Peyton Place

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This page is reserved for Anna's favourite television soap opera - Peyton Place

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness."- Oscar Wilde

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery is a proverb. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase. ... Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery is a proverb that means trying do what someone else does, own what someone else owns, or think like someone else thinks is a compliment to that person." Does this have a place on this page? Yes it does read on .......

Screenshot of borrowed information from this page

Here is a screen shot of a post on the Peyton Place (1964-1969) - The Official Facebook Fan Club if you look closely you may recognise the image from a section further down on this page which also, coincidentally, carries a very accurate and obvious provenance!

Earlier today I found this post plus at least two others, which were 'lifted' from this page with no effort at identifying the source. Although I am not the original source on much of what I use to make these pages interesting, their provenance, when verified and available, is always identified - it is a rule of 'netiquette' which is often ignored, particularly on sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Two of the other areas used were the interesting Getty composite and several images from the tv screens which I did create, notably several single credits and interestingly the picture of Father and Son Carson. I posted the query 'Where these 'borrowed' from my website?' On returning to the page a few hours later I discovered that two of the posts had been removed (and Stephen Cronin, now Steve Cronin, has blocked me! Good!). I have queried this with the Moderators - all that would have been required was to have had the provenance identified - well, one slipped through the net and here it is! Before anyone starts yelling 'sour grapes' don't - this website is a hobby and the information shared is for people to enjoy and somewhere where I can let off steam, or state my personal opinions; it is not a site for financial gain, but acknowledgements and courtesy cost nothing. There is also a page where I post people's comments to me about the site, including those that point out any errors or anomalies and those can also be seen here. I don't see the reason behind removing the posts, all that had to be done was for the author to have acknowledged the source. Now back to 'the continuing story of Peyton Place' ....

20th June 2020 - Well looky here - I'm on Barbar Parkins Fb page!

I suppose if I was to be 'quoted' or my artwork used then my late father's birth date would be a good time for it to appear on social media. Here we have a typical hi-jacked image without credit being given of my original work on Barbara Parkins' Fb account ........

From the Barbara Parkin page on FbFrom the Barbara Parkin page on Fb

Seriously you'd have thought after the 'I do not allow Fb to use my pictures' rant from BP herself, she would have been a bit more generous on her own page!

Farewell Dorothy Malone, the one and only Constance Mackenzie

Daily Mail Daily Digest of happenings from the Daily Mail featuring Dorothy Malone

Nice to see Dorothy Malone and her link to Peyton Place still an item of interest after all this time! I'm also tickled that there is a direct link here to my husband Andrew and his infamous ancestor 'Bloody Ludlow' as one of those who signed the instrument of execution of Charles I

Iconic Peyton Place

An iconic pose for the pilot of the series featuring Ed Nelson as Dr. Rossi, Dorothy Malone as Constance Mackenzie and Mia Farrow (seated) as Alison Mackenzie - image courtesy of the Getty ABC archives

Rare sighting of Mary Anderson with the cast of Peyton Place

A real rarity from Getty - in the background the rarely seen Mary Anderson as Martin Peyton's daughter, Catherine, together with Paul Langdon her ambitious husband Leslie Harrington and mother to Rodney and Norman Harrington. To the right of the picture lothario Ryan O'Neal as Rodney Harrington with his former wife Betty Anderson played by Barbara Parkins and current girlfriend Alison Mackenzie played by Mia Farrow. The front trio l to r Ed Nelson as Michael Rossi, Dorothy Malone as Constance Mackenzie and Warner Anderson as Matthew Swain

Mia Farrow

'17 year old Mia Farrow holding Peyton Place newspaper as she waits for contract approval in Santa Monica courthouse, 1964' - image details : CONTRACT APPROVED-Mia Farrow, 17, daughter of Maureen O'Sullivan, appears at Santa Monica Superior Court to have 20th Century-Fox contract for TV series based on "Peyton Place" approved., Access to this collection is generously supported by Arcadia funds.
In collections - Islandora Repository » Los Angeles Times Photographs Collection © Los Angeles Times Photographs Collection

Mia Farrow Provenance

They said it would be a mistake!

Using my favourite picture of Dorothy Malone (and her own hair) IZ make a feature of a quote made by her which is backed up in the Telegraph obituary

Peyton Place write up

"Inspired by Granada’s Coronation Street, which had been mesmerising British audiences since 1960, Peyton Place was quickly imported by ITV which paid the American makers ABC a trifling £30,000 for the first batch of 104 episodes." (*Note that my birthdate is on the 'footer' - we were meant to be!)

Dorothy Malone on the cover of Tv Magazine

Doesn't seem to have done Dorothy Malone too much harm as she graces the cover of TV Guide in 1967 - image sourced from Pinterest

“I was the first movie star to plunge into night-time soap opera,” Dorothy Malone recalled. Even so she took the part against the advice of pessimists who warned it would be a mistake. Television was then considered Hollywood’s poor relation, the hours would be horrendous and she would suffer from overexposure. But Dorothy Malone was so impressed with the first three Peyton Place scripts that she struck a deal with the ABC network that made her the highest-paid actress in television, settling for a pay packet of $7,000 a week (they had offered her an even fatter $10,000) provided there was no filming at weekends and she could be home by 6pm every night for dinner with her two daughters."

The sad news of the death of Dorothy Malone who played Constance Mackenzie has prompted me into creating this page which has waited so long to make its appearance in my favourites!

Peyton Place Magazine dated early 60s

This appeared on ebay not long ago and I went for it - it's a phenomenal record of the beginnings of the soap and when it was first transmitted in the UK (twice weekly) - luckily I started watching the re-run which had migrated to afternoons 5 times a week! I admit to not realising how popular a show it was, as I saw it somewhere between 1968-70 I have to assume my parents had managed to steer me away from it! The original cast members all appear in the early episodes although Elliot Carson was a bit of a late starter!

Los Angeles Times - The good old days of scandal

23rd May, 2009 By Donald Liebenson

What happened in Peyton Place did not stay in Peyton Place.

The fictional Massachusetts burg became synonymous with American small-town secrets and scandal, first in Grace Metalious' sensational 1956 novel, followed by the Oscar-nominated 1957 film, the 1959 sequel novel, the 1961 sequel film and, then, in 1964, as American television's first prime-time serialized drama -- initially airing twice a week. Fans of the '60s series can now relive "the continuing story of Peyton Place" from the beginning with the DVD release of "Peyton Place: Part One" from Shout! Factory. This five-disc set contains the series' first 31 episodes (only 483 to go!). Described at the time by executive producer Paul Monash as "a television novel," "Peyton Place" paved the way for such series as "Dallas," "Dynasty" and "Desperate Housewives." But while these increasingly outrageous programs make Peyton Place look like Mayberry, this '60s drama's place in television history is secure as the show that brought Oscar winner Dorothy Malone to series TV and put costars Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal on the map.

Malone starred as Constance MacKenzie, a bookstore owner and overprotective single mother with a devastating family secret. A 19-year-old Farrow costarred as Allison, Constance's prim and innocent daughter. O'Neal portrayed brooding golden boy Rodney Harrington. Malone's stardom came at the end of Hollywood's golden era. Her first notable role was as the bookstore clerk who closed the shop early to put the make on Humphrey Bogart's Philip Marlowe in "The Big Sleep." She won the 1956 Academy Award for supporting actress as the promiscuous and alcoholic oil baron's daughter in "Written on the Wind."

Malone, 85, lives in Dallas, where her family moved from Chicago when she was a child. In a phone interview, Malone is gracious and good spirited, and her affection for the series and its cast undimmed. When asked if she was hesitant about doing a television series, she replied, "Dear, I didn't even give it a thought. I just enjoyed the acting." She called Farrow "delightful, very fresh, and sweet," and O'Neal "adorable. He had a lot of sex appeal. And I was always crazy about Ed [Nelson, who portrayed Peyton Place's new doctor, Michael Rossi]," she said. The feeling is mutual. In a phone interview, Nelson, 80, who has just published his autobiography, "Beyond Peyton Place: My Fifty Years on Stage, Screen and Television," said fondly, "She was always a joy. When I had a scene with her, I knew it was going to be a good one. Dorothy had one quality that they never captured, and that was her marvelous sense of humor. We used to laugh around the set all the time." Malone, observed her daughter, Mimi Vanderstraaten, 49, was ahead of her time. While Oscar winners did not ordinarily choose series television as a career move, "she just knew the series was going to be successful," she said.

Malone's life was also rife with drama. In 1965, she underwent life-saving surgery after more than 30 blood clots were found in her lungs. Medical updates, Vanderstraaten recalled, were flashed on the electronic ticker tape in New York's Times Square. (Lola Albright portrayed Constance on the show in her absence.) "But she has a very strong faith, and that has sustained her," Vanderstraaten said. "She is a survivor." Malone departed "Peyton Place" before the series ended, in part because, in a bid to attract young viewers, the writers were focusing on the series' younger characters. Malone continued to divide her time between movies and television. She appeared in one of American television's first miniseries, "Rich Man, Poor Man" (1976), and reprised her role as Constance in the made-for-TV movies "Murder in Peyton Place" (1977) and "Peyton Place: The Next Generation" (1985). Her last feature film was "Basic Instinct," in which she appeared fleetingly, but indelibly, in the role of a woman who had killed her children. Malone's favorite role, however, has always been that of being a mother. Living in Hollywood, she made an extra effort to ensure that her two daughters were grounded. "When we lived in Beverly Hills, we would go out in the backyard and sing these songs at night, just like she did when she was a little girl in Texas," Vanderstraaten said. "Our neighbors must have thought we were so funny." She moved the family back to Dallas in the late '60s. "She wanted to get us out of the crazy [Southern California scene] and grow up where she grew up," Vanderstraaten said. Malone's daughters still live there. These days, she enjoys being with family and her six grandchildren. She also likes watching "Dancing With the Stars" and receiving fan mail, which continues to arrive from all over the world, Vanderstraaten marveled. "It just brightens her day," she said. Malone's approachable, down-to-earth quality would "play well right now," Vanderstraaten said. "It's not something you can be taught. She was always down-home and caring about her family, but when she would turn it on [for the camera], it was like magic to watch."

They may well have said that 'Peyton Place' (the TV Series) would be a mistake, they also said similar things about the book when it was first published .....

But when I first heard those immortal words 'The continuing story of Peyton Place' and saw these images ..........

Dorothy Malone as Constance MackenzieWarner Anderson as Matthew SwainEd Nelson as Michael RossiMia Farrow as Allison Mackenzie

The four principals as they appeared in pecking order for the first 59 episodes : Dorothy Malone, Warner Anderson, Ed Nelson and Mia Farrow

...... I was hooked forever!

Dorothy Malone’s 2009 interview with “The Los Angeles Times”:

What happened in Peyton Place did not stay in Peyton Place.

The fictional Massachusetts burg became synonymous with American small-town secrets and scandal, first in Grace Metalious’ sensational 1956 novel, followed by the Oscar-nominated 1957 film, the 1959 sequel novel, the 1961 sequel film and, then, in 1964, as American television’s first prime-time serialized drama — initially airing twice a week. Fans of the ’60s series can now relive “the continuing story of Peyton Place” from the beginning with the DVD release of “Peyton Place: Part One” from Shout! Factory. This five-disc set contains the series’ first 31 episodes (only 483 to go!).*

Described at the time by executive producer Paul Monash as “a television novel,” “Peyton Place” paved the way for such series as “Dallas,” “Dynasty” and “Desperate Housewives.” But while these increasingly outrageous programs make Peyton Place look like Mayberry, this ’60s drama’s place in television history is secure as the show that brought Oscar winner Dorothy Malone to series TV and put co-stars Mia Farrow and Ryan O’Neal on the map. Malone starred as Constance MacKenzie, a bookstore owner and overprotective single mother with a devastating family secret. A 19-year-old Farrow co-starred as Allison, Constance’s prim and innocent daughter. O’Neal portrayed brooding golden boy Rodney Harrington. Source : please visit to read the full tribute ! * only two Region 1 DVDs were eventually released but Peyton Place in full plus the follow-up films are now all freely available on You Tube

'The Pilot' (which was consigned to history or the show may well have failed!

Why institutional memory was Peyton Place's hidden asset

Stephen Bowie : 11th November 2013

For most of the history of television, the barrier to syndication—and to profitability—has been 100 episodes. The shows that have made it to that mark are an unusual group. Many were big hits. Some found small cult audiences. Still others just hung on as best they could and never posted numbers quite low enough to be canceled. In 100 Episodes, we examine shows that made it to that number, considering both how they advanced or reflected the medium and what contributed to their popularity.

In 1956 Grace Metalious wrote Peyton Place, a bestseller based loosely on people and incidents from her adolescence in New England. The novel, and the two hit films based upon it, trafficked in sensationalism. Metalious laid out her thesis—that the placid veneer of quaint little American towns concealed a roiling mass of lust, love, greed, and power—in a story driven by rape, abortion, manslaughter, and suicide. The television adaptation of Peyton Place could have settled for the same tabloid approach, but its executive producer, Paul Monash, had a more ambitious vision.

An Emmy-winning writer for prestigious anthologies including Playhouse 90, Monash disdained the book as well as any comparison to daytime soap operas. Monash claimed that Metalious had written "an attack on the town." What he sought was "a love affair with the town." Instead of something tawdry, his Peyton Place would be about "people evolving toward the light." He explained that he was pioneering a new form, the "novel for television" (a phrase that would recur decades later in discussions of HBO's dramas, particularly The Wire). Monash and the series' writers compared their Peyton Place to Sherwood Anderson, to Moll Flanders, to Marcel Proust.

Did anyone buy that? For the most part, no. "Seven frustrations with but a single thought," was how Jack Gould described the show's characters in The New York Times. The reviews were negative, and the show's Emmy recognition was minimal (a trio of acting nominations, including one win). But make no mistake: Peyton Place was as intelligent and as well made as contemporaries like The Defenders and The Fugitive and The Twilight Zone. Monash achieved everything he set out to do, assembling first-rate writers, directors, and actors to create an intricate, deeply sensitive text, less a soap opera than a profound attempt to dramatize the everyday lives of ordinary people.

The transition of Peyton Place to television is one of the medium's most tempestuous origin stories. When ABC began exploring the possibility of creating a prime-time serial, head of programming Daniel Melnick contacted 20th Century Fox, which owned the television rights to the book. Monash was a recent hire there, tasked with developing new TV dramas. He hated Peyton Place so much that, according to production head William Self, "He sent his agent in to complain that Monash was not a soap opera writer. He was better than that." Contractually compelled to work on the show, Monash enlisted future Gunsmoke showrunner John Mantley to co-write a pilot script that focused, according to ABC executive Douglas Cramer, on "a small-town girl whose mother was no better than a hooker."

The hour-long pilot, directed by Irvin Kershner, was shot in September 1963. A casting trip to New York had found some promising newcomers, including Mia Farrow (the daughter of Tarzan's leading lady Maureen O'Sullivan) who would play the central teenage character, Allison Mackenzie. Oscar winner Dorothy Malone, the only name star in the original cast, was cast as her mother, Constance. The other major character from the novel, Selena Cross - a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks" who kills her sexually abusive stepfather - was played by Gyl Roland, daughter of another movie star, Gilbert Roland.

But Melnick left ABC and the project fell into the hands of a rival executive, Edgar Scherick, who envisioned it hewing closer to the format of a daytime soap. Cramer, Scherick's subordinate, had tried and failed to buy the rights to the U.K. hit Coronation Street (which had a twice-a-week format later copied by Peyton Place). Cramer's next idea was to bring in soap opera queen Irna Phillips, creator of Guiding Light, as an uncredited consultant. Phillips suggested cosmetic changes that would maneuver characters more easily into storylines, making school principal Michael Rossi (Ed Nelson, the show's nominal leading man) the town doctor, and the doctor a newspaper editor. Scherick also excised Selena and her family entirely (casting Gyl Roland into obscurity as Mia Farrow became world-famous), ostensibly because the familial rape angle was tasteless. Monash countered that ABC wasn't interested in doing stories about poor people. Underlying much of the tension was a fear that the sexual content of the novel could trigger unwelcome criticism from the press or even from Congress (which had led a bruising crusade against television violence only a few years earlier). ABC briefly considered disguising the show with a name change, to Eden Hill.

As filming began, two rival camps vied for control: Monash and Fox on one side, ABC and Phillips on the other. Monash flew to Chicago to meet the eccentric Phillips and was revolted when he saw the plastic covers on her furniture, which reminded him of his mother. Back in Los Angeles, Monash "lock[ed] himself in one room," as Cramer recalled, "and tried to undo everything she did." One idea Monash quashed was Phillips' grotesque plan for an incestuous relationship between Allison and a long-lost brother. On the set, things were chaotic. Production shut down twice to await script revisions. Monash replaced almost the entire writing staff during the first six months.

When TV Guide reported on the clash over Peyton Place's creative direction in January 1965, it appeared that Monash might be the loser. He had reluctantly acceded to a lurid storyline in which Constance would kill her husband, a violent ex-convict, and stand mute at trial to conceal the truth about Allison's illegitimacy. But by then Peyton Place had become a phenomenon, catapulting both Farrow and her leading man, Ryan O'Neal (playing callow rich boy Rodney Harrington), to stardom. A winter storyline sent Betty Anderson (Barbara Parkins), the town bad girl, off to slutty Manhattan, with the idea of starring her in a spin-off. Instead, the mothership was expanded from two to three nights a week, and for a time Peyton Place occupied three of the top 10 Nielsen slots. Hit status can make a showrunner's problems evaporate, and Monash succeeded in ending Phillips' influence. And although the murder trial idea later resurfaced as a story arc for Rodney, Constance's husband, Elliot Carson, got a reprieve, largely because actor Tim O'Connor delivered an unexpectedly delicate performance.

The journey of Elliot represents Monash's vision for Peyton Place in microcosm. Introduced as a villain, Elliot was gradually repurposed as a tragic figure: a man who'd lost everything and slowly, tentatively rebuilt his life with an old flame (Constance), a daughter he'd never known (Allison), and a new baby. Rather than discount Elliot's backstory, the writers embraced it, using Elliot's simmering resentment over his wrongful imprisonment as a constant threat to his newfound happiness. Much of what Peyton Place did best could be found in the poignant scenes between Elliot and his father Eli (Frank Ferguson), whose avuncular mien barely concealed a fear that his fragile son might self-destruct. The tone of these moments (and others, like aspiring writer Allison's wistful, existential musings) often came closer to the relaxed folksiness of The Andy Griffith Show than to traditional melodrama.

Peyton Place always struggled with conventional plotting, especially after the resolution of the compelling, ill-starred Rodney/Allison/Betty love triangle. Storylines introduced in its aftermath bombed. Corporate raider with a hysterical wife and an autistic child? No, thanks. Leslie Nielsen as a doctor with a rare tropical disease and an identical twin brother? Uh, no. But the failure of some of the soapier elements to catch on was probably a blessing in disguise. Staff writer Sonya Roberts wrote recently that Peyton Place had "a lot more use for the improbable, the intrusive, the digressive, the ludicrous, and the bathetic than for the Aristotelian unities of time, place, and manner." In other words, character and atmosphere were more important than plot. Monash loved emphasizing the micro over the macro. "Paul was not an on-your-nose kind of writer. Because these kids were so appealing, if you gave him twelve pages between two of them, he was thrilled," said writer-producer Richard De Roy.

Duration was Peyton Place's hidden asset. Its creators had the luxury to build characters over the course of years rather than within the confines of a fifty-minute hour. Because the writing staff was relatively stable after the first year, Peyton Place developed a terrific institutional memory. Complex characters remained emotionally consistent throughout years of labyrinthine plot twists. Norman Harrington (Christopher Connelly), Rodney's sullen younger brother, grew from near-delinquency toward a simple contentment unknown for most of the characters; the catalyst was the introduction of Rita Jacks (Patricia Morrow), a cute oddball who was clearly Norman's soul mate. Lana Wood played the duplicitous waitress Sandy Webber with a lip-biting sensuality that made her perhaps the most tangibly sexualized female in television up to that point. But as the show laid out Sandy's depressing options—remain faithful to an abusive husband (Stephen Oliver) or cheat with the manipulative, unattainable Rodney—her honesty and self-assertiveness took on a heroic stature.

Betty Anderson, one of only three regulars who lasted for the whole five-year run, may have benefited most from the writers' skill for deepening and reinventing their characters. They paired Betty romantically with lawyer Steven Cord (James Douglas), a fellow social striver whose illegitimacy gave him a world-class inferiority complex. Although their schemes were petty, Betty and Steven tapped into a universal anguish—the feeling of being on the outside looking in—that made them more sympathetic than many of the "good" characters. The writers also threw out frequent callbacks to Betty's past with Rodney, reuniting them occasionally for what-might-have-been scenes in which they came awkwardly to terms with their failed marriage and lost child. With years of backstory to draw upon, O'Neal and Parkins could play varied notes of jealousy, ruefulness, sweetness, and mordant humor, building an emotional array that could only exist in a series with the longevity and continuity of Peyton Place.

Betty and Steven's storyline was one of those that flourished when the show introduced its last great character in October 1965: wily one-percenter Martin Peyton (George Macready), the town patriarch. A possible model for The Simpsons' C. Montgomery Burns, Macready's silky-voiced villain re-energized the series. Peyton knew he was evil and relished playing head games with his underlings; stuffy factory executive Leslie Harrington (Paul Langton), for instance, endured a well-earned comeuppance as Peyton reduced him from a big wheel to a sweaty, obsequious lackey. Peyton's reclamation of the mansion atop the hill solved a lot of plotting problems, restructuring the series to foreground his wealth and influence as things that nearly everyone in town coveted.

Money, or more accurately class, was Peyton Place's overarching subject. Monash and the writers used their Nielsen capital to reintroduce the issue that ABC had most wanted to avoid. When Rodney killed rapist Joe Chernak, Joe's impoverished family—effectively a rewrite of the Crosses—became major characters. Seething Stella Chernak (Lee Grant) emerged as an avatar of class resentment, vowing revenge on the rich kid and anyone else connected to her brother's death. The writers delineated socioeconomic strata with precision. A doctor, a bookseller, a barmaid, and a secretary all held slightly different positions within the town's social hierarchy, and the uneasy, unspoken maneuvering for purchase on that invisible ladder motivated many of the most interesting conflicts.

To craft those conflicts, Monash more or less invented the modern writing staff. Although daytime soaps and variety shows were staff-written, prime-time dramas at that time operated on a freelance basis. Peyton Place's full-time creative team consisted of a head writer (De Roy) and two story editors (Del Reisman and Nina Laemmle) who supervised the plotting, using color-coded index cards to map out characters' arcs on an office wall. Working under them were about eight full-time writers, one of whom was assigned half of each two-act episode in rotation. This structure was novel enough to trigger a dispute between Fox and the Writers Guild, which ultimately ruled that the studio owed the writers additional pay. Monash's other innovation was to align the writing staff demographically with the characters. In a medium dominated by middle-aged men, the Peyton Place writers—which included Carol Sobieski (an Oscar nominee for Fried Green Tomatoes) and Michael Gleason (the creator of Remington Steele)—were nearly all under thirty-five, and about half were women. Their voices had a subtly progressive influence. Staff writer Peggy Shaw penned a scene in which Constance and Elliot returned from the market and both of them, not just Constance, put away the groceries and prepared dinner. "I thought, well, that's one in the eye, without saying anything," Shaw recalled. "Nine million people are seeing that."

A self-described "organizer" who was keen to assert his taste beyond the typewriter, Monash understood that Peyton Place required images as sophisticated as its words. Its two primary directors were a study in contrasts. Ted Post had an affinity with actors and a notably cavalier attitude; he could be found flipping through Variety while the cameraman set up shots. Whenever the Century City highrises that towered over the Fox lot—hardly an authentic element in the skyline of a New England hamlet—sneaked into the frame, it was in one of Post's episodes. Walter Doniger, on the other hand, was a prodigious master of deep-focus composition who favored long takes and elaborate tracking shots. Doniger was also (per producer Everett Chambers) a "rigid control freak" who drove the crew crazy and divided the cast. Gena Rowlands walked off the set during her first day under his direction. Others, including Parkins and Morrow, admired Doniger's approach, which required actors to hit their marks within a millimeter, but also let them play scenes with fewer interruptions than were customary in television. Monash shielded the brash Doniger from repercussions, and he was right: Doniger turned Peyton Place, talky as it was, into one of the most visually sumptuous of television shows.

As the '60s wore on, past Watts and Vietnam, the foibles of isolated small-town folk, no matter how finely wrought, seemed ever more out of touch. How could Peyton Place become more relevant? Sonya Roberts pitched a provocative assassination storyline meant to evoke Dallas in 1963: a politician would be gunned down in the middle of a pompous Founders Day speech. It was too much for Monash, who decided to tackle race instead. The show introduced a black family, played by talented actors including Ruby Dee, Percy Rodriguez, and Glynn Turman. But making the main black character a brain surgeon struck many (including Chambers and some of the writers) as playing it safe. Timid or not, the integration of Peyton Place caused conflicts among the cast and crew. A clash erupted over what type of music Dee's character should listen to. Monash added three inexperienced black writers to the staff, but the most prominent of them—former Broadway actor Gene Boland—complained to the press about being rewritten by whites, and Monash fired him. Ossie Davis, Dee's actor-director husband, was brought in as a consultant, as was a young African American sociologist named Douglas Glasgow. But all of it was for naught: The ratings continued to slip.

The Nielsen plunge actually started much earlier; in the fall of 1965 the show slid from the top 10 into the forties and lower. Most observers agreed that the expansion to three nights had overexposed the series. The following year brought another blow, the loss of Peyton Place's biggest star. Mia Farrow had begun a romance with Frank Sinatra, and Sinatra did not intend for his girlfriend's long shooting days to impede their jet-set lifestyle. First Farrow departed for a four-week excursion on Sinatra's yacht with little notice (the writers put Allison in a coma). Then she lopped off most of her long blonde hair in the middle of a shooting day. (Her new hairstyle launched a fashion trend, just as the old one had). Finally she opted not to renew her contract. The messiness of Farrow's departure meant an unsatisfying end to Allison's story (she simply wandered out of town in a daze), and set the stage for the series' one truly hopeless performance, from Farrow's de facto replacement, the saucer-eyed, robotic Leigh Taylor-Young. Although ABC indicated as early as November 1968 that the show's fifth "season" (a meaningless term for a series that ran new episodes throughout the summer) would be its last, Peyton Place went off the air in May 1969 without tying up the story's loose ends. A finite ending was not yet part of the tacit bargain between a TV show and its fans.

Likely to Monash's chagrin, Peyton Place was revived as a daytime soap opera in 1972. Two made-for-TV reunion movies—1977's Murder In Peyton Place and 1985's Peyton Place: The Next Generation—tested the waters for bringing back the show on a regular basis. In each iteration, some of the original cast members returned. But the absence of Farrow and O'Neal, far too big by then to even consider showing up, doomed the reunions, a fact that was evident to their makers from the outset: In Murder, the victims were Allison and Rodney.

In retrospect, the most surprising thing about Peyton Place is its position as a historical outlier. Because its popularity peaked early, it had no successful imitators. Not until Dallas became a big hit in the late '70s did prime-time soap operas flourish as a television genre—although the true descendants of Peyton Place are not Dynasty and Knots Landing, but Six Feet Under and Mad Men. Reading episode synopses can make Peyton Place sound like a collage of implausible, overheated incidents. The actual experience of watching the show is more akin to overhearing insightful, articulate people talk about their feelings… for 257 hours. That may not be to every viewer's taste, but for anyone who can settle into the show's measured pace, the rewards are enormous. A novel for television, indeed.

Episodes 1 & 2

Episode 1

Dr. Rossi arrives in Peyton Place by train. What is he running from or hiding?
Alison and Norman Harrington realise their platonic relationship is shifting and they have reached a crossroads each wanting to go in different directions.
Betty Anderson and Rodney Harrington stepped up to full sexual intercourse during the summer recess down at ‘The Pond’ which becomes their euphemism for their elevated relationship. Rodney is already ‘cooling off’ and is uncomfortable with their reality.
Alison has a very close, intimate, stifling relationship with her ‘widowed’ mother. She has aspirations to be a writer and already has a regular column in the Peyton Place Clarion run by her ‘Uncle’ Matt Swain. Blood or brevet uncle?
Betty and Rodney meet Dr. Rossi and take him to The Inn in Peyton Place Square.
Rodney tells Betty he must tell his father Mr. (Leslie) Harrington, manager of Peyton Mills, that he has successfully met and delivered the doctor to The Inn.
Leslie Harrington’s secretary is Julie Anderson who just happens to be Betty’s mother. Their relationship as Boss and Secretary is also a sexual one and they realise the irony that their offspring have been going ‘steady’ over the summer.
Rodney sees them in a passionate embrace which eventually gives him the impetus to dump Betty.
Alison delivers her articles to the paper where Matt Swain keeps referring to a ‘courting’ moon. Alison tells him she isn’t in a relationship and doesn’t see it happening while she lives at home.
Rodney’s demeanour has changed when he returns to the car something that is not lost on Betty. He drives recklessly but gets Betty home in one piece.
As he continues driving erratically he narrowly misses Alison who nimbly dodges out of his way. He is about to berate her but stops when he realises who it is. He offers her a ‘no strings’ lift home.
Dr Rossi goes out into the square for a solitary cigarette where Matt Swain comes over to join him and introduce himself.
Rodney’s aberrant behaviour continues and he tries to impose his brattishness on Alison to intimidate her. Irritated but not intimidated Alison allows Rodney to ask her out and kiss her - an action observed by Constance behind the curtains.
Constance follows Alison on her return home to remind her that they had not said good night to each other. An awkward moment passes between mother and daughter as Connie says she doesn’t want Alison to start seeing Rodney.

Musical Score for Peyton Place

As seen on ebay via Google

1964 publicity still of Dorothy Malone

Publicity shot of Dorothy Malone as Constance Mackenzie outside her 'Book Gallery' - image sourced from Alamy

Episode 2

The tension between Alison and Constance is still palpable at breakfast, exacerbated by the fact that Alison has received another rejection slip from the publishers. The conversation turns to Alison’s lack of worldliness and experience in human relationships. Constance reminds her she is still only 17, Alison ripostes that she doesn’t want to be seen as different, a mid-Victorian porcelain doll with a ‘do not touch’ tag and pointedly reminds her mother that at her age she was already ‘a wife and mother.’ Constance is visibly shaken by the comparison. Alison pointedly leaves the kitchen returning with the paper in an effort to break the tension between them. She asks her mother how she came to observe Rodney bringing her home. Constance tells her she heard the car pull up and looked out of the window, the tension is not alleviated and Alison declares she wants to keep her date with Rodney. Constance mentions Betty, Alison tells her they have broken up. Constance opens the folded paper and sees the centrepiece feature welcoming, and accompanied by a picture of, Dr Michael Rossi.
We are treated to the first view of the Peyton Mansion currently inhabited by the Harringtons. Siblings Rodney and Norman are enjoying a heated discussion about their current educational state. Rodney teasing Norman about his loss of learning prowess, calling him ‘kid’,and Norman petulantly telling him not to call hi  ‘kid’ asking what exactly was Rodney gaining from attending college. Rodney steers the conversation towards his encounter with Alison the previous evening and asks Norman is emotionally invested in her. Norman replies that they are just friends, Rodney tells him he has asked her out on a date. Norman asks about Betty, Rodney admits that he’s uncomfortable with the intensity the relationship has developed.
Betty is trying to reach Rodney at home and her mother observes her agitation. Mother and daughter skate around the events of last night, Julie is relieved Rodney had not told Betty what he saw but is sorry for daughter’s distress. Betty explains the depth of her feeling for Rodney, that she didn’t want anyone else, that she was in love with him and wanted to marry him, had even hoped they might have married that summer.
Leslie and his wife Catherine are in their bedroom, she is still in bed while he dresses. He asks what her plans are for the day and she replies that she’ll go to visit her father and hopes that they can move him to the mansion. Leslie doesn’t think that’s such a good idea. He attempts to change the subject by mentioning George Anderson and his success as a salesman, Catherine expresses delight that he is working out so well and suggests that Julie can now give up work. Leslie realises he has been bested and we get our first glimpse of the magnificence of the Peyton Mansion as Leslie descends the palatial double staircase.
As he enters the dining room where Rodney is breakfasting Leslie attempts to start a dialogue with his son about what he saw the previous evening. Rodney storms out of the room departing with ‘why did you have to choose the mother of the girl I’m dating.’
Matt Swain and Michael Rossi meet on the green and have a quick chat about the front page of the Clarion. Michael says he wants some extra copies, Matt directs him to Constance’s shop explaining she opens at 9am and will have everything she needs.
Rossi heads to the Doctors surgery which still has Dr. Brooks name displayed. Inside he finds Laura removing the last of the late doctors personal effects. Laura is Dr. Brooks widow and aunt to Rodney and Norman. Laura offers her help which Michael accepts.
Constance is opening up when Rossi arrives to buy his additional copies of the paper. Constance is visibly nervous although she exchanges a little banter with him, his intensity unsettles her and the moment is broken by the arrival of another customer looking for the latest Agatha Christie. Before he leaves the shop Rossi asks Constance if they have met before. She assures him they haven’t.
After he leaves, Constance rushes over to the Clarion and hysterically tells Matt about the encounter. Matt wants to know why she feels so strongly about Rossi. She tells him Rossi was a young and very attentive intern when she gave birth to Alison all those years ago in the ‘young widows ward’ – “there were so many young widows in those days” she wails at him  and if she has recognised him then he is sure to remember her. Matt tells her sternly that she’s not the only young girl that had ever found herself in that situation and she should get over it, she’s already kept up the pretence for 18 years and kept herself apart from Alison and the inhabitants of Peyton Place ruining any chance of any love that she may have found!. Constance reacts badly at being spoken to so frankly – Matt quotes the Bible at her stating that ‘the truth shall set you free’. Tragically Constance turns on him and tells him it may well set her free but what would it do to Alison?

Peyton Place Rodney creditPeyton Place Betty Credit

By episode 60 - Ryan O'Neal and Barbara Perkins joined the principals in the opening credits

Tim O'Connor as Elliot CarsonChristopher Connelley as Notman Harrington

Episode 115 the Season 2 Premiere saw the addition of Tim O'Connor and Christopher Connelly in the opening credits

Mia Farrow as Allison Mackenzie with new haircutLola Albright stepping in as Constance Mackenzie

In episode 182 (transmitted on 15th February 1966) Allison starts to recover from the hit and run injuries she sustained several episodes earlier - her new 'avatar' with shorn locks appeared on the following episode 183 (transmitted on 17th February 1966) - in the meantime Lola Albright stepped in for Dorothy Malone on 9th December in episode 153 and remained until episode 166 which aired on 10th January 1966 to cover what was described as Malone's 'brief illness'.

Elliott Carson celebrates the news of the new baby

Episode 150 transmitted on 2nd December 1965 by ABC : "Betty is called into Michael's office....Eli & Elliot banter about baby preparations....Stella tells Fowler about her stolen personnel file...."

This was such a surprise considering my penchant for Pink Champagne - in episode 150 (the episode before Allison regains consciousness) Connie and Elliot Carson have her pregnancy confirmed and Elliot and his father share the joy. Elliot's very words, after a prolonged discussion about re-arranging the house to accommodate the baby, are 'Listen Dad, this baby is the most incredible thing that ever happened to me. I'm going to greet this new arrival with pink champagne!'

* Don't miss the 2014 article 'Where Were You the Day Mia Farrow Cut Her Hair?: A Micro Oral History' - with thanks to Jay Keaveny who posted this on the official Peyton Place Fb page.

Tim O'Connor, Star on 'Peyton Place' and 'Buck Rogers,' Dies at 90

Tim O'Connor Obituary article

On 5th April 2018 fans of Peyton Place mourned the passing of Tim O'Connor in his 90th year - sourced from

The recognizable actor from Chicago also appeared on ‘All in the Family,’ ‘Columbo,’ ‘Dynasty’ and ‘The Twilight Zone’ during his prolific career.

Tim O’Connor, the busy character actor who portrayed Elliot Carson, Mia Farrow’s father and Dorothy Malone’s husband, on more than 400 episodes of the 1960s ABC primetime soap Peyton Place, has died. He was 90.

O’Connor died April 5 at his home in Nevada City, California, The Union newspaper reported. Born on July 3, 1927, on the South Side of Chicago, O’Connor enrolled in a school to study radio acting and engineering. He quickly landed a scholarship at the renowned Goodman Theatre, then worked in local television. In 1953, he came to New York and did several instalments of prestigious DuPont Show of the Month for producer David Susskind, appearing alongside the likes of Jessica Tandy, Boris Karloff and Maureen O’Hara.

O’Connor joined Peyton Place three months into its first season as Elliot, who had been imprisoned for 18 years for murdering his wife (he was innocent, however; the real killer was Mary Anderson’s Catherine Peyton Harrington). Elliot then took over the town newspaper, but those days behind bars cast a shadow over him. As an entry on the Classic TV blog notes: “O’Connor played Elliot as a sage, a man with a new lease on life and a reason to exude optimism, but during the show’s long run neither he nor the writers neglected the subterranean well of resentment that Elliot nursed over his lost years in prison. O’Connor’s flawless interweaving of these contradictory strands turned into perhaps the most satisfying exercise in character continuity on television during the ’60s.” In its heyday, Peyton Place aired as many as three times a week, and O’Connor appeared on 416 episodes, according to IMDb, from 1965-68 until he and Malone were written off the show because, he said, the series was getting too expensive to make.

The Original Cast 1964

The 1964 Original Cast of Peyton Place

Saturday, 14th August 1965

Here's a page from the TV Times (Independent TV weekly as opposed to the BBC's Radio Times) dated Saturday, 14th August. I had not been aware of 'Peyton Place' until I started watching it as a day-time serial (soap) in 1968 when I started at Clarendon College to do my 'A'-levels. At that time the programme ran daily in the afternoon and I was able to catch some of most of the episodes. I remember I had two afternoons that finished at different times to the other three and on those occasions I only ever saw the second half of the programme but on the other two days if I hurried home (college was a 15 minute walk away or 3 minutes by bus) I could just about scrape in the whole episode, the 5th day was a total loss as lectures went late into the afternoon. I also realised too late that during the academic holidays (which I always worked to earn money for luxuries or holidays abroad and had already committed to working that year) that I would miss about 6 weeks at a time. Then, my agency started asking me to work Easter and Christmas holidays so the money was most welcome but PP suffered! Returning to the listing, I expect putting a programme on on a Saturday evening meant that it was prime time viewing even if only on a weekly bases! Judging by the cast it must have been an early episode and would already seem to be proving a hit with audiences. (Of course it may have been its content that had scheduled it at that time and up against the BBCs 'Match of the Day.')

Picture of TV Times Saturday 14th August 1965

Detail of TV Times Saturday 14th August 1965Detail of TV Times Saturday 14th August 1965

Image sourced from with thanks

Imagine following 'Morecambe & Wise' after the News wow! So, 'Allison becomes furious with her mother' - judging by the cast list, the absence of Elliot Carson would place Allison's 'fury' around the time she wanted to go on a college-backed trip to New York at the urging of her teacher, Paul Hanley, who wants to get her a place at college - up to that point Allison had not previously squared up to her mother as the two of them seemed to have a close relationship with Allison always compliant to her mother's wishes.

Episode 45 Allison confronts Connie

Episode 45 - Constance is surprised at Allison's confrontational attitude.

I'm fairly certain that this is the moment when 'Allison becomes furious with her mother' as is so quaintly put in the TV Times write up. This episode concentrates mostly on the mother/daughter relationship between Connie and Allison who are celebrating Connie's birthday. Allison states that she wishes they could have a party for a change and that they celebrate very little differently every year. Allison has bought her mother a pair of earrings and wrapped them in separate boxes so that it looked like 'more' presents, at this time Allison is retaining a childish but mild petulance. A special delivery of flowers catches Constance by surprise but she is palpably relieved to see that they are from Dr. Mike Rossi with whom she is going out to dinner later that evening, Constance reiterates that she would like Allison to join them but Allison pointedly refuses telling her mother she's going to go to the pictures to see an avant garde film. Connie asks if she is going alone, Allison says that she is and puts the first barb into place, she's going to see this film on the recommendation of her teacher Paul Hanley. On Connie's return from a charming dinner with Dr. Rossi, Allison, who is waiting up for her gives her another present which she found on the doorstep on her return. Connie reluctantly opens the gift which is a book of poetry. Allison wants to know who it is from, Constance or course doesn't want to enlighten her. Allison presses the point about secrecy and brings up the trip to New York reiterating that Paul Hanley would be the chaperone. Constance tells her firmly that knowing Paul Hanley is the chaperone does not fill her with confidence - Allison lets forth a stream of extreme petulance and tells her mother that she knows what she means by saying she'll 'think about it', it always means no! The image above is the moment when Constance, having started to make her way upstairs, turns back to her daughter and reiterates that she will 'think about it!' (Today you could almost here 'end of' following on - but we are watching a more genteel era!)

The Second Cast 1966

The 1966 Cast of Peyton Place

Cast Of Peyton Place - The cast of American soap opera 'Peyton Place', circa 1966. Back row, left to right: John Kerr, Lana Wood, Stephen Oliver, Leigh Taylor-Young, Gary Haynes, Erin O'Brien-Moore, Ruth Warrick, George Macready, Evelyn Scott and Frank Ferguson. Front row, left to right: James Douglas, Barbara Parkins, Ed Nelson, Dorothy Malone, Tim O'Connor, Pat Morrow, Chris Connelly and Ryan O'Neal. (Photos by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

A composite of the early characters from Peyron Place

A composite of the early cast created by Getty Images - Image Provenance : PEYTON PLACE UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: PEYTON PLACE - composite - 9/15/64-6/2/69, (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

1968 - And a Message from our Sponsors!

51 people who have touched the lives of millions of Americans

151 people who have touched a million lives - PP Cast
151 people who have touched a million lives - PP Cast

Yes the cast (including the 'to be continued') are pretty much all there or at least the ones we would prefer to see! - image sourced from

It's been almost 4 years since 'Peyton Place' first came to ABC. Since then scenes have changed, problems have changed, characters have changed. We first described 'Peyton Place' as 'a continuing drama of American life.' And now, over 400 'Peyton Place' episodes later, it continues with indomitable strength like life itself. From the start 'Peyton Place' was an unconventional idea for prime time television. It needed an audience that was open to new, unexpected and unconventional ideas. That is what ABC can provide any night of the week. Not just because we attract a big adult audience that's young in years. But because we attract an even bigger adult audience that's just young in attitude. Is that why a lot of advertisers with something new to sell have been signing up to sell it on ABC? Today-minded programs to attract today-minded viewers for today-minded advertisers. That's our way of building something that can go on for years. - ABC Network

Season 5 - 13th August 1968 - and the Bus comes Rolling in!

Peyton Place Photo provenance

The Peyton Place Bus

You can always be sure of a few surprises on ebay and this one came hurtling in - a bus full of the season 5 cast members - some very familiar and some very new faces (as detailed in the provenance above). It was at this point as many of the original cast had left that the series, IMHO had started to fray.

Episode 500

Episode 500 of Peyton Place

Not spectacularly impressive graphics for the 500th episode (if indeed that was what it was designed for as the provenance is well and truly vague). The characters receiving top billing in this episode in chronological order were Ed Nelson as Michael Rossi, Ryan O'Neal as Rodney Harrington, Barbara Parkins as Betty Anderson, Christopher Connelly as Norman Harrington, Patricia Morrow as Rita Harrington, James Douglas as Steven Cord, Elizabeth Walker as Carolyn Russell and Special Guest Appearance by Barbara Rush as Marsha Russell (the new style opening graphics are very obviously 60s - a bad period for graphic art!) - image sourced from and © of Getty/Walt Disney Image Provenance : PEYTON PLACE UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 08: PEYTON PLACE - "Miscellaneous Composites" Ryan O'Neal, Ed Nelson, Barbara Parkins, Christopher Connelly (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

The Final Scene from the final episode no. 514

Final Shot of the Peyton Place series

And that, is how it finished without so much as a word of warning - Mike Rossi in the Town Hall/Court House/County Jail pondering his future ..... At this point he was awaiting the judgement of the Jury in his murder trial ..... we all know the Peyton Place Juries aren't always up to the mark - an incredibly unsatisfactory ending to an incredibly poor 5th and final season. I still remember feeling pretty bereft at the time at least on re-viewing the series I knew what to expect.

The Classic TV History Blog gives an insight into how long-running, successful series were created - read more here I have decided to treat myself to James Rosin's book to see if I can discover anything new!

More Insider revelations, this time from Everett Chambers, here and an excellent review of the series here from Stephen Bowie.

A breathtaking labour of love can be found here - every episode is described in detail, an invaluable source to the timings and chronology of the series. (I wouldn't have wanted to take that job on, just mapping the set is more than enough!)

Weirder than Twin Peaks: is Peyton Place the darkest TV soap ever made? **

By Ed Power 15th May 2017 for the Daily Telegraph

On a warm Beverly Hills afternoon in 1987, American cinema's tall-haired enfant terrible was taking refuge in the crisp cool of a private screening room. Unfolding before him was a tale of small town intrigue, in which terrible secrets lurked behind postcard-perfect smiles and unimaginable evil wore a deceptive gloss of banality. This was a rare moment of stasis in the career of David Lynch. Blue Velvet (1986) had confirmed the gnomic director as a singular voice in popular entertainment. However, his next project, a Dr Strangelove-esque comedy to have starred Steve Martin and with the quintessentially Lynchian working handle of One Saliva Bubble, had stalled while NBC had just rejected his idea for a series about alien-chasing detectives entitled The Lemurians. So here he was, seeking inspiration in the dark. Lynch and his collaborator, television screenwriter Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues, The Equalizer), were watching Peyton Place, the 1957 adaptation of a scandalous novel by a previously obscure New Hampshire housewife named Grace Metalious. Over coffee earlier that week Lynch and Frost had experienced a bolt-from-the blue moment of inspiration. "We were at Du Par's, the coffee shop at the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura," the director would later recall. "All of a sudden Mark …and I had this image of a woman's body wrapped in plastic washing up on the shore of a lake." They lacked even the bare-bone outline of a plot. But Lynch and Frost instinctively understood the project would have as its setting a deeply unremarkable small American town where deranged horrors churned beneath the placid surface. To get a sense of how this might play out on screen they naturally turned to Peyton Place. When Twin Peaks debuted three years later, commentators were quick to note its debt to both Mark Robson's Peyton Place movie and the follow-up television drama. The latter, running from 1964 and 1969, had made history as America's first soap opera and as a star vehicle for teenage Mia Farrow and a 23 year-old Ryan O'Neal. As was the case with Twin Peaks – returning to our screens later this month for a greatly anticipated third season – Peyton Place confronted viewers with an American dystopia hewn from picket fences and freshly painted gables. There were plot similarities too. Indeed, a close watching of Robson's movie would have tipped viewers off as to the identity of the killer of Laura Palmer – the dead girl who had come to Lynch and Frost in their vision.

In both Twin Peaks and Peyton Place a high school beauty queen is secretly raped by her father (stepfather, in the case of Peyton Place). Admittedly, Twin Peaks went one further in having the father, possessed by a demon, take his daughter's life. But in other aspects the parallels are uncanny. In each case, the major local industry is a mill. Peyton Place, like Twin Peaks, is awash with troubled high-schoolers and licentious grown-ups. In the TV series a character expresses the quintessentially Lynchian desire to "dance in the dark". Grace Metalious had written Peyton Place as a release from the drudgery and deprivation of her working class New England life. But the small screen adaptation had a very different inspiration. Executive producer Douglas Kramer had observed the growing popularity in the UK of Coronation Street and believed that the kitchen sink format would likewise thrive in the United States. He even bid unsuccessfully for the rights to Corrie, which raises the surreal prospect of an alternative universe in which David Lynch found inspiration in the travails of Hilda Ogden and Mike Baldwin. With his plans to unleash Coronation Street upon an unsuspecting United States stymied, Kramer instead created an all American equivalent – one considerably darker than most prime time entertainments. The pitch to ABC was that Peyton Place would be about "a small-town girl whose mother was no better than a hooker". An early plot strand – quickly shot down by the network – had Farrow's cherubic Allison MacKenzie embarking on an incestuous affair with her older brother. A shocking pilot episode, meanwhile, featured Gyl Roland as the Laura Palmer-esque character of Selena Cross, a sexually abused high-schooler who kills her predatory stepfather (at ABC's insistence the storyline was jettisoned). "Peyton Place chronicles the scandals of two generations, exposing the raw life of regular people and dismantling the balmy facade of small town rectitude," writes Jeff Johnson in Pervert in the Pulpit: Morality in the Works of David Lynch. "It introduced all the ingredients exploited in Twin Peaks. A husband released from prison... miscarriages… even wealthy kids involved with people from the wrong side of the tracks."

Off-screen, too, the going was frequently bleak. Ryan O'Neal would later assert that babies appearing in the show had been sedated so as not to be disruptive. When Farrow – encouraged by her domineering husband Frank Sinatra – expressed a wish to quit, the producers considered putting Allison in a coma. Instead, she just skipped town without explanation, never to be heard of again. Farrow's replacement, Leigh Taylor-Young, didn't last much longer as she was forced to leave after becoming pregnant by her co-star O'Neal (though not before her character had been abused by an uncle, abducted and driven insane). The debt Twin Peaks owed this unlikely Coronation Street simulacrum was acknowledged by Lynch himself when he described his series as "Peyton Place meets Blue Velvet". Actor Michael Ontkean, who played Sheriff Truman in Twin Peaks, also discerned a connection, labelling the Lynch drama "a Kabuki-style Peyton Place on peyote buttons". A further wink was offered with the casting of Russ Tamblyn, a star of the Peyton Place movie, as eccentric psychiatrist Lawrence Jacoby. As fans count down to the new Twin Peaks, again written by Lynch and Frost, the good news is that Peyton Place can be watched in its entirety on YouTube. To modern viewers, it may initially seem quaint and stilted. Spend time with it, though, and it will become obvious that just beneath the surface an outwardly quaint drama harbours a world of darkness. In this respect, and others, it is thoroughly Lynchian.

** I actually don't think it was the darkest soap ever, but it did have its moments. Today's viewers, who will be watching aged the same as we were in the mid-1960s will probably go screaming to their 'safe places' after some of the episodes and as a result will miss the opportunity of a 'coming of age' storyline. If they, perchance, ever ventured to read the books (which they won't) I suspect they will give up after Chapter 1 ....

Murder in Peyton Place (the Comeback)

Or at least one of them - two follow-up films were made 'Murder in Peyton Place' (1977) and 'Peyton Place : The Next Generation' (1985). It was a long wait until 1985 to get the loose ends tied up as we didn't get 'Murder' (unless I missed it during my hectic and abandoned youth in London). In this section I am concentrating on the film I didn't see - you'll see from the blurb that no mention os made of Mike Rossi's demise at the end of the series but it does look as if in this film version he might even be a potential victim, or his murdering tendencies might have risen to the surface again (joke!)

Artwork for Murder in Peyton Place

I do like Tom Crabtree VII's rendering of the major characters!

Week of October 2. 1977 - Suspects in the 'Murder in Peyton Place:' Peyton Place is back and a cloud of suspicion envelopes the town when two prominent citizens are mysteriously murdered! Veterans of the old Peyton Place series, suspected and/or threatened by the crime include (from left) Norman Harrington (Christopher Connelly), Elliot Carson (Tim O'Connor), Constance (Dorothy Malone), Dr Rossi (Ed Nelson) and Jill Smith (Joyce Jillson). This whodnit in America's most notorious small town is the 2-hour Movie of the Week on NBC-TV, Monday, Oct. 3rd, 9-11 p.m. ET.


I kept the typos as they can clearly be seen above - image sourced from ebay.

Provenance of  Murder in Peyton Place'

Peyton Place, London SE10 (United Kingdom)

Rodney and Norman in London 1966

And who knew there was a Peyton Place in London - well of course, Getty did!

Here's a contemporary view from the London Peyton Place residents :

Peyton Place East Londond

THE CONTINUING STORY... Writer JOHN McLEOD and photographer record their impressions of the simple everyday drama of London's real-life Peyton Place. Life in Peyton Place has been a continuing story since around 1820. The shabby. 50-yard-long cul-de-sac lies behind Greenwich town hall. You could walk to it from the Cutty Sark in the time it takes Allison Mackenzie and Rodney Harrington to drink two Cokes each at Mr Hanley's soda fountain, in the TV series.

According to the 1851 census, a plasterer, coachman, butcher and groom lived there with their families. So did charwomen and seamstresses. Today, seven families and an elderly widower form a loosely knit community. They don't have the problems of murder, rape and professional jealousy highlighted by the late Grace Metalious. But neither do they have a source of advice parallel to Matthew Swain. Nor a pillar of comfort like Dr Rossi. Each home seems to be insular and introverted, though the people of Peyton Place, SE10, concede they generally "manage to get along together."

The row of five terraced cottage which rise wearily from the narrow, battered pavement on the south side adjoin a large house converted from a flour mill. Straddling the "dead end" of the cul-de-sac are premises housing a joinery contractor's business.

Next to this is Stanley Cottage, where 70-year-old widower William Gaines a retired demolition yard foreman reminisces on the changes he has seen since he arrived in Peyton Place in 1938. His cottage area is against the neat and unobtrusive house called Ernest Cottage, built, according to a stone inset, in 1880. There, a retiring lady said she did not want to speak about life in Peyton Place. "We don't care much for that kind of thing," she said, as the door swung shut.

Continuing down the north pavement one passes a former Methodist Hall, the ground floor now used by the council. And covering the remaining three-quarters of that side of the street is the towering, redbrick monstrosity of the council's Minor Hall, where old-age pensioners gather on Monday afternoons.

The biggest family in Peyton Place lives at No 4, where Dennis Walter Manners, his wife Doris and their eight children cram themselves into a living room, "front room," two bedrooms and a scullery. Like all the houses in that row, they have a lean-to toilet in a cramped backyard. Dennis, a 30-year-old Sparcatron operator -"actually I burn holes in metal electrically" earns £14 for a 40-hour week. Rent is only £1 19s Id, but "we had papers today saying it's going up by 6d a week." Family allowances bring them £2 18s a week, "with another 10 bob when we register Lisa Jane," only six days old when London Life called.

They have lived in Peyton Place for three years. "Life here is hell said 35-year-old Doris Manners, as she fed her baby. Her husband commented with more restraint "For the little street that it is, it's very busy and you daren't let kids out to play because of all the cars.

Tatler Page 1Tatler Page 2Tatler Page 3

"Saturday night is absolutely fantastic for noise," he went on. "You have people pouring into the Minor Hall, and I don't think they realise anyone lives here." Dances and weddings in the hall used to keep Peyton Place awake. Main problem was the dumping of crates of empty beer bottles outside the hall. "I wouldn't have minded if they'd thrown a few crates over here," said Mr Manners. A few weeks ago, the residents signed a petition, and the council, they say, has now put up notices in the hall, appealing for quiet.

There is no community social life in Peyton Place. Mrs Manners infrequently goes to bingo, her husband teaches at the local St John Ambulance Division on Wednesday evenings. If son Christopher wants to play football, he has to go to Greenwich Park, some distance away. The younger children play indoors, or jostle in the small, narrow backyard.

Next door, at No 3, is the Payne family father Mr Jim Payne, wife Flo, daughter Janet at 16, the only teenager in Peyton Place and Jimmy, 12, and Jacqueline, six. They have occupied their two downstairs rooms, two bedrooms and kitchen, for 13 years. Their rent and rates are 16s 7d a week. Mrs Payne, 38, says "My husband earns about £15 a week. He runs a motor-cycle, and we have a van we use for weekend camping in summer. You can go for weeks here without ever seeing your neighbours. In a little place like this, you'd think every body would be very friendly. But it's a case of some watching what others are doing.

"An elderly couple live next door to us, and we never hear them, let alone see them. The people in the street never mix socially. We all keep to ourselves. Every now and again, there's an explosion be tween us, then the whole place quietens down again. Apart from that, life goes on just normal like, really."

Daughter Janet, on holiday from her copy-typist's job in Cannon Street, was shy about being photographed. "Wait till I get the rollers out of my hair," she insisted. Unlike TV's Allison Mackenzie. Janet has no Peyton Place boy friends. Her regular boy is 19-year-old Douglas Davies, an apprentice electrician from across the river in Millwall. They see each other five nights a week generally go to the movies.

The only reaction to the "Peyton Place Thing" have been odd questions and wisecracks on "is it like the TV series?" But in over 100 years' history, about the only time the publicity spotlight has hit the street was when residents were given free tickets to see the film at the Lewisham Gaumont several years ago,

In the converted flour mill at the end of the street you'll find the Gilbert family, Mr Arthur Gilbert, a twinkling eyed, soft spoken man who has spent 40 years there, wife Jane and daughter Gladys. One other person is particularly noteworthy in the street ... 58 year old ragman Frank Popely, who brings his horse Tony and cart to the joinery yard once or twice a week. "I get sacks of sawdust for Tony's bed" says Frank.

Those are the people of Peyton Place, a mixed bag, as anywhere else. Unlike the film they have ho inn for the teenagers, no neatly painted bandstand in a trim square, no romantic lakeside drive-in.

But most say they are happy. And possibly on evenings in high summer, their by-passed, hum drum little street may acquire a certain quality that the other Place never has in its "continuing story." It would be nice to think so anyway. Source : The Tatler dated 16th April 1966

Peyton Place London negative

Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror also added their two penn'orth on 14th April 1966 - sourced from the British Newspaper Archive (BNA)

THE CONTINUING STORY OF PEYTON PLACE, 5.E.10 .. WHICH ISN'T AT ALL LIKE LIFE IN THAT OTHER PLACE CALLED PEYTON PEYTON PLACE is five terraced houses, two cottages, a school meals centre, a rodent operatives' office and an undertakers. The most torrid sex on hand is a collection of luscious, nubile, but sadly two - dimensional pin - ups, stuck to the wall of the joinery works. We refer to Peyton S.E.10. Place London, It hides away just off Greenwich High - road, round the corner from the town hall and its nine flowering cherry trees. Even the Americans haven't got one. Novelist Grace Metallious had to manufacture Peyton Place. She threw in traumatic dramas, adultery, amours and alcohol and, bingo (as they say in Greenwich), she compounded one of the world's best sellers.

Flowers - Everything that Peyton Place USA is, Peyton Place United Kingdom is not. The flower of the tv hothouse of psuedo-sex and passion (72,000,000 viewers both sides of the Atlantic) is perhaps Constance Mackenzie. In this Greenwich cul-de-sac it is Ena Harkness - the prettiest rose that Alf Miller grows in his pocket-hankie size garden behind the two up two down cottage.

Privacy - Behind their cherry red door at no. 2, Alf and his wife Ivy keep themselves to themselves like the other six families in the 80 yards of of street. Any vice? Alf pondered "Roses" he said "And perhaps a few tomatoes and runner beans. We're happy-go-lucky folk. More honest than those folk on television. "We've nothing to worried about." They both watch the T V Peyton Place—but it it came to dropping that or Coronation Street. it would be Peyton Place. At no. 4 Mrs. Doris Manners squeezes her eight children into her two-up, two-down. Her life is unremittingly real. "I'm worked off my feet and I don't give up until everything Is done,' she says. "But we can't even afford to go out for a drink."

Dancing - She loves her kids and is prepared to make sacrifices. Her last holiday was 10 years ago. Her first new frock for years cost £2.19s.11d. She bought it for a dinner-dance in New Cross. She would like a holiday, thought - even if it was only a week in Margate. And there's hope from Burney Street clinic across the way. The Health authorities are going to try and look after the babies as she takes a few days off. In the future perhaps a four-bedroomed council house and good-bye to Peyton Place for good.

Happy - Normality is the norm for this S.E. 10 backwater. No buxom blondes (but a very attractive Mrs. Flo Payne at no. 3), no busy bodies, no rows. Marriages are happy. Privacy is guarded. Verbal exchanges are limited to a polite 'Good Morning', or an occasional, adventurous comment on the weather. If there is a skeleton in any Peyton Place cupboard it will take a platoon of UNCLE and THRUSH agents to prise it out onto the grey pavement. But Peyton Place has its rarity. The lady at the end cottage who boasts proudly that she has never read the book, never seen the film, never watched the TV serial. She is fed-up with the-drop-of-the-hat gags that greet her when she gives her address to tradesmen and offices. The most dramatic episodes in this PP centre on motorists who use the street as a car park and the noise people make as they leave Minor Hall across the way.

Answer - it was the big time at Minor Hall this week ... Greenwich won the All-London Inter-Borough Quiz Finals by two points. The result hinged on the last question of the evening "What do you mean by phlegmatic?" In Peyton Place S.E.10 that was the simplest question of all.

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