Monday, December 26, 2011

Carol Burnett, Charles Grodin & Teri Garr in Fresno (1986)

The runaway success of series like Dallas and Dynasty inspired this miniseries spoof in the mid 80's. Starring Carol Burnett as Charlotte Kensington, the matriarch of a rasin dynasty in the city of the same name, the show follows the lives of the Kensingtons and their arch rival, Tyler Cane (Dabney Coleman) as they struggle for ascendency in the business of rasins. The intrigue and drama involve Charlotte's mercenary son Cane Kensington (Grodin) and his bitter wife Talon (Garr) as well as a perpetually shirtless ranch hand named Torch (Gregory Harrison). Will the failing Kensington empire survive or will Tyler Cane succeed in trouncing them?

This miniseries walked a very fine line between parody and sincerity, and consequently was misunderstood by certain segments of the viewing public less attuned to irony. It was met with mixed reactions that lead network executives to present the encore airing with a rather unfortunate laugh track. The shows have never been released on DVD commercially, but can be found in unofficial versions. Above are a few clips from the series, including the opening credits, uploaded to YouTube by AztecaTheater.

Obscurity factor: 5 (has cult status among a small group of fans, forgotten by most, not on DVD, hard to find)


  1. I totally understood the intention of irony when it first aired, but I still didn't care for it. However, Gregory Harrison minus his shirt, was always welcomed.....

  2. Coming as it did at the height of the Dynasty-Dallas-Falcon Crest rush, it was the perfect parody, with Carol Burnett the quintessential Jane Wyman, Dabney Coleman as Larry Hagman/John Forsythe, and Charles Grodin as Gordon Thompson. I remember the November that this appeared and laughed myself sick. Interestingly, the following summer I went to work for Sun-Maid and thoroughly embarrassed myself by asking to see the dehydrator. (Californian raisins are sun-dried, of course.) I was aghast when it was rebroadcast with a horrific laugh-track. I would love to get a copy somewhere (of course, without the laugh track).

  3. You can find copies on