Furs on TV – Knots Landing (1982-1989)

Soap.net abandoned me a while back. I knew I was in trouble the minute I saw commercials for 90210. As I knew it would, the network’s line-up was slowly overtaken by 90’s soaps. Except for 60 minutes in the wee hours of the morning for Ryan’s Hope, the network is devoid of any worthwhile programming. So let’s talk about Knots Landing instead.


Donna Mills in a Tanuki Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - Arsenic and Old Waste

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Knots Landing: The Complete First Season

Genre: Drama/Television, Television
Format: NTSC


Knots Landing – The Show

I was at the time coming off taping Dallas after having done Dynasty. All the while, Knots ran concurrently. I knew it was a long-lasting show and that my odds of replaying from the beginning were low, but I kept my focus on the big 2. So what I have of Knots runs from about season 3 until… well, until the ’90s happened and ruined fur on television. So there may be a few choice moments I missed, but this gallery represents most of the “decent” fur fashion ever seen on the show.

Knots Landing was adapted as a Dallas spin-off, about a cul-de-sac in the LA burbs of the same name. Climate-wise, it was no Denver, and wardrobe-wise it wasn’t either. Still, as an 80’s nighttime soap, the humble residents of this particular suburban cul-de-sac did wrap up very glamorously from time to time, led mainly by Donna Mills, who arrived in season 2 to pump up the fur count much like Joan Collins in Dynasty.

Knots Landing – The Furs

Fitting that, Donna starts us off then, in a coat with a full collar and cuffs. Abby Ewing’s “signature” heavy eye makeup is on display here and everywhere (or it wouldn’t have been much of a signature). I never watched Knots as a kid, so it wasn’t exactly her fault. I find it exceptionally “enticing.” I now understand most females find it exceptionally “slutty.”

Donna Mills in a Lynx Fur Trimmed Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - Silver Shadows

Fur stoles. Perhaps the designers were trying to work with the climate and still fit fur in; thus, there were many fox fur stoles on display in Knots Landing. Here Donna is in .

Donna Mills in a Blue Fox Stole - Knots Landing - Episode - Fly Away Home

And Constance McCashin in crystal fox.

Constance McCashin in a Crystal Fox Fur Stole - Knots Landing - Episode - Inside Information

Joan Van Ark’s character was central to the show, and since she wasn’t meant to be a member of the glitterati, she rarely ended up in fur. This hurt Knots’ overall fur quotient. Whereas Dynasty’s female cast seemed to compete to wear the most, outside of Abby, the pickings on Knots were slim. Here’s Val in a rare coat.

Joan Van Ark in a Red Fox Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - Negotiations

To say Donna’s character Abby got the best furs is a bit unfair since she got the most, but Constance McCashin’s Laura Sumner did have some memorable ones, especially this oversized lynx .

Constance McCashin in a Lynx Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - Alterations

Val’s “other” notable fur was another stole in .

Joan Van Ark in a White Fox Fur Stole - Knots Landing - Episode - For Better For Worse

Michele Lee’s character Karen was in the same boat as Val, a regular ole housewife who wasn’t supposed to look glamorous. Thus she rarely got any fur, and this black fox stole was one of her only notable appearances on the show wearing fur.

Michele Lee in a Black Fox Fur Stole - Knots Landing - Episode - The Forest for the Trees

Back to the excellent stuff, with Abby wearing an oversized full-length blue fox coat while engaging in what is no doubt utterly innocent chit-chat with a shirtless male. It does appear he’s happy to see her like that, though.

Donna Mills in a Blue Fox Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - Thicker Than Water

The furs became very few and far between later into the show. Fortunately, when they did appear, they were worth it. Here’s Donna Mills in a lovely full length lynx fur coat.

Donna Mills in a Lynx Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - Nightmare

Paper Dolls didn’t work out, so Nicollette Sheridan found more long-term work here on Knots Landing. Sadly she didn’t show up until 86, and she only got one decent fur, but boy, was it decent.

Nicollette Sheridan in a Tanuki Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - A Many Splendored Thing

Here’s a perfect illustration of why I generally don’t bother to capture mink images in any form. This is Michelle Phillips in a full-length black mink playing Nicollette’s character’s mother, with daughter Paige in the background. To me, there’s no contest. Nicollete’s huge, thick, full-length beauty screams youth, passion, fire, and energy with more than a hit of sensuality. Michelle might as well be going to church.

Nicollette Sheridan in a Tanuki Fur Coat - Knots Landing - Episode - A Many Splendored Thing

Of the big 80’s nighttime soaps, Knots was certainly the poor cousin to Dallas and Dynasty in the fur department. The core problem was the setting and characters, most of whom weren’t ever meant to be quite as “flashy.” They were housewives living on a suburban cul-de-sac. Probably should be happy the overall 80’s aesthetic blended as much fur into the show as it did. Comparatively, they’ve certainly run a higher fur-per-episode count than similarly themed Desperate Housewives. Oh, what a difference a couple of decades make.

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