Sunday night's silly but inoffensive Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure was indeed a guilty pleasure for most TV viewers -- the video equivalent of a Cheez Doodle. But the ABC flick contained a nasty surprise for Denver boosters, since this city -- where the Dynasty series was allegedly set -- didn't rate a single mention.
The irony of this omission wasn't lost on Rich Grant, longtime spokesman for the Metro Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau. "In every country except the United States," he points out, "the show was called The Denver Clan." And that title generated terrific international publicity for the city in the '80s, despite the fact that, with the exception of the opening credits and occasional establishing shot, it was produced in California. Before the show debuted, Grant recalls, a Dynasty crew "was going to film a mansion here" to serve as the home for main characters Blake and Krystle Carrington, "but it was cloudy that day, so they used one on the coast. From some angles, I think you could even see the ocean."
Nevertheless, Grant reports, "a steady stream of journalists from Europe would come here after it became a hit. Once, the Italian TV Guide came over to do a big photo shoot. They left a little disappointed."
Grant had his share of frustrations, too. "At one point, we were going to give the show an award so we could get the cast to come out for free to accept it," he says. Unfortunately, that event withered on the vine because "nobody could work it out with their schedules. So we sent them a framed photo of the city of Denver. They said they put it up somewhere in the set area." Yeah, sure.
Although the TV movie didn't make time for Denver, either (in order to compete with Dallas, the flick revealed, producers had considered naming their new prime-time soap opera Fort Worth), the impact of the original Dynasty still lingers here. "I had drinks the other night with a reporter from the London Times, and he brought up the show," Grant allows. "He said it fit the city, because it was about speculators -- people trying to strike it rich. And in a sense, that's always been Denver's image."
Bye-bye, spy goy: Where's John LeCarré when you need him? E. Henry "Hank" Knoche may be a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency appointed to this city's Citizen Oversight Board, but Denver City Council members didn't ask any good, nosy questions when they had him on the hot seat last month. No, they saved those for Temple Emanuel's Rabbi Steven Foster.
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One of seven people nominated by Mayor John Hickenlooper for the new police watchdog group, Foster spent most of the December 15 safety-committee meeting listening to his fellow nominees' thoughts on the cop situation. But when his turn came, Councilwoman Marcia Johnson hijacked the discussion: "This might be way out there -- I am just speculating in my own mind, and I was wondering if you think there's any validity to it and if you have any ideas as to why -- but it doesn't seem to me very many Jews become police officers, firemen and sheriffs, and am I just way off base on that? It's just never crossed my mind before."
Apparently, it hadn't crossed the mind of former councilwoman Joyce Foster's husband, either. "The fire chief of this city a while ago was a Jewish man," Rabbi Foster responded. "I know that there are many Jews that have served in the police department and sheriff's department and fire department. I don't know what those numbers are. I, for one, don't try to look to say that 2 percent of the community is Jewish, so therefore, 2 percent of the police and fire department should be."
With such insightful questioning, it's no wonder that the full council approved Hickenlooper's six candidates at Monday night's meeting. But because one of the initial nominees had withdrawn her name after she realized how much work was involved (not to mention how much contact with clueless councilmembers), the mayor must now come up with a seventh member.
Hmm, wonder how Johnson would feel about a Wiccan?