Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Big Valley (1965-1969)

Good morning! Hope everybody had a great holiday weekend...we had a lot of fun, but I am w-i-p-e-d o-u-t. And today would be the day that I start an online class for the summer semester. I'm going to have to go e-introduce myself to a bunch of online teacher education classmates, but before I do, I wanted to share with you the sixties' western series "The Big Valley" (1965-1969):


Now, if you're like me, most of your experience with tv westerns involve your dad or grandad commandeering the remote on a sunny summer afternoon and sitting through Bonanza or Gunsmoke. I like my fair share of movies featuring some combination of cowboys, frontierslands, Indians, train robberies, and blonde women in bonnets, but I have to say for the most part, their televised counterparts leave me cold. Too a-to-b-to-c! Too many corners cut on set design! "The Big Valley" isn't much different, excepting the fabulous cast. Matriarch of the Barkley family? BARBARA FREAKIN' STANWYCK. I knew she'd done her fair share of movie westerns, but somehow overlooked the fact that she'd been in a television series that ran for four seasons on ABC. Lee Majors, later of Six Million Dollar Man and having-married-Farrah-Fawcett-fame, plays her son Heath. And Audra, the beautiful daughter of the Barkley clan, is played by Linda Evans. Which is where the "record-scratch" moment came in for me:

Being a devotee of mid-80's prime time soaps, I am very familiar with Linda Evans as Krystle Carrington, the second wife on Dynasty. While Joan Collins's Alexis Carrington (the first wife) in that series is still a secret (or not so secret!) style crush of mine, I was always totally-off-put by Krystle's winged bangs, looks-like-eczema rouge, and what I considered to be just a "weird face". She was a big deal in the 80's, but I couldn't understand how she could be one of the main stars of the tv show when, but for a pair of staggeringly blue eyes, she had none of the beauty and glamor, or even the likeability, of your average soap star. Um, correction? I was wrong. I think Linda Evans is a near perfect example of how popular makeup and hairstyles of the decade can completely obfuscate actual beauty. LOOK. AT WHAT. SHE LOOKED LIKE. IN THE SIXTIES:

I mean, good Lord! She looks like an actual 60's Barbie doll! I would make any number of satanic bargains to look exactly like her! I don't think she aged nearly so much as she had to wear a lot of unflattering makeup and a lot of unflattering haircuts to "do the eighties' thing". What a shame!!

Things I found out while reading through the transcript of an interview with Oprah and the wikipedia entry on her:
  • Evans married handsome actor/sometimes director/Hollywood man-about-town John Derek in 1968, when she would have been looking like the carefree California blonde of The Big Valley period above.
  • John Derek was married to Ursula Andress (the iconic, bikini'd Bond girl in Dr. No) previously.
  • John Derek started coaching a 15 year old aspiring actress (also blonde) in 1974, to whom he eventually became a kind of Svengali.
  • Derek and Evans divorced, and Derek married the then-18 years old, 30 years his junior actress....
  • Aaaaah!
  • No way!
  • What the heck!
  • THE Bo Derek? As in "10"?
  • Yes. And what's more, they stayed married until his death in 1998. Bo is now involved in a LTR with Northern Exposure and Sex and the City (Aiden! Aiden, I love you!) actor John Corbett.
  • Linda Evans later went on to get plastic surgery in the late 80's because she was dating a much younger (12 years younger man).
  • Who it turns out is Yanni.
  • YANNI?!
  • Yes.
Sometimes I feel like the wikipedia entries are just complete fabrications, but I swear I looked on different websites and all of this is true. All of it! ((the mind boggles))

Have to get some work done, but go enjoy and episode or two of "The Big Valley" for free on Hulu (we love Hulu). Are you a sixties' westerns or an 80's soap opera fan? Did you know any of that complicated personal information behind the Evans/Derek/you'rekiddingmeYanni?! stuff? Isn't sixties' Linda Evans exquisitely beautiful? Talk, talk!

Have a great afternoon, and I'll see you tomorrow!


  1. Love this post! You had me laughing so hard at your exclamations of wonder. God yes, Yanni. And wow, what a babe magnet John Derek has been. HE must be the one who made the deal with the devil. Oh, and yes...she was definitely stunning in the 60's. Kind of one of those "how can a person possibly even look that good?" beauties.

    1. Isn't it funny about John Derek? He's good-looking enough, but he must have a STELLAR personality or something. Reminds me of Roger Vadim, who married Bardot and Jane Fonda AND has a child with Catherine Deneuve, in spite of completely average looks. C-R-A-Z-Y.

      The Yanni thing, I was like...did I read this right? Like YANNI Yanni? Did you know Yanni also broke a national swimming record at age 14 in his native Greece, and has a B.A. in psychology from the University of Minnesota? You can't MAKE these things up.

    2. men who have demon shadows have that power

  2. Replies
    1. Right? I love how it looks quasi-natural and you know it took a twenty step process to produce. Inspiration board!

  3. She was indeed gorgeous! I've been thinking about Dynasty today, actually, as I'm doing a countdown to the Diamond Jubilee by wearing a decade a day between yesterday and Saturday. I've got the 1970s ready for tomorrow but I'm starting to get concerned over the 1980s... I want to power dress for the office with massive shoulder pads but don't exactly have that in my wardrobe...

    1. Dude... channel la Collins! I always see shoulder-padded, bright red with white lapels type skirted suit sets and go "Can I pull this off?", and I usually chicken out. Still, when it's done well, so much swagger!



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