The Bold and the Beautiful (often referred to as B&B) is an American television soap opera created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS. It premiered on March 23, 1987, as a sister show to the Bells’ other soap opera The Young and the Restless; several characters from each of the two shows have crossed over to the other since the early 1990s. Set in Los Angeles, California, the show centers upon the Forrester family and their fashion house business Forrester Creations.
The program features an ensemble cast, headed by its longest-serving actors John McCook as Eric Forrester and Katherine Kelly Lang as Brooke Logan. Since its premiere, the show has become the most-watched soap in the world, with an audience of an estimated 26.2 million viewers. As of 2010, it continues to hold on to the second-placed position in weekly Nielsen Ratings for daytime dramas. The Bold and the Beautiful has also won 31 Daytime Emmy Awards, including three for Outstanding Drama Series, in 2009, 2010, as well as 2011 (Wikipedia).
On Monday, March 23, 2020, The Bold and The Beautiful celebrates its thirty-third anniversary.
My late mom was the reason I started watching this daytime drama. It was her favorite soap; she watched it from its first episode on March 23, 1987 until her passing on May 10, 2005. She was already a fan of The Young and The Restless and told me about the new soap that was premiering about a fashion dynasty family. The premise seemed intriguing. And the early cast featured several actors I knew: Susan Flannery (Days of Our Lives and Dallas), John McCook (The Young and The Restless) and Stephen Shortridge (from numerous episodic television series including Welcome Back Kotter). John Wayne’s son Ethan would be playing Storm Logan and Robert Mitchum’s granddaughter Carrie created the role of Donna Logan. Plus, Ronn Moss of the band Player was cast as playboy fashion son Ridge Forrester. This soap had hit written all over it.
Original cast member Katherine Kelly Lang was a newcomer for me. I later found out she starred in Skatetown, U.S.A. with Scott Baio, Maureen McCormick, and Patrick Swayze. Lang’s Brooke was a poor girl from the valley who dreamed of a better life. Once she met Forrester heir Ridge at a party her mother was catering, it was love at first sight much to the chagrin of Ridge’s mother Stephanie who viewed Brooke as “the slut from the valley.”
When The Bold and The Beautiful began, Ridge was engaged to Caroline Spencer (Joanna Johnson), daughter of publisher Bill Spencer (Jim Storm). Bill didn’t like Ridge or want his daughter to marry into the Forrester family and schemed to break them up. Ridge and Caroline eventually married. But their happiness is short lived when she’s diagnosed with leukemia and later died. The Spencer and Forrester families continued to be intertwined in love and marriage throughout the history of The Bold and The Beautiful. The second Caroline Spencer (daughter of Caroline’s twin sister Karen) is the mother of Douglas Forrester, Ridge’s (now Thornsten Kaye) grandson. And Bill Spencer, Jr. (Don Diamont) a.k.a “Dollar Bill” married Brooke’s youngest sister Katie (Heather Tom) and they have a son, Will.
But Ridge and Brooke weren’t the only Romeo and Juliet romance with feuding families on The Bold and The Beautiful. Thorne Forrester (Clayton Norcross, Jeff Trachta, Winsor Harmon and Ingo Rademacher) fell in love with Macy Alexander (Bobbie Eakes), daughter of Sally Spectra (the late Darlene Conley). A rival fashion house (though not on the same level as Forrester Creations), Spectra often stole designs from Forrester Creations in an attempt to be haute couture. The Spectra/Forrester fashion shows were a highlight of The Bold and The Beautiful for years. Macy and Thorne made beautiful music together as did the actors who played them. I’d recommend listening to Bold and Beautiful Duets, a collection of well known love tunes sung by Eakes and Trachta.
The love story of Brooke Logan and Ridge Forrester spans three decades with many breakups and makeups. Dr. Taylor Hamilton Hayes (Hunter Tylo) was the woman who often stood in the middle as Ridge couldn’t decide which woman (Brooke or Taylor) he wanted to spend his life with. Generations later, we’ve seen Ridge and Taylor’s daughter Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) coming between Brooke’s daughter Hope (Annika Noelle) and Bill Spencer Jr.’s son Liam (Scott Clifton), who like Ridge is often torn by his love for both Hope and Steffy. Ridge’s son Thomas Forrester (J Matthew Atkinson) developed an unhealthy obsession with Hope and plotted to make her his through lies and manipulation, even using his own son Douglas as a pawn in his sick game.
Like the bond shared between The Forresters, watching The Bold and The Beautiful was something I shared with my mom. We’d talk about it and speculate on what would happen with our favorite characters (She was a huge Ridge and Brooke fan). I remember being at work and taking lunch 1:30-2:30 and my mom calling me at 2:00 when The Bold and The Beautiful went off saying “Wait until you see Bold.” The same way Stephanie watches over The Forresters, I feel like my mom is watching over me. I’m glad The Bold and The Beautiful is still airing and to be able to continue to enjoy the soap that meant so much to both of us.
Core families The Forresters and Spencers have been forefront on The Bold and The Beautiful since day one. The Avants, Fullers and Fultons are now a part of the Forresters’ Los Angeles world.
Having well written characters and carefully crafted stories is a major reason why The Bold and The Beautiful has endured so long when some of the more recent daytime dramas are now defunct (Passions, Port Charles, Sunset Beach).
Congratulations The Bold and The Beautiful on thirty-three years of family, fashion and Forrester…here’s to the next thirty-three!
Photo Courtesy of CBS and The Bold and The Beautiful
Video Courtesy of Anthony Anglin
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