Nielsen Ratings: number 10 (of 96) on the TV series hit list.
Special guest star the producers intended to hire for this season:
The producers planned a special guest appearance by SOPHIA LOREN for 13 episodes this season. Rumor has it she was supposed to play an evil Gioberti relative; other sources say she was the first choice for the part of Francesca Gioberti, which later went to GINA LOLLOBRIGIDA. It was rumored that MEL FERRER's and CLIFF ROBERTSON's contracts were terminated so LORIMAR could get the necessary money to pay SOPHIA LOREN. A LORIMAR press spokesperson mentioned in those days: "SOPHIA will be a revolting newcomer in the style of 'Dynasty's' JOAN COLLINS. SOPHIA will wear the most expensive costumes we can find, and we will make sure she will rock the valley when she starts fighting Angela." Although it is no secret the Italian diva wanted to star on a popular U.S. soap opera and had gone through negotiations with LORIMAR for a rôle as J.R.'s mistress on "Dallas" unsuccessfully before, the "Falcon Crest" plans never worked out either. There are unconfirmed rumors JANE WYMAN would have refused to stay on the show if SOPHIA had been hired because JANE felt there had not been enough room for two divas on the show.
Familiar faces at LORIMAR:
From this season on, ROD PETERSON serves as executive supervising producer. CLAIRE WHITAKER joins as executive script consultant. They had been with LORIMAR for a long time and also worked as writers for EARL HAMNER's previous show, "The Waltons". By the way, CLAIRE & ROD PETERSON were married in real life. CLAIRE WHITAKER PETERSON, who was born ORMA W. WALLENGREN, is the real-life mother of ERNIE WALLENGREN, this season's supervising producer and one of the chief writers of the show. ERNIE, a man of the show's first hour, and his stepfather, ROD, worked hand-in-hand.
JOANNE BROUGH, an old friend of EARL HAMNER's and also a long-time LORIMAR staff member, joins the crew as executive program supervisor this season. She now concentrates more on "Falcon Crest", although, as Vice President Creative Affairs at LORIMAR, she still oversees production of all series as she did in the last few years.
In # 070, PAUL THORNTON SIRMONS joins the crew as first assistant director; he also used to work for "The Waltons" and "Flamingo Road".
Location filming in the Wine Country was done for # 069 through # 080.
As usual, Spring Mountain Vineyards, Stags' Leap Winery, Shafer Vineyards and Inglenook are the major filming sites.
With the rent for the sound stage at THE BURBANK STUDIOS (nowadays WARNER BROS. STUDIOS) becoming more and more expensive, LORIMAR was looking for new studios where they could film "Falcon Crest" and save on their production costs. With over a dozen TV series in production and more than 20 others in development, LORIMAR, the biggest supplier of prime time TV shows in the 1980's, did not have enough sound stages at MGM (nowadays SONY PICTURES STUDIOS), the Culver City, CA lot they had been leasing for a while and which they later purchased in 1986; most of their shows, including "Dallas" and "Knots Landing", were filmed there. CBS, the network airing "Falcon Crest", finally offered them reasonably priced production facilities. So they moved "Falcon Crest" over to CBS/FOX STUDIOS, from 1985 on CBS-MTM STUDIOS, nowadays RADFORD STUDIO CENTER, in Studio City, CA.
Beginning this season, "Falcon Crest" was filmed on various stages at CBS-MTM (RADFORD STUDIO CENTER). The main stage (exclusively for the series) was stage 10 where the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion and many other sets were built. Stage 16 was also frequently used.
Moving the sets was the perfect opportunity for the set designers to update their looks. Inconsistency: It is rather improbable that the extensive renovations happened over night. But the scenic artists obviously thought the audience would not pay that much attention to detail after the summer hiatus.
The Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion interior sets were redone (also see # 083):
The three steps from the front entrance into the foyer (screen grab 1) are gone now (picture 3); these steps do not exist in the real Villa anyway (compare pictures 2 and 4). Sectional elevation drawings of the Victorian Mansion's set (veranda and foyer) are available in # 001 (illustrating the former steps) and in # 121 (current set without the steps).
Other changes are that the wooden elements are painted in a lighter brown color; the walls are repainted or have new wallpapers, and the Mansion is partly refurnished. In contrast to the real Villa, the interior set has no small powder room under the staircase — although the powder room's two small windows in the main tower are part of the veranda set.
The entrance being even with the floor of the foyer now, the stained glass window above the front door is better visible than in the previous seasons.
Whereas, in the previous seasons, the colors in Angela's study (screen capture 1 from # 054 representing the first three seasons) used to resemble the real library of Spring Mountain's Miravalle (compare real-life photos 3 and 4), the walls are now decorated with a blue fabric, and the book shelves, windows and doors are painted white (first to be seen in # 070 where screen grab 2 is from). The stained glass element in the upper part of the window in the real library, however, was not rebuilt in the renovation of the set.
Learn more about set decoration and changes in our interview special, "FALCON CRESTers Tell it All!" with star interviews from the summer 2004; check out the "Newsletter" section here.
A picture is now above the fireplace on the eastern wall of the living room where the falcon coat of arms used to be.
The interiors of the Gioberti House also changed:
There is now carpet in the foyer and dining room where there used to be stone floor. The interior color of the front door is light brown now.
The wrought-iron banisters between the foyer and living room are replaced by wooden ones. The carpet and couch colors in the living room are more pinkish and pastel-like.
There is a new window in Chase and Maggie's bedroom. The door from the hallway to the bedroom is now right next to the bathroom door. The fireplace is no longer in a diagonally arranged wall across the bed, but in the wall opposite the bed. They probably sleep in the room atop the dining room instead of the turret room now; this seems to be confirmed in later episodes (beginning in # 104) when various establishing clips zoom in on that room and are followed by bedroom scenes.
LORIMAR's original blueprints of many sets are available for DFCF members in the Show – Production Office – Filming Locations – Movie Studios – Interior Sets section.
Chase and Maggie's new bed (screen capture 6 above) has a metal frame with decorative elements in the form of grapevines. It was previously used to dress a set on "Flamingo Road". Further information about this bed is available in the Beyond the Show – Props – Set Dressing – Bedroom Furniture section.
In the opening and end credits, the letter "A" is flip-flopped in some words this season — in contrast to the regular design of the "A" in the Benguiat Book italics (e.g. compare # 068 and 098).
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