Nielsen Ratings: number 24 (of 83) on the TV series hit list.
A most elegant design update was developed for this season's main title by BILLY PITTARD (gold and blue; swirl effect). Further information about the show's visual identity is available here.
Screen captures of the main title are available here.
Original plans for the main title:
The producers envisioned a new shot of Angela's Rolls-Royce coming around the corner of the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion and stopping in front of the entrance, very similar to the season 5 main title, which would be used as the background picture on JANE WYMAN's title card. The driving automobile was dropped when BILLY PITTARD came up with the swirl effect because he needed to visually establish the idea of the wine swirling in the goblet before the cast presentation began so he could use the swirl effect to elegantly cut from one cast member card to the next.
The producers originally had a few different shots in mind for the cast on their main title cards:
- The producers had originally scheduled JANE WYMAN to be filmed on the driveway in front of the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion on 08/12/1986, coming out of her limousine with someone's hand coming into picture to assist her; Angela would not get out of the limo, but would extend her hand and look up into the camera. It has not been determined if the scene was shot and remained unused or if that shoot was canceled entirely.
- On 08/19/1986, a shot of DAVID SELBY, dressed casually yet elegantly, was filmed — Richard coming out of the French doors and walking on his terrace to a table dressed elaborately with caviar and champagne; he pours a glass, hands it to someone off camera and smiles. It remains a mystery why this shot was not used.
- The producers had originally scheduled JOHN CALLAHAN to be filmed walking onto the Del Oro veranda, coming from the golf course on 08/11/1986. It has not been determined why his shot was changed.
- The producers had scheduled CESAR ROMERO to be filmed on the driveway in front of the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion on 08/12/1986, walking up to the veranda from his Rolls-Royce. It has not been determined if the scene was shot and remained unused or if that shoot was canceled entirely.
- On 08/14/1986, a shot of SUSAN SULLIVAN was filmed — Maggie walking in profile along the vineyards of the Gioberti Winery with a cut to her from the waist up as she turns to the camera and smiles (wearing the orange blouse from # 131). It remains a mystery why this shot was not used.
We apologize for the low quality of the screen captures of this segment, but this is the only footage we could find of SUSAN SULLIVAN's new title shot so we decided to use at least what we have to illustrate how the newly filmed "Maggie turn" would have looked like.
From this season on, the show is entirely post-produced on video.
After his four-season absence, MICHAEL FILERMAN was supposed to resume executive producing duties this season. Although LORIMAR had already announced his return, the decision was revoked at very short notice. Just about six weeks before the development period for the new season started, JEFF FREILICH and JOANNE BROUGH were hired as the new execs.
At that time, JEFF FREILICH had been working for LORIMAR for five years — as a writer and story editor for "Flamingo Road", supervising producer for "Boone" (another one of EARL HAMNER's shows) and a series developer.
Familiar faces at LORIMAR:
HOWARD LAKIN, a college buddy of JEFF FREILICH's, joins the crew as a writer and story editor. He previously worked on "Flamingo Road", too, and will later move over to "Dallas".
Producer RICHARD GOLLANCE moves over from "Knots Landing" to "Falcon Crest" for this season.
The bumper and sneak preview announcer for this season and year 7 is MARK WALLENGREN, supervising producer ERNIE WALLENGREN's brother. For MARK's previous involvement with the show, check # 107 and 113.
E.F. WALLENGREN and GREG STRANGIS are taking turns as supervising producers on episodes although they are both credited for every episode this season. With regard to the seasonal numbering of the episodes, GREG STRANGIS is in charge of the odd numbered shows, and E.F. WALLENGREN in charge of the even ones.
Contrary to previous seasons, the music in this and the following year is no longer performed by an orchestra. The background music is composed and performed by only one single artist or an artist duo per episode.
MARK SNOW, a high school buddy of JEFF FREILICH's, is the main composer and performing musician for seasons 6 and 7. He uses as synclavier, one of the early high-tech synthesizers, to create a wonderful score, which is most thrilling on the one hand and extraordinarily emotional on the other. His music works perfectly well with the rapid-fire storytelling, sharper photography and more stylish look of the series and is best remembered for the background themes created specifically for particular characters, such as his famous "Maggie's Theme" (compare # 137).
In this season, particularly in its last third, and in the following season, a stylistic device called "pre-lap" is applied very often. This means that the dialog of the incoming scene precedes the actual cut, i.e. the dialog begins in V.O. (voice over) during the final moments of the preceding scene. By using this technique, the dialog bridges the audience to the next scene, and then continues on screen; in case of dialog, a whole sentence or line is usually "pre-lapped". It is a useful device to create the illusion of a smoother cut to the next scene. Oftentimes, a pre-lap extension is not or not only performed by dialog, but by sound, e.g. the music score. Particularly at the beginning of this season, there are many very short pieces of background music that solely serve that purpose.
Due to the regime change in the crew, this season has a faster pace of storytelling and more elements of dramatic mystery like in a sort of film noir.
Original storyline plans:
- The original season 6 bible written by E.F. WALLENGREN and GREG STRANGIS contained the rôle of Dr. Gwen Fuller from the beginning of the season. This character was not the same character as the State Department of Health Services officer played by LESLIE BEVIS that would be introduced later in # 138; the character name just ended up being used for that different part. The original Dr. Gwen Fuller was supposed to be Chase's physician at San Francisco Metropolitan Hospital, having taking over from Dr. Jensen. The bible writers planned for Chase and his attractive doctor to immediately start a romantic relationship very early in the season because they feel both estranged from their spouses — Chase cannot cope with Maggie's pulling away from him (due to the fact that Jeff raped her, which she has not told him yet; she only confided in Father Bob as per the original bible), and Gwen has a troubled relationship with her husband, a fellow doctor who works in cardiology. The bible also planned for Chase to be very stressed by baby Michael being in the Gioberti household since Maggie has been taken care of him while Richard is in jail (on remand because he is suspected of having shot Chase). Chase moves into the Guest House at the Gioberti Estate and, entangled by Gwen, begins a relationship with her as early as in the fifth episode of the season.
One of the best kept secrets was that Dr. Gwen Fuller was supposed to be portrayed by no one else but ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY, who was BOB FOXWORTH's partner in real life at the time and later became his wife. Even the seasonal bible draft dated 06/03/1986 (two weeks before filming of the season began) still included these plans, which had to be altered on short notice though. A staff member, who wants to remain unnamed, informed the DFCF board that ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY was diagnosed with colon cancer for the first time shortly before filming began, which was not public knowledge at the time (only her later relapse was reported in the press). Instead of recasting on short notice, the producing staff decided to drop the rôle of Dr. Gwen Fuller and slow down the separation of Chase and Maggie. Thus, the character name Gwen Fuller became finally available for the different part portrayed by LESLIE BEVIS mid-season.
- The producers intended to have Chase Gioberti go to "anger management" classes, fail them miserably and become the show's most bitter and obnoxious villain. It did not materialize.
- The bible writers also envisioned court proceedings between Melissa and Eric to dissolve their partnership in the Agretti Stavros Winery. This idea was dropped in rewrites.
- An idea for Stavros Shipping Lines in the season 6 bible was an extortion demand and the threat that one of Peter's supertankers would be blown up. It seems that ERNIE WALLENGREN and GREG STRANGIS wrote this, following up the groundwork they had laid for a storyline about Peter's brother in # 127 — Peter's mysterious phone call. The idea to lure ANTHONY QUINN into the ensemble as a special guest to play the Stavros sibling was dropped, and so was the whole storyline about the blackmail scheme.
JANE WYMAN threatened to quit when LORIMAR wanted to save some bucks by shooting the show at the new LORIMAR STUDIOS, the old MGM lot in Culver City, CA, which they had just bought, instead of continuing to film at CBS-MTM STUDIOS in Studio City. The National Enquirer quoted her: "No way! I've worked at MGM before and I'll never set foot again in that rat-infested hole!" According to the scandal sheet, the bigwigs backed down. Anyway, the show continued to film at CBS-MTM.
Location filming in the Wine Country was done for # 128 through # 139.
As usual, Spring Mountain Vineyards as well as Stags' Leap Winery and Shafer Vineyards are the major filming sites.
Instead of the 13-episode minimum guarantee, CBS ordered the usual 22 episodes for this season during hiatus. Unusually early, however, the network ordered additional six episodes from LORIMAR even weeks before the season 6 première, on 09/10/1986.
This season's official cast group photo was scheduled to be taken on 08/02/1986 by LORIMAR still photographer MIKE LESHNOV during the filming of the party at the Gioberti Estate (# 130), i.e. at Stags' Leap. LORIMAR publicity representative KIM REED suggested taking the picture near Stags' Leap Manor in an area that is known as the Power Spot, overlooking the vineyards (approximately as pictured on the left). She also advised that at least two setups be taken: one with JANE WYMAN, ROBERT FOXWORTH, LORENZO LAMAS, DAVID SELBY, ANA-ALICIA, BRETT CULLEN, MARGARET LADD, JOHN CALLAHAN, DANA SPARKS, CESAR ROMERO, SUSAN SULLIVAN, ABBY DALTON, JOHN SAXON and CHAO-LI CHI; the second one should have included KIM NOVAK, WILLIAM R. MOSES and EDWARD ALBERT. LORIMAR's later inter-office communication, however, shows that scheduling conflicts prevented a cast group photo to be taken. In a memo dated 10/09/1986, publicist JOHN RENTSCH spoke of two unsuccessful attempts to schedule a photo shoot. He also postponed it for a month, trying to remind his successor in office to schedule a new attempt at that time. Unfortunately, there is no other documentation available at this time if a cast group photo was ever taken in the end. On 11/03/1986 during the shooting of # 143, a few holiday promos were shot, which also included the taking of Christmas pictures on stage 10 at CBS, particularly a few setups with cast members in Angela's study and a cast & crew shot in the Falcon Crest Victorian Mansion living room. But it still remains a mystery if a complete cast group shot was taken during that shoot; this is questionable because BRETT CULLEN did not work that day, and KIM NOVAK did not work on this episode at all.
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