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# 127 <5.29> The Cataclysm
(revised 04/08/2024)

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In the original CBS broadcast, this episode aired on a Thursday night instead of the usual Friday night timeslot.
While the season 5 episodes have the regular practice of featuring a recap plus a one-scene sneak preview of the current episode before the main title, this is the first time the show features several scenes from the current episode in that preview.

Sheriff Gilmore's patrol car (closest to Wainwright's cabin) is a 1984 Plymouth Gran Fury. The other police vehicle (an identical model; closest to the camera) in which Jeff is taken to the Tuscany County Jail after being arrested is the one already known from # 098, 120 and 124 with identification code 5693.


Cameraman's mistake: During Chase's conversation with Maggie near Wainwright's cabin, there is a reflection of the microphone in Chase's sunglasses.

New license plate of Melissa's red Chevrolet Corvette C4 Targa: 2CNI908.

Building inspector Bill Pike and his assistant Swift's car of the Tuscany County Department of Building and Safety is a white 1985 Nissan Stanza.

Melissa's nickname for Angela is the "Wicked Witch of the Tuscany Valley". In # 031, Maggie used almost the same nickname ("Wicked Witch of the West").
"Wicked Witch of the West" is an allusion to the children's novel "The Wizard of Oz" by L. FRANK BAUM and the stage play and film version by the same name where this name was first used.

Real-life allusion: In Sheriff Gilmore's office, a picture of U.S. President ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809 – 1865) is on the wall on the left next to the door.

Uncredited stand-in MARTHA MANOR appears as an extra again — first as a Tuscany Valley County Deputy when Jordan is released from jail. MARTHA has quite her natural looks this time. See below for another appearance in this episode.
Compare # 213 for a list of appearances throughout the series.
For details about MARTHA MANOR, compare # 001.
The black / beige Buick LeSabre turning into the driveway of the San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital is the usual car that has been known since # 013 (compare there for details).
The establishing shot of the hospital, by the way, is footage that was filmed while shooting # 096. This specific shot had remained unused in previous episodes.
After her first appearance in this episode (see above), uncredited stand-in MARTHA MANOR participates as an extra again — now in a different rôle, driving onto the lot of San Francisco Memorial Hospital in the aforementioned Buick LeSabre (the extra's own car).
Compare # 213 for a list of appearances throughout the series.
For details about MARTHA MANOR, compare # 001.
All San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital interior shots are filmed in the building complex of what used to be the Pacoima Hospital (nowadays Phoenix House Foundation) in Lake View Terrace, CA.
The establishing shot (exterior view), however, is stock footage from a different location, the Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Diego (formerly San Pedro Peninsula Hospital). Although these facilities were introduced as "Metropolitan Hospital" in season 4, the script wrongly refers to it as "Memorial Hospital"; no name will be mentioned in dialog in the episode as aired, but "San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital" is legible on the sign on the building. The writing inconsistency will lead to another question in # 128 (see there).
Uncredited extra PAUL VAN appears in his usual rôle as the mustached Tuscany Valley doctor again — this time at the San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital. It remains a mystery if he is working temporarily there or if he actually changed his place of work before returning to the Queen of the Valley Hospital again (where he will be seen at a later time again).
Compare # 227 for biographical details about this minor rôle and a list of all his appearances throughout the series.
For details about the extra, compare # 001.
The flashback with Jordan as child was not filmed during the regular shooting period of this episode, but already during the shooting week of # 126, right along with the flashback scene from that episode, which avoided a second shooting call for guest star JENNY BECK.
For J.J. Roberts' grave, a different cemetery from the one known from the funeral in # 115 is used this time (compare that episode and see the left screen grab).
The new location for the current episode is Pierce Brothers Valley Memorial Park in Westlake Village, CA. All headstones are props. The real cemetery has plaques lying in the lawn only.
The London cemetery where Cassandra Wilder's grave is located is actually the famous cemetery in the Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood, CA. All the headstones are props here, too. In contrast to this, there are only plaques lying in the lawn in the real cemetery.
Cassandra's tombstone is the same prop as the one used as Jacqueline's headstone at the beginning of season 3. Contrary to the current design, Jacqueline's marker boasted with an additional top piece and was also provided with a fake marble plaque for her name. As visible from the outline above and below the plaque with Jacqueline's name, that plaque actually covers another plaque, which is now visible and inscribed with Cass' name.

Harold Wilkins' car is a black / green 1964 Daimler 2½ Litre V8.


Real-life allusion: There is a picture of U.S. President GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732 – 1799) in judge Robert Archer's office.

Inside joke: Judge Robert Archer is named after CBS best boy electrician, BOB ARCHER.
Inconsistency: During the tremor, everything is shaking around Melissa and Eric in the Agretti Residence. The door leaves to the den, however, stay surprisingly still even though the double doors are open. This is particularly odd because one of the door leaves visibly moves when Eric accidentally touches it with his back shortly after. Also, the picture in the hallway is perfectly back in place when the tremor is over.
Of course, it is only the camera that creates the quake effect, not the set on the sound stage itself. Again, shaking or falling props were prepared by the special effects department prior to filming.
The inconsistency with the picture relates to the various takes of this scene. Again, this is the typical mistake caused by the particular close-up filming technique — check # 001 (Chase and Maggie at the Gioberti Family Cemetery) for details.
Prop: The black vase on the pedestal in the sitting room of the master bedroom suite in Richard's house seems to be immortal. Shortly before Richard and Terry shared their first moment of passion in # 118, she smashed that black vase (screen captures 1 and 2), a $ 1,500 piece, as Richard stated. In the current episode, the same type of vase is now back on the pedestal again (screen grab 3). Terry probably bought it as a replacement — while it was a cheap mass-produced product in real life, and LORIMAR apparently had more than one of these vases in their prop department.

An art print of the "Sausalito" poster by American watercolor artist NOAL BETTS (1927 – 1993) hangs on the wall in the hallway to Chase's room at the San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital.


The curly haired blonde played by uncredited extra BETTY JEANNE GLENNIE is a patient in a wheelchair at the San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital in this episode.
Compare # 175 for biographical details about this minor rôle and a list of appearances throughout the series.
For details about the extra, compare # 015.

Fictional entity: Eric mentions the Royal Hotel in Monaco.
Mistake: When Julia arrives at the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion, her and Angela's positions are different in subsquent frames, depending on each person's close-up. In Angela's close-ups, they are standing directly opposite each other. In Julia's close-ups, however, they are standing farther apart, and Julia even has to turn her head to the left to look at Angela.
Again, this is the typical mistake caused by the particular close-up filming technique — check # 001 (Chase and Maggie at the Gioberti Family Cemetery) for details.
Real-life allusion: One of the deputies who are on their way taking Jeff Wainwright to psychiatric observation mentions the state penitentiary in San Quentin, CA.
BUCK McDANCER, who portrays one of the Tuscany Valley County Deputies (driver) this episode, also portrayed various rôles before and will play various other characters in the future; compare # 083 for details.
The police car carrying Jeff is a 1984 Plymouth Gran Fury. Its identification code is 6828.
Inconsistency: When the earthquake is starting, everything is falling and shaking around Richard and Terry in Richard's house. The door leaf to the sitting room, however, stays surprisingly still even though the door is open. The same is the case with the gray statue (apparently representing PLATO, the Greek philosopher; compare # 101) next to the door; it begins to shake only when Richard bumps into it during his attempts to get out of the room.
Of course, it is only the camera again that creates the quake effect, not the set on the sound stage itself. Again, shaking or falling props were prepared by the special effects department prior to filming.
Different takes: The scene in the current episode when Peter, Angela and Julia are surprised by the earthquake in the Falcon Crest Winery Building contains Peter's dialog in a long shot only (last screen grab). The sneak preview before the main title, however, also featured Angela and Julia with their respective lines before Peter's dialog (the first four screen captures) — all of them in close-ups while speaking.
Different footage: When Dwayne descends the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion stairway during the earthquake, he shouts Emma's name only in the actual scene itself while he is still on the landing. The scene cuts to Emma at the front door then. When it cuts back to Dwayne, he has almost reached the foot of the staircase (screen capture 1). In contrast, the sneak preview featured between the closing credit and the end credits of # 126 (but not the sneak preview before the current episode's main title) contains shots of Dwayne approximately mid-way on the flight of stairs (screen captures 2 and 3); in that preview, he asks: "Emma, are you alright?" This line and the footage remained unused in the episode itself.
For details about the different types of sneak previews in season 5, consult the introduction to # 099.
When the earthquake starts to really rumble, the pictures on the wall in the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion staircase do not move; neither do the leaves of the plant at the bottom of the stairs. One of the pictures starts to move only when Lance accidentally touches it shortly before he begins to fall off the stairs.
Like in the Agretti Residence and Richard's house, it is only the camera again that creates the quake effect, not the set on the sound stage itself.
Editing mistake: When Lance and Eric fall on the steps in the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion under the tremor, the beam that falls and strikes Eric is seen for a split second only. In this close-up, the beam falls down between Eric and Lance, approximately in the center of the flight of stairs. In the very next frame (the long shot), both Eric and Lance are already well on their way to fall off the side of the staircase and nowhere near the beam anymore. In this long shot, the beam does not fall down in the same postion between them, but more closely to the wall adjacent to the dining room, i.e. to Lance's left.
There are two reasons for that: The inconsistency with the changing position of the beam relates to the various takes of this scene; the close-up was filmed with LORENZO LAMAS and JOHN CALLAHAN while the long shot was photographed with their stunt doubles.
Also, the picture hanging closest to the dining room doors is still moving in the aforementioned close-up, but has already fallen down on the steps in the subsequent frame, without the actual falling ever being visible.
Again, this is the typical mistake caused by the particular close-up filming technique — check # 001 (Chase and Maggie at the Gioberti Family Cemetery) for details. Also, the editors cut away from the close-up of Eric and Lance falling too early. Interestingly enough, a part of the missing segment will be presented in the recap in the season 6 première (see # 128).
When Eric and Lance fall over the banister, Eric lands almost on the sofa under the second flight of stairs, and Lance lands on his right side on the floor first, before they both start spinning around. When the frame changes to the subsequent angle, both Lance and Eric are already motionless on the floor: Lance is lying chest down, and Eric is lying stretched out and facing the camera. Yet a frame before, they were facing opposite directions and still moving.
A part of the segment was shortened in post-production.

Mysterious: Where does the wooden beam come from that crashes into the stained glass element of the front door in the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion? There is no such element around the entranceway of the Mansion that could have possibly fallen down.


DANIEL GREENE is replaced by a stunt double during the final frames when parts of the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion foyer collapse in the earthquake scene.
LORENZO LAMAS, MARGARET LADD and JOHN CALLAHAN are replaced by stunt doubles in some frames during the quake, too.


When the ceiling beam drops down in the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion, it appears to be on a rope. The crew up in the greenbeds of the studio had to make sure it was a controlled "fall" in order to prevent it from hitting MARGARET LADD's stunt double.

Nothing ever actually hits DANIEL GREENE's stunt double although the presentation suggests otherwise. Watching carefully, it is recognizable that neither the beam nor the chandelier, nor parts of the shattered glass table land on him, but only very closely to him. The camera angle and the hectic cut towards the end help in creating the illusion of him being hit.

JANE WYMAN, CESAR ROMERO and ABBY DALTON are replaced by stunt doubles during some frames in the earthquake scene.

Mistake: When, towards the end of the earthquake, the first close-up of a broken wine vat is featured in the Falcon Crest Winery Building, the picture is not shaking anymore, which indicates that the quake is over already. In the subsequent long shot, however, everything is still shaking. The quake is actually over only in the next segment, featuring another close-up of the broken vat (which is not moving). The editors apparently put in the first close-up of the vat too early.
The scenes with Jeff Wainwright in the patrol car, Greg and Jordan in Greg's Mercedes-Benz and both of them being taken hostage by Jeff (on California Road in the Tuscany Valley) are filmed near Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, CA. It is the same place where "Monica's" car crash was filmed in # 126 — very close to the construction site of the Agretti Stavros Winery (compare # 124), which means it is being built on California Road.
Mistake: When Jordan heads towards the patrol car, she is already pretty close to the vehicle in the wide angle shot. But in the following close-up, she arrives again at the patrol car — even coming from a different angle now.
Again, this is the typical mistake caused by the particular close-up filming technique — check # 001 (Chase and Maggie at the Gioberti Family Cemetery) for details.
Another mistake of the same kind happens just a few seconds later: When Jordan has arrived at the patrol car, she is standing pretty closely to the vehicle at first and bends forward to look at the injured deputy. In the subsequent long shot filmed from behind, however, she is farther away from the car and does not lean forward that much; also, her left arm is suddenly outward since her hand is on her hip now while it was not in the close-up. Shortly after, the close-up features her much closer to the patrol car, in particular the rear wheel, again.
Deleted scene: The director's cut contained one more scene with Greg, Jordan and Jeff: While Greg and Jordan are forced by Jeff to give him a ride in Greg's car, Jeff regards Jordan for a beat: "You're a very pretty lady. I've always had a soft spot for blondes..." Both Jordan and Greg react to the menacing tone in Jeff's voice. This scene was filmed, but removed in post-production.
Season time frame:
As it can be concluded from # 129 (details there), the earthquake takes place on a Thursday. Richard's son, Michael, was born — as it can be derived from the phone call Cindy received from the London hospital — on day 2 of # 126, i.e. in the second week of May 1986 (given it was after the usual time of pregnancy); this can be concluded from the fact that Cassandra got pregnant in # 108 — at the beginning of August 1985. # 126 depicts only two days; # 127 depicts three days; the last day of # 126 is identical with the first one of # 127. Therefore, Michael was born Tuesday, 05/06/1986, and the earthquake takes place on Thursday, 05/08/1986.
J.J. Roberts shot himself to death four months ago as Jordan says two days prior to the quake. So he died on 01/13/1986 (at the end of # 114).
Original storyline plans:
Initial plans for the dramatic final weeks of the season included a turning point in the marriage of Angela and Peter. Their marriage should have fallen into a crisis; the producers thought about Peter starting an affair with a local widow and Angela being stuck in a financial disaster. These plans were dropped in the script doctoring process.
The writers also originally planned to introduce a crazed killer, who was supposed to be stalking the family. He was thought to be out for revenge, but his motives were intended to be disclosed only in the dramatic final weeks of the season. This idea was dropped, too.
Shortly before the earthquake, Peter receives an unpleasant phone call in the season finale. The producers' idea was to reveal the following season that the person who called was Peter's brother, whom they intended to be portrayed by movie star ANTHONY QUINN. They planned exploiting a long-lasting feud between the two brothers. As the negotiations with the star failed, the phone scene turned out to be meaningless.
LORIMAR thought about luring new big name guests into the following season, including AUDREY HEPBURN and — one of DAVID SELBY's favorite colleagues in the movie industry — CATHERINE DENEUVE. These plans, however, were dropped with the show's era under the aegis of EARL HAMNER coming to an end.
ROBERT FOXWORTH wanted to leave the show. Chase's struggle for survival after being shot was the preparation for writing him off.
The season finale is SIMON MacCORKINDALE's last episode of "Falcon Crest". He leaves in order to spend more time behind the scenes as a producer and director. Although SIMON was taken into consideration by United International Pictures to replace ROGER MOORE in the 1987 movie "James Bond 007: The Living Daylights", his career never became bigger than in his "Falcon Crest" days; in the end, TIMOTHY DALTON won the James Bond rôle.

EARL HAMNER, the series creator and executive producer, quits his regular producing duties after 127 episodes. He will be back next season, however, as a creative consultant.

Executive supervising producers ROD & CLAIRE PETERSON also leave the crew.

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