<P>Oil that glitters: <EM>Dynasty</EM>'s Forsythe and Evans</P>

Oil that glitters: Dynasty's Forsythe and Evans

Question: Linda Evans and John Forsythe were in a nighttime soap with the name Carrington. What was the name of that show?

Answer: I'm happy to answer that, but I demand an explanation unless you spent the better part of the '80s living in a vacuum or, at least, manning a missile silo, I simply don't see how you could forget the over-the-top Dynasty. A fixture of a time when alluring TV women were rightly defined as those over 20, the series was a classic and the definition of the overused term "guilty pleasure."

A ratings powerhouse in the mid-'80s, Dynasty ran on ABC from January 1981 to May 1989, making Forsythe, Evans (The Big Valley) and costar Joan Collins household names while doling out paychecks to what seemed like half of Hollywood and upping the profiles of actors like Pamela Sue Martin (The Nancy Drew Mysteries), Heather Locklear (Melrose Place, Spin City), Catherine Oxenberg and Tracy Scoggins. Admittedly, I don't go for the nighttime soaps much myself, but even I'll admit the knock-down, drag-out catfights between Evans' Krystle and Collins' Alexis were not to be missed. (Nobody does a better bitch than Collins and I use the term with no guilt whatsoever since she'd consider it high praise, I'm sure.)

Drilling for an answer to CBS' wildly popular, oil-rich Dallas, ABC hit a gusher of its own with the sordid tales of tycoon Blake Carrington (Forsythe), his young wife Krystle (Evans), their nemesis Alexis Carrington Colby (Collins), and the various other members of their dysfunctional clans and thoroughly warped community. And as you might expect, the stars of the show tore into their work with relish, particularly Forsythe, who was itching to shake the nice-guy uncle/dad role he'd played in the 1957-62 sitcom Bachelor Father and have his face actually shown after putting in time as the heard-but-not-seen Charlie of Charlie's Angels.

Dynasty deserved its popularity for its monumental bed-hopping, plotting and intrigue, helping to pave the way for Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place and some of the other young-skewing but just as absurd prime-time soaps to come along. But fans loved it for its trashiness, just as Forsythe was brutally honest about his place in the dramatic hierarchy. "I try to be realistic about my talents," he said. "I know I'm not a great actor. I am a good journeyman actor and I always do my best, but I'm not jealous of Henry Fonda or George C. Scott or Brando because they have 'touched by the hand of God' talent and I don't."