Santa Barbara (1984–1993)
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I'll always be thankful to QVC (the home-shopping television channel) for offering a payment plan that must have sounded good enough to my Mom to purchase our first VCR when I was about 13. Finally, I'd be able to TAPE Santa Barbara! As an only child with a busy and tired single Mom at home, the characters became my extended family -- their adventures and stories were my entertainment, my heartbreak . . . my inspiration.
It was the wonderful, exciting chemistry between A Martinez and Marcy Walker as Cruz and Eden that attracted me to the show. Much more that a super-couple -- Martinez and Walker chose to personally invest in the history and depth of their characters, which resulted in pure magic on-screen. My love and support for their extraordinary talents will always be strong.
I salute everyone that contributed (in a positive way) to that wonderful show.
Then there was the murder of the lounge singer by the local District Attorney and her husband.(A very Santa Barbara reversal of the usual plotline!) They hide the body in a freezer which provides a superb full- face picture of the corpse for the closing credits. The make-up artist has done a superb job, ice crystals mixing with mascara and blusher to achieve that all-over "dead" effect. AND, forgoing the Santa Barbara theme music, the episode ends with the dear departed lounge singer's own voice singing the highly appropriate "AM I BLUE?"!!!
From then on I was hooked. Humour and a wonderfully anarchic script that had characters trapped in dungeons at the beginning of an episode and attending a" black tie 'n' frocks party" at the end, are what made Santa Barbara a soap like no other. And I daresay we shall not see its like ever again.
It is a shame that the programme is no longer on the air, but if it had firmer handling, it may have caught on and built a substantial audience. All it needed was more story consistency, and some more appealing love stories to hook the audience. SANTA BARBARA's penchant for the quick fix, and inability to give its actors stable storylines may have contributed to its undoing. Anyway, I hope that the show one day either turns up again on TV, if not in its full run, but even in 'best of' shows. I rate it as one of the best shows on TV, then, now, and everafter.
It is interesting how popular such a series can become abroad. In Russia, it is certainly much better-known than in the US. When I was in Russia, some liked it and others disliked it, but I don't think there is anyone who does not know it or has no opinion about it - which is just the more remarkable because the series is so sophisticated that watching several pieces is necessary for fully understanding it.
For a real fan the first episode is the most magical, suspenseful and spectacular event in TV history and the show is...beyond comparison. There's NOTHING not a quarter as good as SANTA BARBARA.
During episode #1 you get to know Joe Perkins (played adorable by Dane Witherspoon), who spent 5 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Joe was accused of killing Channing Capwell Jr. (Robert Brian Wilson in flashbacks, he is such a great actor !), son of multi millionaire CC Capwell (Peter Mark Richman was great, Paul Burke was fun and Charles Bateman was terrific. Jed Allan later impersonates this character). Joe is in love with Capwell's daughter Kelly (talented, beautiful and enchanting Robin Wright), but she believes he is guilty and wants to marry Peter Flint (Stephen Meadows: one of the best actors around). When Joe returns to town he is received by a repelling crowd. Santana Andrade (Ava Lazar: glamorous and sexy), Channing's love interest, for example, wants to kill him right away.
The most important storyline, the murder of Channing, embraces every character of the show and is one of the most clever and complex storylines ever written for tv. But there is so much more to admire. Every scene is played and directed with such a brilliance, you almost don't believe it. You get unforgettable impressions from actors like Lane Davies (Mason Capwell), Todd McKee and Julie Ronnie as Ted Capwell and Laken Lockridge who fight for their love because their families are the worst enemies, Dame Judith Anderson as Minx Lockridge (she calls the police because she feels disturbed by the noise of the Capwell party), Louise Sorel as Augusta Lockridge and Valorie Armstrong as Joe's mother Marissa Perkins.
WATCH it, FEEL it, LOVE it ! Santa Barbara is both fun and thrill, it is unique in every way.
In the show's run you can see A Martinez, Marcy Walker, John Allen Nelson, Harley Jane Kozak, Robin Mattson, Ally Walker, Justin Deas, Judith McConnell, Sherilyn Wolter, Mark Arnold and Julia Campbell to name a few. Perfect cast ! Perfect soap, almost a movie ! The first four years are the best. There is nothing to complain about, it is like a dream. It's SANTA BARBARA.