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‘Knots Landing’ Premiered 40 Years Ago Today: Remembering The Greatest Primetime Soap Of Them All

Photo: JPI

It wasn’t Dallas that was proved to be the longest running primetime soap opera, but it’s spin-off Knots Landing, and forty years ago on this date, back on December 27th, 1979, the characters we loved from the Southern California cul-de-sac of Seaview Circle, began to capture our hearts and strike our fancy.

Originally, when the show made its debut on CBS, the series episodes were self-contained, but shortly thereafter, following the sudsy cliffhangers of Dallas, ‘Knots’ changed into the serialized storytelling format, especially with the arrival of bad girl seductress Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills), and when all was said and done, it gave viewers some of the juiciest cliffhangers ever, serving them up on a weekly basis, better than anyone else.  ‘Knots’ lasted 14 seasons and would end its run on May 13th, 1993.

‘Knots’ creator, David Jacobs said part of his inspiration for the series came from the classic 1977 film by Ingmar Bergman’s”Scenes from a Marriage”.  And as ‘Knots’ fans know, the show revolved around several couples in its humble beginnings; the Ewings (Val and Gary), the Fairgates (Karen and Sid), the Averys (Laura and Richard) and the Wards (Ginger and Kenny).  After Don Murray exited the series as Sid, it opened up the canvas for ‘Knots’ heroin, Karen played by Michele Lee.  In fact, Michele received the series only acting Emmy nomination for her performances in Sid’s death episodes.

Even though the other primtime soaps were glitzier,(Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest), and in the public conscience (Who Shot J.R? – Dallas), ‘Knots’ continued to be the little engine that could, bringing more realistic stories and issues of the day to the forefront.

Photo: Lorimar

The series finally cracked the top ten, just once, back in 1985.  Over the years the cast included: Ted Shackleford, Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee, Kevin Dobson, Donna Mills, William Devane, Costance McCashin, Nicollette Sheridan, Julie Harris, Alec Baldwin, Lisa Hartman, and so many more.  In addition, well-known daytime soap stars came to ‘Knots’ including: Jane Elliot, Peter Reckell and Kathleen Noone.

In its 344 episodes during its 14-year run, who can ever forget when … Val’s twins were taken for her, and the cliffhanger when she is almost reunited with them! Karen’s drug addiction, Abby’s daughter, Olivia’s (Tonya Crowe) drug addiction, Laura’s videotape that she leaves for her friends and her beloved Greg Sumner when she succumbs to cancer, an unhinged Jill Bennett forcing pills down Val’s throat at gunpoint to make it look like she committed suicide, and all the other familial storylines, affairs, revenge plots, murder, corporate intrigue and takeovers.

In this primetime soap, it was the women who were the key and central figures of the story and they were played to perfection each in their own right by longtime series stars: Michele Lee, Joan Van Ark and Donna Mills.  (And Constance McCashin up to when she was killed-off the show).  One thing is for sure … Thursday nights at 10pm have never been the same since its departure.

So, today on its 40th anniversary, check out the videos below which include: the original pilot opening of ‘Knots”, the opening title sequences over the 14 years, the gut-wrenching cliffhanger where Val sees her twins, the emotional moment when Sumner sits alone and weeps as he watches Laura’s goodbye message, Abby dealing with her daughter;’s drug addiction, and the now classic Karen “polyanna” speech.

Then, share your remembrances and favorite moments as we celebrate Knots’ 40th anniversary via the comment section below.

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JenniferMattAuroraBoopSoaphound Recent comment authors
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Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I sure miss this show! The storyline with Jill Bennett forcing Val to take pills just tore our hearts out. This show emphasized relationships as well a storylines (in contrast to today’s shows that emphasize storylines only). First class show all the way.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

YES. & didn’t Jill kill herself, in order to blame Val or Gary?

TVJeff
Guest
TVJeff

Yes she did. Took pills, stuck her finger in a little hole in the trunk to shut it. Oh the random things we remember!

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

YES! I miss that show

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

This was the best of the prime time soaps…since Peyton Place but i liked them all..Alec Baldwin should had been included as a daytime star as he played Billy on The Docotrs!!!

Jimh
Guest
Jimh

Donna Mills, Ted Shackleford, Joan Van Ark and and kevin Dobson all did daytime too

DENIS ADAM POMPA
Guest
DENIS ADAM POMPA

Awesome show, simply the best, they don’t make this way anymore!

TVJeff
Guest
TVJeff

When will this be on a streaming service!!!

Kay
Guest
Kay

The best soap ever the baby storyline was done so well Joan Van Ark deserved a Emmy just a great soap

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Oh Kay, the memories that storyline brings back! I remember rewatching that “Val sees her twins” scene over and over….so powerful. With all the dreck available on DVD, WHERE IS KNOT’S?

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Oh, I did the exact same thing. I kept rewinding our Beta vcr over and over. The score music from that scene has been in my head ever since. I still get chills and tears watching it-so glad I’m not alone.

Kevin C
Guest
Kevin C

Knots IMO was by far the BEST nighttime drama on television and like you said Michael, Thursday nights have never been the same…of course TV hasn’t been the same in years but that’s a whole other subject…I didn’t start watching Knots until the second year when they decided to make it into a serial…By the way, Jaime Lyn Bauer actually guest star on Knots for an episode.

DMRR
Guest
DMRR

OMG! I remember watching on Thursday nights. I remember when Sid died & how sad that episode was-
I LOVED Abby and her affair with Gary; WOW. I remember Olivia’s escalating drug addiction. Remember when Paige slept with Karen’s son? OMG. #fire

Violet Lemm
Guest
Violet Lemm

Oh God,those were the days! I so loved that show, also Dallas, Falcon Crest, starting with Peyton Place and many others. There were so many of those night time soaps, as I called them. Never missed one!

rose
Guest
rose

Violet and all…Add Dynasty to list. What a cast. Also on my list, and while not a traditional soap, was The Thornbirds.

Violet Lemm2
Guest
Violet Lemm2

rose, I replied days ago, but maybe everyone’s on vacation as none of my replies have been posted, to you and others as well.Anyway, I just wanted to say I also loved Dynasty and do you remember Flamingo Road and the night time spin-off of Lisa with Eileen Fulton, from ATWT? Don’t remember the name.

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Violet, wasn’t it called OUR PRIVATE WORLD? The great Eileen Fulton will never be forgotten in DAYTIME history. My mom started watching ATWT in 1968 (ish) just for Lisa.

Boop
Guest
Boop

Was it Our Private World or Our Private Lives?

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

Rose, thanks for mentioning my all-time favorite, THE THORN BIRDS. We watch the DVDs twice a year and reread the novel every other year. Talk about appointment TV!

Soaphound
Guest
Soaphound

You and me both, Violet. All the great actors and good writing that made those shows a part of our lives even today. Looking forward to them got me through many a dull work day!

Denise A Daniel
Guest
Denise A Daniel

You just had to go & rebreak my heart with that Grey & Laura clip. Sobs……

Channing Capwell
Guest
Channing Capwell

Thanks for sharing those clips. I started watching at 10 years old with my grandmother the very first night (yep, she let me stay up until 11). Knots has endured as my favorite television show of all time. The saga of Val’s twins, which culminated from multiple seasons worth of stories involving Lotus Point, The Wolfbridge Group, Dr. Ackerman and every character on the canvas, was the greatest soap umbrella story I have ever seen. To me it was Shakespeare. And that frustratingly fantastic season finale sent my teenage self into a tailspin for the entire summer. Happy 40th!

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

Yes! I agree with all of this! I was 11 when I started watching, the very first night (it was Christmas break, and we were all at my grandparents’ house)… and I watched every week till the finale in May 1993. Season 6… oh, Val’s babies. It was just… phenomenal stuff… like you said, Shakespeare. Joan Van Ark was just incredible. Goodness, I love and miss this show. So glad I’m not alone.

clb
Guest
clb

Knots Landing lasted 14 years and is one of the best. Great cast, great stories and great cul-de-sac! Can we go back for a re-union on CBS?

Susan
Guest
Susan

Great acting by the entire cast! One standout among many was when Val finally saw her twins. Riveting!

Michael (not Fairman)
Guest
Michael (not Fairman)

I thought that story arc with Olivia’s drug problem was phenomenal. If Val had been Olivia’s mother, she would have just utterly collapsed; if it had been Karen, she’d have spent her time wringing her hands and agonizing over what she’d done wrong and trying to be “supportive” and what not. But not Abby! No indeed; she handled it in true Abby fashion, got right down to work and starting taking care of business–and from that moment, the drugs did not have a chance! It was totally different from the way I had seen kid-is-taking-drugs storylines handled on any other… Read more »

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

Is the series available on any of the streaming services?

Aurora
Guest
Aurora

I have searched everywhere and can only find clips on YouTube whereas the others like Dallas are available in full episodes. Anyone have any info on streaming this show?

Matt
Guest
Matt

Knots Landing was much more satisfying than any other nighttime soap because it took itself seriously in the right places. Noteworthy were the use of music, lighting and editing. A lot of classic scenes have already been discussed but I remember one in which Paige went to a hospital to visit her mother. The scene opens with Paige walking towards the camera down a long hallway all alone carrying a flower. Then there’s drama in the hospital room. Then it closes with Paige walking away from the camera down that long hallway and pausing to drop the flower either onto… Read more »

General Hospital

Nancy Lee Grahn Kicks-Off Her 25th Year as General Hospital’s Alexis; Thanks Fans & Shares: “What a Ride”

She’s one of the best of the best!  And on Saturday, Nancy Lee Grahn acknowledged the start of her 25th year as Alexis Davis on ABC’s General Hospital. 

Nancy, who daytime fans first loved on One Life to Live and then Santa Barbara, came to Port Charles and quickly became one of its leading mainstays.

On Twitter, marking the occasion, Nancy thanked her fans with this: “Wow! I start my 25th year on  @generalhospital  today. What a ride. It’s been one of my greatest pleasures to be connected to & supported by such a beautiful, loving, loyal #gh audience. We are and have always been in this together. I hope you can feel my most sincere virtual hug.”

Currently in story, Alexis just lost the new love of her life Neil and on Friday’s episode of GH, Alexis was blamed for his death by Neil’s brother when she tried to attend his memorial service.  Later, she landed at the Floating Rib with Valentin – but when he got into it with Ned and stepped outside, Alexis ordered a drink.  Not a good sign for this recovering alcoholic, and all this came on the heels of Alexis learning she has osteoporosis.

Through the years, story after story, beat after beat, we are lucky to have Nancy on our screens with her consistently riveting and honest performances.

What has been your favorite Alexis storyline through the years?  And … make sure to wish Nancy a ‘happy 25th’ via the comment section below.

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News

Y&R Alum Max Ehrich Says He Was Blindsided By Breakup with Demi Lovato & Found Out Via Tabloid

For the first time, since the apparent split of former The Young and the Restless star, Max Ehrich(Ex-Fenmore) and pop singer, Demi Lovato, one of them has made a public comment in an usual but effective way.

Ehrich took to his Instagram Story on his Instagram account and stated “Imagine finding out status of your relationship through a tabloid.” That was followed by, “While (you’re) in the middle of filming a biopic movie about a pastor in a Christian church whose intention of the film is to help people. God bless.”

In an Instagram post following the split, Max shared “Jesus loves you.” in a typewriter font with a white background on Instagram, captioning the post with a heart, prayer hands and dove emoji. The comments on it were turned off and that is when he shared the same message on his Instagram Story.

From these posts it would seem that Ehrich was unaware of the dissolution of his engagement to Lovato which happened while he has been away in Atlanta shooting the movie Southern Gospel.  Additionally from reports, it seems Lovato called off the relationship.

Photo: JPII

But, a source told PEOPLE, “Demi made Max aware that the relationship was over and it was going to come out in the press.”

Lovato also made a post on her Instagram Story not addressing the break-up directly in which she zoomed on what it said on her t-shirt “dogs over people.” In addition, her engagement ring was absent from her left ring finger in the very short clip that is no longer on her IG Story,

So, do you think Max was blindsided? Did he know? As usual with Hollywood break-ups, there are two sides to every story.  Comment below.

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Guiding Light

Rick Hearst, Maureen Garrett & Amelia Marshall in Upcoming Guiding Light Virtual Chat

Now here’s a trio from Springfield that fans of the beloved Guiding Light will sure to want to hear converse about their time on the iconic CBS daytime drama series and their career paths afterwards.

Look for Maureen Garrett (Holly Lindsey), Daytime Emmy winner Rick Hearst (Alan-Michael Spaulding) and Amelia Marshall (Gilly Grant) to talk live with Alan Locher in The Locher Room on Friday, October 2 at 3 p.m. EST.

To watch the live conversation click here.

What are your favorite memories of Rick, Maureen and Amelia’s time on Guiding Light? Share them with us in the comment section below.

 

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B&B’s Jacqueline MacInnes Wood deliver the Power Performance of the Week as Steffy’s drug addiction leads to a confrontation and intervention by her loved ones with dire consequences.  Here is the last seven minutes that featured Emmy-winner Wood at her best. Leave A Comment

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Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

The Bold and the Beautiful

Airdate: 9-25-2020

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