On this day in 1983, the cast of NBC’s new nighttime soap Bare Essence gathered for a promotional tour, and it is full of people you would recognize, and I just… we need to celebrate a show whose lead is named Tyger, which explores “the intrigue of the perfume industry,” and which also casually has a character named Muffin.
Oh, and THIS is the ad for it:
Genie Francis had just left General Hospital shortly after Luke and Laura’s wedding to try her hand at evening TV, and Bare Essence was her first attempt: a four-hour CBS miniseries based on a book. But I guess CBS wasn’t interested in it anymore despite decent ratings, so NBC bought it and… redid it, but as a series? I’m unclear if this is like Jennifer Love Hewitt’s treasured masterpiece The Client List, where the ensuing Lifetime TV series pretended the TV movie had never happened and changed details, or if they literally just remade parts of it and then kept going? But NBC had to recast half the parts, because people like Linda Evans had other jobs.
Genie plays Tyger Hayes (!), whose husband Chase Marshall (!!) dies in a car accident, prompting her to decide she badly needs to… join his family’s perfume company to make her way in the world. Her mother, Lady Bobbi Rowan (!!!)(A lady of what, exactly?), falls in love with a Greek shipping heir played by Ian McShane (!!!!) who is also the Marshalls’ nemesis. For some reason, the perfume company is named Kellico (!!!!!).
The original featured Evans, Donna Mills, and Bruce “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” Boxleitner. Fun fact: Bruce got recast with Linda’s former Dynasty co-star Al Corley, who had just left the show because he thought Steven Carrington was a humorless bore of a character (yep) and he felt they were being wishy-washy about Steven’s sexuality (fair). But his character dies in the original miniseries; I wonder if he does in the show, too? WILL I EVER KNOW?
You’ll see other people you know in the slideshow, and also below, because some TREASURED PERSON on the Internet a) nabbed the original main titles from an airing in Italy, and b) immediately supercut their own version, which includes LOTS more dramatic hats on villain Jessica Walter. You have to see:
Of COURSE Jessica Walter sucks sour-faced on a cigarette in a holder! Of COURSE some lady in red runs into a bathroom and SWEEPS everything onto the floor in an angry rage! Of COURSE people stroke faces and kiss each other and there are limos and diamonds and then… some random shot of Genie in the shower?!? And that’s just the ACTUAL main titles. There’s a hit-and-run in the other one, and a cameo from Michael “Dex Dexter” Nader, who plays Ian McShane’s brother. It’s slightly blurry, it’s overwrought, it’s inappropriate (McShane, do NOT slap that lady!), and it’s so deliciously 1983. I know most people say this about beautiful cathedrals and other buildings, but it’s true of soaps too: They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.