Tuesday, May 21, 2024

RIP Two Soap Stars: David Jacobs, Creator of “Dallas” and “Knots Landing,” Also “Another World” Star Nancy Frangione

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Two people from the world of soaps, daytime and nighttime, must get appropriate send offs.

David Jacobs died this week at age 81. He created both “Dallas” and “Knots Landing,” the two most popular nighttime soaps of all time. David was beloved by everyone who worked on both shows, and the mark of that is that the casts of both shows remain close and continue to be friends, they have such great feelings about their time together.

Jacobs pitched “Knots Landing” first to CBS in the mid 70s, but they wanted something with a little pizzazz. So he came up with “Dallas,” which took off after about 5 episodes. The Ewings combination of new money and country style Texas living skyrocketed. The show was supposed to be about Romeo and Juliet — Bobby and Pam — but antagonist JR Ewing played by Larry Hagman lit a fire. Hagman, previously nice guy astronaut Tony on “I Dream of Jeannie,” was delicious in his evil. When his character was shot, the show went through the roof. Meantime, Jacobs invented JR’s loser brother Gary to spin him and his family off for “Knots Landing.” The trick worked and “Knots” lasted a stunning 14 seasons.

David had nothing to do with the CBS reboot of “Dallas.” I wrote in 2012:

David Jacobs, creator of “Dallas” and “ Knots Landing,” tells me he’s been excluded entirely from the coming reboot of the famous series on TNT. He will get to keep his “created by” credit, but nothing else, no money, and no participation. “I’ll get the $714 Writers Guild fee for a sequel,” Jacobs says.  Jacobs tells me found out that “Dallas” was being restarted second hand. When he inquired about it, he says he told everyone — including new head writer Cynthia Cidre–that he was essentially retired and didn’t want to write the show. “I didn’t want any authority,” he told her at their one lunch. But he did think a consultancy wouldn’t be out of the question since basically, “Dallas” relies on all the characters he created in the 1970s–JR Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Sue Ellen, and their family, even the same Southfork Ranch set.

“All I said was that I’d like to be a presence. I told her if you need anything on the back story, I’m there. I never heard anything from her again until I heard TNT ordered a pilot.” Jacobs was involved with the failed John Travolta movie version, because the movie and TV rights had been separated in his original contract. “In the early 2000s, we took the movie to Warner Bros. They passed, and then New Regency bought the movie rights. But they didn’t make the movie.”

NANCY FRANGIONE has died at age 70. Nancy lit up NBC’s “Another World” for the first half of the 1980s and then returned many times during the 90s. Her character, Cecile, ran through husbands, at one time was the princess of a small country. She was entirely self-centered which only worked because Frangione was beguiling in her lack of guile. She was a rich girl with no money who was constantly on the prowl to make a big score. The audience loved her. Prior to “Another World” she played a good girl on “All My Children,” but that was just rehearsal for her reign of terror as Cecile, a larger than life soap temptress and villianess. What a shame she’s died so young.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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