Kim Lankford who played Ginger Ward in Knots Landing answered your questions at Knots Landing Net.
CALLING KIM LANKFORD
During the early hours of December 10th 2005, London based KNOTS LANDING
fans Jason Yates and James Holmes talked to actress Kim Lankford at her
ranch in Colorado. For nearly two hours, Kim spoke generously and openly
about her time on KNOTS and answered questions that had been submitted to
Knots Landing.Net from all over the world. While Jason and Kim chatted,
James listened in, scribbling additional questions and waving them under
Jason: We're with the wonderful Kim Lankford--who of course played Ginger Ward on KNOTS LANDING for the show's first four seasons--and her cat, Tuff.
Jason: Hello, Tuff, and hello, Kim.
Jason: How are you?
Kim:Barbra Streisand! I sound like Barbra Streisand!
Jason: Yes, you are! We've got some questions from all over the globe. There's
a great question came in here from Nashville, which I thought was quite-
Jason: Nashville, Tennessee.
Kim: Oh, well there you go - stomping ground, my stomping ground.
Jason: So this from Gary Sc6 from Nashville, and he says, "Hi Kim, do you look
back fondly on your participation in the DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES of the 70s and
Kim: (chuckles): The 80s - we did the pilot in '79, so it would be the 80s,
and do I look back on them fondly?
Jason: Yeah, do you look back with fondness?
Kim:I look on them with great fondness. It was a big part of my life and it
was a big make up in who I am.
Jason: And have you seen DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES?
Jason: And what do you think? Do you have any comments?
Kim:I think it's ... tawdry. No!
Jason: It's funny, Kim, because Michele Lee has said quite often that, while
she kind of enjoys the show, she actually thinks that KNOTS LANDING did the
same subject much better.
Kim:Well, I agree with her. You know, I think, you know, DESPERATE
HOUSEWIVES to me, it's fun and it's very spoof like and satire-y, you know,
where I think KNOTS LANDING dealt with things on a more reality based level.
Kim:At least certainly the years that I was there, the first four to six
years, things were done I think - um - more realistically.
Jason: Yeah, yes, absolutely.
Kim:Even though, obviously, there were - I don't know, though - I was gonna
say, even though there were far fetched things - but it seems, as life has
progressed, life is full of far fetched adventure.
Jason: (chuckles): Yes!
Kim:It sometimes hard to separate reality - I mean, not hard to separate it,
but - um - something that sounds so unbelievable is actually quite
Jason: Absolutely. Um, that's interesting you say that. There's a question here
from David in France on that very subject. He says, "Hello, Kim."
Jason: It's more of a statement than a question this, he says, "Don't you think
part of KNOTS LANDING's success was the fact that it was realistic? I mean,
we saw the characters doing the washing, taking their children to school,
things close to real life. The situations were realistic and very well
written. I think that is missing in today's soap operas and why they don't
have as much success as KNOTS LANDING had."
Kim: Well, that's the kind of statement and - um - an interesting observation
which I think is really true and that goes to kind of what we were saying
before. Things have become so far off base. You know, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES,
they're - they don't - they're quite perfect. (JY chuckles) And in KNOTS
LANDING, in the cul-de-sac, we were not that perfect.
Jason (chuckles): Yes.
Kim: You know, I mean, we had an element of that, because we all looked good
and everybody was - but it was middle - um - middle America. You know, it
wasn't so ... so glamourised. Certainly, like I say, in the first four to
six years, it was not, you know, it was, I mean, we did things, we did
things like fashion shows with Jessica Walter and there were -
Jason: Great episode, wasn't it?
Kim: Yes. Well, I thought so. They were great and, you know, we - everybody
did look good and was -
Kim:- fit, but DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES don't, you know, don't look like real
people to me.
Kim: They look very - um - manufactured. Which is OK, you know, and it's
certainly a very popular show -
Kim:- of course, but I agree with David and I certainly, I agree with
Michele. I think that the success of KNOTS LANDING came from the realness of
the characters, the conflict and their reality and the reality that was on
the cul-de-sac for each family, the four families that made up KNOTS LANDING
- the Ewings, the Fairgates, the Averys and the Wards. That made up that
cul-de-sac and the problems that we dealt with in that cul-de-sac were very
Jason: That's great.
Kim:- and relatable.
Jason: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. I certainly think so, having just sat
through fourteen seasons of the show! (Laughs)
Kim: My God, you are good! I mean, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES is fun. I mean, it's fun to watch. I don't - I'm not a regular watcher, but I've certainly - um -
watched it quite a bit or, you know, a few episodes of it, I guess ... and
it's very fun, you know, it's really fun, but KNOTS LANDING did have that
air of ... of reality.
Jason: Yes, yes. Absolutely. We have a question here from Chris Sumner Matheson in the US and he says, "How was it working with James Houghton and Stephen Macht, your two love interests on the show?"
Kim: (laughs): They were great.
Kim: James Houghton is great and has always - was a good friend and - um - I
do have fond feelings for him and he's very successful in his writing
endeavours and he's a wonderful, a wonderful person. We had a lot of fun
Jason: And Stephen Macht. How was - um - what are your memories of him? He's a wonderful actor, isn't he?
Kim: He's a wonderful actor and very fond memories of him. He did some
wonderful work on the show and it was really fun when he was part of KNOTS
Jason: And how about the paediatrician? Do you remember there was a
paediatrician in Season 2 that Ginger had quite a long arc with?
Kim: Yes, I loved him. In fact, they kind of wanted us to have an affair, but
then I don't know if it - David Jacobs said that the viewers, the writers
didn't want Ginger to stray, but I kind of wish we had.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Kim: He was a good character and he was fun and I can't remember his name -
Jason: He was a really, really strong actor, strong character.
Kim: Yes, he was a strong character and a strong actor and I have good
feelings, you know, good memories. Generally speaking, I have good memories
of everyone that I worked with on KNOTS LANDING. They were - everyone was
very professional and - um - you know - came to work prepared.
Jason: (chuckles): Indeed!
Kim: (chuckles): Which was really good!
Jason: That actually takes us onto our next question. I was wondering if we
could just quickly go through the core cast, and if perhaps, if you could
just give us an abiding KNOTS LANDING memory, whether its a specific
incident or something more general, just for your cast mates, starting with
Kim: I love Don Murray, and my memory of - my fondest memory of Don Murray was - we were shooting that episode where ... we were out at the ocean, one of the kids had overdosed?
James: (whispering): "Man of the Hour"!
Jason: "Man of the Hour", I think that is.
Kim: And - um - you know, it was a long shoot. You know, those days are
fifteen, sixteen hour days, and this was a particular day where we were
shooting in the evening time, so it was an all night shoot. I think it was
our first season. Yes, it was our first season cos Don was there, and I was
having so much fun, we were having so much fun. I'm trying to remember the
director - Nick ... Can't remember our director ...
Jason: Sgarro? I'm getting a look from James over here! Sgarro? Nick Sgarro?
Kim: Maybe it was Nick Sgarro. Maybe. I thought he came later. Anyway, he -
the anguish that was going on during the scene, and that we were all running
out to the ocean, to the beach, to see what had happened - and the director
yelled, "Cut, cut, cut," and I said - and so, you know, we stopped.
Kim: And he said, "Kim, you look like you're having too much fun!"
Kim: And Don Murray said, "Of course she's having fun, she's on a hit
Kim: And I went, "OK yeah, they're dying out there. Not a problem!"
Jason: That's great.
Kim: It was a really fun. Don Murray was very, very special, and I often
wonder how the show would have gone had he stayed.
Jason: Oh right, right. That's very interesting. We have a question on that.
Was he as much of a patriarch off screen to the cast that he appeared to be
Kim: Yes. To me, he was -
Kim:- anyway. He was very much that.
Jason: That's great. Constance McCashin.
Kim: Loved Constance. Um - she was great fun to work with. We had a lot of
fun together. They - one TV Guide article singled out Constance and I as
looking like we just came out of the Jane Fonda Gym, and we just loved that!
Kim: We thought that was very cool. And Constance, my biggest memories of
Constance, was she got pregnant when she was on the show with her husband
Sam, of course, and - um - we found out she was having a baby on the show,
and everybody was so excited.
Kim: And myself and Julie Harris, we gave her her baby shower.
Jason: Oh that's sweet, that's really nice, yeah.
Kim: So that was a really nice memory.
Jason: That's great. And Joan, Joan van Ark.
Kim: Joan van Ark is, you know, a consummate - she's great. She is an
interesting gal. I mean, she's so well - um - trained and she's wonderful.
She's a very generous - as everyone on the show was, very generous actors
and very supportive. And that's another thing that I think made KNOTS
LANDING - um - really what it was. People genuinely cared about each other
and cared about getting the best performance, so nobody ever left and not
did their close up.
Jason: Right, right.
Kim: Nobody ever did anything like that, unless - I guess unless - there was
some emergency. But I can't recall anytime that anyone ever was not there
for me and/or my close ups or -
Jason: Because it's quite common, isn't it - for people who don't know - on
television shows, often for actors not to be there for each other's close
ups nowadays, isn't it?
Kim: It is. People get tired, they wanna go home. And that's understandable
as well, but you know, that's the part - that's the beauty, and part of
acting, you know. That's a part of acting. If you don't wanna be an actor
then ... you shouldn't wanna act. (Laughs)
Jason: Then get out of the kitchen! (Laughs)
Kim: Yeah, exactly, so - but everyone, everyone that we had on the show was
very, very supportive, and always there for - always there for everyone.
Kim: Always wanted the best work. We always wanted, asked for the best, and
got the best. And that was great.
Jason: And it certainly shows on screen. Um - how was John Pleshette?
Kim: (Laughs): He's a character, John Pleshette. He is so fun and so smart and
so witty. Um - he was a lot of fun. He and Constance were always were having
fun - um - you know, shuckin' and jiving, that kind of thing.
Jason: Were they?
Kim: Yeah, he was very, very good. His character Richard really went off the
deep end! (Giggles)
Jason: (Laughing): Yes - um - he had a nervous breakdown -
Kim: Mmm hmm.
Jason: - he held up Laura, his wife, with a gun at one point, didn't he, in
that episode "Night" ... all kinds of things.
Kim: Yeah, he was walking a thin line there!
Jason: And how about Ted Shackelford?
Kim: Ted Shackelford as well. Ted Shackelford was - um - you know, just
really generous and fun to work with. No, all the guys were really good and
solid and were there for all of us. Not just their spouses on the show, but
there for all of us, for all of our scenes.
Jason: Juppiter in Albany, New York -
Jason: His question is, "Hi Kim -"
Jason: "The first few seasons of KNOTS LANDING were probably the best in my
opinion, but there were some incredibly silly episodes, like the one where
the biker gang shows up at the beach-"
Jason: (Laughing): " - and the one where everyone gets held hostage at Ginger's
baby shower. What was it like to make these episodes and then never discuss
events again in later episodes?" I think that, basically, he's saying that -
um - in the earlier seasons, the arcs were shorter, weren't they?
Kim: Mmm hm.
Jason: Did it feel strange to not refer to events that had happened?
Kim: Well, yes and no. I mean, that's how we do in life. Sometimes we don't
refer to those events, but they're all part of your make up.
Kim: You don't talk about a lot of things that happen to you, but they're
still there and they're still part of your character. And so those were
still history, history moments in the character. I happen to agree - this is
Jason: Yes, in Albany, New York.
Kim: I agree with Albany, New York (Laughs). I thought the first seasons of
KNOTS LANDING were the best as well. And - um - so thank you for that, and I
agree with you - um - there were some things that were far out, like the
biker gang. But then, also those things that are far out happen in real
Jason: Yeah, absolutely.
Kim: You know, and then we don't talk about them because they were so weird
that nobody wants to talk about it again.
Jason: Absolutely. And there was some great incidental music in that biker gang
episode. There's some really funky music.
Kim: Oh, is there? I don't recall the music, but I do recall the beach and us
all getting scattered by bikes!
Kim: Yeah, it was, you know, I don't know that it was that far fetched, but -
um - maybe it was.
Jason: Well, certainly rewatching it now, it doesn't appear to be. Certainly,
some of the episodes when you're rewatching them now, they seem very
Kim: Do they?
Jason: Yes, they do, they do. Especially in the early episodes. Certainly. Yes,
I think so.
Kim: Well, I was - you know, of course, I was more a part of the early
episodes obviously, so you know the early episodes to me are what really
resonate, and which I think - a lot of times I think ... I think that's
where KNOTS LANDING's soul was.
Jason: Yeah. I've got a quote here actually, Kim, from the UK's James Holmes.
"A lot of the drama in KNOTS LANDING during the early days came from
elements external to the cul-de-sac: biker gangs, serial rapists,
hitch-hiking teenage temptresses, and other 'white trash bogeymen'. These
story lines spoke to the anxieties of affluent white suburban Americans-"
Kim: These things spoke to what?
Jason: He says that he thinks that "these story lines spoke to the anxieties of
affluent white suburban Americans at the time."
Kim: Mm hm.
Jason: And he goes on to say that "there is a sense of the cul-de-sac being
circled by various bands of greedy, envious poor people just waiting to
invade cul-de-sac and 'take it all away from them.'" I was just wondering
what you thought about that.
Kim: That's interesting. I've never thought about it like that, but I can - I
can see that.
Kim: Maybe - you know, there was a part that - the cul-de-sac was, in
essence, our safe place -
Kim:- our perfect little place to live, even though it was full of very
middle class people.
Kim: It was middle - it was supposed to be middle America, you know. And
these were people who worked hard. I mean, Ginger was a school teacher until
she started to sing and have children, you know, it was a - she was a school
teacher, Kenny was a record producer, Karen was, you know, a housewife
supporting her husband's business, so-
Jason: Mm hm.
Kim:- yeah, I think it's an interesting observation. I can see how that
would be thought of, although I don't recall us thinking that - like, sort
of, "them against us", you know, "them and us."
Jason: Mm hm.
Kim: But yeah, KNOTS LANDING did wanna preserve a way of life, a way of
Jason: That's very interesting, yeah.
Kim: You know, and I think that in the beginning years, it accomplished that.
You know, that's what it was about - the turmoil. The turmoil and anguish
that went on in our own cul-de-sac, in our own little world, SCENES FROM A
Kim: What went on there.
Jason: And there was nothing like that on television at the time, nor has there
been since--an examination of that area of middle class western life.
Kim: I think you're right. I don't see that. The closest thing that comes to
that to me on a ... different level is MEDIUM. The family is very middle
class. Patricia Arquette, I love the way she plays that character. She's
very real, she's very regular. She's not a Desperate Housewife.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Kim: You know, and so you get a sense of sort of regular people, even though
she's got, you know, she's gifted with some, some, some ... special gifts!
Jason: Now, Kim, talking about special gifts, would you be able to discuss with
us, please, because I think everybody wants to know, the episode "The Three
Sisters", the haunted house episode. It's generally considered by some to be
a classic. I know David Jacobs has been quoted as saying it's one of his
favourite episodes of the whole show. And you had some great stuff to do in
that. Are you fond of the show yourself?
Kim: I am. I love that episode. That was really fun, and it was fun because
all of us, the women, were altogether.
Jason: The gals.
Kim: Yes, I think that was a really interesting episode.
Jason: And you can actually watch it totally detached from KNOTS LANDING. If
you'd never seen an episode of KNOTS LANDING, you could watch that and it's
like a TV movie.
Kim: Really? You know, it's been so long since I've seen any of these. Um - I
remember us filming that vividly, because we were in an old house in
Pasadena and - um - and odd things happened -
Jason: Oh really?
Kim:- you know, while we were there - like, one time I had a polaroid
Jason: Uh huh.
Kim: And - I remember sharing this with Julie - Joan at that time, I don't
know how she is today, but at that time, really hated her picture taken - um
- you know, a still shot or something.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Kim: And I had a polaroid. Now, I don't know if I got it from the wardrobe
department or, you know, how I "procured" a polaroid, but I had one.
Jason: (chuckling): Yeah.
Kim: And I was snapping some shots, you know, behind the scenes shots, and I
took a picture of Val that was SO beautiful and, in the picture, a halo came
around her head.
Jason: Oh, we're getting laughter here! Wow!
Kim: Really wild! And like a - like a - not a halo like a traditional circle
halo, you know, thing - but like um - an aura. An aura came across her. It
was SO fantastic. And I showed it to Julie and we were just, you know, we
just couldn't believe it, that some sort of -
Kim:- I don't know, aura. Something magical happened there. Something
magical happened in that house, with all the things that we were doing
there. It was really interesting.
Jason: Was that the polaroid that was actually used on the show? There is a
polaroid of Joan van Ark as the Valene character in the show, and something
strange happens in the polaroid -
Jason: - when all the characters are looking at the polaroid at the end. The
three sisters, the three ghosts, are in the shot, and that's how the episode
finishes, with you all being totally freaked out by it. I'm wondering if
that was the same-?
Kim: I wonder?
Jason: Yeah, it'd be interesting-
Kim: Well, I'll tell you this, and I don't know, you guys will decide whether
you want to edit this or not, but I had that picture in my dressing room -
Jason: Uh huh.
Kim:- and I had it up because I thought it was so unique and special, and
Joan came into my dressing room and took that picture.
Jason: Oh no! Let's get it back off her next time we talk to her!
Kim: Yeah, I don't know if she even remembers or knows what she did with it.
I was so upset and I went to Julie and I said, "She went into my dressing
room and she took that picture", cos at that time she hated anybody - you
know, she hated her picture. So, it was so wild because something happened
that we didn't see with our natural eye -
Kim:- before I took that shot.
Jason: Yeah. It's a wonderful piece of television and I think the direction on
it is very, very strong.
Kim: Who directed that episode? Do you remember?
Jason: Um - I've no idea at all, but it's very, very well shot. Looks like
almost hand held, a lot of it.
Kim: Mm hm. I think we did do some hand held on that.
Jason: Did you?
Kim: We always did. We had a lot of tracking shots, but I think we did do
some hand held stuff. I'm trying to think ... I don't think Jeff Bleckner
was the director. He was another favourite director, Jeff Bleckner. He was a
good director. I mean, they were all good.
Jason: And who were your favourite directors on the show?
Kim: Well, David Jacobs. He directed one.
Kim: And I always, I have such fond feelings for David and Michael. Um, they
were really good people, and if you saw this, kind of, TOGETHER AGAIN thing
they did the other night, which was wild -
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Kim:- David and Michael stayed true to their vision about the cul-de-sac
being about four families, but from that TOGETHER AGAIN episode, you didn't
know that there were four families there.
Kim: It kind of went off into different areas, which I suppose, you know, is
fine and the natural progression of the show, I suppose, but it was
interesting to me how David and Michael still - and David said, "from SCENES
FROM A MARRIAGE" and "the four families" - and the four families were never
introduced in that TOGETHER AGAIN episode or special.
Jason: Yeah. Helena from Northern Ireland says, "Hi Kim."
Jason: "You are-" Are you ready for this? "You are a beautiful looking lady and
I loved Ginger."
Kim: Thank you.
Jason: "You played a strong, feisty woman. How did you feel after filming
confrontational scenes with other actors? What was the atmosphere like
Kim: I appreciate that. I - um - liked being feisty. I wish Ginger had been
more feisty, that they had given her more feisty roots to chew on, so to
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Kim: Um - when you're acting, it's a job like anything else that you do and
you have feelings about it. You come prepared to do your job, for whatever
sense memory work you wanna do, if that's the way that you work. Um -
whatever it is that you need to develop and bring life, breathe life into
your character, you do. And then when they say cut, you ... stop. (Laughs)
You stop and you think about it and, you know, sometimes you - one - this
one - would ask for another take if I felt I wanted that or if I wanted to,
you know, if I felt I missed something or talk to the director and - but
it's really a - it, you know, it wasn't things that lingered on. The beauty
about doing the series was, if you left work that day and you thought, "Aw
gosh, I missed this or I missed that," the beauty was next week you got to
do another show.
Kim: So you got to then bring that - um - evolution to the next show.
Kim: I mean, obviously you wouldn't be carrying, if it was an angry scene,
you wouldn't be taking it - but that there, again, is part of the history of
the character, which makes us all up, you know.
Jason: And also, Kim, perhaps you could explain some of the details of actually
working on a television production. I think there's a general misconception
with audiences that they perhaps don't realise how small a time you spend
doing the scene and how much time there is waiting around and setting up
lights and things like that. Perhaps you could give some insight into what
it's like to work on a daily television schedule like that.
Kim: Well, that's really true and so, say, if you - one - if Ginger - if we -
had an emotional scene or a scene that - or any scene, for that matter - but
specifically - just being specific, if something is a little bit more
emotional - the times when I was pregnant and dealing with the baby and
those kinds of -
Jason: Naughty Kenny's infidelity.
Kim: Yes, exactly, when I had to reprimand that - (Laughter). You know, when
they're setting up for a shot, which could take an hour to two hours
depending on the lighting and what they're doing -
Jason: Mm hm.
Kim: - to three hours to set up for a shot. When we set up for big, like,
dinner scenes at the Fairgates, I mean those were - a small scene, a dinner
scene, that was an all day affair, because of setting up lights and
different angles and different cameras, even if you did have two cameras,
which often times we worked with two cameras, it's the actor's
responsibility, certainly my responsibility, to stay in a mindset of that
Jason: Mm. Mm hm.
Kim: You know, that's why it's so important that we have dressing rooms -
Kim: - so you can take yourself out of the hustle and bustle, not get caught
up in, "Gee, we need a zip, we need a baby, we need a OB light, we need
this, we need that," so you're not caught up in the drama of ... not the
scene per se -
Jason: Yes, yes absolutely.
Kim: - so you wanna stay in the spot where you are wrapped up in the emotion
of what's taking place. So it's a great responsibility for an actor to
remember that and to take himself, or oneself, away from the distractions of
the set, if they're distracting to you, and protect yourself and protect
your character by going to your dressing room or sitting in a corner or
having a book that - often times I would read a lot of Keats - and read a
book or a poem that says to you what that scene is about.
Jason: Mm hm. And I heard that the Lorimar dressing rooms, there was no -
something about no running water or something. Is that true?
Kim: I don't recall us having running water. (Laughs) I don't recall it being
a rule either, but I do know that everyone on the show, everyone on the show
loved - as far as I knew - certainly for myself, I shouldn't speak for other
people - I loved to act. I love acting. And so, in there - um - I felt a
great responsibility to what I brought to Ginger. Or didn't bring.
Jason: We have a question from Kennygary in Delaware, which I presume is the
US, and he says, "Kim, did your ability to go out in public change with the
success of the show?"
Kim: Oh sure. I mean, it didn't stop me from doing anything I wanted to do
because that's what I did, but you were very recognisable because you were
in people's living rooms once a week.
Jason: So how did you find that in your own personal life?
Kim: Well, I felt a great responsibility to that. If I was in a bad mood, I
didn't go outside!
Jason: Chris Sumner Matheson also asks, "Hey, Kim! I love horror films and a
while back I bought a copy of CAMERON'S CLOSET."
Kim: (laughing): Oh my God!
Jason: (laughing): I hope you've got a smile on your face now, Kim!
Jason: "I was wondering what you thought of making the film. Would you ever
return to the horror genre?"
Kim: Um - that would depend on the script.
Kim: I am not a big - I do not like scary movies. (Laughs)
Jason: Oh you don't?
Kim: (Laughing): No! So I - um - wouldn't go out to watch it per se, but I
don't mind acting in them. Um - CAMERON'S CLOSET was really funny. Not
funny, but it was an interesting part cos we did a lot with blue screens so,
you know, when the monster was there I never saw the monster, you know, it
was all that blue screen stuff.
Jason: Pretending to see it.
Kim: Uh huh, and I liked that because I love to act. (Giggles)
Jason: And also you've got fabulous eyes.
Kim: Thank you. It's important to have something behind those eyes, too. The
thing that surprised me in that show was I think I smoked and I'm not a
smoker and he said, "oh yeah, you've gotta smoke in here." I remember that,
thinking, "Oh, OK, I'll learn to smoke." (Laughs)
Jason: Do you think Ginger should have taken up smoking when Kenny left?
Kim: Maybe. That might have been good business.
Jason: Yes. Yes, I think that would have been interesting.
Kim: That would have been fun. It would have been totally against Ginger's
character so it would have been really good.
Jason: We've got a question here from the United Kingdom from Mickey and he
says, "Hi Kim."
Jason: "I love your work on KNOTS LANDING very much. First of all, I was
wondering how much input you had into the actual path your character took on
the show? Were the producers willing to hear suggestions from you and other
cast members? If so, did you suggest anything to them that happened in the
Kim: We were really lucky with our writers and - the writers and the
producers. They were very - um - very open to suggestions from the actors. A
lot of times, Karen Fairgate or Valene's characters overrode a lot of what
you wanted to do, cos they had definite ideas of how they wanted their
characters to go.
Jason: Uh huh.
Kim: Um, my character I felt was evolving -
Kim: - you know, as all of them, but I felt that my character - I felt Ginger
was finding herself through the show. Um, the most that went on, kind of,
that I suppose I had input on, was the Ciji, the singing, the Ciji taking
and stealing some of my songs, and then me being able to sing the song when
Ciji's gone - when Ciji doesn't show up.
Kim: To give Ginger an opportunity to kind of come out her - um - school
teaching ... mode, I guess.
Jason: Yeah, and can I pick up something you said slightly earlier in terms of
the Karen Fairgate and Valene Ewing characters [overriding Ginger], do you
think it perhaps affected the show one way or the other?
Kim: Well - um - I didn't find it particularly frustrating, because at that
time I always - I felt, and I still do really feel - that there was room for
Kim: So I kind of, and maybe in retrospect, sat back too much. Kim sat back
too much, standing up for Ginger. Because I always felt that it would come
Kim: And that I see, I see more now, the squeaky wheel kind of gets the
Jason: Mm. Hm mm.
Kim: - and - um - you know, there are times when I feel that I should have
stood up more for Ginger. And that may or may have not changed things. You
know, I don't know that -
Jason: But it -
Kim: - but those are things that I learned later on in different, you know,
in different shows that I did. I learned how to stand up for my character
Jason: Because I think, certainly from some of the fans, there's a sense that
perhaps there were some lost opportunities in the early seasons, in terms of
Ginger and Laura and Val and Karen, in terms of the dynamics there. Some
areas that weren't perhaps explored as thoroughly as they might have been.
Kim: I would agree with that. I would agree with that and I don't, you know,
I don't, you know, that - I don't wanna beat myself up for that or ... I
just wanna learn from things, you know, and - um - learn to, like I said - I
guess I'm repeating myself - but to learn to stand up for my character more.
I learned that in KNOTS LANDING. Um - you know - was it too late? I don't
know, you know. I don't know. I'm grateful and I'm so ... thrilled and I
have such fondness of my time there. Could I have done things better? Maybe.
(Laughs) You know, that's - but that's - you know, that's part of life, you
know. I brought a lot of experiences and a lot of learning to other
characters and other parts and other aspects of my life because of that.
Jason: How did you feel about that show? You carried the huge weight of most of
that show, didn't you? Ginger really carried -
Kim: I liked that show. That was a really good show. And that was - didn't
that - wasn't that the one with - um - my boyfriend, my first boyfriend, who
was the Vietnam vet?
Jason: Yeah. Yes, it was.
Kim: That was a really - um - meaningful show for Ginger. It was a really
meaningful show for me, and - um - I loved that show. I loved that show. I
loved the fact that it dealt with abortion.
Jason: Yeah, yeah.
Kim: Um - I felt that that was something else that they missed in the
TOGETHER AGAIN episode, you know, when they were saying that KNOTS LANDING
always dealt with cut of the edge issues, which is true. That was a big
issue - Vietnam vet, abortion. It was a big - and still is. (Laughs) I mean,
you know that. Abortion is a big, big issue today. And I thought that it
defined Ginger in a way because she at that time, again, was too young to
know how to stand up for herself to her mother.
Jason: Are there any story points in particular that you that you disagreed on
Kim: Well, Jim - Kenny - wanted off the show, so we definitely parted ways
there. I did not want to leave the show and he wanted ... He didn't feel
like he was - I don't wanna talk for him -
Jason: No -
Kim: - but he felt that he wanted to leave the show. He wanted to pursue his
writing career and I wanted to stay on the show, and at that time David
Jacobs was thinking about spinning Ginger and Kenny off into another show.
Jason: Yes, tell us all about that. What-
Kim: Well, I don't - there wasn't - it never came to fruition so, you know
... Kenny didn't - Jim Houghton did not wanna do that. I did.
Jason: Yeah yeah. And did David Jacobs have any ideas as to what - how that
show - a concept - or did he talk to you about -
Kim: No, we didn't know. Or if he did, I have forgotten. I don't know what he
had in mind, but it was taking Ginger - you know, Ginger and Kenny - to move
to another area, which would have been fine, and I would have loved to
explore that, although I loved staying - I loved being on the cul-de-sac. I
loved working with those people and I loved working with David Jacobs and
Michael Filerman, so I wanted to - see, at that time, I was just learning
how to be Ginger and, like I said earlier, stand up for Ginger, fight for
Ginger, get some things going for her.
Kim: And then all of a sudden, you know -
Kim: - Jim wanted to leave the show. So that was not - um - and he didn't
come to talk to me about that beforehand.
Jason: So how did you find out?
Kim: Well, after the fact.
Jason: After the fact. And in Season 4, towards the end, your performances are
very, very strong.
Kim: Thank you.
Jason: More so, noticeably, when you're not acting in scenes with the character
of - the Kenny character.
Kim: Mm hm.
Jason: You're very, very strong at the end of Season 4, and it would have been
interesting to see what had happened if Ginger had actually stayed on the
Kim: Mm. Well, when we had the reunion in '97, '98, whenever that was, they
brought Ginger back in and I talked about how wonderful it was to be
divorced. "I had no idea there was such variety out there!"
Jason: (Laughing): Yes!
Kim: It was great. You know, that was really fun and that's where I thought
Ginger could really come into her own, and she did with, you know, Val and
Karen. It was a ... nice time for Ginger there.
Kim: I would have loved to have explored some of the other ... dynamics of
that, of a divorce.
Kim: Because, there again, that would have brought a new dimension into the
cul-de-sac because - you know, because it just would have, certainly for
Kenny and Ginger.
Jason: We have a question here actually about your final episode from Shaun in
Arlington, Virginia. Shaun says, "Hi Kim. Did it bother you that your final
scene on the show was the one where you and Kenny went to bed talking about
moving to Nashville and the show never bothered to have a scene showing the
Wards moving out of Seaview Circle?"
Kim: Yes. (Laughs)
Jason: (Laughs): It's a very specific question there!
Kim: Yes, it bothered me a great deal.
Kim: I didn't wanna shoot that. I think that was David Jacobs directed that
episode, so - if I'm not mistaken. And - um - yes, it bothered me a lot. I
didn't wanna do that show. I didn't wanna do that episode. I didn't wanna do
that scene. I didn't wanna do those scenes. David knew that.
Kim: Um - I didn't - I did not want - I did not want to leave KNOTS LANDING,
and I did not want Ginger or the character - I mean I didn't wanna leave the
Kim: You know, I did not want to leave and so, yes, it was very upsetting for
me and very upsetting that they just dropped the ball, so to speak, on it,
but there were other things that were taking precedence, I suppose.
Jason: We have some questions here from Linda in Texas. Says, "Hi Kim. Did you ever consider a singing career after your role in KNOTS?" And Rick from
Costamesa in California says, "Are you still using your lovely singing
Kim: (Laughs): Well, thank you. Yes, I like to sing and I am still singing.
You know, I love to sing. I came from a musical family. My mother was an
opera singer and - um - I love singing and I love writing music, and there
again was an interesting part in KNOTS LANDING. When Ginger was starting to
sing, I wanted to do things that - I wanted to do a certain style of music
and they wanted a certain style of music, and it probably would have been
more advantageous to go with what they were offering, and then kind of
change as I grew.
Jason: A question from Bradley Elsken in Rogers Arkansas, and he says, "Hi
Jason: "I loved your character of Ginger, especially your scenes with Ciji
Dunne. What was it like to fight with Lisa Hartman? PS I think you're
Kim: Oh! (Laughs) Well, thank you. It's great to fight with Lisa.
Jason: You heard it here, folks!
Kim: We loved our scenes together. Well, again, I shouldn't say - I'm saying
"we", like I'm speaking for people - but we, Lisa and I, had a lot of fun
together, on camera and off camera. And she's a good fighter. She's a good
one to be mad at!
Kim: Really fun. I remember when Lisa first came to the show, we were doing a
... I don't know if we were doing a cover of TV Guide or some publicity
shots or something, and Lisa walked right in with a bottle of champagne and
orange juice. It was fun, so we hit it off right away, Lisa and I. We had -
we were good - um - would adversaries be the right word?
Jason: Yes. Yes.
Kim: We were good adversaries on camera.
Jason: Do you have any particular memories of Julie Harris, the wonderful
wonderful Julie Harris?
Kim: Yes. Julie Harris is the best. And Julie Harris said to me, "Kim, you
are my first friend on KNOTS LANDING."
When Julie came onto the show, everyone was so, "Oh my God, it's Julie
Harris! It's Julie Harris!" And I just went, "I'm going to meet her, I'm
going in!" And I went in, and we became fast and furious friends. And Julie
and I have a lot of friends in common - Mary Jackson, who was in THE
WALTONS, played one of the old little sisters. And then through Julie, I met
Dame Wendy Hiller in London when I was studying at the Royal - cos after I
left KNOTS LANDING, I went to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Jason: Did you have any particular memories of working with Donna Mills?
Kim: Oh yeah. Donna is fun. Donna's always fun to work with and she's good to
fight with, too. She is so lovely and nice and wonderful and generous and
she's a ... sistah! (Laughs) Yeah, she is really fun and she is so different
off camera. Yes, that's so true. She is so different and genuine and not at
all calculating like Abby is. Well, maybe she is. I don't know!
(Both laugh wildly)
Kim: There is a commonality with each of the characters with each of us that
Kim: And there again, that's why these characters became - I mean, how many
years is this later that people are still interested?
Jason: Did you see TOGETHER AGAIN?
Jason: There's been lots of criticism of the KNOTS LANDING reunion [TOGETHER
AGAIN] that it didn't actually feature yourself and James Houghton and
Constance McCashin and John Pleshette.
Kim: Well, I agree with that. I feel - and that's where I say that there,
David Jacobs and Michael Filerman remained true to the concept of the show.
The concept of the show was scenes of the marriages ... about four families.
And they said it, time and again, and the show [TOGETHER AGAIN] never
highlighted those four families. It would have been just easy to go around
the cul-de-sac and say, "The Ewings, the Fairgates, the Averys, the Wards -
this is where it all started." And where it went from there is ... where it
went, but the foundation of the show was completely missed. Constance did
not want to be part of it and that's totally up to her and I have nothing
for that or against it - totally - one must do what one must do. Each of us
must do what we need to do to live with ourselves.
Jason: Sure. Apparently, they only called her a couple of days before on her
cell phone and she was having her blown out at a salon, and apparently they
- you know - they just - it was all too late. Apparently.
Kim: Yeah, they called me late too.
Kim: You know, I was on my way to Vermont. I had a clinic, because I do a lot
of work with the horses now, and I was on my way to a clinic in Vermont. So,
you know, yeah, they called me a couple of days beforehand. But I would have
changed things. I could have, I think, but - you know - they weren't - the
way I see it and - you know - this is - um - I really - you know - in a way
- shame on Henry [Winkler, TOGETHER AGAIN producer] and shame on that -
because that, to me, is what - um -
Jason: What the show was all ab-
Kim: To me, the foundation of the show was built on that. The foundation of
the show was built on these four families. Now, if they're gonna call
Constance two days before, and she's got other plans - she's got i.e. a
Jason: (chuckles): Yeah!
Kim: You think she's been sitting around for twenty-five years-
Jason: Oh yeah, I'd love to hear her on that!
Kim: You know what I mean? I mean, the same for me. I mean, I had these plans to work and help people in Vermont with their horses. I mean, am I sitting
here? Waiting? In Colorado? For them to do this?
Kim: So where is the - um - just the respect for the characters and the
respect for your craft?
Jason: Do you have any particular memories of Steve Shaw, Pat Petersen and
Tonya Crowe, who of course played the Fairgate boys and Olivia Cunningham?
Kim: Yes, I know - yes, yes. Those were great boys. Claudia Lonow, too.
Jason: Oh yes, Claudia Lonow too! Great actress.
Kim: She is wonderful and those - yes, I have fond memories of all of them,
especially Steve Shaw. I really, really resonated with him and ... he died
too early. He died. He has passed away.
Kim: And Claudia Lonow and I got along very well. Claudia is a wonderful
actress. And Tonya Crowe as well. I have maintained - I haven't talked to
Tonya in a couple of years - but we've maintained a relationship and, you
know, friendship, you know, throughout time. She's a wonderful little
actress. Not that she's so little anymore! (Laughs) She was little then! But
she's a beautiful young woman.
Jason: They wrote very well for her when she was a child, I thought. In the
Kim: Mm hm. I agree with you there. She was a real product of Abby as it
Jason: Mm mm.
Kim: And she is a wonderful actress and I think she's studying yoga now. Very
into her yoga and does very well there. And yes, I have fond memories of all
those kids, especially Steve Shaw.
Kim: You know. I have real fond memories of all those kids. Cos there was an
episode that we did where Steve's character kind of had a crush on Ginger.
Jason: Yes. That's actually an arc. It actually bubbles through quite few
Kim: Yes. I would have liked that to have continued. It was really tender and
another real thing that happens in, you know, neighbourhoods.
Kim: In that kind of a neighbourhood. Um -
Jason: And also the Steve Shaw character was quite resonant with the Sid
Fairgate character -
Jason: - and when Sid left the show -
Jason: - obviously, that aspect of the show disappeared, and he was quite a
gentle character on screen -
Jason: - which KNOTS LANDING dared to have, gentle males, as part of its core
cast. You know, again, unusual at that time.
Kim: Mm hm. Well, i.e. Gary. Gary was always - Sid was more - Sid was, I
would say - you're right - Sid was a real tender, gentle man. Gary was kind
of pushed around by all these women.
Kim: You know, so there was a different ... dynamic in Gary's manliness on
the show. But Sid was really a - you know, well, he was a patriarch, like
you say. He was Karen's husband and he was a good solid citizen.
Jason: Did the dynamic change after Don Murray left the show?
Kim: Oh yes.
Jason: Suddenly, you've got a cast where the male lead has gone. Did that
affect morale on the show? Could you talk a bit about that time?
Kim: Well, I remember when David Jacobs called me and said that Sid was
leaving the show, and I was just - I couldn't believe it. And - um - I was
very concerned with what was gonna happen with the show. Um - so I think it
was a concern. It was a concern for me, it was a concern for Ginger too
because Sid was ... like the dad to everybody. And ... not only that, he was
a good man, you know, behind the scenes.
Kim: And, in fact, I had gone to Santa Barbara at that time where he was
living and visited him and his family, he has a lovely family, and was
really concerned and sad to see him leave the show. But Kevin Dobson came
and I think Kevin really picked up nicely.
Jason: Mm. Yes, yes.
Kim: And I adore Kevin Dobson. He is such a nice person.
Jason: Now, can I pick up on something about your performance with Kevin
Dobson, because am I wrong in suspecting - there was something going on
between you two - not you and Kevin Dobson - Ginger and Mack? There was
outrageous flirting going on.
Kim: Yes, Ginger had a big crush on Mack.
Jason: She had a huge crush on Mack, didn't she?
Jason: See, I was waiting for that to develop. Was that something you guys
worked out? Because it seemed so right for the characters that it-
Kim: It just happened very naturally.
Kim: But I wish they would have played, you know, picked up on that.
Kim: That would have been some fun stuff.
Jason: Very funny scene when he comes to take - the episode where Ciji's
actually murdered -
Kim: Uh huh.
Jason: - and you're in a fabulous red outfit looking stunning and he comes in,
and the chemistry between you is just fantastic.
Jason: Did you - I don't know if you remember that scene, but it's wonderful.
You cannot take your eyes off each other and he's complimenting you, and the
more he compliments you ... it's so funny because Kenny has no idea what's
Jason: Must have been a lot of fun to do those scenes.
Kim: Oh, it was such fun. It was such wonderful fun. And then I think, if I'm
not mistaken, Jeff Corey played Kevin Dobson's father.
Jason: Oh yes. Great actor, yes.
Kim: Wonderful actor. And I had my first acting class with Jeff Corey. And it
was so much fun when he was on the show for those episodes.
Jason: Kim, just before we wrap up, could you just talk a little bit about your
Kim: I have a ranch here in Colorado and the work I do with horses is called
Living Horsemanship and it's a programme that I've developed uniting the
pelvic clock of the horse with the pelvic clock of the human through my
Jason: Kim Lankford, thank you very much indeed.
Kim: You're welcome. Thank you.
For more information about Kim Lankford's life and work, listen to the
longer audio version of this interview or visit the following:
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