way. So many people came through her life but she persevered. You know, there were two names attached to her: “Poor Val” and what Michele called her, “The Little Engine That Could.” I like that one … “The Little Engine that could.” That was Val. So I agree with Winston-Salem, I don’t think Val was week or needy. Otherwise I couldn’t have gotten out of bed to play her. That should be inscribed on a pillow.
Alex Wade from Detroit, Michigan asks
In close to your last season of Knots, Val loses her marbles yet again. In what could have been a same, tired old storyline, is in fact one of Val’s most entertaining forays into madness. How did you keep it fresh after all those years of playing borderline crazy?
JVA: Which storyline does he mean?
AS: My guess is the one in your second to last season when you fell off the horse and wound up somehow getting a brain virus. Val did all sorts of weird things like stir-frying the kids’ hermit crabs.
JVA: Oh right, right. That one did ask a lot of me. I think the writers tested me with that one. I think they were testing me, sending me up. Val’s going to stir-fry the kids’ pets … how much crazier could she have gotten? But I guess this person from Detroit enjoyed it and that’s what the writers were going for. Maybe he saw it as a fun variation on a constant, repetitive theme.
AS: So you really didn’t like what they were doing with Val at that time.
JVA: No I really didn’t. I’m thinking of two particular writers who liked making fun of Val. Before, I’d go to David Jacobs, who was the creator and executive producer of the show and I’d talk about certain scenes and tweak them, but in this case I didn’t object or confront the two writers … there wasn’t allowed to be a dialogue.
AS: Were these two just two writers? Did you talk to the head writers?
JVA: These were the head writers at the time.
AS: Oh, (Lynn Marie) Latham and (Bernard) Lechowick were the ones you didn’t like. That’s interesting.
JVA (hesitantly): I guess you know the behind the scenes things that were going on then.
AS: Well, I interviewed John Pleshette about a month ago and he couldn’t stand them.
JVA: They came into a show that was established and … I really don’t know if I should be saying this here … but there was a little bit of turning it upside down. God bless ‘em for going on and having successful careers (after Knots) but it became more and more challenging to play Val the way they wrote for her.
Shari from Clermont, Florida asks,
Joan, I know I read in a previous interview that you didn’t think Lucy should have made more appearances than she did, but did it not bother you that after the twins were born there was no mention of Lucy at all? I understand that they were two separate shows, but for those fans that followed both shows and knew and understood the back-story, shouldn’t there have been more mention about her as yours and Gary’s daughter? It always seemed odd to me that there was some mention at one point (you and Karen talking one day) and then no mention at all. Even though she never visited you again, I think it was strange to not have mentioned her again.
JVA: The spine or the beginning of the series was Gary and Val, coming over from Dallas, so maybe there should have been more Lucy. I do know that CBS and the producers of both shows wanted to keep the two shows separate but in the beginning you had Larry Hagman and others going over to Knots. Once Knots got on its feet in the second or third year they backed away from the two shows having anything to do with each other. But there was a delicious possibility to bring Lucy in, especially in later years but CBS and the producers didn’t go for it.
AS: Shari also had asked
What do you think is the real message of Knots Landing? Community and friendship or Strength through Adversity?
JVA: Wow. I think the first one first, the community idea. Knots was about the relationships that were built over many years. It’s also strength through adversity but more about community.
AS: Finally as a tag-on to that question Shari wanted to say
My son and I LOVED you in Santo Bugito! We have the DVD! It’s hilarious!
Thanks and good luck in your work!
JVA: I didn’t know that was on DVD! Is it really on DVD?
AS: I would guess so since she says she watches it on DVD.
JVA: Well I’ll have to buy it then. Tell her I love her and her son. That’s great.
Tommy Fairgate from Miami Beach, Florida asks
Ok first off- thank you Joan for being in my living room for 14 years and then again in syndication!! Your portrayal of Valene Ewing meant so much to me in so many ways I’m tongue tied- I’d like to depart a little from all the Val questions because I literally do not know where to begin …so I’d just like to throw out some word associations and see what comes to your mind, OK?
AS: “The Last Dinosaur.”
JVA: Oh my God. Let me tell you this story. There’s a very famous, chic restaurant here in LA called Campanille. When I go there there’s a husband and wife who own the place who say they leave a tape of The Last Dinosaur for the babysitter. They tell me how well it works. It’s a sleeping pill.
AS (laughing): Okay, try “Frogs.”
JVA (loud chortle): That’s even worse! He’s trying to make me throw up. Whatever anyone wants to say about that movie, I get to go off with Sam Elliott at the end. Nothing can beat Sam Elliott; so take that, Miami Beach, Florida!
AS: Now we’re rolling. How about “Annie Laurie” (from Bonanza).
JVA: Oh Annie Laurie. I got to work with television legends. With Michael Landon, Lorne Greene and of course with Dan Blocker. How I loved working with Dan. Sweet Annie Laurie comes to visit the Ponderosa. I remember I had a scene where I open this big drawer and I have this visual of the drawer filled with white jockey shorts.
AS: And was it filmed that way?
JVA: Oh yeah. Michael Landon played practical jokes like that. Just like Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy did when I was on Dallas. If it’s my close up, they’ll be squirting peanut butter out of their teeth. But it was a gorgeous memory; it was my first real starring appearance on a TV show.
AS: What about “Ima Cummings” on Son of the Beach?
JVA (even louder laughter): I loved Ima Cummings! He thinks he’s pushing my buttons but I loved Ima Cummings. She was Dolly Parton on speed. That’s my sound bite for her. There’s a part of me that wants to wear push up bras and skimpy clothes.
JVA: I want to play trailer trash; I swear to God. I am not kidding you. I have this need to play a funny, zany character after years of playing Valene. I’d like to do ten of these characters if I had the chance! Though I’ll probably wind up playing the “Grandmother from Hell.” When I (played Ima) I went on The Howard Stern Show, because Howard was one of the producers of Son of the Beach, and I got so many calls after that, people telling me they heard me on there. You’d never imagine how many people listen to Howard Stern that you’d never expect.
AS: So do you have any parts lined up to play trailer trash?
JVA: There are possibilities. I’ve got to watch what I say about this, but Ima Cummings is in the zip code I want to be. You know, the same muscle I used to play Valene sort of is the one I used to play Ima Cummings. Ima is just an extension of Valene in some ways.
AS: I knew you’d like that question. Back to normal…
James from London asks
How do you envisage Gary and Val’s third marriage panning out? Do you really think they could have lived happily ever after, or would the more dysfunctional aspects of their relationship resurfaced?
JVA: Of course the dysfunctional elements would come out. Why even bother otherwise? But of course they would persevere and still be together after all.
I think Valene was headed to, and my sister’s like this, after years of doing everything for her husband and her children, Valene was going to further her achievements in the professional world. I think if you saw Valene today she’d be much more accomplished as a writer and would be very successful overall.
AS: That’s good to hear.
JVA: I think so.
“I have this need to play a funny, zany character after years of playing Valene.”
Joshua Slow from Los Angeles, California asks
JVA: Oh what a funny name.
Joan, first of all I want to say I just loved the stylish understatement of your performance in the telefilm WHEN THE DARK MAN CALLS. I thought Nathaniel Gutman’s direction was superb. My question: Over the years you’ve worked with a lot of very acclaimed directors, such as Mike Nichols and Nikos Psacharopolous. From which director would you say you learned the most as an actress and/or director?
JVA: I’m going to have to say Nikos. I love this person that he even knows that Nikos was in my life. Upstairs in my room I have something inscribed from Nikos that has become my favorite quote: “Make voyages … attempt them! There is nothing else,” which is a quote from Camino Real by Tennessee Williams. And that’s how I’ve tried to live my life since I was 14. Make voyages; attempt them. Because that is what you must do. Penny Marshall once said that was her favorite line as well. But I love that person for saying that.
Nikos was wonderful because he once said to me, “All the roles that Vanessa Redgrave does, you should have.” That meant so much to me.
AS: I can certainly see the comparison, in so many ways.
JVA: Thank you. I would love to play her parts. I’m dying to do Orpheus Descending, Long Day’s Journey into Night. That’s a direction I would love to go in. And Mike Nichols I love for his spirit, strength and incandescence. He asked me to be simple and quiet which is very difficult for a Gemini (laughs).
Joshua Slow also asks
There is a thread on the Knots Landing Forum in which members discussed the Catholicism of “Knots Landing.” We talked about Valene’s intensely conflicting value system and how she sometimes seemed like one of those Catholic-school girls who takes the Church’s teachings a little too seriously. As the name “Joan van Ark” means “Joan of Arc” in Dutch, I have to ask: Were you raised Catholic or did Catholicism have a lot to do with your upbringing?
JVA: Absolutely nothing. I’m Presbyterian and I don’t go to church very much. I go on Christmas and a couple of other times a year. My whole family in Boulder, Colorado is Presbyterian and they go to church every 20 minutes. (AS laughs). I’m serious! The Joan of Arc reference is certainly true; she’s been with me my whole life. Maybe some of my quest for success comes from Joan of Arc but there’s no conscious part of Catholicism in my life. I do go to St. Patrick’s (Cathedral) every time I’m in New York and light a candle, but that’s about it.
AS: Well a lot of people, myself included, have noticed strong Catholic elements in the show. I believe Bernard Lechowick is Catholic and he imbued Catholicism into Knots.
JVA (intrigued): Really? That’s fascinating. I didn’t realize people studied the show so closely. But I guess you can say it’s a part of television history and deserves to be looked at. So much of this I didn’t know.
AS: Let’s play a game called What If? I’ll give you a few possible situations and you tell me what you think would or could have happened.
JVA: Sounds good to me.
AS: Val kept writing her book … what would she have found?
JVA: The best thing about that whole story was that I got a scene or two with Bill Devane. It would have been a very interesting story if it continued to say the least. I’m sure Val would have discovered many things about Greg Sumner and it would have led to a lot of exciting scenes with Val and Greg. As for what she would have discovered, anything’s possible.
AS: Ben left on tour with Cathy and never came back to Val.
JVA (snickering): That wouldn’t have been surprising. It seems like all the men leave her … that’s just business as usual with Valene. I was watching Kelly Ripa recently on Late Show with David Letterman and she was saying all the last names of her character on All My Children and I was thinking that Val was Valene Ewing Gibson Waleska Ewing. So I had all the names, three names, and that’s good to have on a soap.
AS: There miraculously was a season 15 of Knots. Would you have come back?
JVA: That’s a good question. Probably not. I left to do the comedy pilot (The Spin Doctors for NBC) and that was the direction I was going in so I probably wouldn’t have returned if Knots returned.
AS: So how close to ending was Knots after season 13? It had to be on life support.
JVA: It was pretty close. I actually thought it was going to end then. When you’re on a long running series, you reach a very rarefied, high oxygen area and after a while to keep a show on the air they have to make some very drastic changes. I’m still in shock about what happened with The Practice. They got rid of six characters and I think it ruins the show. I don’t think I’m going to watch it anymore.
AS: Did you leave because you were annoyed with the show or it was just time to move on?
JVA: It was definitely my time to go. I still want to do a comedy series. If the show went on ten more years Michele would still be doing Karen. That’s her rhythm; that’s her pattern. I was offered this other role and I went with it.
AS: After The Spin Doctors wasn’t picked up for NBC’s schedule did you think about coming back?
JVA: It wasn’t really discussed. It was understood that when I left to do the pilot that I wasn’t coming back.
AS: So they didn’t ask you back at the last minute?
JVA: In a way. They wanted me to do some crazy things but I didn’t.
JVA: I really shouldn’t say. But I did come back at the end and I wound up directing an episode.
AS: Hmm, a mystery. Let’s take another question from our readers.
Holly from Guthrie, Oklahoma asks
Were the characters of Karen and Val originally written to be best friends or did that have more to do with your real-life relationship with Michele Lee?
JVA: That’s a wonderful question. When two characters or two actresses are together for a while there is bound to be chemistry developing. I think Michele and Joan do adore one another, and the writers saw something between the lines there, and they wrote toward that. I didn’t even know Michele before we started the show but we became great friends, and still are.
KL4me from Montreal asks
Could you give us an idea of a story for Val that you or someone else had pitched to the producers that never made it on air?
JVA: There wasn’t really anything I could think of, but I will mention that Ted and I went in way early, whenever Donna Mills came on the show, and told David Jacobs that it made total sense that Gary would fall for Abby. I can’t believe I did that but it really provided me with some great stories.
AS: Why can’t you believe that?
JVA: Because they were celebrating Donna Mills and she became the center but Gary and Val were supposed to be this enduring couple. Ted and I were saying Gary and Val should break up and Gary should go with Abby. It was a pretty big deal to break up the couple that the show began with.
So (the producers) were going toward this, then they pulled away but eventually returned to it. David Jacobs was against it but we convinced him. And it was the longest running story on the show. It took a long time for them to get back together.
AS: Eight years.
JVA: Right. Now when they brought Michele Phillips on the show they wanted to break up Karen and Mack but Michele (Lee) marched into David Jacobs’ office and said, “No way can you do this. There has to be one stable couple on the show.” And she was right.
AS: So they really were going to break up Karen and Mack?
JVA: They sure were. But Michele would have none of it.
Kl4me also wanted to mention
Not sure if you heard this before, but there is a saying about the three divas of Knots Landing: that they represent the saint, sinner and soul of Seaview Circle. Karen is the Saint of Seaview circle, Abby in the Sinner of Seaview Circle, but Val is the Soul of Seaview Circle. I just thought that you’d like to know that.
JVA: I hadn’t heard that one. I do remember that TV Guide did a quote that the three of us can be compared to Earth, Wind and Fire. Michele was the Earth, I was the Wind and Donna was the Fire. I think that really captured it.
“Because they were celebrating Donna Mills and she became the center but Gary and Val were supposed to be this enduring couple.”
Sid Fairgate from Yakima, Washington asks
Hi Joan, I loved you as Valene on Dallas and Knots. I remember once that Valene said to Karen that she loved Danny (before he revealed his evil side) more than she had loved Ben and even Gary. I thought this was odd since she hadn’t known him long, and not only that but she had a lot more history with Gary and even Ben. Do you think she truly loved Danny more at the time, or was Danny just the writers’ way of keeping Valene and Gary apart even longer? Thanks!
JVA: I totally agree with this person. When I saw this I said the audience is never going to believe this. Everyone else sees Danny for what he is except Val. You have to give her something; some awareness or she is going to lose her credibility. It really tested my acting abilities trying to do those scenes. I loved the actor; he was great, though I’m having trouble remembering his name at the moment. I’m at brain damage time!
AS: Sam Behrens.
JVA: Yes, Sam was great to work with and such a nice person but when I read that script it hurt me deeply. My favorite writer on Knots was Peter Dunne. There is nothing that touches the story of Val thinking she was Verna and traveling to Tennessee. Peter was Donna’s favorite writer as well. I especially remember that marvelous scene between Donna and I when Abby comes to the diner Verna is working at and Verna says (in Southern accent), “Oh you have beautiful eyes.” He fed us gold.
AS: It’s interesting that the scenes you didn’t like with Danny were in the season before Val hit her head and went crazy. Was there a trend?
JVA: Yeah there was that time. It hurt, what they were doing. It’s part of what made me leave. The character became a cartoon and a joke. If I’m the village idiot, why am I there? You’ve got to realize that any lady on a soap is devoting her life to it, 24/7. Waking up at 6, getting to the set at 7, and working 18-hour days. I played Valene for 14, 15 years; remember I was also on Dallas for 2 years as well so I was getting really tired of playing her for that long. Of course I loved every minute of being Val but as I said before there were other acting muscles in my body that I wanted to use. When I become the village idiot, or at least, it starts to become a joke, you can’t do that much longer.
Seaviewer from Australia asks
Joan, you and Ted once appeared together in an episode of Wonder Woman. I’ve always wondered whether this previous association had any bearing on him getting the role of Gary when the part was recast.
JVA: It had a lot to do with that. We had just worked together before Knots started. When they were looking to cast Gary, they saw a tape of him and I on Wonder Woman and thought we would be good together. I said, “Oh, no, this is not going to work. He’s just as crazy as I am; we’re both high strung. It won’t work.” Shows how much I know. We worked great together and became soul mates.
The Abby Scale from Scotland asks
JVA: The Abby Scale?
AS: Yeah isn’t that a great name?
JVA: What does it mean?
AS: In Donna Mills’ last episode, Abby was having an argument with Paige and she said something like, “You’re good, Paige, you really are. On the ‘Abby Scale,’ with 10 being Abby, I’d rate you a 6 for your youth and ignorance.” It was one of Donna’s last scenes.
JVA: Oh that’s a great line. That’s a Latham and Lechowick line if I ever heard one.
AS: Anyway, The Abby Scale asks
I love the mention you get on The Simpsons, where Lisa is talking about Joan Of Arc and Marge comes hurtling out of the kitchen saying “Ooh! Joan Van Ark?” When she’s corrected, she sighs “It’s never Joan Van Ark.”
Were/are you flattered by this reference to you, and would you ever consider doing a guest spot on the show?
JVA: I never heard that. When was that on?
AS: The Abby Scale said season 13 and I believe they’re done with season 14, so—
JVA: Last year. I didn’t know that. I think it’s a mixed bag, that quote. But I think it’s true on all levels. My daughter does voices on that show; I don’t know which ones she does, but maybe I should ask her to get me on the show. (Laughs)
Viki Davidson from Rhode Island asks
Hi Joan, it’s great you’re doing this. My question is about Valene’s accent. We all know you don’t talk with the southern drawl in real life so how did you know when to let the accent slowly fade. Right now on Soapnet we are on the 11th season and your accent is pretty much gone except for some subtle hints. Then we look at the first season where it was so thick. Did the producers tell you “Joan, start losing the accent this season?”
JVA: That’s exactly what happened. They wanted to make her less rural, less of a cartoon. Not that Southern woman are cartoonish – they’re the strongest women in this country, but with Val they wanted to take the stereotypical things out. Clean her up a bit. So that’s when she changed her hair, got a new car and stopped having the accent.
AS: The beginning of season nine, after Ben left her?
JVA: Yes that’s when it happened.
“If I’m the village idiot, why am I there?”
Chris Sumner Matheson from San Antonio, TX asks
You have two movies, Net Games, and Small Souled Men that according to the Internet Movie Database have both been filmed and will be released late this year, or sometime next year. Can you tell us when they will be released, and what it was like for you working on features again?
JVA: Net Games has been released so that’s out there. And Small Souled Men has been changed to The Icemakers. That stars Tippi Hedren and Bronson Pinchot and should be out in a couple of months. It was great being in both films.
AS: By the way, which theme song did you like better? The fast opening theme or the slower one, where it sounded like…
JVA: A dirge?
AS (Laughs): Yes.
JVA: I just liked the original. I never really watched the show. I watched the dailies but didn’t really see it when it was on at night. I did see the opening credits for each season usually and looked to see what they added or changed every year.
AS: Did you like what you saw?
JVA: Sometimes it was weird. I’d look at the panels and wonder, “why did they put that?” But I guess they had a reason and wanted to do it for a certain effect.
AS: My favorite image of you in the opening credits is at the very beginning of the season 12 credits just after you had reunited with Gary and you’re walking arm in arm. It was like a ray of sunshine right as the theme music began. Do you remember that one?
JVA: Yes I do. I loved that one. I have many pictures in my office of great Gary and Val moments. Ted and I just worked really well together, we were soul mates, and I think it came across on screen.
Craig Pedersen from San Gabriel, California asks
First, let me say you were my favorite actress on the show and Valene was so easy to root for with all of the perilous storylines. I have never actually submitted questions like this before, but for you it’s definitely worthwhile to do so. There are so many things that would be great to ask, so here goes:
I remember a storyline either in season 12 or 13 where Valene was approached to do Greg Sumner’s biography, which culminated with at least one or two rare scenes with just you and William Devane. I remember thinking “Finally!” because your two characters were about as far removed from each other as any on the show and it seemed to me that working some storyline with both of you was long overdue and would be a goldmine, because you were, in my opinion, the two best actors on the show. What ever happened with that storyline though? It seemed like there was some suggestion that maybe there would be at least a flirtation there or that Greg would make some kind of move? Were the writers briefly toying with going in that direction and then suddenly had second thoughts?
JVA: I would have loved to have seen anything happen. Bill Devane may have been the best actor on the show and I really wish we had more scenes together. There was that great scene where Valene was talking to Greg about her book at the Sumner Group and he blew cigar smoke in my face. It was brilliant! Bill was trying to throw off my concentration and it worked. The cigar was the white elephant in the room. I loved that.
AS: Was that improvised?
JVA: Yes it was. As for Valene and Greg having any romantic possibilities, I definitely would have been open to it. As a female, to sit beside Sumner/Devane, you cannot help but be aware of him. It could have made for some very interesting scenes. But you never can tell when the writers are going toward things like that (romance) with two characters.
AS: I wrote an essay where I listed all the times Val and Greg were in scenes together and…
JVA: Well I think there were only two. There really was nothing, zero, zip.
AS: Actually, you were in a few more than that but they were often group scenes where you and Sumner just breezed by each other.
JVA (laughing): I know, like, “Hi Val,” and “Hi Greg,” … that’s about it.
“Make voyages … attempt them! There is nothing else.”
Frank (“Tripp”) DiNicola III from Martinsburg, West Virginia asks
Thank you for the tremendous work on DALLAS and KNOTS LANDING for fifteen years. It was noticeable over the years on KNOTS that you are an avid runner. I ran my first marathon in May in Pittsburgh, PA and can attest to the great feeling of achievement. Do you have any tips for training? Everyone always has something different! Did you run with any other cast members on KNOTS from time to time?
JVA: I never ever ran with anyone on Knots. As for tips on training, it’s very personal, running, and it’s hard to give advice for someone else. Usually you have your own program and you work from that. A couple of years ago I ran in the LA Marathon. When I’m not involved in an acting job I try to run 10 miles a day. I’d say, eat very right, sleep very right and get your miles up. Running is my church.
Robert Ardini from Manhattan, New York asks
December of next year will be the 25th anniversary of the premiere of KNOTS LANDING. Is a reunion planned to commemorate the event?
JVA: Wow … send an email to Leslie Moonves at CBS to get that going. The first reunion was insanely timed. It was way too early. It was only about two years later, right? The reunion was in ’94 or ’95 and the show ended in ’92. The only reason people watch reunions isn’t for the story but to see if you’re in wheelchairs and walkers yet, and to see how much work anyone has done (on themselves). That’s it. But a 25 year anniversary? That sounds like a good idea. Email CBS like crazy.
AS: So there’s no plan currently?
Cosmic Steeple from Texas asks
Hi Joan. Do you stay in touch with any of the KL cast members, and if so, which ones?
JVA: Good question. I see Michele and Donna all the time, so there’s Joan and Michele and Joan and Donna. Ted I never see; he’s disappeared off the face of the earth it seems. I wish I did.
Brian from Scottsdale, AZ asks
Believe it or not, I have corresponded with the current owners of “Val’s house” on an infamous CA cul-de-sac. My question is, if I buy the house and throw a “Val Party” fundraiser with 100 men in sundresses, would you come?
JVA (sustained belly laughter): Oh how funny! Only if they’re wearing shoes to match. How about that? They’ve got to have pigtails and ponytails, too. That’s funny.
AS: I wanted to go out with a bang. I hope you didn’t mind this “in depth” interview.
JVA: In depth? This could be an episode of a show! Or a spinoff for a series.
AS: Very true. Thanks for everything you have given to us.
JVA: Thank you.
Special thanks to Joan for taking part and to to all the Knots Landing Fans from Knots Net for your wonderful questions – Knots Landing Net Team