Welcome Guest [Log In] [Register]

ZetaBoards - Free Forum Hosting
ZetaBoards gives you all the tools to create a successful discussion community.
Learn More · Register Now
Viewing Single Post From: Capitol (Series History)
Steve Frame
Member Avatar

Posted Image Capitol (CBS daytime)

Network: CBS
First Aired: March 26, 1982
Last Aired: March 20, 1987
Created by: Stephen & Elinor Karpf
Music: Bob Israel for Score Productions
Announcer: John Collins (entire run)
Executive Producer: John Conboy (entire run)
Episodes: 1270
Running Time: 30 minutes
Setting: Jeffersonia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. most likely modeled after Arlington, Virginia
Production Company: John Conboy Productions
Filming Location: CBS Television City
Headwriters: Stephen & Elinor Karpf (1982); John William & Joyce Corrington (1982-83); Peggy O'Shea (1983-84); Henry Slesar (1984-86); James Lipton (1986-87)

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

In 1982, CBS cancelled its longest-running soap Search for Tomorrow which had aired on the network since 1951. It deemed SFT too old-fashioned, so it was removed to make room for the new series Capitol. The network wanted a daytime show that could bring in the audience watching the more fashion-conscious primetime serials which at the time were the hottest shows on TV. With that in mind, John Conboy was hired to work his magic on Capitol.

CBS advertised the new soap with these words:

"Against the socially and politically charged backdrop of today's Washington, two lovers yearn to cut through the barriers that have traditionally divided their families, only to find themselves caught in a dangerous web of power, passion and revenge."

An early TV guide review said this about the show: "This new serial might be subtitled 'Romeo and Juliet Go to Washington/ though 'Blabscam' would be a good second choice."

Posted Image

In an era defined by its greed, glamour, and political upheavals, Capitol was the quintessential 80's soap opera. Premiering on Friday, March 26, 1982, in a successful hour-long primetime special airing immediately after primetime's number 1 program, Dallas, the serial appeared to mirror the real-life marriage of politics and art exemplified by President Ronald Reagan, himself a former Hollywood actor turned politician. This marked the first time that a daytime soap opera would debut in primetime. The following Monday, a legion of viewers followed the show to its regular daytime slot, where it received unusually high ratings for a neophyte serial. In the series first week, it averaged a 5.8 which was the highest any daytime soap opera had ever achieved in its debut week. Unfortunately the ratings would never rise much from that initial mark.

With ersatz production values, a gorgeous cast, and sound concept (two warring political families), Capitol seemed like a sure-fire hit. It was certainly visually appealing.The ballroom set featured in the first episode cost $100,000 alone, while the series had the highest budget of any half-hour soap in TV history. However, lush settings and pretty faces can never compensate for a lack of storyline, and what little plot Capitol had moved like a tortoise.

Capitol basically followed the traditional soap opera pattern of two families. In this instance, the McCandless and the Clegg family.

The McCandless family was headed by Clarissa, a widow. She and her husband, Baxter, had five children: Tyler, an Air Force hero with political aspirations; Thomas, a handicapped doctor; Matt, an Olympic hopeful; Wally, a confused college student; and Gillian, still in her teens. Following Baxter's death, her father, former political bigwig Judson Tyler, served as the family's patriarchal figure. Playing an important role in Clarissa's life was longtime friend Senator Mark Denning. His unstable wife, Paula, was thought to be housebound. In fact, she pretended to suffer from agoraphobia as a way of holding onto her husband, who she feared was in love with Clarissa. Their daughter, Sloane, was a popular television newscaster.

The Clegg family included politician father Sam, his meddling socialite wife Myrna, their children Julie, Jordy and Brenda, and Sam's son Trey, who was a member of the House of Representatives.

Posted Image Myrna Clegg (Carolyn Jones) & Clarissa McCandless (Constance Towers)

Although the series was titled Capitol, much of the action took place in the fictional suburb of Jeffersonia. In the beginning, two core families dominated the show, the Cleggs and the McCandless. The long-running feud between them dated back to the 1950s and made inspired use of real life political history. Myrna discovered her lifelong friend Clarissa was going to marry the love of Myrna's life, Baxter McCandless. Vowing revenge, Myrna implemented her first evil deed against Clarissa's family by destroying Judson's political career. Exploiting the 'Red Scare' that had overtaken the country in the 50s, Myrna succesfully convinced everyone that Judson was a closet communist sympathizer, thereby ruining his political career.

Despite the fascinating back story, much of the initial story followed the conventional Romeo and Juliet romance of Myrna's daughter, university student Julie Clegg (Kimberly Beck Hilton, later Catherine Hickland) who fell in love with Clarissa's son, Air Force hero Captain Tyler McCandless (David Mason-Daniels, later Dane Whiterspoon) and whose families were hell-bent on keeping them apart. Unfortunately these were the least interesting characters on the show. Running concurrently with that was an extended plot in which hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Shelley Granger (aka Kelly Harper) got mixed up in a sinister scheme to blackmail intelligence committee member Phil Dade.

By the end of 1982, creators and headwriters Stephen and Elinor Karpf were out, replaced by the husband-and-wife writing team John William and Joyce Corrington, who had created their own soap Texas two years earlier. Under the Corrington regime, Tyler and Julie finally married, while Kelly confessed her sins and left town, apparently pregnant with Trey's child. While a little more entertaining than what preceded it, these stories were sluggish, too, prompting another change in writing teams.

Posted Image Tyler (David Mason Daniels) & Julie (Kimberly Beck Hilton)

The romance between Tyler McCandless and Julie Clegg figured prominently during the serial's first two years (1982, 1983). When Julie suffered amnesia in a boating accident just weeks before her wedding to Tyler, Myrna took advantage of the situation convincing Julie she was in love with Lawrence Barrington. Myrna approved of Lawrence because she thought he came from a wealthy family. In reality, he was a con man hoping to tap into the Cleggs' millions by marrying Julie. Eventually, Lawrence's true identity was exposed, Julie regained her memory, and she and Tyler finally wed. Soon after, a pregnant Julie had a miscarriage and learned she'd never be able to have children. Two different attempts to adopt children proved unsuccessful.

In mid-1983, Peggy O'Shea became Capitol's third headwriter and gave the show a desperately-needed boost of energy. Her first move was to introduce deliciously demonic villainess Paula Denning, a character only referred to previously. Superbly played by former B-movie actress Julie Adams, Paula's murderous rampage afforded stars Ed Nelson and Constance Towers a chance to really shine, while also shifting the focus away from Tyler and Julie onto Trey and Sloane. O’Shea wisely brought Kelly Harper back to the canvas, generating years of story for Trey, who had never gotten over the one great love of his life. Although O’Shea’s writing was excellent, the ratings failed to increase significantly. In October 1984, CBS hired prolific author and veteran soap scribe Henry Slesar to replace Peggy O’Shea. With a long headwriting stint for The Edge of Night under his belt (15 years, then the longest in daytime TV), many fans speculated that Capitol would soon become another mystery/suspense serial. However, he quickly proved them wrong. More than any writer preceding him, Slesar constructed an astonishingly well-balanced show, deftly mixing romance, melodrama, mystery, and political intrigue. The dialogue grew richer, plots increasingly complex, and supporting characters far more useful.

Posted Image
Myrna Clegg (Carolyn Jones) & Trey Clegg (Nicholas Walker)

Slesar’s most important plotline was the year-long Jarrett Morgan mystery, a serpentine story involving practically the whole cast in one way or another. This was contrasted with a series of triangles and quadrangles (Sloane/Trey/Kelly/Thomas, Wally/Brenda/Dylan, Clarissa/Baxter/Mark/Paula), as well as the bittersweet romance of Jordy Clegg and terminally ill Leanne Foster. Though Capitol appeared better than ever, finally hitting its stride in all areas of production, it still failed to hold the audience fed to it by As the World Turns, and had lower Nielsens than Guiding Light, the soap Capitol preceded in most markets.

By late 1985, CBS affiliates began dropping the serial, preferring to air syndicated or local programming instead. The loss of markets caused Capitol’s overall Nielsen rating to decline sharply, a loss of nearly one million viewers from 1985 to 1986. Predictably, the network panicked, prompting headwriter Henry Slesar to leave the series suddenly in February 1986. He was succeeded by former actor James Lipton, who had ironically worked as an associate writer under Slesar on The Edge of Night. Not wanting to cool his heels waiting for the ratings to rise, Lipton went hog-wild, plunging the characters into one bizarre plot twist after another. Among his doozies: Kelly’s transformation into an overnight dope fiend, the revelation that Sam, not Trey, was the father of Kelly’s child, and the wildest ever...Mark Denning’s secret life as an American traitor. Though the series was quite entertaining and decidedly unpredictable, many performers began to complain about character assassinations and outrageous plotlines, including Ed Nelson, who bailed out a couple of months before the show ended.

Posted Image
Mark (Ed Nelson), Clarissa (Constance Towers) & Paula (Julie Adams)

Although Lipton’s crazy melodrama brought the ratings up a notch or two, a decision was made to axe the show in favor of a projected serial from Y&R’s creator William J. Bell. In December 1986 at Capitol's annual Christmas party, CBS announced that Capitol’s March 20th episode would be its last. To add insult to injury, the network requested the series vacate its Television City studio by the end of January, giving Capitol about a month to tape almost 50 episodes! It aired for the last time on Friday, March 20, 1987, replaced by The Bold and the Beautiful. Furious with CBS, executive producer John Conboy refused to resolve any of the storylines, so Capitol ended with Sloane facing a firing squad. Following a prince's death, Sloan Denning (Deborah M. Farentino) had been sentenced to death in Baraq, and in the last scene faced a firing squad. The show ended with these words: " Ready, aim...".

In a suprising twist, Search For Tomorrow had been dumped by CBS for the more glamorous and hipper Capitol, and now Capitol found itself replaced for a more glamorous and hipper show, Bold & the Beautiful.

Posted Image
Wally, Gillian, Tyler, Julie & Trey

Cast List

Sam Clegg II (Richard Egan, 1982-87. Robert Sampson, 1982)
Myrna Clegg (Marj Dusay, 1983-87. Marla Adams, 1983, Temporary. Carolyn Jones, 1982-83)
Samuel (Trey) Clegg III (Nicholas Walker, 1982-87)
Julie Clegg (Catherine Hickland, 1983-87. Kimberly Beck-Hilton, 1982-83)
Jordy Clegg (Todd Curtis, 1982-87. Russell Todd, 1986, Temporary)
Brenda Clegg (Karen Kelly, 1985-87. Ashley Laurence, 1984-85. Leslie Graves, 1982-84)
Laureen Clegg (Margaret Hansen. Janis Paige, 1987)
Anjelica Clegg (Teri Hatcher, 1986-87)
Judson Tyler (Rory Calhoun, 1982-87)
Clarissa McCandless (Constance Towers, 1982-87)
Tyler McCandless (Dane Witherspoon, 1985-86. David Mason Daniels, 1982-85)
Wally McCandless (Bill Beyers, 1982-87)
Dr. Thomas McCandless (Michael Catlin, 1983-87. Brian Robert Taylor, 1982-83)
Matt McCandless (Rod Stryker, 1987. Christopher Durham, 1982-84. Shea Farrell, 1982)
Gillian McCandless (Kelly Palzis, 1982)
Baxter McCandless (Jarrett Morgan. Ron Harper, 1985-87)
Senator Mark Denning (Ed Nelson, 1982-87)
Sloane Denning (Deborah Mullowney, 1982-87)
Paula Denning (Julie Adams, 1983-87)
Lizabeth Bachman (Tonya Walker, 1982-86)
Jeff Johnson (Rodney Saulsberry, 1982-83)
Frank Burgess (Duncan Gamble, 1982)
Shelly Granger/Kelly Harper (Jess Walton, 1984-87. Jane Daly-Gamble, 1982-83)
Maggie Brady (Julie Parrish, 1982-85)
Kurt Voightlander (Wolf Muser, 1983)
Veronica "Ronnie" Angelo (Dawn Parrish, 1983-87)
Danny Donato (Eddie Zammitt, 1984. Victor Brandt, 1983)
Zed Diamond (Bradley Lockerman, 1983-87)
Jenny Diamond (Catherine Hickland, 1985-86)
Fran Burke (Lana Wood, 1983)
Amy Burke (Kimberly Ross, 1983)
Det. Keyes (John Colenback, 1983-84)
Phillip Dade (Anthony Eisley, 1983)
Joan Dade (Corinne Michaels, 1983)
Sugar Laine (Carol Cooke, 1983)
Ricky Driscoll (Billy Warlock, 1984-85)
Roje Avery (Todd Starks, 1984-85)
Frankie Bridges (Beth Windsor, 1984-85)
Hal Dayton (Arthur Malet, 1984-85)
Dr. Yale Parker (Jim McKrell, 1984-85)
Chip Landry (Lindsey Richardson, 1984-85)
Cheetah (Becca C. Ashley, 1984-85)
Victor Markham (Paul Comi, 1985-86)
Linda Vandenburg (Lara Parker, 1985-86)
Vera Sweet (Valarie Reynolds, 1985-86)
Charity Blake (Lola Falana, 1985-86)
Nino Vincent (Joey Aresco, 1985)
Dylan Ross (Mitch Brown, 1985-87)
Meredith Ross (Tawny Kitaen, 1986-87)
Leanne Foster (Christine Kellogg, 1985-87)
Kate Wells (Cheryl-Ann Wilson, 1986-87)
D.J. Phillips (Grant Aleksander, 1986)
Darlene Stankowski (Tammy Wynette, 1986-87)
Prince Ali (Peter Lochran, 1986-87)
Princess Yasmeen (Alisha Das, 1986)
Jeffrey Martin Sahim (Michael Evans, 1986-87)
Hubert (Michael Anderson, Jr., 1986-87)
Amos (William Lanteau, 1987)
Carol Greshner (Carol Alt, 1987)
Abdullah (Nick Ramus, 1987)

Posted Image Trey (Nicholas Walker) & Sloane (Deborah Farentino)


Emmys: 2 nominations/2 wins (1986)
Soap Opera Digest Awards: 9 nominations/0 wins
Writer's Guild of America: 1 nomination in 1984/0 wins
Young Artist Awards: 3 nominations/0 wins

Nielsen Ratings

March-September 1982
Rating: 5.8
Share: 22%

September 1982-September 1983
Rating: 6.0
Share: 22%

September 1983-September 1984
Rating: 6.4
Share: 22%

Sepetmber 1984-September 1985
Rating: 5.8
Share: 20%

Sepetmber 1985-September 1986
Rating: 5.1
Share: 18%

September 1986-March 1987
Rating: 5.2
Share: 18%

Posted Image Carolyn Jones as Myrna Clegg

In Loving Memory

BILL BEYERS, Actor, Wally McCandless, 29 May 1992; AIDS-related illness
RORY CALHOUN, Actor, Judson Tyler, 28 April 1999; Cancer
JOHN WILLIAM CORRINGTON, Headwriter, Capitol, 24 November 1988
RICHARD EGAN, Actor, Sam Clegg #2, 20 July 1987; Prostate Cancer
LESLIE GRAVES, Actress, Brenda Clegg #1, 1989; AIDS-related illness
CAROLYN JONES, Actress, Myrna Clegg #1, 3 August 1983; Colon cancer
JULIE PARRISH, Actress, Maggie Brady, 1 October 2003, Ovarian cancer
SAMUEL D. RATCLIFFE, Associate writer, Capitol, 15 April 1996; AIDS-related illness
KIMBERLY ROSS, Actress, Amy Burke, 19 December 2006, cause unknown
STEVEN WASSERMAN, Associate writer, Capitol, 3 July 1998; Drowned in a boating accident
TAMMY WYNETTE, Actress, Darlene Stankowski, 6 April 1998; Blood clot

Main & End Titles History

Posted Image 1982/83 - Capitol's first opening sequence was very reminiscent of the opening for the successful primetime soap opera Dallas. The opening was shot during the exceptionally cold and snowy winter of 1980-1981. The opening began with a graphic of the United States flag. Then the blue star-spangled portion of the flag, which is in the upper left hand corner of the screen, pulls out toward us and becomes a window containing the first image of the main montage sequence. This montage is a series of scenic shots of Washington, D.C. This sequence ends with a nighttime shot of the U.S. Capitol building as the name of the show appears in bold yellow typewriter style lettering. The white monumental and governmental buildings against the snow and the leafless trees projected a stark image of power, which was presumably what all of the major characters were constantly struggling to either obtain or increase. The end credits ran over the same nighttime shot of the Capitol building, followed by the John Conboy Productions logo: a stylized JC. Bob Israel's accompanying theme song in D# major, which was highlighted by a rhythmic Tut-tut-tahhh (Ca-pi-tol!) signature, had more of a primetime sound than most soap themes of the early 1980s.

Posted Image 1983 to Early March 1986 - The following was the longest running opening sequence in the brief history of Capitol. It starts with the title of the show in white A&S Gallatin Bold (Memphis Bold) letters against a blue background. Then the title pulls away, as does the blue background to reveal a computer graphic image of the U.S. flag. Then the flag pulls away and merges with a live action flag atop the Capitol building. We go from there to a sequence of aerial and other shots of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and other Washington D.C. landmarks. Near the end of the sequence, we see a limo pulling up in front of the White House, followed by a daytime view of the Capitol building as seen from the Mall and reflecting pool. With this final image, the name of the show appears in the lower part of the screen in yellow A&S Gallatin Bold (Memphis Bold) letters. The end credits ran over the daytime shot of the Capitol building in lettering similar to the 1982/83 season end credits, however, the JC John Conboy Productions logo no longer appears at the end. It is replaced by the title of the show on one line, then "A John Conboy Production" on the next line, then the copyright information.

Posted Image The Final Year - In early March 1986, soon after the show's 1000th episode, Capitol completely overhauled its opening, most likely in an attempt to arrest a serious ratings decline. The new opening, which was designed by Phil Norman, starts with a posterized shot of Capitol building inside the O of the word "Capitol," which is now set in white Avant Garde Gothic Demi lettering against a black background. The familiar aerial photos of Washington D.C. landmarks are in this opening, but now they're augmented by photos of anonymous actors in mime. At one point, there are a couple simulated camera flashes over a shot of a young Washington power couple. Every now and then there is a slit-scan generated wash of red, white and blue through an abstract representation of the White House exterior. The whole sequence seems to be a dramatization of a CBS Daytime slogan used to promote Capitol in the 1985/86 season: "The power of passion and the passion for power." The theme music was also thoroughly revamped in a new more militaristic arrangement that starts in G major and ultimately modulates to F major, punctuated by that familiar Tut-tut-tahhhh (Ca-pi-tol!) signature. Phil Norman won a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for his revamp of the Capitol opening.


* Capitol was the first daytime soap opera to debut in primetime.
* Capitol started in Spain on Thursday, 18th June 1987, just three months after its cancellation in the USA. It was scheduled only 130 episodes in UHF ( the second Spanish channel at the time). Capitol was shown daily from Monday to Friday at 19.00 p.m.
* There was a case of art imitating life. Todd Curtis, who played playboy Jordy Clegg, was severely disfigured in a car accident. Rather than take time off from work, Curtis asked the producers to let him recover onscreen. So Jordy Clegg was written into a car accident similar to the one in which Curtis had been involved. During the storyline, the make-up people added fake scars and scrapes to Curtis's face for dramatic effect.
* Capitol devoted an entire episode to facilitate the romance between Prince Ali and Sloane. Their episode-long love scene in a tent was picked by Soap Opera Digest as the year's most romantic scene.
* Jess Walton, who'd taken over the role of Kelly Harper was widelypraised for her performance as a drug-addict, and later went public about her own real-life battle with drugs and alcohol.
* The show ended with the same cliffhanger that the primetime serial sitcom Soap had used to end its final episode some six years before.
* One of TVs finest moments on Capitol, according to John Conboy, was anything with the pomp of Washington. For exemple, Trey and Sloane's wedding. There were 62 full dress Marines at the Jefferson Memorial.
* All the main members of the Clegg family were recast or replaced, with only one exception: Trey Clegg ( Nicholas Walker). There were three Myrnas, four Brendas, two Julies, two Sams, three Jordis and only one Trey!
* A lot of actors from Capitol will star some time later on Santa Barbara - Nicholas Walker ( Trey, Capitol; Frank Goodman, SB), Bill Beyers ( Wally, Capitol; Jeremy, SB), Marj Dusay ( Myrna #3, Capitol; Pamela Capwell, SB), Dane Whiterspoon (Tyler # 2, Capitol; Joe Perkins # 1, SB), Wolf Muser ( Kurt Voightlander,Capitol; Marcello Armonti, SB), Tawny Kitaen ( Meredith Ross, Capitol; Lisa DiNapoli # 1, SB), Cheryl-Ann Wilson, aka Miranda Wilson ( Kate Wells, Capitol; Sandra Mills, SB), Janis Paige (Lauren Clegg/Margaret Hansen, Capitol; Minx Lockridge # 2, SB) and Kimberlin Brown ( Danny, Capitol; Candy, SB).

Posted Image Julie Clegg #2 (Catherine Hickland)

Researched by Steve Frame (September 15, 2007)

Sources: Wikipedia.org; CBS Daytime Drama Music Composers and Announcers; TV.com; Capitol: The Series; Eddie Drueding's Capitol Page; IMDb.com; Goldensoaps Capitol page; The Soap Opera Encyclopedia by Gerald J. Waggett; The Capitol Megasite; Memorable TV
Offline Profile Quote Post
Capitol (Series History) · Y&R & B&B: News, Spoilers & Discussion