"I can't be in Ashford Falls... There is no Ashford Falls." - Jack Gable
Jack Gates is an American television writer and producer best known for the TV series "Beyond Your Dreams."
Born in Warren, Michigan in the 50s, he attended Lincoln High School with fellow classmate and cheerleader Donna McKenzie who he was attracted to, but she instead dated the school quarterback, Greg Patula. He went on to attend the University of Michigan while working at TV Station WXYZ as an assistant to the general manager and behind the scenes in the local news affiliate.
In 1981, Gates later got a job at WABC in New York City working as a writer on the series, Edge Of Tomorrow and other television shows while working an assistant director at WNTW Studios where he began developing Beyond Our Dreams. Although initially rejected by the network, it was eventually accepted through the efforts of Lou and Arlene Sherwood who saw potential in the project. Although the Sherwoods had previous experience in daytime dramas, Jack eventually started to see signs they were trying to take over his series. They often hired writer Arnie Fetterman to rewrite scenes when they weren't editing episodes behind his back. Jack's best friend, Michael "Mickey" Schwartz, became a backstage spy of their activities.
Debuting in 1986, "Beyond Our Dreams" became a success. Jack supervised the casting process in hiring all the talent, becoming particularly smitten by British actress Laura Claybourne, who played the character Rachel Hedison. Although they became friends, Laura was oblivious to his attraction, often using his friendship to pull favors like a refridgerator for her dressing room but often becoming dismayed by her relationship with Dennis Graham who played Dr. Paul Kirkwood. Mickey tried to get Jack out of his infatuation for Laura, but Jack still believed he had a chance. Jack named the location in the series "Ashford Falls" after the birthplaces of his parents, Ashland, Wisconsin and Wappingers Falls, New York, taking special attention to confirm it was fictional.
In 1991, during the height of the Sherwoods' duplicity trying to gain creative control of "Beyond Our Dreams," now in its fifth year, Jack saw a chance to pursue a romantic relationship with Laura during her break-up with Dennis. When she invited herself on his trip to Vermont, Jack saw the outing as a chance to confess his feelings for her, but Dennis showed up last minute and reconciled with Laura. Distracted, Jack failed to notice the lid of his trunk pop up, knock him in the chin and render him unconscious.
On the way to Vermont, Jack somehow ended up in Ashford Falls within the merged TV Universe and was confused by Janet DuBois as billionaire tycoon Jack Gates, a new character coming up in the series. Janet wanted to sell her father's diet formula to Gates to follow through on his legacy, but Jack became more interested in renewing his relationship with Laura through Rachel, even using his typewriter to manipulate himself into scenarios to appear attractive to her. Meanwhile, Janet was starting to become endearing to her, and Jack started to realize Rachel only saw him for something he wasn't. Only interested in the DuBois formula, Gates confronted Gable at the Hedison Mansion, shooting him at nearly point blank range with a two-gage rifle. It was then that Jack realized the entire scenario was a dream.
Following his experience, Jack hired struggling actress Louise Fletcher to play Janet in the series and eventually became close friends with her. By this point, Claybourne had departed the series with the end of her contract. Although the popularity of the series was stronger than it ever had been, the series was cancelled in 1991 by the network citing weak storylines and recurring formulaic elements, ironically created by Arnie Fetterman hired by the Sherwoods.
Although the cancellation of the series was a let-down for Jack, he was hired by WNBC to adapt the "Dark Shadows" romance novels of Maine authoress Angelique Collins into a 90s Gothic night-time drama, "Shadows on the Wall," starring Ben Cross and Joanna Going. The series ran for five years during which time he also produced the teen drama "Scary Little Liars" and "Glamor," which reunited him with "Beyond Your Dreams" co-stars Oliver Cohen and Louise Fletcher. He also directed and produced the horror mini-series "Greystone Manor" which brought Laura Claybourne back to television after a five-year absence.
In 1995, Gable was writing and creating Beyond Our Dreams:Return To Ashford Falls, a reunion movie being set up to reunite the series cast members when he checked into the hospital on symptoms of exhaustion. On March 4, 1995, he passed away in his sleep from a myocardial infarction. Cast members Laura Claybourne, Oliver Cohen, Louise Fletcher and Mickey Schwartz attended his funeral.