Peyton Place (TV Series 1964–1969) Poster



Gyl Roland was cast to play Selena Cross. In the novel on which the series is based, Selena killed her sexually abusive stepfather. But during pre-production, ABC executives demanded the story not appear in the series and Roland was dropped.
Dorothy Malone complained that her role was being overshadowed by the role of co-star Mia Farrow. In 1968, she was written off the show, and she sued 20th Century Fox for breach of contract. The case was settled out of court.
In 1968, African-American characters were added to the cast played by Ruby Dee, Percy Rodrigues, and Glynn Turman. African-American writers were also hired. But writer Gene Boland publicly complained that their ideas were being rewritten and he was fired. Dee's husband, Ossie Davis was hired as a consultant.
According to her memoirs, Mia Farrow never expected this series to succeed, let alone become the runaway sensation it was. She tried (unsuccessfully) to get out of her contract almost immediately after the show hit the airwaves. Two years later, her then-husband Frank Sinatra used his considerable industry clout to get her released from her contract with ABC. Farrow's character "Allison Mackenzie" was written out by simply having her run away from town and never be heard from again. In 1968, the series' writers got even with Farrow in a way - they wrote a storyline in which a new girl came to town with a baby she claimed was birthed by Allison. This storyline was launched immediately after "Rosemary's Baby" (starring Mia Farrow) went into release.
After Mia Farrow departed from the series, the character of Rachel Welles was written to replace Farrow's character, Allison MacKenzie.
The producers originally wanted character, Betty Anderson, to die in the car accident in the 11th episode. Because of the rising popularity of portrayer Barbara Parkins, they finally decided not to go forward with it.
An hour long pilot episode was made in 1962. It included a storyline with the Cross family, described in the novel on which the series is based on. Producer Irna Phillips decided to scrap the Cross family.
In November of 1964, ABC demanded for a murder to be committed in the series. The producers suggested character, Elliot Carson, to be dead, but Paul Monash vetoed it.
The series was originally filmed in black and white. Then in 1966, the rest was filmed in color.
During the show's 5 year network run, all episodes were original. In an move unusual for prime time, ABC never aired repeats during the summer.
Despite the fact she was only working on the TV series for one season, Leigh Taylor-Young signed a seven year contract when landing the role of Rachel Welles.
Leigh Taylor-Young left the show in July of 1967, when she found out she was pregnant, from Ryan O'Neal.
The golden years of Peyton Place were between 1964 and 1966. By 1968, the show had lost all its popularity and critical acclaim. The makers tried to make a revive by casting several well-known character actors and developing new characters, but all they tried, didn't help.
In the beginning of the show's second season, the show dominated the lot of 20th Century Fox, occupying five sound stages, two major outdoor sets and several minor ones, including the public square with bandstand outside the studio commissary whose exterior doubles as Peyton Place's hospital.
In late 1965, Dorothy Malone only had to be on the set two days a week. She was quoted saying: "I've never worked so little or had such an easy job."
When Mia Farrow suddenly took an unannounced vacation in 1965, the writers rushed a coma story line into the show. They told the press they initially were not certain if they were going to put Farrow's character out of the coma.
Paul Monash initially wanted to produce the series as a one-hour show, but it was later reduced to 30 minutes.
In early 1967, Barbara Parkins indicated she was planning on leaving the show, explaining to the press she did not want to work every day any longer. She also said: "I have done everything possible with the character of Betty Anderson. Now, it becomes mechanical." However, Parkins remained on the show until its cancellation in 1969.
Gena Rowlands ordered a cigar ban on the set, explaining she turns green whenever she is around one.
Leigh Taylor-Young's character was initially going to be called 'Alicia'.
Unlike some other actors, Barbara Rush was very positive about her work on the show, calling it "an actor's paradise". She recalled especially liking being able to put some of herself in the character and the flexible working days.
When asked why Barbara Rush took the role, she responded: "I was told I would work only two or three days a week. The studio is only five minutes from my home. I do not have to leave my husband and children for location filming."
Barbara Rush accepted the role without knowing what her character was going to be like.
Rumors of the show's cancellation emerged in 1968. Fans protested widely, but according to actress Barbara Rush this made no difference, because the network didn't open protest mail.
Co-stars Christopher Connelly and Patricia Morrow dated each other. Connelly later claimed this was a publicity stunt arranged by the studio.
During the show's peak, Christopher Connelly received about 400 fan letters a week.
Ed Nelson admitted in a 1969 interview that almost the entire original cast initially thought very lowly of the show.
On working with Mia Farrow, Ed Nelson told the press: "Mia was an uncommon person. Watching her on the set, you knew she would either do very well, or commit suicide."
When asked who delivered the best acting jobs, Ed Nelson named Frank Ferguson, George Macready and Tim O'Connor.
In a 1965 interview, Christopher Connelly admitted to the press that he feared he would be written out of the show. Connelly remained on the show for the entire run.
During the show's run, Barbara Parkins was so popular that there was talks of a spin-off series called "The Girl from Peyton Place" developed especially for her. The idea was eventually scrapped.
Christopher Connelly didn't audition for the role. He got the role when he agreed on helping a girl take a screen test for a role in the show. Paul Monash wasn't impressed by the girl, but offered Connelly the part of Norman.
The original plan of the writers was that Constance would kill Elliot after a couple of episodes, followed by a dramatic murder trial. However, Elliot proved to be beloved among the public, and the plan was aborted.
James Douglas portrayed an attorney in an TV pilot called 'Hawk's Landing'. Although the pilot was failed, Paul Monash saw the screening and was so impressed by the performance of Douglas, that he offered him the role of Steven Cord.
Joyce Jillson was acknowledged by the the press as the late replacement for Mia Farrow and Leigh Taylor-Young. Like her precedents, she was expected to soon rise to fame, but Jillson never did.
Even though her character wasn't introduced until 1968, Joyce Jillson was cast as Jill Smith in Spring 1967.
Barbara Parkins told a reporter that when she met Bette Davis, Davis said: "When are you going to let go of Rodney Harrington?"
Ryan O'Neal claimed that some of the babies who appeared in the show were sedated to prevent them from crying during the scenes.
When David Canary was cast in the show, producer Paul Monash suggested him to change his name. Canary did not take his advice.
According to co-star Ruth Warrick, Ryan O'Neal had an affair with Barbara Parkins until he cheated on her.
In an interview, Ruth Warrick expressed her discontent in working with Ryan O'Neal, and called him someone "who is so in love with himself that it is pitiful."
Leigh Taylor-Young auditioned for the role of Rachel Welles in the summer of 1966. At the audition, she performed a scene of the play 'The Glass Menagerie'.
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Leigh Taylor-Young was the only co-starring actress to receive solo credit.
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Dan Duryea had to turn down a role in the musical Finian's Rainbow (1968) to appear in the show.
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Paul Monash offered Lana Wood the role of Sandy Webber after seeing her in The Long, Hot Summer (1965). Ironically, Wood planned on contacting Monash around the same time to show interest in the same role.
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During the summer 1968 hiatus, Barbara Rush was offered roles in two films, which she both rejected.
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Diana Hyland insisted she didn't hesitate when she was offered the role of Susan Winter, despite having to give up a movie role.
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Despite working 13 hours a day and five days a week, Joyce Jillson insisted she loved working for the show.
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Around the time of Betty and Steven's marriage, there was talks of returning Henry Beckman to the show, because Kasey Rogers told the writers that her character didn't have much to do anymore. According to Rogers, Beckman demanded too much money.
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