Beyond Our Dreams is an American daytime soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network from 1986 to 1991.
The series revolved around a wealthy and unscrupulous Upper New York State family, the Hedison Family, who own the independent pharmaceutical company Hedison Pharmaceuticals as well as much of the properties in town. The series originally focused on the corruption of Carter Hedison and his ruthlessness to acquire his fortune at the expense of others. However, as the series progressed, Carter's daughter, the opportunistic and equally ruthless Rachel Hedison, became the show's breakout character. Her schemes and efforts to acquire control of her father's company as well as her steamy love affairs became became the show's trademark. However, over the years, the series explored multiple story-lines and back-stories with multiple side characters as well as exploiting links to other prominent TV Shows, like Dark Shadows in minor crossovers over the series run.
The show also alluded to several events and cliffhangers on other soap operas. Among the most famous was Carter Hedison's survival from a heart-attack that turned into a dream featuring an alternate reality for half a season, parodying Bobby Ewing's 1986 to 1987 "Dream Season" on "Dallas" as well as the Parallel Reality story-line in the 1970-1971 Season of "Dark Shadows." Unlike "Dallas," many of the events in the alternate reality did actually occur in the series chronology, such as the founding of the Worshams, while others (such as Rachel wielding occult powers) never occurred.
The show was mostly an ensemble cast, with Raymond Burr of "Perry Mason" fame as the unscrupulous pharmaceutical tycoon Carter Hedison, former child actress Laura Claybourne as Rachel Hedison, stage/screen actor Stan Freeman as Blake Hedison and comedian/actor Oliver Cohen as the sympathetic tough Ty Hedison.
"Beyond Our Dreams" also continued into two spin-off series featuring minor characters from the the series. Occurring five years after the series, Sisters featured the previously mentioned but never before daughters of the town mayor. Actresses Hope Fairfield and Gina Sterling played sisters Tricia Creekmore-Bates and Lisa Creekmore. A year later, Twilight premiered with actress Samantha Hart-Clarke continuing the role of whimsically sarcastic reporter Melissa Strickland and Barbara Blatty as former actress and would-be psychic Jenny Turbeville.
"Beyond Our Dreams" debuted on as a daytime drama on ABC-TV on September 9, 1986, where it aired for almost all of its network run behind The Sun Also Sets, which shared the same production company. It became one of ABC's first daytime shows to help carry the the two-hour block for the network before the local network news block.
The series began with a 4.1 rating in the 1986-87 TV season, tying for eighteenth place out of eighteen daytime dramas. The audience figures only improved slightly, to 4.3, in 1987-88. By the 1989 season, the series shifted its attention from Carter Hedison's ruthless repution to the love life and escapades around Rachel's life. Claybourne's incredible looks and a recurring parody attribute of the soap opera genre in general kept the series popular for the remainder of the series.
The show became known for its portrayal of wealth, sex, intrigue, conflict and power struggles. In the beginning, the main premise was a rivalry between the Hedisons and Featherstone families, which came to head when the Feathersone's daughter Caitlin Featherstone (Tiffany Wells) ran off with Blake Hedison (Oliver Cohen), in the first episode. Not much was revealed about the backstory of the Hedisons except that they owned much of properties and businesses town. Over several seasons, it was revealed that they came from a family of unscrupulous profiteers, but in 1987, it was revealed in a flashback that they had once been honorable. Carter's father (Vincent Price), had been a dashing businessman in the Forties who helped lift the town out of the Depression, but over the years, Carter had used this trust to build his company.
Borrowing from Dark Shadows, "Beyond Our Dreams" had a second flashback to 1787 showing the founding of the town with the cast in new roles alongside new characters. In 1989, the series again borrowed from Dark Shadows the Parallel Time concept from the start of the 1971 Season and merged it with the concept of the 1985 to 1986 Dream Season from Dallas, creating a storyline where Carter lived through a alternate rality. Unlike "Dallas," much of the events in the story line turned out to be real events that had repercussions in events later in the series.
By 1990, the series was slipping in ratings after the plots returned back to the original series format. Helen Caldwell (Leigh Costello) return to the series to reinvigorate the old triangle between Dr. Paul Kirkwood (Dennis Graham) had with Rachel and Helen. Danny Featherstone (Luke Sanderson) came back after being framed for a crime he didn't commit and actor Robert Wagner made several appearances in the Jack Gates story arc. Although the new characters and direction of the show improved ratings, they began slipping after Laura Claybourne left the series, her character being killed off in a car accident. In her absence, the series featured a cult known as the Children of the Sun taking over the town, but the ratings began to slip and the series ended with the last episode airing on May 3, 1991.
Cast and charactersEdit
|Main Characters||Supporting Characters|
Series creator Jack Gable created the series based on characters he had known and met in his childhood in Warren, Michigan and his life while living in New York City. He had started out as a writer on such TV shows as "Forever Midnight" and The Sunset Also Sets, later pitching the idea for "Beyond Our Dreams" to Lou Sherwood, the creator of "Forever Midnight," which was starting its last season in 1985. With an opening coming up in the schedule, Sherwood rushed to help Gable pich his idea as a series replacement. In the beginning, the series was known as "Rich and Powerful" and was set in the fictional town of Ashford Falls, Michigan and focused on a wealthy automobile manufacturing dynasty near Detroit. During development, the series was moved to New York, and the family made its money from big pharm.
With Sherwood taking the helm, the cast focused on well=known and famous former TV stars, like Raymong Burr, and a bevy of stunning actractive actresses, like Laura Claybourne, Tiffany Welles and Jennifer Hood. At the start of the series, Jack Gable freely handed control of the series to Lou Sherwood. Personally, Gable oversaw all the casting sessions and wrote much of the series plots, back-histories and character outlines in a series Bible. He also hired out of work and unemployed directors to see his vision of the series, like Michael Schwartz and Cy Goody. Along with Jack and Mickey, storylines were developed by writers Larry Wedekind and Steve Barnette who developed backgrounds and histories for the characters, Shelley Billingsley, who created many of the female characters and William Samuelson, who later played a role named after himself in the reunion movie. However, during the course of the series, the Sherwoods began starting to wrestle creative control of the series from Jack by hiring Arnie Fetterman, a writer from "Forever Midnight," to create stories involving the "soap opera schlock" or soap opera stereotypes that Jack tried to avoid in the show. Jack also became infatuated with Laura Claybourne and attempted to win her heart. With this distraction, the Sherwoods started deleting scenes written by Jack and creating new characters to create a series they wanted. The behind-the-scenes antagonism came to a head after Jack started dating actress Louise Fletcher (Janet DuBois). Louise encouraged Jack to take over the show and he hired two new writers, Brett Durham and Dena Short, and another director, Angela J. Hester, who were loyal to him and could stand up to the Sherwoods.
The 1990-1991 Season introduced the character of Jack Gates into the series as a threat to the Hedisons rather than an adversary. The role was played by well-known film actor Robert Wagner, but Wagner didn't want to be trapped in a daytime drama and only committed himself to twelve episodes. Claybourne's contract with the series also ended, and her character was killed off with the series now revolving around Janet in a new feud with the Hedison Family. Despite strong stories and plot-lines, the series started dropping in the ratings. When the show fell off the Nielsen Charts, the show was cancelled, the time slot filled with "The Montel Williams Show." Gable broke the news at a wrap party for his cast at his cabin retreat in the Poconos, telling the cast they were all part of his family. Former cast members like Laura Claynourne, Peter Vincent and James Michael Blalock were in attendance.
Had the series continued, Jack had planned to bring back Claybourne as a new character, who would have led to a complete reboot of the series to New York City away from Ashford Falls.
The entire season was shot entirely on the soundstages at the Buddy Sorrell Studios on West 49th Street in New York City. Random exterior and driving scenes were filmed in advance in Addamsville, New York and at Harriman State Forest north of New York City. Many of the exterior filler shots were from Stars Hollow, Connecticut while the Thomas Wayne Mansion in Pasadena, California posed as the Hedison Mansion. Typically, the cast and crew would spend six to eight weeks filming on-location sequences in the Addamsville area during absences from the series.
During the run of the series, the show featured numerous cross-overs or allusions with other TV shows and franchises. During Bob Denver's appearances in the recurring role as Ted Shaw, his character made numerous references to his role as Gilligan the First Mate on "Gilligan's Island." Actor Murray Hamilton, best known as the Mayor of Amity, New York in the "Jaws" movies, made numerous references to sharks in his appearances. Other cross-overs included:
- "Alice" - Maury Gifford was the telephone guy who ate at Mel's Diner
- "The Amityville Horror" (1978) - Nikki Baldwin was born in Amityville, New York
- "Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman" (1958) - Melissa Strickland learns about Nancy Archer from the notes of Dr. Frederick Cushing at Ardmore Sanitarium
- "The Benny Hill Show" - Mariscos was a tourist spot for cast member Jackie Wright
- "Bewitched" - Samantha Troy was a nanny to Amanda Stephens, the second daughter of Darren and Samantha Stephens
- "Dark Shadows"
- Fletcher DuBois was born in Collinsport
- Ty Hedison is the son of William Malloy
- Melissa Strickland and Samantha Strickland have relatives in Collinsport
- Samantha Troy was a nanny to the children of the Collins Family in Collinsport, Maine in the Seventies
- Sabrina Collins is descended from the first Quentin Collins
- "Dawson's Creek" - Samantha Troy was heading to a nanny job in Cape Side, Massachusetts
- "The Dick Van Dyke Show"
- Samantha Troy was a nanny to Richard Petrie of New Rochelle, New York.
- "Dude, Where's My Car" (2000) - Nancy Archer turns up at the Captain Stu's Funland Center in Santa Clarita, California
- "Friday the 13th" (franchise) - Maddie Bouchard was born in Crystal Lake/Forest Green, Connecticut
- "Gilligan's Island" - Rodriguez's nation was the city of Equarico on Mariscos
- "Growing Pains" - Samantha Troy was a nanny to Christine Seaver for Dr. Jason and Maggie Seaver of Massapequa, New York
- "Harry Potter" (franchise) - Samantha Troy had first-hand knowledge of the boy-wizard
- "How I Met Your Mother" - Marcia Caldwell appeared on True and Real Ghost Stories of the Supernatural
- "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
- "Lazytown" - Dean Reeves and Tricia Caldwell once starred in a series named "Forever Town"
- "The Munsters" - Samantha Troy was a nanny to Marilyn Munster of Mockingbird Heights, California
- "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" - Paul Kirkwood was born in Westbridge, Massachusetts
- "St. Elsewhere" - Dr. Paul Kirkwood briefly worked at St. Eligius
- "Thirty Foot Bride of Candy Rock" (1959)
- "The Twilight Zone" - Gabe Jameson is the son of the main characters from Long Live Walter Jameson
- "Village of the Giants" (1965) - Melissa Strickland follows a lead about Nancy Archer to Hainesville, California.
After the series ended, the series came back in a night-time TV-movie reunion and two spin-offs:
Beyond Our Dreams: Return to Ashford FallsEdit
A year after the series ended, Jack Gable started developing a reboot of the series based on his vision of a possible sixth-season into a night-time drama that could compete with "Dallas" and "Dynasty." The series would not only bring back Rachel Hedison but put her up against a sympathetic lawyer named Sabrina Collins. However, Jack passed away during development, and Mickey Schwartz picked up development. Instead of a pilot for a new series, it reunited much of the original cast in a TV-movie that was filled with characters new and old. The story focused on Collins running for mayor as Rachel finally seized the family business in a hostile take-over. Although the movie got good ratings, it failed to sire a new night-time series.
Five years after the movie, Mickey Schwartz started working on an female version of "Odd Couple" set in Pasadena, California. However, in development, he changed the setting to Ashford Falls and renamed the characters after the previously unseen daughters of Lionel Creekmore from "Beyond Our Dreams." Actresses Hope Fairfield and Gina Sterling played the sisters Tricia Creekmore and Lisa Creekmore. Sisters debuted September 26, 2000 with strong ratings and lasted three seasons with dwindling ratings. It ended March 2, 2003
While "Sisters" was doing well in the ratings, Mickey Schwartz and William Samuelson started developing a series called "Monsters" that would be loosely based on the iconic Sixties CBS-TV series "The Twilight Zone" with a link between episodes with two paranormal researchers, an inspiration taken from the Sixties TV-series "The Night Stalker." Schwartz then decided the series would continue the "Beyond Our Dreams" story. Actress Samantha Hart-Clarke continuing the role of whimsically sarcastic reporter Melissa Strickland and Barbara Blatty played former actress and would-be psychic Jenny Turbeville. The show had strong ratings during its run and a huge fan base as old characters returned, running five seasons. Unfortunately, the special effects became too expensive, and it was cancelled for a much cheaper to produce reality series.