Archive for the ‘"Dynasty"’ Category

Remembering Nolan Miller

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report the death of costume designer Nolan Miller, who passed away on June 6th, 2012 from lung cancer at the age of 79. Miller designed the costumes for many Aaron Spelling/Douglas Cramer shows, including Dynasty, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Vega$.

Below are some selections from Miller’s 2003 Archive interview:

On how he became interested in fashion:

What turned me on to fashion? Movies. I loved movies. I lived from Saturday to Saturday, and of course I particularly like Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Grable … I knew when I watched Betty Grable movies that that was what I wanted to do.  All those costumes … it’s so strange that in movies there was always a fashion show or something or a girl was picked up by some guy who told her she needed clothes to be presentable and would take her to the store. Of course there was always a designer in a dark suit – note dark suit – and there was usually a staircase that the models came down. I just thought, “this is what I want.” I didn’t realize, though, the 18-hour-day of hard work sometimes. But it sounded glamorous and I loved the whole thing of movies. Anything to do with the movies. I just wanted to work at the studio.

On his start in costuming, on Matinee Theater:

It was an hour show, every day at noon, and it was live. There were usually three groups of people in the wardrobe department preparing shows, because one day it would be a modern show, one day it would be a biblical thing, another day might be a comedy. I think that there were probably 3 or 4 people in my group, and I think we did two shows a week, one if we were on a show that aired on Monday, and we would prep the rest of the week. Maybe we’d have a show for Thursday or something that week. We were always prepping the next show. It was quite an amazing show, particularly in that it was live every day.

On working in a flower shop and meeting Aaron Spelling:

He and his then wife Carolyn Jones were shopping in Beverly Hills and they stopped in the flower shop to say hello. At that point Aaron Spelling wasn’t anyone, you know. He was married to Carolyn Jones, who I was thrilled to meet. We decided to go and have a drink; it was late in the afternoon. So we went and had a drink and Carolyn was under contract to Hal Wallis at Paramount. She had just finished a film and she said the studio was sending her on a PR junket. She said the studio told her to get some clothes for personal appearances. She said, “do you want to design them?” I said, “of course.” She said, “okay, well, why don’t you bring me some sketches.” She told me what she needed and so I did sketches for her.  And that was the beginning, because I did those clothes for her. I found a dressmaker who was highly recommended who had quite a good star clientele, so I knew that she was capable, and I made the clothes for Carolyn.

On Aaron Spelling:

First of all, he’s very unassuming. He’s always been very, very thin, looks like he’s undernourished. He’s very warm, very friendly; he immediately puts everyone at ease that’s around him. After all of these years he still hasn’t run out of ideas and instantly knows what to do. He has a sixth sense about what’s wrong with the show or what he should do or something. He’s great to work with because he sees what the show is going to look like. When he says, “she’s running down the road; she should be in a white sweater,” he has a reason why she should be in a white sweater.  Over the years I would argue with him over certain things, but he usually proved himself right.

On working on Gilligan’s Island:

I was starting to be sort of known for glamour clothes and beaded gowns and that kind of thing. I had my shop at that time. I had a call from the producer, saying they were doing the show and they had a girl who was like a showgirl and they were all stranded. She must have had a very large trunk with her that day that they went for a cruise, because every season we’d do a couple of new gowns. They’d call me, “we need a couple more gowns,” so I did Tina’s clothes. I didn’t do the rest of the show. I just did Tina Louise’s gowns.

On the bra-lessness on Charlie’s Angels:

All of the Paris collections and everything were showing chiffon blouses with nothing under it. Everyone was just aghast. Everyone was so shocked, but they were showing the same blouses on Rodeo Drive. They weren’t so see-through, but you could tell there was no bra on. Before that we couldn’t even show the imprint of a nipple. I had to put a band-aid over the nipple or something. All of the sudden Farrah was in a crepe de chine blouse or a double white chiffon blouse with no bra under it. Everyone said, “ah, this is going to be shocking. They won’t allow this. You won’t get by with this.” But we did.

On Dynasty, TV fashion, and Joan Collins:

Read Nolan Miller’s New York Times obituary.

Watch his full Archive interview.

What would Alexis Carrington think? Designer Nolan Miller Retires from QVC after 19 Years

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Home shopping’s QVC announced last weekend that legendary designer Nolan Miller has retired after 19 years of designing fashion and jewelry collections for the network.

We thought that this would be an excellent time to showcase one of our favorite clips from his Archive of American Television interview, where the master of glamour (who began his TV career at NBC in the 1950s) discusses how high-fashion was built into Dynasty from day-one and how Joan Collins almost didn’t get the role she was born to play….

See his last QVC collection here.

And while we’re on the subject of Dynasty, here’s a clip of Joan Collins, in her Archive interview, discussing how she landed the role of Alexis Carrington:

“Dynasty” Star John Forsythe Has Died– Archive Interview Online

Friday, April 2nd, 2010


John Forsythe, best known as oil tycoon Blake Carrington on the ’80s prime time soap Dynasty, has died at the age of 92. Forsythe’s TV career dates back to the 1940s, and baby boomers will remember his first regular series role as the single dad on the series Bachelor Father (1957-62). Forsythe’s other major TV claim-to-fame is providing the voice to the unseen “Charlie” in the ’70s hit Charlie’s Angels.

John Forsythe was interviewed by the Archive of American Television on July 24, 2000; his interview is currently available online.

Interview Description:
John Forsythe was interviewed for two-and-a-half hours in Los Olivos, CA. During his interview, Mr. Forsythe spoke of his extensive live television work and his series role as Bentley Gregg on Bachelor Father. He then chronicled his work on two other series, The John Forsythe Show and To Rome with Love, as well as numerous made-for-television movie roles. He also spoke about his voice-only role as “Charlie” on Charlie’s Angels and his role as Blake Carrington, the patriarch of the popular long-running series, Dynasty, opposite actresses Linda Evans and Joan Collins. The interview was conducted by Don Carleton.

Aaron Spelling’s Interview Now Available on Google Video

Friday, August 4th, 2006

Aaron Spelling, who died at the age of 83 on June 23rd, was interviewed for three hours by the Archive of American Television in a two-part interview on November 18 and 24, 1999.

Interview Description:

During his interview, Mr. Spelling spoke of his early career as an actor before turning to writing. He described the role of a producer and discussed the creation of such programs as Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Beverly Hills 90210, and Melrose Place. He also discussed his role as producer of the films And the Band Played On and Mr. Mom. The interview was conducted by Henry Colman.

Click here to see Aaron Spelling’s full interview.

Producer Aaron Spelling Has Died

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Legendary producer Aaron Spelling died yesterday at the age of 83. The Archive of American Television interviewed him about his life and career for over 3 hours in 1999. Below are some excerpts from that interview:

On what it takes to be a good producer.
You have to be a good storyteller. It all starts with a script. We have a way that we work and I hope a lot of people work this way. We meet with the producers, they tell us a story concept, we work on the story concept with them or say “that’s great.” Then we get an outline and it’s broken down in all four acts of an hour show. If you have any notes to give, you give it on the outline, so that when your script comes in, you know the show the is going to work because the outline is proving it.

On casting.
If there’s anything that is heartbreaking it’s casting. The hardest thing is to say “no” to somebody. We don’t do that. We also have a rule, if any lady walks in to read something, everybody sitting better stand up or they’re not going to be invited anymore. And we talk to people, “where are you from?” When I was an actor and you’d go in to read, they’d say, “don’t tell us your life story, just read.” I remember this on Gunsmoke, I was nervous enough. But those are the sensitivities a producer should have and must have.

On his legendary ability to remember most scenes in dailies.
I think you have to love what you’re doing. I’m a big football and baseball fan, but I can’t remember the name of the first baseman of the Dodgers, but I can tell you that you didn’t get that shot or you trimmed that shot of the man at the bar. You have to read these scripts and get an imprint in your mind of what the show is. I think if I can’t do that, I’ll quit, because to me, that’s the fun — adding input. The credits should go, as I said before, to the great writers on all of our shows.

On Starsky & Hutch.
We hadn’t seen a buddy-buddy relationship on television, where one disagrees with the other but really, they adore each other. They can argue and fight and then do their job. We were lucky with casting, we didn’t know how the show would do. And it just exploded. We said many times, it was the first heterosexual love affair on television.

On Dynasty.
We found that people who watch television they’re not all rich and they love to see that rich people have problems, and more problems than they have. So money doesn’t solve everything. Then the wardrobe and the sets and the hairdos and Nolan Miller gowns that cost a fortune, all blended into it, so they had something beautiful to watch. But they said, “oh, that guy’s worth ten million dollars, and he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing!” That was the fun of Dynasty.

On Beverly Hills, 90210.
I got a call from Barry Diller, who was the head of Fox, and he said, “I’d like you to do a high school show.” I said, “Barry, at my age, what the hell do I know about high school?” And he said, ‘you have two kids idiot!” And I listened to my kids and spied on them when their friends from high school would come over. I listened a lot, learned a lot. Darren Starr had never done anything that I knew. I met him, a terrific guy, and I love working with him, and we kind of developed this together. It was a great experience.

On his legacy.
The only thing that bothers me every time people do biographies of me, critics always talk about Charlie’s Angels, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and they never talk about the issue shows that we have done. The issues that we did on 90210 and Melrose Place. They never talk about Day One, that movie we won an Emmy for. They never talk about And The Band Played On, the movie we won an Emmy for. They never talk about my movies, the Anne Baxter movie with the young lady, her daughter, who was going to commit suicide. They never talk about that, and that pains me a lot. I love being an entertainer, but I think you should get credit for whatever you do, like Family, like Seventh Heaven, family shows that no one has done before. But I know my epitaph will be, “he was Tori Spelling’s father and he did Charlie’s Angels.”

The video interview is not yet available online, but can be screened at the Archive’s headquarters in North Hollywood, CA.

Let everyone know what your favorite Aaron Spelling-produced series or film is. POST YOUR FAVORITES BY CLICKING ON COMMENTS (BELOW).