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|Peyton Place character|
|Portrayed by||Mia Farrow|
|First appearance||September 15, 1964 (#1)|
|Last appearance||August 29, 1966 (#263)|
Allison MacKenzie is a fictional character and one of the protagonists in the novel Peyton Place, its sequel Return to Peyton Place, the subsequent film adaptations of both, and the primetime television series and daytime soap opera they inspired.
In the film Peyton Place, she was portrayed by Diane Varsi; in the movie sequel, Return to Peyton Place, she was played by actress Carol Lynley; in the 1960s television serial Peyton Place, she was played by Mia Farrow; and in the 1974 daytime serial Return to Peyton Place, she was played by actresses Katherine Glass and Pamela Susan Shoop.
In the TV series she appeared from the first episode to the 263rd episode, between 1964 and 1966.
Book and film version
In the original novel, Allison was the illegitimate daughter of Constance MacKenzie, the owner of a clothing store in Peyton Place, a small community in New Hampshire, and an imported fabric store owner also named Allison MacKenzie (in the movie, her father was named Angus, and in the television series, he was a New York City businessman named James).
Three years after she was born, her father died. Constance and her mother, Elizabeth Standish, deliberately changed the year of birth on her birth certificate to make Allison seem a year younger than she really was. This led to quite a lot of friction between mother and daughter. Allison was sensitive and dreaming, unlike her practical and often distant mother. The friction between the two would escalate as Allison grew up.
Her life's dream was to be a writer, something Constance had never understood. She also wanted her daughter to remain chaste, which caused Allison to rebel. When she was almost sixteen years old, her mother and a gossipy neighbor, Evelyn Page, who was the mother of Allison's friend, Norman Page, thought that the two had sex. In truth, they hadn't, they had gone on an innocent picnic; but Constance and Evelyn forced them to wrongly confess to something they didn't even do; and both were punished for it. (In the movie, it was spiteful Marion Partridge who had wrongly seen Allison and Norman swimming. She thought they were nude, they weren't; it was Rodney Harrington and Betty Anderson who were swimming in the nude, but it was Marion who spread the gossip.)
After Allison heatedly told her mother that she had never been so humiliated in all her life, Constance slapped her viciously and screamed at the top of her lungs that she was a bastard. When she discovered the truth about her birth, Allison was devastated.
Later on, her best friend, Selena Cross's mother, Nellie, had committed suicide in her bedroom closet, due to discovering that Selena had been impregnated by her despicable stepfather, Lucas. It was Allison who had discovered Nellie's dead body and screamed in terror. It took her high school principal, Tomas Makris (later renamed Michael Rossi), who had been dating Constance, to help Allison through this dark time in her life; along with Dr. Matthew Swain, the town's leading physician.
The double blow of Allison's discovering the truth about her birth as well as Nellie's suicide caused her to be hospitalized. Allison's friendship with Selena was another sore point with Constance, but she eventually saw something good in her, and offered her a job at her store. Besides Selena, she had a friendship with Kathy Ellsworth, the daughter of a mill worker and a nurse.
Eventually, the rift between mother and daughter had grown so bad that Allison left Peyton Place, and moved to New York City. She became a writer for a magazine, and became rather successful. While in New York, she roomed with budding actress Stephanie Wallace. Allison returned to her hometown after Selena went on trial for Lucas's murder. She ended up being acquitted, but was tormented by the vicious gossip of Peyton Place.
Return to Peyton Place
In the sequel, Return to Peyton Place, Allison wrote a book called Samuel's Castle based on her home town. The reaction to this shocked most of the community; and angered them as well, but two people in particular; Spiteful Marion Partridge, the wife of the town's leading attorney who had hated Constance and Allison anyway, because they had deviated from a norm she had set up; and Roberta Carter. In Roberta's case, however, the hatred was hypocrisy, since her son, Ted, was married to a nasty and evil-minded woman named Jennifer Burbank, whom he met whilst in law school. Jennifer was a Boston Blueblood who married Ted and proceeded to make him weak.
Because of Allison's book, Marion and Roberta fired Allison's stepfather, high school principal Tomas Makris. However, Roberta later reversed her decision and had Makris rehired (ending her friendship with Marion Partridge in the process), before she was murdered by her scheming daughter in-law.
Like her mother, Allison had an affair with a married man, her publisher, Lewis Jackman; only, unlike her mother, Lewis died in a car accident. This totally shattered Allison, and yet, in a way, also bonded her and her mother like never before, since both had been through the same situation.
Constance gently reminded Allison that although she didn't have a child to live for, as she had with Allison, nevertheless that she continue to live for him, and living for him meant, in Allison's case, her work. These words helped Allison get back into her work, and she healed eventually.
In one of the television movie reunions of Peyton Place, it was discovered that Allison had a daughter named Megan, who had returned with her to Peyton Place, after Allison had been raped. Megan, like her mother before her, had fallen in love with a young man named Dana Harrington. At first, it was thought that he was the son of Allison's former lover, Rodney, but it was later discovered by Betty Anderson, Allison's former rival, that his father was a man named Steven Cord, whom she had also been married to. This opened the road to Megan and Dana being together.
In the television series, Allison is the daughter of Constance. Her father is believed to be an unknown man in a photo. Her real father turned out to be Elliot Carson, a man wrongly convicted of murder. Constance doesn't want her daughter to know who her real father is. Allison reads a lot and doesn't have a lot of friends of her own age. She is good friends with Matthew Swain, an older man who works at the newspaper and she prefers to call Uncle Matt.
She falls in love with the popular Rodney Harrington. They date for a short period, before Rodney knocks up Betty Anderson and marries her. He later admits he had planned to run away from town with her if Betty hadn't gotten pregnant. After Rodney and Betty are divorced, he and Allison begin dating again, but Rodney's arrest for murder and Allison's coma (see below) tend to get in the way.
When Elliot is released from jail he returns to Peyton Place. Constance is afraid the truth will come up and tries to keep Allison away from him. However, she and Elliot become good friends after they find out they share the same interests. In this period, Allison also became good friends with her teacher Paul Hanley, the man who had testified against Elliot in court.
She ends up finding out who Elliot really is and her good relationship with her mother was strained from that point forward. Even when Constance and Elliot get married, she does not approve. Meanwhile, she becomes the babysitter of Kim Schuster, a deaf 6-year old. Kim's father David Schuster constantly flirts with her.
Her bond with Kim ends abruptly when Marion Fowler involves her in a car accident. Allison is sent into a coma for several weeks. When she came out of the coma, she suffered from amnesia and couldn't remember the entire past year. Therefore, she didn't recognize Elliot as her father. The emotional package eventually became too much for her and she suffered a nervous breakdown. She ended up cutting her hair.
As noted above, in this period, she again had a relationship with Rodney. However, he couldn't handle her anymore and broke it off. She later became close to the blind Chris Webber. Chris was believed to be blinded by Ann Howard, but he confessed it was actually his brother Lee Webber who was responsible. Allison was nearly capable of handling all the emotional baggage until Ann died, when she decided to leave town.
- Wood, Ruth Pirsig (1995). Lolita in Peyton Place: Highbrow, Middlebrow, and Lowbrow Novels of the 1950s. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0815320612.
- Anderson, Stacey Stanfield (2006). "Toxic Togetherness in a Postwar 'Potboiler': Grace Metalious's Peyton Place". Americana. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- Creadick, Anna G. (2010). Perfectly Average: The Pursuit of Normality in Postwar America. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 132. ISBN 9781558498051.
- Hirsh-Dickinson, Sally (2011). Dirty Whites and Dark Secrets: Sex and Race in Peyton Place. University of New Hampshire Press. p. 4. ISBN 9781611680416.
- "Peyton Place". Fifties Web. Retrieved 3 October 2015.