A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

28 February 2007

Paper Dolls, 1984 -- TV Series

STARRING: Lloyd Bridges (Grant Harper)

Popular actor perhaps best known for his role in the Airplane movies, he died in 1998 aged 85 having been in the business for over 45 years.

Mimi Rogers (Blair Harper-Fenton)

A budding star in the 80’s; she was married to Tom Cruise, her last big role was in the Lost In Space movie.

Nancy Olson (Marjorie Harper)

Dack Rambo (Wesley Harper)

He played Jack Ewing in Dallas after starring in Paper Dolls. He 1991 he found out he had contracted HIV and became an activist. He died in 1994.

Richard Beymer (David Fenton)

Award winning actor best known for starring in West Side Story.

Brenda Vaccarro (Julia Blake)

Oscar nominee Vaccarro is perhaps best known for her roles in Supergirl and Midnight Cowboy.

Nicolette Sheridan (Taryn Blake)

After Paper Dolls Nicolette scored a long running role in Knotts Landing, she then went on to star in Desparate Housewives.

Jennifer Warren (Dinah Caswell)

Terry Farrell (Laurie Caswell)

In the 90’s she landed the role of Jadzia Dax on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She can also be seen in Hellraiser 3.

John Bennett Perry (Michael Caswell)

Played the local Sheriff on Falcon Crest after Paper Dolls, his son is Mathew Perry of Friends fame.

Anne Schedeen (Sara Frank)

She was in the ALF TV series; you know the one - with that alien puppet thing.

Lauren Hutton (Collette Ferrier)

Top model turned actress, best known for her role in American Gigolo with Richard Gere. Hutton has her own range of cosmetics these days – the Lauren Hutton Face Disc which she sells on infomercials.

Jonathan Frakes (Sandy)

Frakes went on to star in Falcon Crest and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He later directed Star Trek movies and the ill fated Thunderbirds movie.

John Waite (as himself)

British born 80’s rock star, best known for his hit Missing You.

And Morgan Fairchild (as Racine)


CAST: As you can see Paper Dolls had a huge case of characters in its very short 16 episode run. Apart from Collette Ferrier and John Waite, they were all in every episode. There are clear leads though; Grant Harper is the head of Harper Cosmetics Worldwide and his family all work for him. Racine is the head of the Racine Modelling Agency with whom Blair and youngsters Taryn and Laurie are signed with! David Fenton owns Tempest Sportswear who along with Haper Worldwide use Racine’s models! Yes, the world of Paper Dolls is decidedly incestuous and it’s always fabulous. Sandy is Racine’s PA, and John Waite appears as a love interest for Taryn, much to the dismay of her controlling mother, the dreaded Julia!

PLOTLINES: Taryn Blake, the world’s hottest young supermodel becomes sullied by her recent drug abuse. A fresh faced young star named Laurie Caswell becomes the latest recruit to the prestigious Racine Modelling Agency.

Tempest Sportswear runs into financial trouble, to proud to turn to his father in law, owner David Fenton looks to a gangster to fund the struggling new collection.

Tarn Blake, fresh from rehab takes up with rock superstar John Waite!

Blair Harper-Fenton discovers she has a rare blood condition that means that her newly conceived child may be born retarded. Can she bear to abort David and her first child together or will she risk all to have the child she has long dreamed of.

Blair is kidnapped by the gangsters who gave David the loan to get Tempest Sportswear off the ground.

Grant Harper wants to expand Harper Worldwide by taking over their European competitor Ferrier Cosmetics, but first he needs to track down its elusive owner Collette

An old flame from her past threatens a tell-all movie about Racine.

Laurie attracts a stalker.

Marjorie and Grant’s marriage comes under strain and she leaves for a holiday alone. Wesley attempts to get control of her stock in Harper Worldwide.

Marjorie is tragically killed in a plane crash meanwhile Tempest Sportswear is hitting the catwalk for the very first time. What will the critics make of David’s hard work?

THOUGHTS: This was the most expensive of all prime time soap operas at the time, costing well over a million dollars per episode in 1984. The spiralling cost of the all star cast, lavish locations, and Top 40 soundtrack couldn’t be justified by the average ratings and the show was pulled mid-season.

Paper Dolls is all style over substance and that is what’s so great about it. From the over the top modelling sequences, usually involving either Nicollette Sheridan or Terry Farrell draped over an extremely expensive car, wearing horrendous OTT 80’s fashions, accompanied by hits by Sheena Easton or John Waite. However, I think it’s the into credits that perhaps make for the highlight of the show! They’re amazing and light years ahead of the likes of Dynasty or Falcon Crest had to offer at the time.

Morgan Fairchild is simply unbeatable as the Queen Bitch of Paper Dolls, Racine! Her general bitchiness, sarcastic put downs and sneering attitude never drop and her outfits are always the height of 80’s fashion. Morgan has said recently that it is still her favourite role ever after 25 years in the business. The show remains a testament to everything that was great about the 80’s and the lavish prime time soaps that it spawned.

TRIVIA: Morgan Fairchild went on to play the on screen mother of her Paper Dolls co-star John Bennett-Perry’s real life son Mathew Perry on Friends.

TRIVIA: Many of the actors went on to star in Falcon Crest. Only months after the demise of Paper Dolls Jonathan Frakes had a lengthy recurring role as Damian Ross, who was hell bent on avenging his fathers death. The following season Morgan Fairchild joined the cast as schizophrenic lawyer Jordan Roberts. John Bennett Perry also joined the cast that season as Sheriff Gilmore.

TRIVIA: Many of the hit songs featured in the show were re-recorded to avoid paying artist royalties.

TRIVIA: The very first pilot for Paper Dolls, a TV movie made in 1982, starred Joan Collins as the head of the modelling agency!

VIDEO: Watch the fabulous opening credits!

CAN I BUY IT? Not legally.

Humanoids From The Deep, 1996

STARRING: Emma Samms (Dr. Drake)

Samms is best known for replacing Pamela Sue Martin as Fallon on Dynasty and its spin-off The Colbys. She has also appeared in the popular series' General Hospital and Models Inc.

Robert Carradine (Wade)

Perhaps best remembered for his roles in the Revenge Of The Nerds movies, which he became a producer of in the 90’s. He’s also appeared in a wide range of movies and TV serials such as The Tommyknockers and Escape From L.A. Most recently he has played Hilary Duff’s dad on the hit kids TV series Lizzie McGuire.

with Justin Walker, Clint Howard (The Deputy) & Danielle Weeks

STORY: Strange things are happening near a lake where chemicals are being illegally dumped. Men are being brutally murdered and women are disappearing. Wade (Carradine) runs the factory whose chemicals are being dumped by his lazy employees. One day he arrives at the factory to a mass protest by environmental activists. Even his own daughter is against what the factory is doing. On a date with one of the protesters she goes missing!

Only a rogue ex-government scientist, Dr. Drake (Samms), seems to know what’s going on. According to her the attacks are being carried out by genetically modified prison inmates who’ve escaped from a top secret research centre. Can Wade and the Doctor stop the deadly humanoids from the deep?...

THOUGHTS: When you decide upon watching a movie entitled Humanoids From The Deep you know you’re not tapping into a well of creativity or an undiscovered gem that will challenge you very reasons for being…

This extremely dumb movie was pretty entertaining by my standards. Although, sadly a little shy of going for the comedy jugular which tacky the title might suggest. This movie has been re-made a couple of times under the careful eye of b-movie god Roger Corman. This, the most recent adaptation has a few things going for it. Firstly, the effects are pretty decent for a cable movie and the soundtrack still sounds pretty decent more than 10 years on. I particularly liked the track that played over the end credits 'I'm All Messed Up On The Inside'!

The wardrobe mistress should, however, be shot! There is absolutely no excuse for dressing Emma Samms in a knee length, fungus green padded coat with an elasticated waist! She may have been horrible in Dynasty, but that coat with was just too much for one low down soap opera queen to suffer!

There were a few great lines too, one of my particular favourites was uttered by the Deputy:

Deputy: “There’s a regular Al Bundy on the loose!”

Co-worker: “Ummm… don’t you mean Ted Bundy?”

I don’t know how Emma Samms kept her face straight when she explained how the prison inmates had had their DNA spliced with salmons! The movie degraded into an Alien clone about half way though with a cave where the women were being used as husks for mutant babies, the rip-off was completed with a few chest-buster scenes, favourited by far too many low down sci-fi horror movies since the late 70’s. All-in-all it was pretty enjoyable and not a bad way to waste an evening.

CAN I BUY IT? It has been available on DVD, but it's now deleted. You can pick it up dirt cheap in the UK still, but others may have more difficulty. I managed to catch it on Zone Horror, the home of crappy scary movies in the UK.

02 February 2007

Perfect, 1985

STARRING: Jamie Lee Curtis (Jessie)

Baroness Jamie Lee Curtis had left her scream queen days behind her when she starred in this soundtrack driven 80’s slice of style over substance. It took her a long time to be taken seriously as a proper leading lady, she wouldn’t have a big movie again until A Fish Called Wanda in 1988. Since then she has starred in hit movies such as My Girl, True Lies and Freaky Friday. She reprised her role as Laurie Strode in Halloween: H20 only to be killed off once and for all in the awful follow up Halloween Resurrection in 2003, she has since retired.

John Travolta (Adam)

This was yet another flop for Travolta! He had already destroyed his career in his post-Grease and Saturday Night Fever craziness by starring in the terrible sequel Staying Alive and the even worse, but slightly more entertaining, Two Of A Kind with Olivia Newton-John. Things didn’t get any better until he starred in the Look Who’s Talking movies and then Pulp Fiction. Since then he has had a string of successful movies including Get Shorty and Face Off. This year he will step into the role of Edna Turnblad in the new Hairspray remake and supposedly the role of JR Ewing in Dallas: The Movie! Let’s hope he doesn’t call up old Olivia to play Sue Ellen!

PLOT: A reporter for Rolling Stone magazine (Travolta) goes to investigate the new health club craze that’s sweeping the country. Apparently they’re ‘the singles bars of the 80’s’ and he’s going to get the scoop on the motivations of the patrons of said clubs. He meets Jessie (Jamie Lee Curtis), a young fitness instructor who’s been hurt by the gutter press before. They fall in love, but can she trust him?

THOUGHTS: I have to thank Nona Hendyx and Jermaine Jackson for keeping me awake! This is pretty dull for the most part, I liked the soundtrack, but the story is pretty pointless and background. The best scene involves Travolta joining in one of Jessie’s extremely energetic aerobic workouts in a rather fetching pair of tight grey shorts.

CAN I BUY IT? Yes, on DVD!

VIDEO: Nona Hendryx - I Sweat (Goin' Through The Motions) (music video)

VIDEO: Jermaine Jackson - (Closest Thing To) Perfect (music video)

LINK: Watch Jessie's workouts at this sleazy site!