Despite being on the air for only just under a decade, NBC’s "Santa Barbara" certainly made its mark in the soap world, luring viewers into the rich and fabulous lives of California’s Capwell family and those in their circle.
Run dates: (1984-1993)
The families: The wealthy Capwells tangle with their equally wealthy rivals the Lockridges. CC Capwell is a powerful, greedy multimillionaire who loves having it all. His children are: Eden, Kelly, Ted, Greg and adopted Brandon. The Lockridge family is led by the elderly Minx, mother of Lionel and Cassie.
Super couples: Eden Capwell (Marcy Walker) and Cruz Castillo (A. Martinez) Mason Capwell (Lane Davies) and Julia Wainwright (Nancy Lee Grahn)
Notable guest stars: Then-child actor Leonardo DiCaprio did a weeklong stint as young Mason Capwell in 1984. "Cosby" mom Phylicia Rashad appeared in three episodes in 1985. Tina Louise played cassie Dunn in 1986. Composer and "Entertainment Tonight" host John Tesh played himself in 1987. Betty White popped up for three episodes as a waitress in 1988. "Wheel Of Fortune" hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White appeared as themselves in 1988. Actress Tea Leoni was a temporary replacement in the part of Lisa DiNapoli in 1989. NBA baller Charles Barkley played a bartender in 1991. Comedian Bruce Vilanch appeared as a hippie priest.
The story: The story for "Santa Barbara" begins with the murder of Channing Capwell, Jr. (Robert Brian Wilson). Joe Perkins (Dane Witherspoon), jailed for the murder, is paroled and returns to Santa Barbara to prove his innocence - anre rekindles his love with Channing's sister Kelly (Robin Wright). Over the course of the soap's run, almost every major character would be accused of the murder or find their life involved in it one way or the other.
The finale: Nothing like a dramatic wedding to end any soap opera. At BJ (Sydney Penny) and Warren’s (Jack Wagner) wedding on January 15, 1993, unstable Andie Klein (Krista Tesreau) aimed a gun at the wedding guests, but was taken down and carried away by Connor McCabe (Charles Grant), who also ended up with Kelly Capwell (Eileen Davidson). Sophia (Judith McConnell) and C.C. Capwell (Jed Allan) moved towards making things work. At the end of the episode, viewers were left with the image of executive producer Paul Rauch smashing a cigar under his shoe and walking away.
On-set controversy: Show creators and executive producers Bridget and Jerome Dobson were locked out of NBC studios in 1988 after repeated attempts to fire the head writer. They sued, and were eventually allowed to return to the program. Then, Louise Sorel was fired in 1991 because she did not want her character Augusta have a romance with the man who had raped her character's sister.
SB Trivia: * Won 24 Daytime Emmy Awards. * When Augusta Lockridge (Louise Sorel) was blinded in a tunnel collapse, president Ronald Reagan sent her a letter saying he and Nancy were praying for her. * By the end of the run, most of the original characters had either been recast a few times or written out completely.