What the Original Stars Say


“We are this quiet little show that keeps getting better,” said Shackelford, who plays Gary Ewing. “There is a very loyal staunch audience. People have ‘Knots Landing’ parties. I think the audience likes the characters.”

Especially Gary and Val. Fans, he said, are eager to see the couple get back together. This season, Gary came to Val’s side when she learned the truth about Danny. “We are getting closer,” Shackelford said, laughing. “But if we got back together, neither one of us will have a job.”

Shackelford’s willing to play Gary for as long as “Knots” is on the air. “I don’t want to write, produce or direct,” he said. “I am too old and I make too much money. The show has been real good to me. You will never hear me say anything bad publicly about the show. I am delighted to be working. You can’t ask for better working conditions.”



“We are the darling of the network,” said Van Ark, who plays Val. “We are right there delivering week after week. It’s really quite amazing and deserves more attention.”

Van Ark gives most of the credit for the series’ success to executive producer and creator David Jacobs. “I equate the show with an elite sports team like the Lakers. Each person in the ensemble has a position they play. The quarterback changes, but each player knows its game. It’s a true ensemble effort. It’s composed of players who have a position and know their position. The coach is David Jacobs.”

Though she said the show’s fans in New York and Los Angeles usually leave her alone, Van Ark is constantly recognized when she visits other areas of the country. “People hit on you like crazy,” she said. “They do come up and talk to you. A lot of what they talk about is about Gary and Val. People appreciate Val.”

And how long will she stay with the show? “Well,” said Van Ark, coyly. “I think I will pass on that question.”


Lee agrees with her co-stars that it’s their characters that keep the audience tied to “Knots.” “Our characters have histories and back stories,” said the actress. “There is also a sense of future. They are three-dimensional and are honest and decent.”

But it’s getting more difficult for Lee to do the show. “It’s harder to make realistic and believable stories and make them interesting,” she said. “You fight to keep it interesting for yourself and the show. I find myself having less fun in that area. I think the reason Joan and I get so obsessive about the show and our characters is that we care deeply about what’s going on in the screen. I think it’s possible to bend and squeeze yourself into a situation. I try to do that, but there have been moments when I have been opposed to a situation that goes against the grain of my character. We have dropped the storyline.”

Last season, Lee was allowed to direct an episode of “Knots”; she’s also directed two more this year and hopefully will do more next season. “I had been interested in directing before TKnots,"U she said. “It’s one of the reasons I still want to be on TKnots.’ You can love a character to death, but you can do it so many years and then you need other things.”