This past weekend, The Hollywood Museum held its first Lobby tribute of 2020, reuniting three remarkable leading ladies, Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee and Donna Mills, for the 40th anniversary of “Knots Landing,” unveiling costumes worn by the three Knots’ stars on the series, on loan from Warner Brothers and personal collections.
Among those colleagues in attendance included Donna Pescow, Anson Williams, Leeza Gibbons, Carolyn Hennesy, Johnny Whitaker, Meredith Thomas, Billy Van Zandt Teresa Ganzel, Diana Lansleen,, Kate Linder, Connor Dean, Jax Malcolm, Todd Sherry, Elaine Ballace, Erin Murphy, Ilene Graff, Alice Amter, and more
“Knots Landing” was one of the quintessential prime time television soap operas, airing on CBS from December 27, 1979, to May 13, 1993. A spin-off of “Dallas,” (although created prior) it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles and initially centered on the lives of four married couples living on the cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle. By the time of its conclusion, storylines had included rape, murder, kidnapping, assassinations, drug smuggling, corporate intrigue, and criminal investigations; and it had became one of the longest-running primetime dramas on U.S.
“Everyone has been speculating on what would Karen (her character on Knots) be doing now. Some think she would be political and campaigning to become America’s first woman President. I believe she would be running a brothel” remarked Michele Lee. Joan Van Ark (Valene) took great pride in having been married more times than any of the others on the show and shared a framed photo of herself and castmates (Michele and Donna) surrounded by a heart, saying “This photo has always been on display in my house. It represents the close bound we had then and now and we are ‘Knot’ done yet.” Donna Mills took the podium to express the appreciation they all had and have for the fans that continue to show their devotion to the show and the cast members. “A day does not go by that someone doesn’t share their favorite memory or scene from the series … or to tell me how awful they thought Abby was.” President and Founder of the Hollywood Museum, Donelle Dadigan, explained how she and her friends “… would, like so many across the country, gather every Thursday night for “Knots Viewing Partys. This lobby exhibit is a personal source of found memories with friends … all wearing our shoulder pads.”
“Knots Landing” was created by David Jacobs in conjunction with producer Michael Filerman. While it’s a spin-off of “Dallas,” the concept predates that series, and was rebuffed by CBS. Jacobs then created “Dallas,” which the network accepted and premiered in 1978. After “Dallas” became a hit, Jacobs was then able to adapt “Knots Landing” as a spin-off series by way of incorporating characters introduced in the parent series.
Though not as popular in the ratings, at first, as “Dallas,” “Knots Landing” eventually outlasted it and garnered much critical acclaim. This can be attributed, in part, to more dramatic storylines and the gradual inclusion of newer characters to interact with the original cast. By the 1988-89 season, “Knots Landing” was ahead of “Dallas” in the ratings.
In 1997, much of the cast reunited for a two-part mini-series entitled “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac.” In 2005, they reunited again for the non-fiction special “Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again,” in which the cast reminisced about their time on the show. One of the earliest series to envelope storylines around their leading women, rather than the men, the already established talents of Joan Van Ark, Michele Lee and Donna Mills carried the show and contributed greatly to the fan base of the series.
The Hollywood Museum is the Official Museum of Hollywood, located in the historic Max Factor Building (1660 N Highland Ave, Hwd CA corner of Highland Ave and Hollywood Blvd), , and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation showcasing more than 10,000 Authentic Show Business Treasures, spotlighting 100 years of Hollywood history – from the Silents to Talkies, to Hollywood’s Golden Era, Film Noir, Television and its Pioneer Years, through the rebellious 60s, special effects 70s, evolving 80s, involved 90s, technological 2000s, and beyond to current day heartthrobs! The Hollywood Museum’s exhibits showcase the best in film, network and cable television, and new digital platforms featuring iconic and fan favorites! The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building is the Official Museum of Hollywood and offers visitors the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world – featuring the glamour of Hollywood legends and stars – past, present and in the making. The Hollywood Museum offers one-of-a-kind costumes, props, photographs, scripts, stars’ car collections, personal artifacts, posters, and memorabilia from favorite stars, films and TV shows. Located in the heart of Hollywood, at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave, just steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Museum has been named the #1 top tourist attraction in Hollywood by LA Weekly, and one of the “Top 10” Museums in LA by the LA Tourism and Convention Board and Trip Advisor.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Nina Prommer, for The Hollywood Museum
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