Shortly after the appointed time of 4pm, KNOTS LANDING fans Jason Yates and James Holmes receive a call from series creator David Jacobs in California. “I’m a little late calling because I was watching our village idiot on television,” he explains.
Jason: David, welcome to KNOTS LANDING Net and thank you very much indeed
for joining us.

David: It’s nice to be here.

Jason: Oh, great stuff. We’ve got questions from all over the world from
fans all dying to ask about KNOTS LANDING. Of course, the DVD is coming out
in March. Are you excited about that?

David: I’m looking forward to it. I’ve enjoyed the process – I enjoyed the
process on DALLAS, which I wasn’t so – although I created DALLAS, I wasn’t
so directly involved as I’ve been with KNOTS – and yes, I’m looking forward
very much –

James: Because you were good on the commentaries. I must say, it really
helped having you there on the DALLAS commentaries. You were a good, sort
of, moderator.

David: I didn’t do the KNOTS commentaries because of a complication that
came up with um .. oh no, I’m not gonna get into that.

(Jason laughs.)

David: It was difficult for me to do.

Jason: Oh dear, oh dear…

James: Oh what a shame, what a shame.

Jason: I think people were very much looking forward to the commentaries
because there’s so little information on the early years of KNOTS LANDING.

David: Er, well I’ll have to give it to you – I mean, this interview.

James: Yeah.

Jason: Yeah.

James: This is the alternative commentary!


Jason: Fantastic, fantastic! OK, I’m gonna kick off now with the first
question from abbylexis, who is in the US of A and he says, “Hi David, How
close was your original script of KNOTS LANDING in 1977 to the 1979 pilot
… Was there a couple that resembled Gary and Val and was the show going to
be introduced through them?”

David: That’s a good question, and the truth would be I would have answered
it differently a few days ago. I was hunting through something and I found a
memo I’d written October 27th 1978 which talks about the changes I was gonna
make from the original presentation. Just to tell you what probably most
people know by now, KNOTS LANDING was the original idea which preceded
DALLAS. We, Michael Filerman and I, took the idea to CBS. I was new to
television then, but I was getting fairly hot because I’d managed to be the
only person who could keep a story editor’s job on a show with very
demanding producers who were wonderful and –

James: Sorry, what show was that?

David: It was called FAMILY.

James/Jason: Ah!

David: I was the story editor. It was really my first job and, um, they had
sort of gone through story editors, and they didn’t go through me. So that
alone made me a sort of a – even though I was brand new and already
thirty-seven years old – it was enough to get me meetings. So Michael
Filerman, who was the, um, development executive at Lorimar Productions and
I went in with the KNOTS LANDING idea, and, um, the people at the network
said, after we’d presented it, “You know, we’re looking for something like
that. We wanna get into that area, the idea of domestic drama, maybe
continuing drama, and – but we want something to start with something a
little glitzier, a little more of a saga.” And they said saga, you think of
Texas. And they said they also had Linda Evans under contract, so maybe look
for something there for her. So I went home and looked for it. You know,
started with – thinking of Linda Evans – DALLAS.

Jason: Yeah.

David: After DALLAS became a – um – was started to climb and it was clear
that it was gonna be a hit, I went in with another show called THE LAST
ISLAND, which – um – CBS always turned down the idea I came up with.

Jason: Wow, what was that about?

David: Pardon?

Jason: What was the outline for THE LAST ISLAND?

David: THE LAST ISLAND was a show that took place on, um, a place like
Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket or East Hampton, New York – a summer place,
with one Monday morning, all of the, um, the men, or most of the men, got on
the train or the ferry boat and went back to the city, and – but by noon of
that day, the people on the island realise that something’s happened and
they can’t be in contact with anybody else, so it was – there’s no contact.
I mean, if they phone the city, the phone will ring but no one will answer

Jason: Wow, it’s like a – it’s almost a LOST before LOST –

David: It was a bit like LOST –

Jason: Yeah –

David: – but it didn’t have supernatural, um, element and what it really was
was a combination of, um, Apocalypse and Utopia.

Jason: Right.

David: Because within a day or two everyone had to decide – and the reason
it was summer, the middle of the summertime, is that I wanted, you know,
fairly well-to-do people living in rentals, where the people on the island
were in their rec. vehicles for the summer, which is how it happens in a lot
of these places, but with Labour Day approaching – also, who kept track of
laws anymore – um – it was gonna be overpopulated. And – um – so it really
meant it was about building a new society, but it also meant a division of
people into orders and into – um – you know, the democracy group and the
chaos group, so it was interesting. It was more political than LOST and, as
I say, less supernatural. But it was a lot of people living on an island.

Jason: It sounds very, very interesting.

David: It was good. But when I pitched – after that, Bob Silverman was in
charge of the studio and he said, “Well, that’s pretty good, but you know-”
and then he pulled out the pages that we’d left for them a few years ago on
KNOTS LANDING, or a year before on KNOTS LANDING, and he said, “Is there any
way we can make this a DALLAS spin off?” So, the short answer to the
question is, making it a DALLAS spin off, um, is what made it considerably –
you know, quite different than – I just took one of the couples and made it,
you know, Val and Gary who had already been created on DALLAS and putting
them into the KNOTS LANDING mix, but when you have four couples and you
change one, you sort of have to change the dynamic all the way around.

Jason: Wow.

DJ: However, once I wrote the script, remarkably little changed from the
script and the pilot as you would see it.

Jason: Interestingly enough, David, just picking you up on that, we actually
have a copy of your original shooting script and, just comparing it to the
pilot that was actually broadcast, the two scenes that were cut – one
involving the character of Laura and there was another, I think, with the
Wards – what was interesting is that the small scenes that were cut were
almost the long running arcs. Do you remember having to make that decision
in the-?

David: Yes. We cut the scene with Laura because, um, when we screened it, it
got laughs.

(Jason and James chuckle)

David: And the reason it did is we had painted everybody – it was – you
know, with the Karen Allen character bringing, you know, strange boys into
her father’s and step-mother’s bed, it just became one too many – um – just
the one thing that stretched credibility. It became too DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
– but we didn’t know that yet because it wasn’t on, um, there was no
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES then – but it was, it kept getting a laugh and even –
we were actually, um, dubbing it for sound, when the sound man, you know,
who looked at it in the morning, laughed and I said, “We gotta get rid of
that scene.”

(Jason chuckles)

David: However, it didn’t change our perception of who Laura was.

Jason: No, no.

David: We did a show couple of episodes later called “The Lie.”

James: Oh yes!

Jason: One of the best shows –

David: One of my favourite KNOTS LANDINGs ever. And, um, that episode
essentially substituted for the missing scenes because it told us who Laura

James: And that’s really interesting, that episode, watching in retrospect,
because it deals with date rape, the concept of which hadn’t really –

David: I’m sorry. Deals with what?

James: Date rape. Date rape.

Jason: And it dealt with the idea of rape during a date.

David: Yes. Oh, date rape.

Jason: That idea, which was a very controversial, um, subject that had never
really been explored on television at that point.

David: Yeah. You know, I never thought of it as date rape. It’s just a woman
who’s gone to a bar to pick up a man and picked up the wrong man that day,
you know. I mean, she went there to pick him up to get laid, you know.

Jason: Oh it’s very interesting now, watching some of the early episodes,
especially in the first season, because of course now some of these issues
you wrote about at the time really resonate today, perhaps for slightly
different reasons.

David: Oh, oh I think definitely.

Jason: We have a question here from montyc who’s in Boston. He says, “Hi
David, Who was your favourite KNOTS LANDING character and why?”

David: It’s very hard to answer that question. Karen, Michele Lee’s
character, was – made the speeches that I would have made about subjects, so
she sort of was my – um – my footprint (Jason chuckles), but – um – she was
different. And also, I never had to – I never had a problem hearing Karen,
you know. She and I spoke the same way. But – um – I had other favourite
characters in different ways. I loved, um, Donna. I loved Abby because I
loved the way she played it. And, you know, she made it very easy to write
her because, um, she was so outrageous, you know – “That’s not true that I
want half a fortune … Half of Gary’s money is not a fortune, it’s half a

Jason (Laughing): One of the most fantastic –

David: “-all of Gary’s money is a fortune.”

Jason: Yeah!

David: And, um, those lines came so easily to me. I liked the character. I
guess I liked, um, I have to say I liked Sumner and Paige, because they were
so easy. They were so real that you could go either way with them. They
could be heroic or they could be despicable and remain believable. And, um,
I just liked them all. I loved every character. I liked them all. I mean,
(David and Jason laugh) I really didn’t have anybody – I loved Lilimae.

Jason: Yeah.

James: Oh Lilimae!

David: And I remember Val and Gary were terrific. In the first season, when
Michael said, “Let’s break them up again,” I said to him, “Michael, how many
times can we break them up?”

(Jason laughs)

David: It turns out, you know, an infinite number of times.

Jason: It’s interesting you talk about Karen. I wonder if you could possibly
discuss the evolution of Karen. She seemed to be more rebellious and flawed
in the early seasons. For example, she has a wonderful line in Season 2,
where she refers to Sid and says, “It’s not easy being married to a saint.”
And in later years, the same comment is echoed by Kevin Dobson’s character
of Mack. I’m wondering if you could discuss Karen through her evolution.

David: Well, Karen in the beginning was limited by her – well, we made Karen
a little bit harsher in the first season than we otherwise would have
because we were toying with the audience. And because it was a DALLAS spin
off, the natural question was always, “Well, where’s your JR? Who’s your
JR?” And so, even though Michele Lee herself is a very likeable person, and
even if she’s being over the top she’s a person of great enthusiasm, she’s a
person of great strength, in the pilot anyway, we were sort of pushing the
possibility that she was gonna be roughly our equivalent. I always wanted to
project the idea that we weren’t DALLAS, it was a different scale from
DALLAS, that whoever we had wasn’t gonna be as successful as JR. But later
on, the line “being married to a saint” was – Don Murray was so sweet, you
know, and so rational all the time that, um, her enthusiasm, or the size of
her enthusiasm, sometimes grew shrill and – I don’t remember the context in
which she said “It’s difficult being married to a saint” – but it’s true,
Sid had – you know, even the way he ran his business was totally moral. He
was a totally moral kind of guy. Then later on, when Kevin makes the comment
to her, it’s really about her – um – if I recall, it’s really about her
correctness, you know, her dedication to her issues.

Jason: Yeah, it seemed as though perhaps … I’m wondering, looking back on
the show’s life, if perhaps some of the early years, if there was more
conflict and drama within Karen’s relationships with the other characters
than there was later on.

David: Um, I think we did with Kenny and we did with –

Jason: – with Richard Avery, with John Pleshette’s character, there was a
lot of –

David: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, part of that was her loyalty, her
loyalty to Laura and to, um, Ginger.

Jason: Yeah.

David: You know what it was, also? That in the early years, too, the show
dealt much more with, um, with the relationships, um, in the show. Now they
always dealt with that, but the stories became more melodramatic. They
became bigger and more convoluted and more, um, well, melodramatic is the
word. And, when the show started, I wanted it to be more of a – um –
domestic show and not get into these big issues but, yes, problems in the
beginning. I mean, just with the shooting, staying on the air.

Jason: I think one of the most successful things about the early years was
Karen’s relationship with her daughter Diana, but apparently it wasn’t very
popular with viewers. Do you-?

David: Diana wasn’t popular with viewers.

Jason: Yeah, but Claudia Lonow is such a wonderful actress. When you watch
the shows now, she stands out, I mean she really shines –

David: You see, now we’re in the era of much greater television realism, and
of post- oh, what’s that television show …?

Jason: SIX FEET UNDER or-?

David: MY WORLD SUCKS or something. What was it-?


Jason: Oh yes.


(All laugh)

Jason: You liked that?

David: And even though that show wasn’t commercially successful, it still –
it was enough – it was noticed enough that it moved – but we had kids like
that on [KNOTS]. I mean, we, you know, Claudia was – the character of Diana
was very strong willed. And, um, I think on – although I think – I now think
she was very real and she is a terrific actress –

Jason: Oh yes –

David: – when you – people then were still in the mood for television as a

Jason: I see.

David: You know, the family had to be – because that was the good family – I
mean we deliberately made, you know, one of the boys – the middle boy – was
very shy and awkward, and the youngest was a crowd pleaser who would tell
you what he thought you wanted to hear. But, um, Diana and then … Tonya –

Jason: Tonya Crowe, yeah.

David: What was the character called?

Jason: Olivia Cunningham. Olivia.

David: Olivia, oh man! She had the greatest arc of all, you know, I think.

Jason: And did you think about perhaps softening the Diana arc? Because it
seems to me that you wrote really strongly for her, right up until the end,
through the five seasons she was on the show. Diana was given sharp, very
hard hitting arcs, but you never gave into the public’s dislike of the

David: No, we – um – no, we didn’t. We thought that she was – um … We had
the Diana we had, and we were – we thought she worked. I mean, Claudia is
very strong herself and, you know, sometimes sitting in dailies, you would
say, “Are we sure she’s not too strong?” But what we did do to kind of
balance that was to, um, put her into very difficult situations. You know,
there – I love the scene where she – there’s one scene where she’s behind

James: Oh, when she’s testifying.

David: Yes.

James: And Mack’s watching her through the two-way mirror.

David: Yes.

James: That’s fantastic, yeah.

David: And to put her into situations that would make her – um – work a bit
better. I really wasn’t aware that she was that disliked. I never found her
harsh but – was she only in five?

James: Yeah. She left at the beginning of Season 6, I think, after when
Karen was shot.

Jason: Yes, at the beginning of Season 6 they wrote Claudia Lonow out.

James: She sort of phased out during Season 5 after Chip dies.

David: Mm, yeah.

Jason: Yeah. We have a question here from cijidunnerox in West Hollywood,
California, and he says, “Hi David,
I’m so excited” – presumably, to be asking you a question – “I’ve heard you
created the role of Laura Avery with Constance McCashin in mind. Is there
any truth to that?”

David: Yes, there is.

Jason: Constance McCashin’s wonderful, isn’t she?

David: Yes, she’s wonderful. I really went to bat for her, for her to play
that part. Even after we shot the pilot, the [network] people wanted Patty
Duke to play the role. And I’m glad we did because she was the only
character like that, you know, she was very – she worked on the show. In the

Jason: Was she in one of your shows, one of your earlier shows?

David: Yes, I did a show called MARRIED THE FIRST YEAR. It was the first –
it was right after DALLAS. Actually, it was the first pilot that I wrote …
and we shot five episodes … and she was the wife of the father of the
bride. It was about two kids who get married right out of college – out of
high school – and the girl’s parents are separated and, um, are divorced and
the dad has remarried and Constance was his wife and, um, she was very

James: Oh, really? Was it a similar character to Laura? Was there that kind
of – Laura would have that kind of sarcastic –

David: Yes, but Laura had that, you know, that soft side. She starts as a
victim … you know, the husband was irresponsible. I like the idea that we
saw Laura grow up on KNOTS LANDING.

James: Yeah, because funnily enough, after that episode “The Lie”, it could
have easily gone the other way. She could have become the Sue Ellen type

David: Absolutely. And then, I think the strongest show was the one – it may
not have been the strongest episode but the one that’s the strongest for her
– is when she has to ask her dad for money –

James: Yeah.

David: – to get Richard out of trouble, because Richard is always in over
his head. And it’s after then that she takes – she only agrees to ask for
money if, from now on, she’s taking charge of the finances.

James: Yeah, that’s a turning point for her, isn’t it?

David: Yes.

Jason: Mm, it’s really interesting. I mean, I think there’s general
disappointment that Laura perhaps had less screen time as the show went on.
Certainly, for the first three or four seasons, the character of Laura is
shown a lot, and then there seems to be a change in terms of how much screen
time she’s given. Could you discuss the evolution of that?

David: She was given less screen time because the – it wasn’t a conscious
decision, but the couple of Richard and Laura was becoming less interesting,
because, um, as she was becoming successful – there’s that awful scene, um,
not really an awful scene, but it sort of makes you cringe – where he buys
her, when she’s working in real estate, when he buys her a new car, a Buick

Jason: Yeah!

David: – and then her boss comes round with a new Mercedes.

Jason: Yeah!

David: And once she achieved a certain independence, they become less
interesting – but wait a minute, I don’t think I agree with you that she got
less screen time, because once she marries – once Sumner comes into the
picture, she gets the best – I think they … for two seasons, they have the
best written and some of the deepest scenes that we have in KNOTS LANDING.

Jason: I would certainly agree with that.

James: I think what happened when, if I’ve got this right, when the
Lechowicks took over the show, I think in Season 8, that’s when the whole
Empire Valley story line was completely dropped, and it seems almost that
Laura was the character that suffered, because that was – she and Greg –
Empire Valley was something they seemed to debate about a lot, and once that
was out of the picture, she had sort of very little to do.

David: I really don’t remember how it happened. It wouldn’t have been Lynn
and Bernie doing it on their own. I mean, it was – at that time, we were
having to begin to pare down the cast anyway. And, um, remember Richard left
before Laura did.

Jason: Yeah, yeah, yeah …

David: And that’s when producing KNOTS LANDING began to lose its fun, um,
because I felt we were cutting off limbs, and um … However, the
compensations were sometimes wonderful. I mean, the fact that we – I think
the way Laura died, went off and died, gave us some of the greatest scenes
that we ever did.

Jason: Yes, we have some questions about that which I’ll come to. Joshua
Slow, who is also in L.A., says, “Mr. Jacobs, let me first of all say that
I’ve always admired you for staying true to your artistic convictions … TV
GUIDE once called Joan van Ark ‘incomparable.’ And you yourself were once
quoted as saying something to the effect of, ‘Joan is definitely a lunatic,
but I say it with affection.’” He asks, “Was she ever difficult to work
with? Did her own ideas for Val’s evolution ever clash with your own?”

David: No. Joan was the easiest to work with of the principal actors and – I
probably shouldn’t be telling you any of this – just to say, that when we
had a new script, and I was always very – always invited everybody in the
cast, you know, to give me a lot of input, Joan would come over to the house
on Sundays and she’d bring toys for the children, flowers for my wife,
because she felt guilty about interrupting our Sunday, and she’d do about
thirty-five minutes of apologies –

Jason: Oh, that’s very –

David: And there’d be a [script] problem and then I’d say, “Oh, OK, let’s
look at it. Yeah, you’re right.” … and within an hour or so, all would be
fixed. Um, when Michele would call and come over, she say, “Ah! I love this
script! It’s just, there’s one or two bits …” And when she was finished,
when she’d left, I’d sit down at the typewriter and write, “Fade in.”

(All laugh wildly)

David: Joan was always, um, over apologetic.

Jason: Actually, David, it’s interesting because we spoke to Kim Lankford
last week, who had nothing but good things to say about you, but she did say
that she felt that perhaps she should have stood up for her character of
Ginger a little more. She felt that the Valene and Karen characters –
overrode I think is the word she used – overrode some of the things – the
direction she wanted to go in. Do you think that the Wards were well written

David: No, I don’t think so and I have an excuse. I don’t always have an
excuse –

Jason: OK!

David: – sometimes I just say I just didn’t get something –

Jason: Yeah!

David: – but the original concept for those two was way, way too, um,
lascivious for the time. I mean, he was – this wasn’t in the pilot, this was
something that came very early – but he wanted to get into the music
business so badly … and he had a boss who sort of was turned on by Ginger,
and he [Kenny] wanted Ginger to sleep with him.

Jason: Wow!

James: Ah!

David: And, and, and – she was gonna do it and – um – I mean, very
reluctantly and really upset – but, um, I mean, that degree of, um – the
network didn’t let us do it. So it was hard to make them – I mean, we made
him a philanderer, but – um – well, just think about that opportunity. I
mean, that that would have opened up into – um – a good story.

Jason: When did that change, in terms of the Wards’ original concept?

David: Well, we never – we never filmed that.

Jason: Oh, you never filmed it.

James: But that same situation happens with Richard and Laura – in the first
JR crossover episode – where Laura sleeps with an old college friend, an old
flame –

David: Yeah, but it’s not at Richard’s urging.

James: Yeah. No.

David: Is it at Richard’s urging? No.

James: I can’t remember.

Jason: Oh no, it’s not at his urging.

James: Oh no, it’s at the other – you’re right.

Jason: Yes.

James: It’s at the other guy’s urging.

Jason: Yeah.

James: That’s right. Sorry.

Jason: It’s really interesting. But, um, I think Kim was – she thinks she
should have stood up for Ginger a little bit more, and perhaps – but I think
that’s really interesting. Most KNOTS LANDING fans don’t know your original
concept for the Wards.

James: No.

David: It was hard to – it was very difficult, um, for – I think at the end,
maybe she thinks I could have stood up for keeping her character in the
show, because … James was much more philosophical about it, but we just
had to lose some of the cast.

Jason: Yeah. Apparently, you had an idea for a spin off at some time or
other for the Wards?

David: We were gonna have a younger group and they [the Wards] were gonna
take it there, you know. The same as Gary and Val were sort of DALLAS that
spun us into KNOTS LANDING, we had talked about taking the Wards and
spinning them into another community, a younger ensemble, but we didn’t do

Jason: No, obviously. It would have been interesting, I think.

James: Would that kind of been sort of a vaguely kind of MELROSE PLACE type
set up?

David: It wasn’t really being set up, because it was – it took KNOTS LANDING
a while to get that kind of – like 1984 or 85 before KNOTS really clicked
and we felt secure enough, but it was never a mega hit, you know, to – it
was only later that we talked about spinning it off, and then we had a
different concept.

Jason: We have a question here, David, again from cijidunnerox, and he talks
about the writing on the show. He says, “Right from the very beginning a
number of the actors on the show were writing scripts, John Pleshette, Don
Murray, James Houghton, many of which were season premiere/finale episodes.
Was this something that they came to you about or did you ask them? Was this
beneficial to the show do you think?”

David: Um, to be honest about it, John was the only one that, um, really was
a writer.

Jason: Right.

David: Um, well, I guess we’ll get into it anyway, but John was a very good
writer and, um, wanted to write one. Don had written, but he was primarily a
director, you know? And that two-parter that opened, um –

James: “Hitchhike”.

David: – that opened the second season, I don’t know how good that was. Um,
we worked on that a lot together. You know, we worked on, um, fixing it up.
I – The network and the studio always encouraged us when the actors wanted
to write or direct, because it was a way to pay them more money without
paying them more money.


David: Without going, you know, having to set the precedent of higher

Jason: Yeah.

David: But I never liked it because I thought it was unfair to directors and
writers, you know …

Jason: Mm. We have a question here. A lot of questions have come in about
the character of Lucy Ewing. [Refers to a question from cijidunnerox] “Many
have wondered about the lack of Lucy’s appearances. Is there any particular
reason she never appeared more often?” I know you’ve said publicly that they
were two completely different shows, but “do you think Lucy would have
worked in KNOTS LANDING or not?”

David: No, I don’t. She was too – um – I don’t think any of the DALLAS
characters worked on KNOTS LANDING. They were two different shows, two
different scales … KNOTS LANDING was not another DALLAS. It was so
different. KNOTS LANDING was scaled to life. In DALLAS, Bobby could go into
a bank and say, “I need $200,000,000”, which was big money in those days,
and the bank would say, “OK, come back at 2 o’clock.”

Jason: Yeah.

(A bus screeches to a halt in London.)

David: I think your tea is ready.

(Jason and James laugh.)

David: And, um, every time we had – I thought they were the worst shows we

Jason: It’s like Joey from FRIENDS appearing in THE SOPRANOS, isn’t it?
There’s a complete lack of scale. There’s something huge and over the top,
and something subtle and realistic. It’s strange, isn’t it?

David: Right. And Charlene, who was fine on DALLAS, as – um – boy, she was
really outrageous as written, in the beginning, we’d never go that far –
but, um, you know, even her acting style, even the acting styles on DALLAS
was way more stylised. And KNOTS was … theatre performances, you know. We
did one episode with her, with Lucy, and then it was – they never worked. I
never liked them.

Jason: Mm. And [referring to a question from Fountainbridge] “how did you
create the character of Mack for Kevin Dobson?” Could you talk to us a bit
about that?

David: Mack was, um, well, it was clear after Don Murray left that we needed
another man, that we needed a man for Karen and, um, we let the season of
mourning go. You know, we said, “Let’s just have her mourn this season.” And
we brought in, um –

Jason: Stephen Macht.

David: – Macht to be her brother, you know, just to provide a male in the
house. But we clearly needed something, and the – um – Kevin had made a
pilot. The show went on the air. It was a show called SHANNON. It was about,
um, a New York cop whose wife dies. His name’s Shannon and he’s got a baby.
Shannon moves in with his in-laws so they can help him raise the baby. And,
um, it was a pretty good show, but it didn’t make it. But I liked it, and as
soon as we found out he was available – which happens more than you think on
television – it happened with PAPER DOLLS. When PAPER DOLLS didn’t get
picked up for a second season, we went “let’s go get that blonde!”

(Jason laughs)

David: And when Alec Baldwin’s show, the medical – what was it called?

Jason: He was on a hospital show, wasn’t he?

James: DOCTORS or something.

Jason: Something like that.

David: Yeah, right before. When that didn’t go, when that was cancelled, we
said, “Let’s go get him.”

Jason: And could you talk to us about Donna Mills? We’ve got a question from
abbylexis who says, “In another interview you gave for KNOTS LANDING Net,
you mentioned that Abby was always planned from the beginning. Does that
mean that when the four couples were written, her character had already been

David: No, she hadn’t been written, but we knew that everybody would be
looking for JR – we knew the whole time we were gonna bring in – that it was
gonna be a woman.

Jason: Oh, you did?

David: Oh yeah. Definitely decided. Oh yeah, cos I remember seeing
actresses. And we had a very different kind of woman in mind.

Jason: Did you?

David: We wanted her to be all the other women’s friend. You know, we wanted
her to be, um, not as quite as glamorous and not quite as cute as – remember
the difference between Donna Mills before and after KNOTS and the Abby
character. Before that, she was really cute. Afterwards, she became

Jason: Yeah.

David: But her roles had really been all PLAY MISTY FOR ME kind of roles,
victims or weak characters, you know, likeable characters, and we didn’t
think of her at all.

Jason: Wow. And how did Donna come up? What happened?

David: The network, um, a guy at the network, CBS, named Tony Barch called
up and said he had two ideas. And I was always very mean to him, not mean to
him but, you know, in a light hearted way.

Jason: Yes.

David: And he said, “What about making Abby” – this was when I gave him the
bible for the next season and we were talking about it – “what about making
her Sid’s sister?” So I said, “Tony, that sucks! That’s the most ridiculous
idea I ever heard!”

(Jason laughs)

David: So I hung up, and Michael was sitting in the office. I said, “He
wants to make Abby Sid’s sister.” And then we looked at each other for a
second and I picked up the phone and called him back, “If you tell anybody
this is your idea, we’re not gonna do it!”

(Much laughter)

David: Then he called back and he said, um, “How about Donna Mills?” I said,
“Tony, we’re trying to go in the complete opposite direction to that!” But
in that case, it wasn’t so much realising that he could be right, but we got
another phone call. We got a phone call from her agent saying she would come
in. Now, Donna was already a pretty, you know, already a working actress
with a pretty good career. And ordinarily you’d just make an offer, but – so
her agent said, “She wants to come in and meet with you.” And she came in
and she was fun and terrific and, um, but when she left, we still had – I
said, “I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t know if this is gonna be right.”
And, um, the phone rang again and it was her agent and, this couldn’t have
been five minutes after she left, and it was her agent saying – oh no, it
was the casting –

Jason: Barbara Miller? Was it Barbara Miller?

David: Yeah it was Barbara Miller, saying she wants to come in and read for
the part – which ordinarily we wouldn’t, again, ask an established actress
to read. And we said, “OK”. She came back that afternoon and she read and
she was great, and it meant reshaping the role a little bit, but, um, not
that much. You know, she still came in, she drove up in the Volvo station
wagon. She had the kids in the back. It was very middle class. Just
separated from her husband. And it worked. It was wonderful.

Jason: Yes, it certainly was. There’s a question [from abbylexis] wondering
why there was always an empty house between the Averys and the Wards. “Had
you always planned that she would live there?”

David: Um, I think – yes. In fact, I hadn’t thought about that. We left that
one because – by the time we started filming the pilot – I don’t know if we
thought about it before the pilot, we might have just chosen the best four
houses on that cul-de-sac, but – or the four houses that worked best for us,
but, um …

Jason: It was very noticeable in the first season that there was a featured
house right next to the Averys that was completely empty.

David: Didn’t we put some kids in that house that kept running out from time
to time?

Jason: You saw sometimes a child, a little girl on a bicycle, yes, coming in
and out in the background occasionally, and there was a caravan parked
outside for a while, a camper van – um –

James: There was that family – what was that family called?

Jason: The Beckers, the Beckers.

James: The Beckers – that we never saw!

Jason: That we never saw. Did you – was that a running joke in the
production team that –

David: Yeah. Becker, um, was the name of the person who – one of our

Jason/James: Ah!

David: And, um, yeah, but that’s right – we were always holding it for Abby.

Jason: Oh, that’s wonderful. And can I ask you about the cul-de-sac? Why
there? Did you look at others? Because there’s a lot of cul-de-sacs in that
area, aren’t there? Was there something special about that particular street
that you loved?

David: No.

Jason: No.


David: They all looked exactly the same. So – I mean, they might not have
all been exactly the same, but you know, they were –

Jason: Yeah.

David: – it was pretty much the same and, um, I imagine the location
managers found the one that … What we wanted – because it was so, it was
actually quite far from the beach – is we wanted something on a hill, so
that the cars – we could film a car going down the hill, and then go to
Redondo Beach which was miles away and, you know, have them turn in as if it
had just come down that hill, and then, in one shot, take it to the beach to
make it seem that we were right by the sea.

Jason: Well it did appear that way. It was very well shot.

David: So that’s all that was. We just wanted it on a fairly steep hill.

Jason: And what about the idea for Gary and Abby getting together? Could you
talk us through that whole story line? Where did that come from and what
were your feelings on that?

David: You know, um, it was when Gary – that was one of the few things that
was dictated by DALLAS.

Jason: Really?

David: That – um – you know, he had to come into money.

James: Oh, because of Jock dying?

David: Because of, you know, when Jock died.

Jason: Mm.

David: So therefore, um, we had to make him rich.

Jason: I see.

David: And therefore (chuckling) he was the obvious partner for Abby.

Jason: Yeah.

David: And that was really – that worked out.

Jason: Were you concerned at all about, um, leaving the character of Valene
bereft and alone, in the sense that you’d done that with Karen’s character –
not voluntarily, because of Don Murray leaving. Were you concerned about
breaking up the couples at that point?

David: I was always – um, they used to make fun of me all the time – “How
many times can we break them up?” And Michael would say, “All the time.”


James: It’s interesting, because of this whole comparison with DESPERATE
HOUSEWIVES, but somebody [Joshua Slow] made a really interesting point on
the website that it’s almost that KNOTS LANDING became Abandoned Housewives,
who then sort of reinvented their lives. And from what you’re saying, it
happened – none of it was planned. Because of Don Murray leaving, Karen was
left alone. Because of Jim Davis dying in DALLAS, Val ended up alone. And
John Pleshette leaving. So it all happened organically, that these women all
kind of reinvented themselves.

David: Right – but, BUT – there are things that happened to our women that
were not – they weren’t planned from the beginning – but it was a really a
matter of KNOTS LANDING growing with the times.

James: Yeah.

David: That, in the beginning, none of the women – except for Ginger who was
a school teacher – none of the women worked.

James: Yeah.

David: Or – worked at jobs. And, um, within, oh I think within three or four
years, they all had careers. So, um, that was a sort of a matter of running
with the times.

Jason: We have a question from Australia, from Seaviewer who says, “KNOTS
LANDING was the only one of the major eighties prime time soaps that never
recast one of the leading roles …. Was this a fixed policy, or was it
decided on a case-by-case basis?” And he’s also curious to know if you ever
come close to recasting a part when an actor left instead of writing the
character out.

David: No, I don’t – I never liked recasting on television. There’s a few
little pet things that, um, I had with Michael, but I never liked recasting.
I never liked, um –

Jason: But Jason Avery changed several times, didn’t he? Poor little – Laura
didn’t know who – what he looked like! (Laughs)

David: Kids change anyway, you know. I mean, that you can’t help.

Jason: Yes, yes.

David: But I wouldn’t – but that’s not a major character. Oh, I think there
were supporting characters that might have been –

Jason: Yes, yes.

David: But, um – or, you know, somebody’s doctor, but, um, I didn’t like the
idea of recasting. It was more interesting – When Lilimae left, when Julie
left, and then when again Michael and I felt the need for an equivalent
character, we didn’t even think of bringing in anybody else. We just brought
in another, you know, woman of a certain age.

Jason: Mm. Lilimae, was – I think – one of the most successful characters on
the show, and certainly brought some of the strongest scenes and some of the
strongest writing. A terrible, terrible shame to lose her and Constance in
Season 9. Did that affect you personally, in terms of the kinds of stories
you wanted to tell on the show?

David: Um, it didn’t affect the kinds of stories. The departure of Laura
gave us stories.

Jason: Yes.

David: Um, just as the departure – I mean, if you do it well, the departure
of characters – um – it started with Don Murray, you know. I didn’t wanna
lose Don, but he wanted to go and, once it was decided that “all right,
we’ll let him go”, um, I was challenged by the idea. It starts with you
thinking, “Oh what are we gonna do? What are we gonna do?”, you’re pulling
your hair out – if you have any hair –


David: – and then you say, “Well, we can do this and that” and all of a
sudden, you become – you begin to get stoked, you know, by the
possibilities. Um, that wasn’t true of Julie – because, um, Julie’s presence
on KNOTS LANDING was never, um, integral, in the sense that – except for
maybe the Red Buttons story or – oh no, I guess the Alec Baldwin story, too
– they weren’t really about her, you know.

Jason: Yeah.

David: And – but I adored Julie, first of all because she was Julie, I mean,
she’s great, and also because she was terrific for the rest of the cast and,
um, it was terrific to have her there. It was terrific for us, frankly,
because nobody’s going to behave like a prima donna with Julie Harris
around, you know, and Julie Harris is no prima donna. Julie Harris once
asked me to change a line. One line, in all the years she was there. And I
did, I made sure –

James: What was the line?

David: – and in the dailies, she had took back – made the other line work.
It just – it went against her grain not to.

Jason: Can you remember what it was? Do you remember?

David: Yeah. In the script, she said, “Gary,” with whom she – or Val – is
estranged at the time. She said something in there, she said, “Well, score
one for the blond kid.” And she [Julie] said, “Can I just say, ‘Well, score
one for you?’” And that was it, that’s all. And I went to dailies. She said,
“Score one for the blond kid.” She did it great as well.

Jason: Wow.

David (chuckling): It’s like – it obviously kept her awake that she had
asked for a line change. And I missed her badly. But Laura’s leaving opened
up the Sumner character. What do you do with your child? What do you with
the – and then, I think the way we did it too –

Jason: – was stunning.

David: I thought the way we did it was great, and –

Jason: Talk us through that process, because I know you improvised those

David: Oh well, that’s even later, but I mean just Laura’s decision. Laura’s
decision not to share her death with her husband, you know, to go off,
leaving, go to Minnesota, you know, and she just wasn’t gonna share it with
him. And it gave him a lot to play.

Jason: And it rang true for the character because Laura was quite, um, I say
prickly … but Laura was certainly quite reserved in certain areas, and it
really rang true that she would actually behave like that.

David: Yes, I mean – yes, absolutely.

James: Because she had that thing, I remember – I think it’s when she tells
Karen that she’s pregnant but thinking of leaving Richard, back in Season 3,
and Karen goes to hug her and she says, “Don’t touch me. I don’t know why
but I just don’t wanna be touched.” And that whole – it’s just a very
unique, very Laura – just a wonderful thing about the character, that within
a – for want of a better word – melodramatic show, she was not a dramatic

David: Yes. Absolutely true.

Jason: And just keeping with the Laura arc, we’ve got a question from
Bradley and he asks you, “Many have speculated about the original intentions
of the Ciji Dunne/Laura relationship. Was it ever in your mind that they
were having a lesbian relationship?”

David: No.

Jason: No.

David: It was just fun. They were having fun with Richard.

Jason: Yeah. John Pleshette said he thought it was implied, rather than –

David: Well, maybe he believes it. I mean, the way we wrote it – once we
decided to fool around with it – was, um, “Think what you want.”

Jason (laughing): Yes –

David: I mean, the funniest thing I thought was, the funniest line I
remember from that – Diana Gould was the writer – was, um, when he asks,
“Which one is the man?”

Jason (laughing): Yes!

David: And – I mean, leave it to Richard to think that, you know, in a
relationship between women, one of them would have to be a man!

Jason: Yes!

David (laughing): That was a terrific little thing though. That was
particularly funny.

Jason: Did you ever get into any particular issues with the network in terms
of the adult themes on KNOTS LANDING? I mean, even to imply in a jokey way a
lesbian relationship on television at that time – was that ever an issue?

David: Did you ever see the comments I made about why KNOTS LANDING survived
so long?


Jason: This is your favourite quote!

James: I can’t quite bring myself to say it!

Jason: Is it something about they forgot to cancel it?

David: Yes, the network forgot to cancel it.

Jason: Yeah. Is that your-?

David: Yes, that’s my answer. The network didn’t – the network gave us so
little trouble because they didn’t read the stuff. They didn’t! “Why is he
sending stuff to us? Is this on our network?”

(Much laughter)

David: It was all DALLAS, all DALLAS.

Jason: Yes.

David: And, um, the only time we had issues were when, um, when one of the
people would – one of the executives would, you know, the developers, the
ones that represent the network to your show, would realise he’d been
ignoring us, so he’d come in with his heavy notes on the next script … but
they didn’t pay much attention.

Jason: Can I ask you also about – keeping with Lisa Hartman – Lisa said
recently that when she came back to show in Season 5, having been killed off
as Ciji, that you originally planned for a much darker story line where she
tortured Gary, almost in a VERTIGO sense, in a Hitchcock sense. Do you have
any memories of that?

David: We had talked about it, that she really was Ciji, but, um, I don’t
know what – I just didn’t see how we could make it credible. Certainly not
as credible as VERTIGO.

(David and Jason laugh)

David: Well, we did have that aspect of it though where he’s trying to make
her – you know, she even says, “I’m not Ciji.” And then finally he says,
“It’s not Ciji, it’s you.” But it, um, we never – that aspect – that story
to me is not one of our great stories, but I just loved having Lisa on the

Jason: Mm mm. Wow.

David: Because she was an absolute doll to work with.

James: But it’s funny because Ted Shackelford said that was his favourite
scene – when he first sees, um –

Jason: Cathy.

James: Yeah, when he first sees Cathy in the hotel.

David: Yeah.

James: “Holy shit – it’s Ciji.”

David: But you know that we changed her. We wanted it to be so certain for
the audience that it’s not absurd, that we really changed her. And Mike
Filerman’s mother and daughter, who lived in Chicago, called him up
afterwards and said, “Was that her?”


Jason: Fantastic.

James: She’s sort of heavier and she’s kind of slightly butcher and blonder.
Harder looking.

David: She was blonder.

Jason: Yeah. She looks like an ex-con. I mean, she has just come out of
jail, but she really looks as though she’s done time.

David: Yeah.

Jason: The character.

David: Yeah. Well, there you go.

Jason: Good stuff. Also, Michael Filerman’s quoted as saying that he felt at
times KNOTS LANDING was “wishy washy” in terms of its villains, and I wanted
to ask you, {referring to an abbylexis question] when Val’s babies were
stolen, Donna Mills said that originally the writers had intended for Abby
to be more complicit in that.

David: Right.

Jason: Do you remember that?

David: Yeah. No, that’s absolutely true.

Jason: Yeah, and what was your feeling about that?

David: I hated the story so much I didn’t wanna discuss it.


David: I hated the story so much that – um – and it was the best story!
(Laughing) It was the second best story. I thought it was just venal.

Jason: Really?

David: And despicable. (Laughs) I just hated it, but – and Richard Gollance
was a writer at the time who suggested it. I saw Michael’s face light up.
“No way.” (Jason laughs) So then I was overpowered on that. And – um – also,
it was my partnership with Michael. We had a way of way of – I could see –
his face would light up and then if I didn’t do it, I’d be punished.

(James laughs)

David: Because he (laughs) – he’d sulk for a year, you know. But he was – um
– when that face, when that look came, it meant there was great story

Jason: Right.

David: And then Donna also really objected because there’s no saving her. I
don’t know that was being wishy washy, though. It was a matter of – again,
the fact I – we tended to give stories to characters who were 180 degrees
away from them. You wanna have somebody with a dope addiction? Give it to
Karen. She was the one who was least likely to do drugs. You wanna have a
show about a mother’s dedication to her daughter, you know, in a terrible
situation? Give it to Abby. Get Abby out of the night-clubs, lock her in the
house with her daughter, you know. And, um, you wanna see some of the
tenderest scenes ever? Give them to Devane.

James: Mm.

Jason: Yes.

David: Because he’s the one that’s so tough.

Jason: He was wonderful at those scenes. William Devane and Constance
McCashin together were quite –

David: Oh, they were great.

Jason: – extraordinary.

David: Great.

Jason: Almost like – um – those two film actors, the old –

James: Tracy and Hepburn.

Jason: Tracy and Hepburn.

David: Tracy and Hepburn. Um, yeah. Constance didn’t want us to use her
material on the reunion show, and I thought it was a shame because it was
amazing how many – we had three of their scenes, um, planned.

Jason: You do miss the presence of the Averys, and Constance and John
Pleshette in the –

David: Yeah, right. We had a couple of great scenes with her and John – one
of the scenes from “The Lie”, when he comes in and thinks she’s been raped.

James: Oh, that’s fantastic.

Jason: That’s a wonderful –

David: That’s a great scene.

James: And there’s hardly any dialogue in it at all.

David: I know, I know! It’s a wonderful scene, and then the scene – we had
the Buick scene. I don’t know if it would have stayed, but it was one of the
ones we picked.

Jason: We’ve got an interesting question from Ireland, from a lady called
Moe, and she says, “How important do you think the long running, supporting
characters like Peggy, Carlos and Mort & Bob were to the series?”

David: They were all terrific. I think every series needs those familiar
faces and, um, you know, television is, to me, always a family. Steven
Bochco says, “All successful television shows are cop shows, whether they’re
cops or not.” And I would say, all successful television shows are a family.
And I think it’s true, both of those statements. Because cops are families,
you know, they’re people who are all in it together. They might not love
each other, but they’re all in it together. There’s always a family
structure, and the same thing is true. And when you have a family or when
you have a neighbourhood, as KNOTS LANDING was, or a family like DALLAS,
then I think you can meet the same people, um, that you like. When I walk
the dog in the morning, there’s a continuity to it, you know, a few words
that I have with each one. And even a function that different people have-

Jason: We loved – our personal favourite was Marcia.

James: Yeah!

Jason: Marcia, we loved Marcia.

David: Marcia I still see. In fact, I’m gonna stop by Marcia’s today.

(James laughs)

Jason: Oh really? Can you please pass on our regards from England –

James: Yeah, yeah.

Jason: – and tell her she’s much appreciated and can she get me a coffee and
two bagels, please?

(James laughs)

David: What a character she is.

Jason: She was fantastic. And moving onto the show in its later seasons, do
you think that the new characters that were introduced were as successful as
your original characters, such as the Williams’ and Linda Fairgate and the
characters that came later?

David: No. I don’t think they ever do on any show. And, you know, DALLAS had
the same problem because they always had to replace, um, they had to replace
characters as the show went on. But if you notice, unless the characters
wanted to leave, they always went back to the same core. A television show
that lasts a long time, in my opinion, has its, um, conflicts built into the
structure, um, and not into every story. One of the reasons I don’t – I let
myself – let ourselves – get into melodrama occasionally – because that
carries you along. It allows you to – um … A show like THIRTYSOMETHING –
THIRTYSOMETHING was, of course, wonderful – but, um, you could predict from
the beginning that it wasn’t be going to be able to sustain itself. And, in
fact, the only way it did is by going into much more melodramatic stories.

Jason: Yeah.

David: You can’t keep the scale real, um, and finally the stories don’t
matter so much as the behaviour of the characters, and the
inter-relationships of the characters. So the later characters, I liked how
they served for the moment, you know, but if they weren’t part of that
original group – um – I thought Alec worked but, you know, he was planned
only to work for a year.

Jason: And Doug Sheehan, the Ben Gibson character, was very successful, I
thought. The way you introduced him, it was almost as if he’d been there
from the beginning.

David: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true, but he still – he served his function
and – um – also he was so sweet, so likeable. When Gary would start to come
around, you know, you had to have them rooting for Gary.

Jason: I thought Ben Gibson reflected the softer side of male nature. Do you
know what I mean?

David: Oh yeah, absolutely. Just as Don Murray did.

Jason: Mm.

James: Yeah.

David: And, um, I mean, none of them – but, you know, it wasn’t – our canvas
was not – we had a pretty good billing. Who’s that guy? He was with the
Wolfbridge Group. I don’t even know what the Wolfbridge Group was.


David: To this day. But it’s still – um –

Jason: Mark St Clare, I think he was.

David: – it worked – um – and yeah, the – and also the later characters, I
don’t know. I truly believe that KNOTS LANDING ran maybe two or three years
too long. I think we were just – it was tough in those last years and we
actually turned down the opportunity to have another year – um – because,
well, we would have had to cut some more characters. As it is, we weren’t
being able – we couldn’t use our characters every week. It was getting to be
a chore, you know. A chore. And it wasn’t – it didn’t seem fair to the fans.

Jason: And also, whenever a character was introduced in the later years,
they always turned out to be something that they weren’t. As a plot device,
it seemed to be a recurring theme that somebody would be introduced, like
Johnny Rourke or even Paige –

James: Or the Williamses, and it was always – they were never quite what
they seemed, and –

David: Yeah, I never even thought of it that way, but of course you’re right
– but, having said that, I think I should add that I thought that, um,
Michelle Phillips was great.

Jason: Oh yes.

James: She was the exception. She was a fully realised – you knew who you
were getting straight away.

David: Yeah.

James: Wonderful character.

Jason: Yeah. Can I say, David, with regard to the Michelle Phillips’
character, is what really echoes now, watching the original year, is how
close, how resonant she is with Sid Fairgate’s first wife.

David: That was Claudia – um –

James: Nevens.

David: Claudette Nevens, right. Um, that’s interesting. I’ve never heard
that before.

James: Yeah, she fulfils the same function with Karen. She’s a kind of
sophisticated woman who seemingly has it all, because she’s lived all over
the world and blah blah blah, and she sort of sneers at Karen’s life, but
secretly she wants it. But I guess –

(While waving his arms about, James inadervently presses the connection
button on the phone. Silence. Jason presses it again.)

Jason: Hi, David. Are you still there?

David: Yes.

James: Sorry, sorry.

Jason: We hit the wrong button.

James: But, um, yeah, if Karen represents the viewer, it’s sort of a
reinforcing thing for them that Sid and Mack choose Karen –

David: Right.

James: – over the sophisticated ex.

David: Yes. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it’s true. Also, in the
last couple of years of the show, I didn’t – I wasn’t on top of it the way I
had been earlier so – and I always urged the writers to take it some place

Jason: Mm.

David: Um, it’s amazing how hard that is to do, to get somebody to believe
you! (Chuckles) We’re doing a DALLAS movie now, and I’m the only one that
keeps complaining about the script, that it’s too much like DALLAS.

James: Really?

David: That’s – you know – that’s – and it’ll change over time, but the
reason I said I didn’t wanna write it is because I’ve already written it.
Let’s have somebody young and hip and modern, somebody that can create a
DALLAS for the 21st century.

James: And how’s that coming along?

David: It’s gonna be fine, but it’s – but – um – it is interesting to be in
this role because their assumption, the assumption of the studio and other
people, is always that I’m in there trying to protect the franchise. I’m
not! I don’t wanna protect the franchise! (Laughter) I wanna reinvent – I
want it reinvented.

James: I think the one concern that fans have, that they’re a bit nervous
about, is that it’s gonna be a sort of broad comedy parody thing.

David: I hope not. It isn’t now.

James: Oh, good!

Jason: That is good to know. Just finally, David, with the DVD coming out,
do you expect KNOTS LANDING to reach a new audience and, if so, what do you
think people will take away from it?

David: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I always-

Jason: Because with DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, with the comparison between the
two shows, I think there’s going to be a lot of people buying this DVD
who’ve never seen one episode of KNOTS LANDING.

David: I don’t know. I don’t know. I tend to think, but – that as it’s, you
know, it’s discovered on the soap channel or discovered, that that – I would
– but I must be wrong – I tend to, used to, think that DVDs were bought by
people that had seen it before, not by people that – people who wanna relive
it – but that where you really get your new viewers is on the – when it’s
rerun. I don’t know. I haven’t got an answer to that question. I don’t know.

Jason: It’s a very KNOTS LANDING response – “I don’t know.”

(James laughs)

David: Well, you know, it’s just – it’s odd. I thought THE KNOTS LANDING
REUNION would be seen by more people, but then it was on Friday night … So
I don’t know. I don’t know. What I hope for – I always hope for, you know,
everybody to discover it.

James: I think, from the early years, what’s really interesting is that,
unintentionally, it’s sort of like a time capsule piece. It’s like a period
piece, in the way that something like DALLAS isn’t, because that was so much
it’s own world, that –

David: Right.

James: – that KNOTS sort of captures a time, like – I can’t think of many
other programmes that do.

David: Well, I’m glad to hear you say that. Michele would be delighted to
hear you say that.

James: Oh. (Laughs)

David: Oh boy, I have to go. Just realised what time it is – um –

Jason: We’ll wrap up for you. Just quickly before you go. Just a nod to the
theme music. Jerrold … Immel?

David: Jerrold Immel, yes.

Jason: Who passed away recently, I believe.

David: No, he didn’t.

James: No, that’s someone who wrote some incidental music. (Laughs)

Jason: Oh, OK. Jerold’s still with us. No problem. Wonderful theme. Do you
remember your first memory of hearing the theme?

David: Sure. Well, we got him because of the success of the DALLAS theme
and, um, I asked him to do MARRIED THE FIRST YEAR. Oh, I didn’t actually ask
him. I said, “You know, Jerry” – you know, I had just met him. I liked him
very much, um – “you know, you’re best known for the westerns and the big
music, but I have this little show …” and he said, “Well, let me take a
crack.” People that are known for one thing want to be known for something
else and he did it well. And then of course KNOTS LANDING, he went back to a
bigger theme and, um, we really asked him to do another one on the scale of
DALLAS but not with the western suggestion. So, um, I remember – yeah – you
know where I first listened to it? Sitting in a car that he’d brought the
thing on a little disc, you know, a cassette disc –

Jason: Yeah.

David: – which were still new to cars, but that car had one and – whoever’s
car it was – and we listened to it, and I remember really loving it and this
kind of a sexy clarinet sound comes in which was – I knew just from
listening that that’s when Laura’s picture would come on.

(James laughs)

Jason: Wow.

David: Yeah, because she was the siren.

Jason: Yeah.

David: It was terrific.

Jason: Yes it certainly was. David Jacobs, thank you so much.

James: Thank you so much.

David: Oh, it’s been a real pleasure.