On September 15, 1964, then fledgling television network ABC began airing a twice weekly prime time serial drama based on the scandalous and sexy best selling book Peyton Place. With brilliant acting by Dorothy Malone, Mia... more » Farrow and Ryan O'Neal among others, this superbly written and directed nighttime soap opera stretched the boundaries of what was considered morally acceptable in the pre sexual revolution 1960s. When all was said and done, Peyton Place had won a devoted following over the course of its 514 episodes, and ABC had become a major network.
This is the continuing story of Peyton Place the soothing voice of benevolent town elder Matthew Swain would begin every episode. But the stories that followed were anything but soothing. Extramarital affairs, unwed teen pregnancies, family betrayals, mental illness and even murder were all lurking behind the storybook fašade of this picture perfect, centuries old New England village and its citizens. From the day Dr. Michael Rossi arrives at Peyton Place to assume his role as town doctor, some of the townspeoples lives begin to unravel, revealing unexpected and intersecting relationships long hidden by secrets and lies. The widow Constance MacKenzie and her innocent daughter Allison; the troubled brothers Norman and Rodney Harrington and their powerful father Leslie; struggling George and Julie Anderson and their love struck daughter Betty; and the mysterious Elliot Carson are all revealed to be much more than they initially appear in these first 31 episodes. This is the beginning of the continuing story of Peyton Place.« less
E. Hornaday | Lawrenceville, NJ United States | 02/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Love, lust, backstabbing, murder and illicit secrets. Dallas, Dynasty, Knotts Landing - or maybe The Simpsons? Wrong! Those themes and many more touched the lives of those who inhabited Peyton Place, the first-ever TV primetime soap opera.
By today's standards those storielines may seem tame, but in 1964 when the show premiered they were risque and shocking, more so even than the two theatrical movies that had preceded it, because this WAS TV, gosh darn it!
Peyton Place ran on ABC in half-hour episodes from Sept. 15, 1964 to June 2, 1969, racking up a total 514 episodes. In a truly historic five-disc boxed set DVD release, Shout!Factor has collected the first two seasons that were broadcast in black and white. The remainder of the series was aired in color. (Note, this is only the second true TV soap opera to receive a DVD release - the first was the iconic daytime gothic series, `Dark Shadows.' It also ran on ABC for five years.)
Peyton Place boasted an almost unprecedented cast of talented actors, two of whom got their start on the show but ended as movie stars: Mia "Rosemary's Baby" Farrow and Ryan "Love Story" O'Neal. The stellar cast was lead by Academy Award winner Dorothy Malone.
Executive producer Paul Monash rejected the "soap opera" label for Peyton Place, referring to it instead as a "television novel." The series was, in fact, based on the Grace Metalious novel. Interestingly, it ended up as the ONLY primetime series that ran continuously, never repeating a single broadcast in summer reruns.
The series took place in the title town, which was founded by the Peyton family, whose members included the Harringtons. Like any good soap opera, the plots were deliciously complicated. A few early plots involved Rodney Harrington, the oldest son, choosing between the town's bad girl and the respectable girl. His brother took up with the working class girl, while Ms. Malone's character was keeping a very private secret of her own.
Thus, characters married, divorced, loved and lost. Secrets were the staples of the show, but there was also a healthy dose of illicit passion, murder, and insanity.
Episodes began by depicting a church steeple. The title "Peyton Place" overlays the image as the church bells tone. An uncredited voice proclaims: "This is the continuing story of `Peyton Place.'" The scene changes to the town square, a rolling brook, then a panoramic view of the town. It dissolves to photos of cast members, and a brief recap of previous episodes narrated by Warner Anderson, who also played Matthew Swain. (Anderson left the series after the first season, but continued to offer his voice talents until the final episode.) The memorable theme song, "Wonderful Season of Love," was composed by Franz Waxman, the lyrics written by Paul Francis Webster.
When the show premiered in 1964, Peyton Place aired twice a week. Both installments of the show were Top 20 hits in the Nielsen Ratings, inspiring ABC to air it three times a week in the fall of 1965. But, this move caused viewership to dip sharply and its popularity steadily declined. The series was cut back to two weekly episodes the following season, but it continued to lose its audience. In 1969 it was cut back to one weekly installment until it ended in June.
The core cast included: Ms. Malone as Constance MacKenzie Carson (1964-1968); Tim O'Connor as Elliot Carson (1965-1968); Ms. Farrow as Allison Mackenzie (1964-1966); O'Neal as Rodney Harrington; Christopher Connelly as Norman Harrington; Paul Langton as Leslie Harrington (1964-1968); Barbara Parkins as Betty Anderson Harrington Cord Harrington; Patricia Morrow as Rita Jacks Harrington (1965-1969); Evelyn Scott as Ada Jacks (1965-1969); Ed Nelson as Dr. Michael Rossi; George Macready as Martin Peyton (1965-1968); James Douglas as Steven Cord; and Ruth Warrick as Hannah Cord (1965-1967).
In the premiere episode, Dr. Rossi arrives in Peyton Place by train. He is picked up at the station by Rodney Harrington and his girlfriend Betty. When they drive him to the inn, Rossi catches his father kissing his secretary - Betty's mother!
The show was one of the first seen on network television to talk about sex and infidelity in a frank manner. As such, ABC brass would only allow the show to be aired at 9:30 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time, when children and teenagers were expected to be in bed. With the show in a ratings slump in 1968, the show was moved to 8:30 p.m. to draw in a larger audience - courting younger viewers they had once eschewed.
The series was revived briefly as a daytime serial `Return to Peyton Place' from April 3, 1972 to Jan. 4, 1974. Three of the actors from the primetime series reprised their roles - Frank Ferguson as Eli Carson, Patricia Morrow as Rita Harrington, and Evelyn Scott as Ada Jacks.
Peyton Place guest stars included a host of well-known actors: David Canary, who along with Ms. Warrick, is best known for their roles on ABC's popular daytime soap All My Children; James "Star Trek" Doohan; Mickey "The Monkey" Dolenze; Barbara Rush; Susan Oliver; Ruby Dee; Leslie Nielson; Greg "Mission:Impossible" Morris; Joan "Knotts Landing" Van Ark; Joyce Jillson; Diana Hyland; Gena Rowlands; Lana Wood; Erin O'Brien-Moore (who was in the original film,); Mariette Hartley; Frank Ferguson; John Kerr; Joan Blackman; Wilfred-Hyde White; Leigh Taylor-Young; and Dan Duryea.
Let's hope Shout!Factory follows this wonderful release with the remainder of this historic TV series."
IT's ALMOST HERE -- AT LONG, LONG LAST !!!
Graham McIlroy | Sydney, NSW. Australia | 03/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, there Is a Santa Clause !!! I have been waiting for the DVD Release of this iconic TV Series for years and now PEYTON PLACE is promised! See the Discussions Board about the series and you will find other people wandering around in the DVD desert, searching for their PEYTON PLACE. I see Shout is releasing this box set, and although it is Part One, I hope they don't do what Fox Studios have done with the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW ---- releasing early seasons individually and then releasing the remaining seasons only as part of a COMPLETE SERIES box set.......... Please don't do this to us Shout....... Other reviewers have conjured up great memories of PEYTON PLACE TV Series, but nobody has mentioned the great performance by Lee Grant, who pulled out all the stops and delivered a sledgehammer performance in her role. She won an Emmy as Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series for her work .. and belive me, she certainly deserved it... Ms Grant was obviosuly determined to leave her mark after having been "blacklisted" for years after the McCarthy anti-communistic witchhunts of the latter 1950's... Also nobody has mentioned the wonderful, haunting theme music-- taken from the 20th Century-Fox film, starring Lana Turner and Diane Varsi.... This will bring back 1960's memories ---look at the size and length of the cars they drive... everybody are taking medication for something, popping doctor's prescriptions all the time.... see the fashions change, and Barbara Perkins becoming increasingly more and more beautiful as the series progresses. See too-- the famous HAIRCUT of Mia Farrow --the one that made headlines, ( no pun intended) right around the world.... Oh it;s going to be great to see all that shouting, screaming, murdering, plotting, lying and cheating --- all in a normal Peyton Place day ---- going on again. To heck with the current economic downturn --- give me PEYTON PLACE and another plate of lobster dinner at the Inn. I'll then take a rest and sit awhile in the band rotunda in the Town Square and wonder who killed whom... and more importantly. will Dorothy Malone's eyelashes stay on, with all that fluttering. I wanted this DVD set and now I'm a gonna get it.... It's a truly iconic TV Series--- the great granddaddy of all TV series and soaps --especially the medical servies and the soap operas we hate to love .... And without giving anything away, just wait until the episodes burst into colour..it's such a wonderful shock !"
"The Series That Started It All!"
Terry Richard | Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada | 03/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before "Desperate Housewives", before "Dallas", before "Knot's Landing", and before the granddaddy of them all "Dynasty" there was "Peyton Place", television's very first primetime soap opera. By the end of 1963 networks saw the amount of ad revenue CBS was making off their daytime lineup of dramatic shows, and ABC felt there were potential ratings points waiting in the evening for a well written serial. "Peyton Place" debut on September 15, 1964 and became a smash hit. Airing twice a week, the series made stars out of Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal, who played star-crossed lovers Allison and Rodney. Oscar winner Dorothy Malone received top billing as Constance, Allison's mother who bore a terrible secret. Viewers couldn't get enough of the complicated stories, back stabbing, and romance that filled the airwaves when "Peyton Place" aired. Airing 514 episodes "Peyton Place" still holds the record in 2009 as the only primetime series to air without reruns and without any hiatus period during the summer months. The show played just like a regular daytime serial. It became so popular that by June,1965 ABC aired it 3 times a week. The DVD version of "Peyton Place-Part 1" features 31 half hour episodes filmed in glorious black and white. Thank you FOX and Shout! for bringing back a true classic from the 1960's. I for one cannot wait to view the series as I wasn't even born when the show started. Being a follower of soap opera my whole life I have heard nothing but great things about this classic sudser. There is also more great news for "Peyton Place" fans; not only is this new DVD set coming out in May, but on July 14th, 2009 Shout! will be immediately releasing "Peyton Place-Part 2"! We soap fans are in Heaven!"
PEYTON PLACE FINALLY COMES HOME TO DVD
J. Azzarone | Worcester, MA | 02/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peyton Place the place they we were all talking about in the sixties when things were not to be talked about. There was so much controversy and hush-hush. Drawn from a real-life small town. For 5 seasons of secrets ,lies and sex we found ourselves wraped up and glued 3 nights a week until its final hour. At 9:30 pm on ABC for a half-hour of the best television could offer in the turbulent 60's. The first successful night time soap that paved the way for all the night time soaps that followed. Well here we are finally going to see Peyton Place in Glorious Black and White all over again in the 21st century on our 50inch TV screens it doesen't get better than that. Thank-you Shout Factory for giving Peyton Place another place in life back where it belongs. Now a new generation can see what we couldn't resist from talking about and looked forward to seeing week after week."
Today's Soaps Could Learn From This Classic Drama
R. M Simms | Fort Lee, NJ | 05/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While today's soap operas tend to focus on Mobs, tornadoes and event-driven storylines, Peyton Place is a classic example of what an excellent, character-driven drama can and should be. Peyton Place has long been the standard by which other soaps are measured: Life in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else... and secrets lurk behind every white picket fence. The focus of these first 31 episodes is on the young triangle of Alison/Rodney/Betty, and while the morality on display is wildly old fashioned, it's also incredibly refreshing. Longing glances and awkward dates reign supreme. Some reviewers have noted that the quality is not as high as they might have expected, and that dialogue or scenes are missing. As someone who never saw the original, it seems to have no impact on the viewing experience for the uninitiated."