Main title screen (Season 8)
|Created by||Earl Hamner|
William R. Moses
|Theme music composer||Bill Conti|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||227 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Earl Hamner
|Producer(s)||Malcolm R. Harding, Barry Steinberg, John F. Perry, Phil Parslow|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Amanda & MF Productions
Lorimar Productions (1981-1986)
Lorimar Television (1988-90).
Warner Bros. Television (1989-Present)
|Original run||December 4, 1981 – May 17, 1990|
Falcon Crest is an American primetime television soap opera which aired on the CBS network for nine seasons, from December 4, 1981 to May 17, 1990. A total of 227 episodes were produced.
The series revolves around the feuding factions of the wealthy Gioberti/Channing family in the Californian wine industry. Jane Wyman starred as Angela Channing, the tyrannical matriarch of the Falcon Crest Winery, alongside Robert Foxworth as Chase Gioberti, Angela's nephew who returns to Falcon Crest following the death of his father. The series was set in the fictitious Tuscany Valley (modeled after the Napa Valley) northeast of San Francisco.
- 1 Concept
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast and characters
- 4 The Vintage Years
- 5 Behind the scenes
- 6 Possible reboot
- 7 Nielsen ratings
- 8 Music
- 9 Opening credits
- 10 DVD releases
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The show was created by Earl Hamner, who had previously created The Waltons, which had just finished its final season in 1981. Hamner wanted to create a family drama involving the wine industry, but CBS requested he make the show more along the lines of Dallas which was the network's biggest hit at that time. CBS then scheduled Falcon Crest at 10 p.m. on Friday nights, right after Dallas. The Dallas-Falcon Crest one-two punch proved lucrative for the network and Falcon Crest was a Top 20 show in the Nielsen Ratings for several years. Both shows (like The Waltons) were produced for CBS by the same company, Lorimar Productions.
The show revolved around Angela Channing (Jane Wyman), a corrupt, tyrannical matriarch who ruled the Falcon Crest vineyards with an iron fist. Angela's honorable nephew, Chase Gioberti (Robert Foxworth), was new to the area, having just inherited a portion of the Falcon Crest vineyards and winery from his late father, Jason Gioberti (Angela's brother, who died after a fall in the winery during the premiere episode). The rivalry between Angela and Chase (whom Angela saw as an interloper) set the tone for much of the series.
Angela's family consisted of her daughters, Julia (Abby Dalton) and Emma (Margaret Ladd), and her lazy playboy grandson, Lance (Lorenzo Lamas), who aided her in her battles against Chase and, later, against Richard Channing (David Selby). Julia worked as chief winemaker, though often felt oppressed by her domineering mother. Emma did not work in the family business and was emotionally troubled but kind natured. Lance was Julia's playboy son from her failed marriage to Tony Cumson. Lance loved money and yearned for power but lacked Angela's discipline and determination, which was proven after she persuaded him to work in the vineyards. Her ever-tightening grip on him eventually sent him to work for his grandfather's newspaper, The San Francisco Globe. Aiding Angela in her quest for more power was her crooked lawyer Phillip Erikson (Mel Ferrer), who would later become her second husband.
Chase's family consisted of sympathetic wife Maggie (Susan Sullivan), and his two grown children, Cole (William R. Moses) and Vickie (Jamie Rose, later Dana Sparks). Maggie was a freelance writer who later worked at The New Globe newspaper. Cole worked with Chase at the winery, whereas Vickie was just finishing school when the series started. Eventually realizing that she would not gain control over Chase's land anytime soon, Angela hoped to enlarge her empire by forcing Lance into an arranged marriage with winery heiress Melissa Agretti (briefly played by Delores Cantú, later by Ana Alicia), the daughter of Carlo Agretti who owned the much-coveted Agretti Vineyards. However, much like Angela, Melissa was also a selfish schemer and would cause trouble for many residents of the Tuscany Valley. Cole was also romantically interested in Melissa and the two had a brief affair before Melissa spurned him for Lance, even though she was carrying Cole's child when they got married.
But none could truly rival Angela until the conniving Richard Channing (David Selby) arrived in the show's second season. He was believed to be the illegitimate son of Angela's ex-husband Douglas Channing, and inherited most of his father's shares in the family newspaper after Douglas died, which placed him in a position of considerable power. Bent on retribution for the way he had been outcast, Richard later got into the wine business and made several attempts to wrest control of Falcon Crest from both Angela and Chase.
||This article possibly contains original research. (April 2012)|
Despite its reputation as merely being "Dallas with grapes”, Falcon Crest soon found its own niche amongst the prime-time dramas of the 1980s, occupying the middle ground between the two extremes of the genre — being more glamorous than Dallas yet not quite as outrageous and campy as Dynasty. The distinctive location filming in the Napa Valley and the dry, wryly humorous tone of the scripts gave the series a personality of its own.
The rivalry among Angela, Chase and Richard stayed at the core of the show for several years, as more romantic entanglements spun around them. Lance and Cole found themselves not only caught up in their family battles for control of Falcon Crest, but were also competing for Melissa's affections.
Like Dallas and Dynasty, Falcon Crest employed the use of memorable end-of-season cliffhangers to boost ratings. The 1982–83 season climaxed with the culmination of a murder mystery "whodunit" plot (surrounding the death of Melissa's father, Carlo Agretti) that had spanned most of the season. The killer was confronted in front of the entire cast, only to produce a handgun. Shots were fired (and heard from outside as the camera panned away from the mansion), which then faded into the final scene of a coffin being lowered into the ground, leaving the audience to wonder who had been killed.
The third season cliffhanger in 1984 involved a plane crash carrying most of the major characters, resulting in the deaths of three of them. A bomb explosion which ended the fourth season left Richard and Maggie in peril, and an earthquake that rippled through the valley ended the fifth season. The cliffhanger of the sixth season put Chase, Melissa, Richard, newcomer Dan Fixx and Maggie's baby in danger of drowning in the San Francisco bay area. At the end of the seventh season, Melissa had finally wrested complete control of Falcon Crest away from Angela, while Richard was apparently murdered by "The Thirteen", a powerful group of shady businessmen whom he had turned against.
The series also frequently cast former Hollywood royalty in guest roles; Lana Turner, Gina Lollobrigida, Cesar Romero, Robert Stack, Cliff Robertson, Celeste Holm, and Kim Novak all appeared in Falcon Crest. This aspect to the series seemed to be well embraced by the producers, who at one stage instituted a rotating guest star policy. Leslie Caron, Lauren Hutton, Eddie Albert, Eve Arden, Roscoe Lee Browne and Ursula Andress all made appearances during the 1987–1988 season as did Rod Taylor who would remain with the series until its final season. After producer Jeff Freilich left the series at the end of the 1988 season, fewer special guest stars came aboard to boost ratings, one of them being Susan Blakely in the final year.
With the departures of many of the core cast, coupled with the shifting tastes of the public in the mid 1980s, ratings began to drop (as had ratings for all of the primetime soaps of that era). In the late 1980s as sitcoms and more realistic dramas like Thirtysomething, and LA Law became popular, Soap Opera Digest named eighth season on Falcon Crest as "Most Ruined Show". In the spring of 1988, the series placed 52nd in the ratings. The series attempted to revitalize itself, much in the way that rival soap Knots Landing had successfully done, but by the beginning of the ninth (and final) season in 1989, Angela, Lance, and Emma were the only three characters from the original first season cast remaining on the series. During the 1989–90 Jane Wyman was absent for most of that season due to her health problems. The final season then revolved around a battle between Richard and newcomer Michael Sharpe for control of Falcon Crest.
CBS executives made the decision to end Falcon Crest when ratings during the ninth season dropped to 81st place, and Jane Wyman defied doctors' orders to return to the show for the last three episodes. After the many traumatic events over the course of nine seasons of the wine country saga, Falcon Crest ended happily with a family wedding taking place on the grounds of the mansion. Taking a walk outside, Angela delivered a monologue (written by Wyman herself) that brought the series to a conclusion, mentioning past characters and events but looking forward to the future. The final scene of the series shows her toasting the land, "A toast to you Falcon Crest, and long may you live."
Cast and characters
|Jane Wyman||Angela Channing||Main|
|Robert Foxworth||Chase Gioberti||Main|
|Lorenzo Lamas||Lance Cumson||Main|
|William R. Moses||Cole Gioberti||Main||Guest|
|Jamie Rose||Vickie Gioberti||Main||Recurring|
|Abby Dalton||Julia Cumson||Main||Recurring|
|Susan Sullivan||Maggie Gioberti||Main||Guest|
|David Selby||Richard Channing||Main|
|Ana Alicia||Melissa Agretti||Recurring||Main|
|Mel Ferrer||Phillip Erikson||Recurring||Main|
|Margaret Ladd||Emma Channing||Recurring||Main|
|Laura Johnson||Terry Hartford||Recurring||Main|
|Paul Freeman||Gustav Riebmann||Main|
|Sarah Douglas||Pamela Lynch||Recurring||Main|
|Simon MacCorkindale||Greg Reardon||Main|
|Ken Olin||Father Christopher Rossini||Main|
|John Callahan||Eric Stavros||Recurring||Main|
|Dana Sparks||Vickie Gioberti||Main|
|Cesar Romero||Peter Stavros||Recurring||Main||Guest|
|Brett Cullen||Dan Fixx||Main|
|Kristian Alfonso||Pilar Ortega||Main|
|David Beecroft||Nick Agretti||Main|
|Rod Taylor||Frank Agretti||Recurring||Main|
|Gregory Harrison||Michael Sharpe||Main|
|Wendy Phillips||Lauren Sharpe||Main|
|Andrea Thompson||Genele Ericson||Main|
- Angela Channing (née Gioberti) – Jane Wyman
- Angela is the tough, tyrannical matriarch of Falcon Crest and a powerful woman in the Tuscany Valley, who is the principal character of the series. Having two daughters – Julia and Emma – from her first marriage to newspaper owner Douglas Channing, she goes on to marry three more times. Determined to preserve and expand Falcon Crest for her heirs, she ruthlessly combats any challengers, with her nephew Chase and her ex-husband Douglas' allegedly illegitimate son Richard proving the most formidable of her opponents. Angela married her devious lawyer Phillip Erikson, but became a widow a short time later. She later married her old flame, billionaire Peter Stavros though the marriage was shortlived, and then married her old friend Frank Agretti. Angela was almost killed by Charley St. James, who tried to smother her with a pillow. She was left in a coma for several months before making a full recovery and returning home. Jane Wyman appeared in almost every episode of the series, for eight seasons, plus the first two and last three episodes of the ninth season, for a total of 208 of the 227 episodes of the series, missing 19 episodes (mostly in the final season) due to health problems.
- Chase Gioberti – Robert Foxworth (1981–1987)
- A former commercial airline pilot and Vietnam veteran, Chase moves back to the Tuscany Valley from New York after the death of his father. Having inherited some land from his father, Chase is determined to make a go of running the winery which in turn brings him into conflict with his aunt Angela. The mysterious nature of his father's death eventually makes him half-owner of Falcon Crest, much to Angela's dismay. Throughout the course of the series Chase is shot (twice) and later is swept away by the waters of the San Francisco Bay (Robert Foxworth left the series in 1987).
- Lance Cumson – Lorenzo Lamas
- Lance is Julia's son and Angela's heir and grandson. A handsome ladies' man, he enjoys a playboy lifestyle but is also used by Angela as a henchman in her schemes. For a short time, Lance worked for his grandfather's newspaper. His grandmother forces him to marry Melissa Agretti purely so she can acquire the adjoining Agretti lands. After divorcing Melissa, Lance then marries Richard's stepdaughter Lorraine, who later dies. After relationships with singer Apollonia and a second relationship with Melissa (who dies in the fire), Lance eventually marries Pilar Ortega, the vineyard foreman's daughter. Lorenzo Lamas is the only actor to appear in all 227 episodes of the series.
- Cole Gioberti – William R. Moses (1981–1986, 1987)
- Chase and Maggie's adult son, he supports his father in his new venture running the vineyards, foregoing his ambition to become an archeologist like his grandfather Paul Hartford. He falls in love with Melissa Agretti, and fathers her son, Joseph. After Melissa's divorce from Lance, Cole marries her though the marriage is equally as brief. Cole also fathers a child with Melissa's cousin Robin, who agreed to be a surrogate mother for the couple but kept the child (Hope) herself. Cole leaves the Tuscany Valley for Australia in 1986, though was seen again in 1987 when Melissa and Joseph went to visit him.
- Vickie Gioberti – Jamie Rose (1981–1983), Dana Sparks (1986–1988)
- Chase's and Maggie's daughter, she initially struggles with her family's move from New York to the Tuscany Valley, and has particular trouble with the men in her life. In 1983, she married Nick Hogan who turned out to be using her. After the marriage was dissolved, Vickie then leaves the valley. She returns three years later (now played by actress Dana Sparks), more grown up but still choosing the wrong men. She eventually marries Angela's stepson, Eric Stavros, but the marriage is turbulent and does not last. However, she later leaves the valley for good when Eric's father Peter begs her to help Eric after he has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized and presumably moves to Australia near her brother Cole.
- Julia Cumson (née Channing) – Abby Dalton (1981–1986)
- Angela's eldest daughter and the mother of Lance and Father Christopher (a son she thought was stillborn). Julia works as a wine-maker at Falcon Crest, but is continually oppressed by her domineering mother who succeeded in driving her husband Tony away. She had an affair with Carlo Agretti and murdered him to protect Falcon Crest from falling into his hands. When confronted about the first killing, she pulled a gun and killed Chase's mother Jacqueline Perrault in the ensuing struggle. Originally she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, but she was deemed unfit and was institutionalized. Having escaped from the psychiatric hospital to kill Angela for the years she controlled her life, she presumably died in a cabin fire when a Sheriff's deputy shot at her and hit a kerosene lamp instead. She returned the following year having known a way out of the cabin before going into it. She left for a convent in Oregon and her sentence was later commuted. She suffered hysterical blindness after the earthquake and returned to the convent anyway and was never seen on Falcon Crest again. She was mentioned a few times though, in passing and a pregnant Emma left to visit her near the end of the series.
- Maggie Gioberti Channing (née Hartford) – Susan Sullivan (1981–1989)
- Chase's wife, Maggie is a freelance writer who supports her husband in his endeavour to build a new life for their family in Tuscany Valley. A warm-hearted but resilient woman, Maggie becomes the sympathetic heroine of the series. Maggie later marries Richard Channing after Chase's death, though the marriage does not run smoothly and she suffers with alcoholism while married to him. Susan Sullivan appeared in all the episodes of the series for eight seasons, plus the first two episodes of the final season at which point Maggie was killed when she drowned in a swimming pool.
- Emma Channing – Margaret Ladd (1981–1989)
- Angela's younger daughter, she played a central role in her uncle Jason's accidental death and has been emotionally fragile ever since. Despite her fragile nature, Emma is good-hearted and kind-natured, though she eventually learns to resist Angela's constant attempts to control her. Much unlucky in love, her relationships with men always end in heartache or tragedy. Eventually she had a baby and named it after her mother, Angela.
- Chao-Li – Chao-Li Chi
- Angela's faithful Chinese majordomo and chauffeur.
- Phillip Erikson – Mel Ferrer (1981–1984)
- Angela's unscrupulous lawyer, and eventually her second husband. Phillip made a career out of advancing Angela's reputation and control of the Tuscany Valley. He dies only a short time after their wedding in the plane crash that also killed Dr. Michael Ranson and Linda Caproni.
- Melissa Agretti - Delores Cantu (1982), Ana Alicia (1982–1988)
- Melissa is a feisty, selfish young heiress who inherits her father's land, the Agretti Vineyards. She agrees to a marriage of convenience with Lance in order to gain control of Falcon Crest. Melissa is the mother of Joseph Gioberti, following an affair with Cole Gioberti whom she later marries. Ana Alicia joined the cast later in the first season (replacing Delores Cantu, who played the part for one episode only) and left early in the eighth season when Melissa died in a fire. However, the actress returned for several episodes later in the eighth season to play a Melissa lookalike, Samantha Ross.
- Richard Channing – David Selby (1982–1990)
- A ruthless businessman, Richard first appears as the allegedly illegitimate outcast son of Angela's husband Douglas, having inherited half of his father's newspaper, the San Francisco Globe. Richard proves to be a formidable adversary of both Angela and Chase, and later even manages to gain a one-third ownership of Falcon Crest. Bent on revenge for being outcast as a child, it is later discovered that Richard is actually Angela's son who was reported to have died as a newborn infant by doctors. He is also the father of Michael Channing, following his relationship with businesswoman Cassandra Wilder. He is blackmailed into marrying Terry Hartford (Maggie's sister), and later marries Maggie herself. Following Maggie's death, he marries Maggie's second cousin, Lauren Daniels. After he joined the series in 1982, actor David Selby appeared in all the episodes until the series concluded in 1990.
- Terry Hartford – Laura Johnson (1983–1986)
- Maggie Gioberti's younger sister. Beautiful but devious, she is a former call girl who creates scandal in Tuscany Valley with her attempts to move up the society ladder. After marrying Chase's cousin Michael Ranson, she inherits his wealth following his death in the plane crash at the end of Season 3, and later blackmails Richard Channing into marrying her. However she was killed a short time later in an earthquake that shook the valley.
- Pamela Lynch – Sarah Douglas (1983–1985), Martine Beswick (1985)
- Personal assistant and brief love-interest to Richard Channing and a former employee of the deadly mafia-type organisation, the Cartel. Capable of being ruthless and scheming, she also had a softer side and was especially fond of Richard Channing's stepdaughter Lorraine Prescott. After finding out Richard had been recording every conversation in his office, even hers, she betrays him by giving Maggie taped evidence that clears Lance of trying to kill Angela. She also gains control of a winery needed by Angela, Richard and Chase and earns a $10 million dollar profit by selling it them at a higher price. In revenge, Richard turns her file over to Interpol and she then tries to kill Richard by blowing up his house, injuring him and Maggie. In order to evade capture, she then had plastic surgery to alter her appearance.
- Greg Reardon – Simon MacCorkindale (1984–1986)
- A sharp British lawyer who works for Angela, though he rarely approves of her methods. He first pursues Melissa Agretti, then later becomes involved with Terry Hartford. After he discovers she was working for Richard Channing, he later becomes involved with lawyer Jordan Roberts whom he eventually leaves the Tuscany Valley with.
- Gustav Riebmann – Paul Freeman (1984)
- The son of a Nazi war criminal, he becomes the head of the sinister Cartel after he assassinated his own father. He moves to the Tuscany Valley in an attempt to gain control of Falcon Crest, knowing that there was a priceless art treasure buried under the estate decades earlier. Gustav along with his assistant Renee are both perish in a cave in.
- Father Christopher Rossini – Ken Olin (1985–1986)
- Priest and illegitimate son of Julia Cumson and the late Dominic Rossini. Julia became pregnant with Christopher when she was only a teenager, at which point Angela ran Dominic Rossini out of the valley. After he was born, Angela told Julia that the baby had died and allowed him to be raised in a Catholic orphanage in Marysville, Connecticut. When Dominic's wife Anna and daughter Cassandra returned to the Tuscany Valley years later to wreak revenge for what Angela allegedly did to their family, Angela was forced to tell Christopher he was her grandson.
- Peter Stavros – Cesar Romero (1985–1987, 1988)
- Billionaire Greek industrialist and an old flame of Angela's who helps her win Falcon Crest back from the Rossini family. He eventually becomes Angela's third husband.
- Eric Stavros – John Callahan (1986–1988)
- Peter Stavros' playboy son, who first romances Melissa but later marries Vickie Gioberti. He is brainwashed by The Thirteen to kill Richard Channing but is later institutionalized.
- Dan Fixx – Brett Cullen (1986–1988)
- Son of Tucker Fixx and his first wife Elizabeth Bradbury, old acquaintances of Angela's. He later becomes a ward and friend of Angela's.
- Frank Agretti – Rod Taylor (1988–1990)
- Uncle to Melissa, Robin and Chris Agretti and father to Nick Agretti. He is a friend of Angela's and becomes her fourth husband out of convenience - to help her leave the psychiatric ward so she can live under his conservatorship.
- Nick Agretti – David Beecroft (1988–1989)
- Frank Agretti's son with his ex-wife Claire and Melissa's cousin, who becomes the executor of her estate (Falcon Crest and the Agretti Vineyards) after her death to manage it for until her son Joseph's 21st birthday. Nick's teenage son, Ben, is a product of his past relationship with the Italian heiress Anna Cellini, though Anna's tyranical father never approved of Nick, he wants to claim Ben as his grandson. Angela uses Ben to blackmail Nick into signing Falcon Crest back over to her.
- Pilar Ortega – Kristian Alfonso (1988–1990)
- Former teenage sweetheart of Lance Cumson and eventually his wife. Her father, Cesar, is the Falcon Crest Winery foreman.
- Lauren Sharpe Daniels – Wendy Phillips (1989–1990)
- Maggie's second cousin and love interest for Richard Channing, who later becomes his wife.
- Michael Sharpe – Gregory Harrison (1989–1990)
- Maggie's second cousin, brother of Lauren, and a ruthless businessman who becomes an opponent of Richard Channing in a battle for control of Falcon Crest.
- Genele Ericson – Andrea Thompson (1989–1990)
- Frank Agretti's murderous sister-in-law.
- Joseph Gioberti - Jason Goldberg (1983–1987)
Joseph is the son of Cole Gioberti and Melissa Agretti. Although Melissa was already pregnant with Joseph by the time she married Lance, it emerged that Cole was his father and a bitter custody battle ensued. Angela later convinced Melissa to give Joseph to Cole in return for Chase returning her half of Falcon Crest after a legal dispute. Melissa agreed on the condition that she was to become Angela's sole heir. Years later, when Melissa became increasingly unstable, Joseph eventually went to live with Cole in Australia.
- Douglas Channing – Stephen Elliott (1981–1982)
- Angela's estranged first husband and father of Julia, Emma and Richard. He is owner of The San Francisco Globe newspaper, and following his death he bequeaths half of his shares to his illegitimate son Richard.
- Tony Cumson – John Saxon (1982, 1986–1988)/ Robert Loggia (1982)
- Julia's husband and Lance's father who was driven away by Angela.
- Father Bob – Bob Curtis
- Catholic priest and Angela's friend and confidant.
- Carlo Agretti – Carlos Romero (1982)
- Melissa's wealthy father and owner of the Agretti vineyards. He is murdered by Julia Cumson.
- Anna Gioberti - Vanna Salviati (1982)
- A distant Gioberti relative who gives Cole a collection of mysterious letters, which underscore the enduring bitterness between Angela and Jason.
- Gus Nunouz – Nick Ramus (1981–1982)
- Foreman at the vineyard and a friend to Chase.
- Mario Nunouz – Mario Marcelino (1982)
- Gus Nunouz's son who becomes romantically involved with Vickie Gioberti. He leaves town with his mother Alicia following his father's death.
- Alicia Nunouz – Silvana Gallardo (1982)
- Wife of Gus Nunouz, and mother of Mario. She leaves town with her son following her husband Gus's death
- Diana Hunter – Shannon Tweed (1982–1983)
- Personal assistant to Richard Channing who is working for the sinister Cartel organization.
- Darryl Clayton – Bradford Dillman (1982–1983)
- Film producer who works with Maggie Gioberti on a screenplay she is writing, but is actually part of a plot by Angela to destroy her marriage to Chase.
- Katherine Demery – Joanna Cassidy (1982)
- The owner of a small vineyard who has a brief romantic involvement with much younger Cole Gioberti before leaving the valley.
- Nick Hogan – Roy Thinnes (1982–1983)
- Vickie Gioberti's first husband, who married her for her family's fortune. He was later exposed and Vickie ended the marriage.
- Sheila Hogan – Katherine Justice (1982–1983)
- Former wife of Nick Hogan, whom she is still secretly involved with as he marries Vickie Gioberti.
- Amanda Croft - Anne Jeffreys (1982-1983)
- Phillip Erikson's love interest.
- Linda Caproni – Mary Kate McGeehan (1983–1984)
- Cole Gioberti's first wife who dies in a plane crash.
- Vince Caproni – Harry Basch (1983–1984)
- Linda's father who disapproves of her marriage to Cole Gioberti. Following his daughters, he leaves the valley to live with relatives.
- Joel McCarthy – Parker Stevenson (1984–1985)
- Terry Hartford's unsrupulous ex-husband and a drug addict. He comes to the Tuscany Valley to blackmail Terry as their marriage was never divorced (meaning her marriage to Michael Ranson was never legal). He is paid by Melissa to frame Lance for the attempted murder of Angela.
- Lorraine Prescott – Kate Vernon (1984–1985)
- Stepdaughter of Richard Channing and love interest for Lance. Though neither Angela or Richard approve of their relationship, Lorraine marries Lance after she becomes pregnant with his child, but she and her unborn baby are later killed after a fall.
- Charlotte Pershing – Jane Greer (1984)
- Maggie's biological mother who gave her up for adoption at birth. She has a gambling addiction that Angela uses to her advantage.
- Connie Gianinni – Carla Borelli (1985)
- The beautiful owner of the Gianinni Vineyards, she begins working with Chase whom she is attracted to.
- Damon Ross (Rossini) – Jonathan Frakes (1984–1985)
- Brother of Cassandra Wilder, and son of Anna and Dominic Rossini. Damon works for his sister at Wilder Advertising, a top San Francisco ad agency, from where they both plot to take over Falcon Crest and ruin Angela for her alleged crimes against their family. He briefly romances Emma which deters him from taking part in the final takeover.
- Robin Agretti – Barbara Howard (1985–1986)
- Melissa's cousin, the daughter of Philip and Theresa Agretti. Robin comes to visit Melissa, and later agrees to help her and Cole by being a surrogate mother as Melissa cannot have any more children. However she becomes attracted to Cole and undermines his marriage to Melissa at every opportunity. When she eventually gives birth to a baby girl (named Hope), she leaves the valley with the child, determined that Melissa will never raise her. Robin's father Phillip dies sometime before Frank Agretti returns to the Tuscany Valley.
- Apollonia – Apollonia Kotero (1985–1986)
- A singer who becomes romantically involved with Lance. When her career eventually takes off, she leaves San Francisco.
- Dwayne Cooley – Daniel Greene (1985–1986)
- A dashing truck driver who falls for Emma Channing. He later goes into the wine distribution business with Chase. Dwayne and Emma intend to marry (much against Angela's wishes) but he is killed in the earthquake that devastated the valley in 1986.
- Jeff Wainwright – Edward Albert (1986)
- A press agent for a book written by Maggie Gioberti, but whose interest in Maggie takes on a disturbing nature. He begins stalking Maggie and later kidnaps and rapes her.
- Li-Ying Chi – Rosalind Chao (1986)
- Chao-Li's daughter who comes to the Tuscany Valley to visit her father. Li-Ying works as a seismologist and she predicted the deadly earthquake that occurred in the Tuscany Valley.
- Erin Jones – Jill Jacobson (1985–1986)
- An unscrupulous woman who performs underhanded work for Angela (such as infecting Chase's vineyards with a parasite). She later works for Richard Channing, tries to doublecross him, but her plan backfires. Responsible for shooting Chase Gioberti.
- Meredith Braxton – Jane Badler (1986–1987)
- Erin Jones' sister, and later assistant to Richard Channing after her sister's death. After being spurned by him, she later turns on Richard and provides Angela with information that will ruin him.
- Guy Stafford – Jeff Kober (1986)
- Hired killer sent to kill Kit Marlowe.
- Vince Karlotti – Marjoe Gortner (1986–1987)
- A charlatan posing as a psychic medium who has Emma Channing under his spell. When he marries her, it is revealed that he is a polygamist.
- Francine Hope – Melba Moore (1987)
- An adoption attorney who tries to help Maggie Gioberti trace her baby.
- Gabrielle Short – Cindy Morgan (1987–1988)
- Love interest for Chase following the end of his marriage to Maggie.
- Dina Wells – Robin Greer (1986–1987)
- Love interest for Lance who is crippled after a racing car accident and is killed by a psychotic nurse. Greer and Lamas were also briefly engaged in real life, but split up in 1987. Their onscreen relationship followed suit.
- Garth – Carl Held (1986–1989)
- Personal assistant and head of security for Richard Channing.
- John Remick – Ed Marinaro (1987)
- Vietnam veteran and an old friend of Chase's who visits Maggie following Chase's death.
- Carly Fixx – Mariska Hargitay (1987–1988)
- Dan Fixx's alleged half-sister who has romantic feelings for him. When they discover they are not actually related, they become involved and leave the Tuscany Valley. During her stay, Carly becomes a close friend of Angela's.
- Ben Agretti – Brandon Douglas (1988–1989)
- Son of Nick Agretti and Anna Cellini.
- Anna Cellini – Assumpta Serna (1988–1989)
- An old flame of Nick Agretti's and the mother of his son, Ben. Her relationship with Nick was thwarted by her powerful, tyranical father. Anna comes to the Tuscany Valley to re-establish contact with Nick and Ben when she discovers she is terminally ill.
- Cesar Ortega – Castulo Guerra (1988–1989)
- Pilar Ortega's father who works as the foreman at Falcon Crest.Cesar left the valley with his two sons to live near his sister Mercedes.
- Mercedes Vargas – Martha Velez (1988)
- Aunt to Pilar Ortega who is secretly raising Pilar's daughter Lisa.
- Tommy Ortega – Dan Ferro (1988–1989)
- Pilar Ortega's brother who goes to work at the Tuscany Herald newspaper and becomes attracted to Maggie.Tommy leaves town with his father Cesar and his brother Gabriel to live near his Aunt Mercedes.
- Gabriel Ortega – Danny Nucci (1988–1989)
- Pilar Ortega's younger brother who befriends Ben Agretti.
- Chris Agretti - Chris Young (1989)
- Nephew to Frank (son of a late unnamed Agretti brother), who ends up becoming involved with Sydney before being killed by her husband Ian St. James
- Charley St. James – Mark Lindsay Chapman (1989–1990)
- Sleazy villain who manipulates his way into Emma's affections and tries to kill Angela.
- Ian St. James – David Hunt (1989–1990)
- Charley St. James' brother who is responsible for the deaths of Emma's husband R.D. Young (a.k.a. Daniel Cabot) and Frank's nephew Chris Agretti.
- Sydney St. James – Carla Gugino (1989–1990)
- Young wife of Ian St. James who has an affair with Chris Agretti.
- Danny Sharpe – David Sheinkopf (1989–1990)
- Headstrong young man who believes that Michael Sharpe is his father but later finds out Richard Channing is.
- Walker Daniels – Robert Ginty (1989–1990)
- Lauren Daniels' unstable husband.
Special guest stars
- Jacqueline Perrault – Lana Turner (1982–1983)
- Chase's flamboyant mother and a bitter enemy of Angela. She was co-founder of the Cartel. Years earlier, Jacqueline had an affair with Angela's first husband Douglas and later told Richard that she was his mother - though it later emerged that this was not true. When Julia Cumson was revealed the murderer of Carlo Agretti and began shooting, Jacqueline was killed.
- Dr. Michael Ranson – Cliff Robertson (1983–1984)
- Jacqueline's nephew & Chase's cousin who starts working as a neurosurgeon at the Tuscany Valley's hospital. He later marries Terry Hartford but is killed in the plane crash that also killed Phillip Erikson and Linda Caproni.
- Francesca Gioberti – Gina Lollobrigida (1984)
- Angela's Italian half-sister who visits Tuscany Valley with a claim to a share of Falcon Crest, which she later sells to Richard.
- Paul Hartford - Andrew Duggan (1984–1985)
- Maggie's and Terry's archeologist father. Paul adopted Maggie with his late wife Margaret.
- Cassandra Wilder – Anne Archer (1984–1985)
- A cool, calculating businesswoman who becomes involved with Richard. She later manages to gain controlling interest in Falcon Crest which she plans to destroy because of Angela's crimes against her family. Daughter of Anna Rossini, brother of Damon Ross (Rossini), half-brother of Father Christopher Rossini. Cassandra becomes pregnant with Richard's child (Michael) but she dies in childbirth.
- Anna Rossini – Celeste Holm (1985)
- A bitter widow with an old score to settle with Angela. Mother of Cassandra Wilder and Damon Ross. She was institutionalized after trying to kill Angela by setting Falcon Crest on fire, as part of her revenge against Angela for supposedly driving her husband to commit suicide. Aware of, but in denial of the affair her husband had with Julia Cumson, that led to the birth of Christopher Rossini.
- Jordan Roberts – Morgan Fairchild (1985–1986)
- A glamorous attorney who works for Richard Channing and helps him rebuild his empire after he loses his share of Falcon Crest and goes bankrupt. Although a sharp, intelligent woman, Jordan hides a dark secret as she suffers from multiple personality disorder following years of abuse at the hands of her father who molested her as a child. She later becomes involved with Greg Reardon and, after receiving treatment for her condition, the two of them leave the Tuscany Valley.
- Kit Marlowe – Kim Novak (1986–1987)
- A woman with a shady past who poses as Peter Stavros' dead step-daughter. She causes mayhem when she arrives in Tuscany Valley, and is pursued by a deadly gangster Roland Saunders, who is intent on killing her. Kit eventually becomes involved with Lance's father Tony and the two of them leave to go and live on Peter's private island, only to later part ways.
- Roland Saunders – Robert Stack (1987)
- Mafioso-type criminal who is out to kill Kit Marlowe. He is killed by Peter Stavros.
- Nicole Sauguet – Leslie Caron (1987)
- Wealthy French woman and old friend of Chase's who arrives in the valley following his death claiming she loaned him 30 million dollars.
- Liz McDowell – Lauren Hutton (1987)
- A businesswoman who has dealings with (and romantic designs towards) Richard Channing.
- Carlton Travis – Eddie Albert (1987)
- Villain whose dealings with Angela and Richard turn deadly.
- Lillian Nash Darlington – Eve Arden (1987)
- A Washington society hostess and the wife of a Supreme Court judge whom Angela asks for help in dealing with Carlton Travis.
- Rosemont - Roscoe Lee Browne (1988)
- The apparent leader of The Thirteen, a group of corrupt businessmen with whom Richard Channing gets entangled with. He and The Thirteen are later eliminated by John Remick, following orders of his brother, U.S. Senator Peter Ryder.
- Madame Malec – Ursula Andress (1988)
- An exotic woman whom Richard Channing deals with in his efforts to rescue Vickie Gioberti from a white slave ring. She is later found murdered in Richard's bed.
The Vintage Years
A pilot episode for the series entitled The Vintage Years was filmed in the spring of 1981 but never aired, and featured a number of significant differences from the series that would air in December. The character of Richard Channing was present in the original pilot, played by Michael Swan; this alternate Richard was Angela's biological son fighting for his domineering mother's favor. Abby Dalton's character, Julia, was called Dorcas, Jane Wyman wore a grey wig as Angela, and Chase and Maggie were played by Clu Gulager and Samantha Eggar respectively. Emma was not seen but there was a subplot concerning a mysterious woman crying for her mother while locked away in one of the upstairs rooms.
Behind the scenes
Lorimar producers searching for a location to use as the principal backdrop for the show decided upon Spring Mountain Vineyard, a winery located in St. Helena, in California's Napa Valley. This site contained the 1884 Victorian mansion "Villa Miravalle", the exterior for which was used as the Falcon Crest mansion where Angela lived with her daughters Julia, Emma and her grandson, Lance, as well as the winery building which had just been constructed in the mid-1970s. As a tie-in, the Spring Mountain Winery also produced a "Falcon Crest" wine during the show's run.
Barbara Stanwyck had been considered for the role of Angela Channing but turned it down. The role then went to Stanwyck's friend Jane Wyman.
According to rumor, Jane Wyman had a running feud with Robert Foxworth, to the point where they measured each other's dressing room trailers just to make sure they were equal in size. When Foxworth became a director for the show, Wyman demanded CBS add a clause to her contract also allowing her to be a director. Although she ultimately never directed any episodes, Wyman was pleased that she had the same designation as Foxworth.
It was reported that Wyman had had a long-running feud with fellow movie star legend Lana Turner which dated back to their Hollywood years. Reportedly, the two actresses quickly refused to speak to each other and the producers had to film their confrontational scenes separately and then splice them together; Turner was written out of the show soon after. Reportedly, a few years after she appeared on the program, Turner noted that she believed Wyman was negative in demeanor due to the fact that her ex-husband, Ronald Reagan, was elected President during the 1980s, something that Turner believed Wyman could not reconcile within herself. Lana Turner appeared on The Phil Donahue Show in 1982 and emphatically denied the rumors of the reported feud. "It's a bunch of bull. It's all publicity trying to drum up a feud between us. I adore Ms. Wyman. I respect her as a lady and an artist, and there is no feud."
Sophia Loren was set to star in the role of Francesca Gioberti, Angela's secret half-sister who comes to the valley to threaten Angela's control of Falcon Crest. Loren was to play thirteen episodes, and producers promised a fabulous wardrobe and a dynamic character that would rival Dynasty's Alexis Carrington. At the last minute, negotiations with Loren fell through and Gina Lollobrigida was then cast in the role, but only signed on for four episodes. Interestingly, Loren was also Aaron Spelling's first choice for the role of Alexis Carrington in Dynasty, but was passed over as she was requesting too much money, thus allowing the role to go to Joan Collins.
According to Dallas creator David Jacobs, before auditioning for Falcon Crest, Robert Foxworth turned down the role of J. R. Ewing on Dallas because he did not want to play such an unsympathetic character. The role ultimately went to Larry Hagman.
With the success of the relaunch of Dallas, stars of the CBS primetime soap have been approached about appearing in a reboot of the show. It has been proposed that the series would focus on William Moses' character, Cole Gioberti and David Selby's Richard Channing.
- Season 1 (1981–1982): #13 (21.4)
- Season 2 (1982–1983): #8 (20.7)
- Season 3 (1983–1984): #7 (22.0)
- Season 4 (1984–1985): #10 (19.9)
- Season 5 (1985–1986): #24 (18.1)
- Season 6 (1986–1987): #23 (17.3)
- Season 7 (1987–1988): #42 (N/A)
- Season 8 (1988–1989): #52 (N/A)
- Season 9 (1989–1990): #81 (N/A)
Falcon Crest's theme tune was composed by Bill Conti, who also composed the themes to Dynasty, The Colbys and Cagney & Lacey. Several variations of the main theme were commissioned throughout the series' run, though the most different of these was the theme for season 9 which was done in a heavily synthetic, new-age style by musician Patrick O'Hearn.
There were also stylistic changes to the incidental music. During seasons 1 to 5, the music was performed by an orchestra; composed mainly by Dana Kaproff and Peter Myers. In seasons 6 and 7, the background music became electronic-based and was performed by single artists using a synclavier, one of the early high-tech synthesizers. Mark Snow, who later composed the theme of The X-Files was the main composer and performing musician from 1986-88. During season 8, the music returned to a more classical style, before the composers returned to the electronic style for the final season with the score provided by new-age composer Patrick O'Hearn.
Like Knots Landing, Falcon Crest ran different styles of opening credits. The opening scenes of the introduction show Angela Channing being driven from San Francisco to the Falcon Crest vineyard as the Bill Conti composed theme music begins to play. After she arrives at the Falcon Crest mansion the Falcon Crest coat of arm and title cards appear. In season 1 and in the first half of season 2, each actor's title card was followed by a multi-picture combo. In the second half of season 2 and in seasons 3 and 4, the multi-picture combos were replaced by location footage transitions.
In season 5, the scenes of the limousine driving Angela from San Francisco to Falcon Crest were eliminated and the title cards appeared directly over the location footages, in a similar style to the opening credits of Dynasty. The previous logo for the first four seasons was updated.
In seasons 6 and 7, rippling elliptical transitions between the title card and cast credit screens were added. The logo was also redesigned with new colors and typeface. In season 7, the falcon graphic was animated to fly across the screen before freezing in the centre and becoming the coat of arms. Season 8 had a more basic variation of this style.
The final season utilized a completely different style. Each actor's title card was immediately followed by footage depicting sex or violence in order to cultivate the atmosphere of a crime drama.
The rights to the series are held by Warner Bros. (successor-in-interest to the original production company Lorimar). The first season was released on DVD in various European countries in April and May 2009 and the second season was released from October 2009 onwards, again in various European countries.
Warner Bros. has released the first three seasons on DVD in Region 1. Seasons 2 & 3 were released via the Warner Archive Collection as Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) releases. Season 3 was released on May 28, 2013.
- "Findings:@Everything2.com". Everything2.com. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- "Jane Wyman biography". Archived from the original on March 1, 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
- "Spring Mountain Vineyard: Winery History". Springmtn.com. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- "Jane Wyman". The Times (London). September 11, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Lana Turner Interview 1982 (Falcon Crest)". YouTube. 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
- Simon Hoggart, "Simon Hoggart's week: High-class rolling stones in Boulder", The Guardian April 15, 2006
- 'The Complete 3rd Season' DVD's Release Date is...Today!