A Toast to You Falcon Crest’s Angela Channing




Over the past few weekends we’ve been reminiscing about the greatest bitches from our favorite primetime soaps. We’ve fondly recalled Dynasty‘s larger-than-life Alexis Colby (Joan Collins) and Knots Landing‘s feline seductress Abby Fairgate (Donna Mills), but no discussion about primetime soap divas from the 80’s could be complete without the most cunning, lethal, downright venomous one of them all–Falcon Crest‘s Angela Gioberti Channing ( the late Jane Wyman).

For nine pot boiling seasons veteran film actress Wyman (the ex-wife of then-President Ronald Reagan) ruled over the fictional Tuscany Valley wine vineyards as the indominable Angela, a woman wouldn’t think twice about stabbing her own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in the back if it meant maintaining control of her grandfather’s legacy, Falcon Crest. Some say it was The Angel Formerly Known as Lucifer in the Garden that fateful day with Eve and Adam, I say it was Angela.

For years Angela conspired to run her nephew Chase (Robert Foxworth) and his principled, journalist wife Maggie (Susan Sullivan) out of the Valley, so that she could leave Falcon Crest lock, stock and wine decanter to her beloved grandson and partner-in-crime Lance Cumson (Lorenzo Lamas). If fans were hoping for some touchy-feely mother/son reunion when Angela learned her other nemesis Richard Channing (David Selby) was actually her long lost offspring, they were in for less than a good year. If anything, Angela and Richard’s bitter rivalry intensified, that is until they found common ground in their battle against the ruthless mafia syndicate The Thirteen.

Speaking of rivalries, Angela found her most formidable foe in the erotically-charged Melissa Agretti (Ana Alicia). Melissa held a grudge against the Giobertis, especially Angela, whom she felt robbed her of her birthright, which was of course, Falcon Crest. Melissa nursed her pain by marrying both Angela’s great nephew Cole (William R. Moses) and Lance, pitting the cousins against one another and drawing for herself the continuing wrath of the vicious Angela.

While people tend to give the distinction to Alexis, Angela Channing was truly the female version of JR Ewing. A toast to Angela Channing and Falcon Crest. Long may you live on You Tube!





32 Responses

  1. Profile photo of daisyclover1938
    daisyclover1938

    Hey Jamey, it looks like you’ve got B&B on the brain – Susan Sullivan played Maggie not Susan Flannery :)

    I loved Falcon Crest and I really LOVED Angela Channing. I’d never seen a character quite like her. She was tough as nails! And she would have wiped that smirk off of JR’s face if they had ever crossed paths, LOL.

    btw, I just want to mention that Jane Wyman won the Academy Award for Johnny Belinda – a role that couldn’t have been more different than Angela. She was a great talent :)

  2. Profile photo of
    Equarter

    Why the hell isn’t this show on DVD???? And you’re right on Jamey. Angela Channing was IT! I was a big fan of that show in the later years. And she was my favorite character.

  3. Profile photo of ChiTownFan
    ChiTownFan

    ChiTownFan

    Great post. I loved her. I wasn’t into Dynasty
    and Dallas as much. Loved my Falcon Crest. Lorenzo
    Lamas didn’t seem that bad next to her. She was a
    great actress and the soap actors of today could
    learn a lot from watching her. Judith Chapman, and
    a lot of the younger ones, especially.

  4. Profile photo of ladyofthelake
    ladyofthelake

    Ah the 80’s, some great shows on then. What made some of the shows even better was that classic film stars from the golden age of hollywood were on them, to old for hollywood movies then, but not for tv. The 80’s were some good times, good times.

    This brings back memories. Memories of men wearing the red jacket Michael Jackson wore, and the glove. Men looking like Don Jonson from Miami Vice. And since I’m the whitest Jersey Girl ever, my hair was ten inches up, Aqua Net was a god send! We use to carry those huge cans of hairspay in our purses. Those sweat socks that you would roll up on the top with high heels, Lee press on nails in bright red, bannana clips, LA sneakers, the 80’s rocked, lol. Heavy Metal bands, which are no called Arena Rock. Let’s not forget break dancing and carrying around those boom boxes which took like 12 dd bateries.

  5. Profile photo of daisyclover1938
    daisyclover1938

    Hey ladyofthelake, I’m a Jersey Girl too!! But for some reason I could never do the High Hair thing – my hair was always straight, flat and parted in the middle – my friends called it “hippie hair” :)

    And you’re right about movie stars popping up on these shows – I remember watching Ava Gardner on Knots Landing! Kim Novak on Falcon Crest! Howard Keel on Dallas!

  6. Profile photo of Chrystie-Delancey
    Chrystie-Delancey

    Thanks for the memories, Jamey!

    I loved Falcon Crest. It was great to watch it after Dallas. I remember mostly stories about Lance (the scorpions in the shoe; having Chao Li beat him up, and of course Melissa). I just hate how CBS ruined the Giobertis – especially the way they got rid of Maggie. I can still see her with that big fat diamond Richard gave her, stuck in the pool drain.

    On another note, I have had the opportunity to visit the mansion (where they filmed the first season). It is part of Spring Mountain Vineyard in Napa Valley, California (St. Helena, which is a long drive from San Francisco).

    There is a private owner, but they run winery tours. However, the mansion is off limits when the owner is in town. I have been twice. The last time was right after I got married and my parents (huge Falcon Crest fans) were with us. Luckily the owner was out of town so we were blessed to go inside. It really is a beautiful mansion and the grounds are very lovely. Normally they do the wine tastings in the cave, but since the owner was out of town, they did them in the dining room of the mansion.

    One thing they will tell you is that the supposed falcon in the stain glass window is actually a parrot.

    http://www.springmtn.com/t_imgss.htm

  7. Profile photo of Chrystie-Delancey
    Chrystie-Delancey

    You are welcome, Daisyclover. There are a lot to be found on the internet. I don’t have the pictures we took at the mansion posted, but I could e-mail them to you if you would like to see them.

    Here is another one I found online of the parrot:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3172/2780053566_6f97fd27fd.jpg?v=0

    Spring Mountain is a funny place. Depending on the guide you get; our first was an older guy and he didn’t like to be reminded that Spring Mountain was famous for Falcon Crest as they like to focus on wine making. The second time was a younger guy and much better at entertaining us tourism types who were not really there for the wine. Needless to say, we bought more wine from the second guy (which is expensive stuff).

  8. Profile photo of daisyclover1938
    daisyclover1938

    Chrystie-Delancey, yeah looking at that pic now you can really tell it’s a parrot and not a falcon, lol

    I’d *love* to see your pics! I’ll PM you my email address and if you get the chance to send them to me, I’d really appreciate it! :)

  9. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    Jamey,

    Do you remember quite possibly one of the funniest scenes in prime time soap history when Lance and Apollonia (ffrom the music group Apollonia 6, guest starring as Lance’s love interest) were confronted by Angela. Angela detested Apollonia as a dimwit beneath Lance and made no secret of it. Lance said something snippy to Angela and in that imperious scoff of hers she snarled,

    “You can leave! And take that Babble-lonia with you!”

    ROFL

  10. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    HAAA! I do remember that J Bernard! And Christie, I was so freaked out by my beloved Maggie drowning at the bottom of that pool, that I developed a phobia about swimming on the floor of swimming pools for YEARS! I was afraid of getting my Super Friends Green Lantern Power Ring stuck in my aunt’s drain! LOL

  11. Profile photo of ladyofthelake
    ladyofthelake

    daisyclover1938, I was the queen of hair teaseing. Which, as you know, is still in fashion in some parts of Jersey. Luckly I had the essential 80’s tools with me, Aqua Net and those metal pick combs. And people thought the seventies were bad.

  12. Profile photo of Chrystie-Delancey
    Chrystie-Delancey

    I’m glad you liked the pics, daisyclover. I will look for your PM and gladly send you my personal ones.

    Oh, Jamey, that is funny that Maggie’s drowning scene effected you too. I guess I have always been a scared little girl, but I was in high school at that time. I love swimming, especially pools, but that was just so eerie and unfair to the character of Maggie. However,I have always been scared. When I was a kid, JAWS scared me – dreamed I had sharks in my bed. And SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER scared me because of the kid falling off the bridge (this was on TV, mind you, so the whole gang rape in the back seat was not there), but years later when I saw that scene, I was glad I didn’t or I think it would have scared me from the movie entirely.

    I don’t remember the scene with Appolonia, though I do remember her on the show. Nevertheless, I can still hear Lance say “grandmother” in that condescending way of his!!

  13. Profile photo of pxlbarrel
    pxlbarrel

    Oh, I loved Falcon Crest. My mom and I used to watch it all the time. My fave was David Selby as Richard. Wasn’t there a Nazi storyline too? It was so long ago…and yeah, dvd would be nice.

  14. Profile photo of Soap_Stud
    Soap_Stud

    I wish we could have delicious primetime soap like Falcon Crest again. The cast could be made of primetime and daytime stars. Claire Labine could be the head writer.

    Always soaptacular-

    Soap_Stud

  15. Profile photo of Chrystie-Delancey
    Chrystie-Delancey

    As much as I would love to see something of the calibre of Falcon Crest, Dallas, Dynasty, etc., the majority of today’s viewers (as evidenced by Nielsen ratings) just wouldn’t go for it. I still can’t believe that someone would rather watch a mindless game show, reality show, or some silly sitcom (that, frankly, is nothing like those of yester year) than a good scripted drama. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have all sorts of TV tastes and the ones I enjoy the most are those that I need to invest everything into because I can just escape and forget about the dolldrums of everyday life. I just wish others felt the same way.

    I read that Warner Bros owns the rights to Falcon Crest, so it will be up to them to put it on DVD. At least Dallas made it at some point, so hopefully Falcon Crest will too, though I am STILL waiting for more than season 1 of NEWHART. :-(

  16. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin
    EricasEvilTwin

    But only if your breasts are as firm and perky as hers. Will you be posting pics on DC too? I will happy to start collect the money for your dvd once I know what the terms of the agreement are LOL

    *************************************************

    Ditch the bitch, Save the World….Exterminate the Lizard.
    Bag the Ho. Make her Go. Set the Timer on the Easy Bake Oven of PC.
    Make the Buzzard fly the coop. Turn her into Toxic Soup!!

  17. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    But only if your breasts are as firm and perky as hers. Will you be posting pics on DC too? I will happy to start collect the money for your dvd once I know what the terms of the agreement are LOL
    ***
    LMAO! ETT you keep me on my toes! ;-)

  18. Profile photo of EricasEvilTwin
    EricasEvilTwin

    Does that mean you are retracting you offer to go topless? Luke was already counting on those page hits!! LOL

    *************************************************

    Ditch the bitch, Save the World….Exterminate the Lizard.
    Bag the Ho. Make her Go. Set the Timer on the Easy Bake Oven of PC.
    Make the Buzzard fly the coop. Turn her into Toxic Soup!!

  19. Profile photo of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    Does that mean you are retracting you offer to go topless? Luke was already counting on those page hits!! LOL
    ***
    Huh, I said that??? Oh man, that must have been one of my alters! Damn that Kess! :p

  20. Profile photo of txriotgrrl
    txriotgrrl

    oooo – falcon crest was the first soap i ever watched. =)

    and to think that leona helmsley is known as the “queen of mean” – ha! angela would eat her for breakfast.

  21. Profile photo of J Bernard Jones
    J Bernard Jones

    “My aunt’s drain”? Is that what they are calling it these days?
    I KID! I KID! LOL
    ***
    Only in Peapack.

    ————

    …and I begin to chant not unlike David Vickeroshi!

    Seriously though, I loved Falcon Crest, too. The next to the last season featuring The Thirteen was incredibly suspenseful stuff and one of the best written from a dramatic standpoint of the series, although many fans thought the show had strayed too far from its roots.

    You know, while Alexis Carrington was certainly ABC’s answer to JR Ewing, I never felt that Angela Channing was analogous to him other than in the broad strokes of description of the characters. Certainly she was “the JR Ewing” of the show, but Wyman and the writers quickly established Channing as her own imperious, quirky and often humorous creation.

    Perhaps it was the generation differences between the actors: Wyman brought a different perspective to the portrayal of Angela opposed to Hagman as JR and Collins as Alexis, who were more contemporaneous to each other. Also, Angela as a character was a grandmother protecting a cherished legacy in a way that might be described as “Old World Borgia,” whereas JR and Alexis were in their own ways pure products of the go-go, balls to the wall 80’s.

    Either way, Angela Channing was a one-of-a-kind!

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