Home Television Drama Dynasty

Dynasty

1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 9 (USA)
169 x 60 minute episodes

Originally titled Oil, the extravagance of this blockbuster was matched only by its sister super-soap Dallas. The weekly wardrobe budget alone topped US$10,000.

Dynasty was also possibly also the only series ever to include royalty in its line-up – Princess of Yugoslavia, Catherine Oxenberg as Amanda.

The show that started in the US on 12 January 1981 focused on the duelling Carrington and Colby families and was designed to be about luxury, romance, money, entrapment, clothes, children, power and more money.

It was the fantasy series the women of the world had been waiting for.

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Dynasty re-introduced John Forsythe to prime time TV (as Blake Carrington) and made Joan Collins (as Alexis) a household name. When it came to bitches, there was none bigger than Alexis.

The show also achieved a first of sorts in 1983 when one episode featured former President Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger as guest stars.

This show was certainly NOT about reality, and no camped-up catastrophe was left unused in Dynasty. Every kind of accident, kidnap and breakdown occurred. There was even a wedding eve heart attack and an attempted murder by poisonous paint.

Blake failed to spot an impostor in his bed for weeks (Krystle was abducted by her white trash niece Sammy Jo’s friend – played by Linda Evans of course). A barmy congressman dressed up as Alexis to commit a murder, and the disguise fooled her son so that she was almost convinced of the crime herself.

Alexis later disguised herself as a nun. That, too, fooled an entire army of Moldavian revolutionaries. Yes, honestly! At one stage, Blake lost his sight after fighting with Dr Toscani. Fortunately it returned after Krystle cried enough.

The Carrington’s opulent mansion (173 Essex Drive, Denver, Colorado, if you’re ever passing by) was a large part of the fascination.

With opening aerial views of the Filoli Mansion in San Mateo, thirty miles south of San Francisco off Highway 280 – the mansion used in the film Heaven Can Wait (1978) – and clinging shots of some of its 48 rooms, halls, the gym, solarium, ballroom and library (there were actually five or six sets, cleverly rearranged in the studio), the place seemed fit for an emperor. Liberace would have loved it . . .

Watching the clothes was always fun too. Dallas women had shoulder pads and plunging necklines. Dynasty women had those and wings, flounces, trains and bustles – the sort of dresses Danny La Rue (or any other drag artist) would die for.

At the height of its popularity, Dynasty finally overdid it. The twisted plotlines led in the direction of Moldavia, a mythical kingdom. Amanda was courted by wimpy playboy Prince Michael of Moldavia and devious King Galen (an old flame of Alexis). As the Carrington’s trotted off to the wedding, the revolution began.

The wedding turned into an ear-splitting bloodbath with every character collapsing, apparently riddled with bullet-holes. Only Jeff was moving – because he had to be there for The Colbys, in which he starred.

By the next season, most of the others couldn’t stay dead either!

As one by one the Carringtons awoke, crawled away and escaped the gunmen to arrive back in Denver shaken but not stirred, audiences worldwide hissed “Swizz” and began to switch off.

The frantic plots continued: Alexis made Blake bankrupt and took over the mansion. Claudia survived the massacre but died in the fire at Fallon’s hotel, La Mirage. More relatives turned up with English accents – Blake’s embittered brother Ben and Alexis’s scheming sister Caress.

Blake and Krystle’s baby Christina underwent a heart swap. Adam married Dana and Claudia’s presumed-dead nutter husband Matthew Blaisdale turned up with a machine gun and his pals. The ratings fell even further.

In the 1988 series, Alexis married the handsome man who saved her from drowning and turned out to be a swine. Adam and Dana had a child by a surrogate mother.

Fallon and Jeff divorced again, and as Blake and Alexis ran rival political campaigns for the governorship of Colorado the younger characters fought in business.

After the stock market crash in 1987, Newsweek declared ‘The Eighties are over. Down with greed’. Sagas of the super rich were sunk.

TRIVIA NOTE
Additional exterior shots for the Carrington Mansion were shot at the Arden Villa – a 20,000 square-foot mansion located at 1145 Arden Road in Pasadena, California.

This mansion was used for the garden and pool shots, including the famous fight in the pool between Joan Collins and Linda Evans – who were actually on their knees because the lily pond was only two-feet deep!.

The mansion also served as the exterior of the Foundation For Law And Government (F.L.A.G) seen on the NBC adventure series Knight Rider.

Blake Carrington 
John Forsythe
Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan 

Joan Collins
Krystle Grant Carrington 

Linda Evans
Sammy Jo Reece 

Heather Locklear
Amanda Carrington 

Catherine Oxenburg
Dominique Deveraux
Diahann Carroll
Dex Dexter
Michael Nader
Jeff Colby 

John James
Fallon Carrington Colby 

Pamela Sue Martin (1)
Emma Samms (2)
Daniel Reece 

Rock Hudson
Lady Ashley Mitchell 

Ali McGraw
Ben Carrington 

Christopher Cazenove
Steven Carrington 

Al Corley
Adrienne Cassidy 

Shanna Reed
Andrew Laird 

Peter Mark Richman
Bliss Colby 

Claire Yarlett
Buck Fallmont 

Richard Anderson
Cash Cassidy 

James Houghton
Channing Colby 

Kim Morgan Greene
Clay Fallmont 

Ted McGinley
Constance Colby 

Barbara Stanwyck
Caress
Kate O’Mara
Cecil Colby
Lloyd Bockner
Francesca Colby 

Katharine Ross
Hal Lombard 

Bradford Dillman
Jason Colby 

Charlton Heston
Kirby Andyrs 

Kathleen Beller
Krystina Carrington 

Jessica Player
Kyle 

Sam Chew Jr
Joseph 

Lee Bergere
Lauren Colby 

Brittany Alyse Smith
Miles Colby 

Maxwell Caulfield
Phillip Colby 

Michael Parks
Prescott 

John Considine

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