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Friday, January 6, 2017

Soap Dish #3 (in which we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sunset Beach)

In today's Soap Dish, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of NBC's Sunset Beach, which frequently featured hot shirtless hunks like Hank Cheyne (above with Laura Harring). Created by Josh Griffith, Robert Guza Jr. and Charles Pratt Jr., it was the first daytime soap opera produced by Aaron Spelling (Dynasty, Melrose Place), whose son Randy played Sean Richards for the show's entire run. So sit back and enjoy the first 19 episodes of Sunset Beach from January 1997 (click here for previous Soap Dish posts).

Michael Bourne - Jason Winston George
Dr. Rae Chang - Kelly Hu
Eddie Connors - Peter Barton
Joan Cummings - Carol Potter
Meg Cummings - Susan Ward
Annie Douglas - Sarah Buxton
Del Douglas - John Reilly
Ben Evans - Clive Robertson
Vanessa Hart - Sherri Saum
Bette Katzenkazrahi - Kathleen Noone
Big Al Kennedy - Don Amendolia
Casey Mitchum - Timothy Adams
Caitlin Richards - Vanessa Dorman
Gregory Richards - Sam Behrens
Olivia Richards - Lesley-Anne Down
Sean Richards - Randy Spelling
Cole St. John - Ashley Hamilton
Elaine Stevens - Leigh Taylor-Young
Paula Stevens - Laura Harring
Tiffany Thorne - Adrienne Frantz
Ricardo Torres - Hank Cheyne
Tim Truman - Dax Griffin
Mark Wolper - Nick Stabile

Episode 1: Monday, January 6, 1997
After she catches her fiancé Tim kissing her maid of honor on their wedding day, Meg Cummings leaves Kansas and flies to Sunset Beach, a Southern California coastal town, to find "S.B.", a guy she met on the Internet. "S.B." is wealthy businessman Ben Evans, whose conniving neighbor, Annie Douglas, is upset when her father Del cuts off his financial support. Meg falls off a pier into the water as she tries to retrieve her stolen backpack from young runaway Tiffany Thorne.

Episode 2: Tuesday, January 7, 1997
Lifeguard Casey Mitchum saves Meg from drowning, and she wrongly suspects that he is "S.B."

Episode 3: Wednesday, January 8, 1997
Casey invites a homeless Meg to stay with him and his roommate and fellow lifeguard Michael Bourne. Tim learns that Meg is in Sunset Beach. After learning that Ben is "S.B.", Tiffany sees a chance to make some money by convincing him that she is "Dorothy from Kansas" (Meg's Internet name).

Episode 4: Thursday, January 9, 1997
Ben hires Meg as a waitress at his coffee house, the Java Web, and she becomes friends with Tiffany. Tim shows up in Sunset Beach. Michael saves newspaper reporter Vanessa Hart when a car almost runs over her. Del threatens to expose his secret affair with Olivia Richards unless she leaves her husband and his best friend, Gregory Richards.

Episode 5: Friday, January 10, 1997
Olivia agrees to go away with Del so he won’t reveal their affair to Gregory. Later, a mystery person in a black hooded cloak goes to Del’s hotel room and shoots him twice.

Episode 6: Monday, January 13, 1997
Gregory and Olivia's teenage son Sean sees a cloaked figure leave Del’s hotel room.

Episode 7: Tuesday, January 14, 1997
Annie is the chief suspect in her father’s murder. When Detective Ricardo Torres admits he isn’t ready to settle down, his girlfriend Paula Stevens tells him their relationship is over.

Episode 8: Wednesday, January 15, 1997
Gregory suspects that Olivia killed Del, but she denies any involvement. Sean lies to the police that he saw a young woman matching Annie’s description leave Del’s room - but he really saw Olivia in the hotel lobby the night of the murder. Since “S.B.” loves strawberries, Meg bakes strawberry muffins for Casey, who then has an allergic reaction.

Episode 9: Thursday, January 16, 1997
Del leaves his entire estate to the love of his life — his “business” partner, Olivia. Annie flushes her father’s ashes down the toilet. Meg finally confronts a confused Casey about whether he’s "S.B."

Episode 10: Friday, January 17, 1997
Casey tells Meg that he hasn't been writing to her on the Internet as "S.B." Gregory and Olivia agree that they should try to save their marriage. The police issue a warrant for Annie's arrest when she goes on the lam. Annie is convinced that someone is trying to frame her for Del's murder.

Episode 11: Tuesday, January 21, 1997
Annie is booked for murder and locked up in jail. Dr. Rae Chang surprises everyone when she introduces Casey to her parents - as her husband! Meg meets a mysterious man on the pier who looks like Armando Deschanel, the founder of Sunset Beach.

Episode 12: Wednesday, January 22, 1997
Gregory and Olivia's daughter Caitlin meets a mysterious man at a bar, The Deep, and dances with him. Meanwhile, her brother Sean meets Tiffany. Cop Eddie Connors blackmails Olivia, who once asked him how to go about hiring a hit man. Rae’s parents are upset to learn of her “marriage” to Casey since they set up an arranged marriage for her with a family friend.

Episode 13: Thursday, January 23, 1997
Sean finally confronts his mother about seeing her at the hotel the night of Del’s murder. Casey bets Rae for a kiss that he can make her parents like him.

Episode 14: Friday, January 24, 1997
Pressured by his parents, Sean finally tells the police that he definitely saw Annie come out of Del’s hotel room. Annie agrees to take a polygraph test to prove her innocence.

Episode 15: Monday, January 27, 1997
Tim tells Meg that he plans to stay in Sunset Beach. Meg finally reveals to Ben that she came to Sunset Beach to meet "S.B.", a guy she met on the Internet - but Ben falls asleep and doesn't hear her confession. The mysterious man, Cole St. John, reveals to Caitlin that he was born in Sunset Beach but didn’t grow up there.

Episode 16: Tuesday, January 28, 1997
When Ricardo discovers that Paula's mother, Elaine, owns the same kind of gun that killed Del, an angry Paula thinks he is accusing her mother of murder to get back at her for breaking up with him. Elaine later tells Paula she got rid of her gun years ago.

Episode 17: Wednesday, January 29, 1997
Paula makes Ricardo jealous when she goes on a date with Eddie, but she tells Eddie that she’s not ready to rush into another relationship. Ben introduces Meg to Annie, who is jealous of his new friendship.

Episode 18: Thursday, January 30, 1997
Ricardo is furious that Ben is conducting his own murder investigation to clear Annie. Annie's Aunt Bette rekindles an old romance with her fourth ex-husband, Big Al Kennedy, but he dies during their lovemaking session in a hot tub.

Episode 19: Friday, January 31, 1997
Meg catches Ben coming out of the shower. Elaine puts flowers on a grave marked Deschanel, and later she is startled when she comes face to face with Cole. Sean is upset when he sees Tiffany kissing Mark Wolper, who is jealous of her interest in Sean. Ben and Eddie discover Annie lying on the floor of her jail cell after she tries to hang herself.


joel65913 said...

How delightful! I was a faithful viewer of this loony tune soap. It's going to take a while to work through these episodes but it will be fun. So many ridiculous situations and characters but my favorite was always Father Antonio or as we called him in our house The Shirtless Priest.

Marc Harshbarger said...

Hey, Joel, always nice to meet another SB fan. As for The Shirtless Priest, I will have to feature him on SB in a future Soap Dish post.