Knots Landing – Together Again
Airdate – December 2005
ORIGINAL CAST MEMBERS MICHELE LEE, DONNA MILLS, JOAN VAN ARK, WILLIAM DEVANE, KEVIN DOBSON AND TED SHACKELFORD REUNITE AT THE INFAMOUS CUL-DE-SAC TO CELEBRATE THE POPULAR SERIES, ON “KNOTS LANDING REUNION: TOGETHER AGAIN,” DEC. 2 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
Alec Baldwin, Lisa Hartman-Black, Don Murray, Michelle Phillips And Nicollette Sheridan Also Return
Julie Harris Makes A Special Appearance
KNOTS LANDING REUNION: TOGETHER AGAIN was produced by Michael Levitt/Henry Winkler Productions. Michael Levitt (“Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork”) and Henry Winkler (“So Weird”) are the executive producers. Michael Filerman and David Jacobs (“Knots Landing”) are the co-executive producers. Greg Sills (“VH1 Diva Duets”) is the supervising producer; Gary Tellalian (“TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV”) is the producer. Michael Demsey (“Nicole Kidman: An American Cinematheque Tribute”) directed from a script by “Stephen Pouliot (“CBS At 75”).
On the set
As the temperature hit 100 degrees Tuesday at the San Fernando Valley cul-de-sac where the prime-time soap was shot from 1979 to 1993, makeup began to melt.
And each of the ladies, dressed in gowns from their own closets, madly primped before hand-held mirrors as a photographer positioned them for a cast photo alongside Ted Shackelford (Gary), Kevin Dobson (Mack), William Devane (Sumner), Michelle Phillips (Anne), Lisa Hartman (Cathy) and a surprise guest, 79-year-old Julie Harris (Lilimae).
But unlike Desperate Housewives‘ much-publicized Vanity Fair cover shoot, which involved Knots Reunion no-show Nicollette Sheridan (who is on a worldwide Housewives promotional tour), not one actress attempted to upstage another.
“I walked up to the photographer before we started and said, ‘I think the two blondes (Van Ark and Mills) should be standing together,’ because I didn’t think it would look good with me in the center with a blonde on either side,” says Lee, who ended up in the center anyway. “The reason this show ran so long is because we are all healthy professionals. Donna speaks out for what she wants, quietly. Joan does her own thing. And I make it very understood what my needs are and defuse a lot with humor.”
“We were an acting company, not an ego company,” Mills adds.
Van Ark says the only tense reunion moment occurred during a scene when she ad-libbed: “The only reason you want to watch these reunions is to see whether we’re in wheelchairs or on walkers.” Another actress, whom Van Ark declines to name, demanded that the line be cut and the scene be restarted.
“But it is true,” says Van Ark, who is never far from her treasured “Mona,” a hand mirror bearing the image of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. “Why else watch this reunion but to see how we look?”
“Hair and makeup was a big part of the show,” acknowledges Hartman, who describes herself as “low maintenance” but remembers seeing Van Ark driving through Beverly Hills while applying mascara.
“We’d always lose about a half a day because of hair and makeup,” Shackelford remembers. “But what did I care? I had a job.”
All are quick to spoof their vanities (“How can you not?” asks Mills, a self-described “lighting freak”), but no one will cop to nips or tucks.
Phillips has been dating L.A. plastic surgeon Steven Zax for six years. She came to the reunion prepared to witness signs of facial reconstruction but says she found no scars among her co-stars. “And I can see it,” she says.
“Fortunately, no one on this show has done (plastic surgery),” Dobson says, adding with a smirk: “Not today anyway.”