1980's TV Series


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Guest Appearances in Established Series Helped Parker Begin to Demonstrate His Range

Starring Parker Stevenson

With Laura Johnson in Falcon Crest

Falcon Crest (1984-85)

"I rob, rape, mug, blackmail, deal in drugs. . . and that's only the first episode!" Parker gleefully told several reporters when he joined the cast of Falcon Crest. After the flop of "Stitches" and the mediocre reception of "Stroker Ace" on the big screen, Parker finally scored another hit with his turn as Joel McCarthy on the nighttime soap. He played the ex-husband of Terry (Laura Johnson) who comes back into her life telling her their divorce had never truly been finalized.

Press Photo from Falcon Crest

Parker was greasy-haired and unshaven in his initial appearances, but producers quickly cleaned him up (as these pictures demonstrate). But his character remained unsavory. Best moments: bargaining with series bad girl Ana-Alicia (who had appeared in the final Hardy Boys episode), and an unexpectedly romantic scene with Terry in which he kisses her passionately and tells her "You never forget the first one." But Terry managed to achieve both a divorce and the removal of Joel to a hard-core substance abuse recovery camp, and Joel is last seen being hustled through a rainstorm by a pair of heavies to his date with sobriety. His exit left the potential for a return, but his gravestone was shown during the next season and Joel stayed dead.

Joel was one of my favorite Parker roles. His bad guy side, which first showed up in the Hardy Boys episode "Scorpion's Sting," is allowed full rein here. In particular, his scenes with Ana-Alicia crackle with animosity.
Until recently I thought that it was impossible to find Falcon Crest re-runs, but the Soap Net channel runs them from time to time, so check your local cable listings!


Terry (Laura Johnson) was not happy to introduce Lorraine (Kate Vernon) and Lance (Lorenzo Lamas) to her once-and-future husband Joel.

Falcon Crest Off Camera.jpg

Parker relaxes off-camera.
Used by permission of www.photowrld.com.

from "Perfect Prep" by David Church in Soap Opera Digest

[Quoting Parker] "I was nervous the first day on the set. People on a series have a way of getting used to themselves and being wary about letting outsiders in. Fortunately, that wasn't the case. Lorenzo (Lamas, who plays Lance) is an old friend and many of the other cast members were equally kind. I've got to tell you, I'm having a great time playing a bad guy," he says with a grin. Whether Joel McCarthy will be snuffed out by his own villainy or given an extended sentence to continue practicing his malicious mischief is up in the air. "I don't know what will happen myself," claims Parker. "Hopefully the audience will respond well enough so that Joel won't be just a sixteen-week excursion." With that, Parker knocks wood. We'll knock wood for him, too. And as we do, we're reminded of that old Mae West saying, "When I'm good, I'm good, but when I'm bad, I'm better." Here's hoping the same applies to Parker Stevenson.

Joel Accosted by Lance

"Stevenson Likes Chance to be Villain" by Jerry Buck (AP)

Is that Parker Stevenson, former 'Hardy Boy,' playing a bad guy? How about bigamy to start with, then rape and blackmail?

Stevenson is the new resident villain on CBS' 'Falcon Crest.' He joined the show this fall and in effect replaced Cliff Robertson, whose character had died in the plane crash that made up the summer cliffhanger.

"Cliff was married to a woman I was also married to," he said. "I show up to stake my claim. My character is bad. He starts out with bigamy, rape, and blackmail - and he gets worse. Basically, I'm a one-man crime wave in the Napa Valley. It could apply for a government emergency loan."

Stevenson, blond and handsome, said it was unusual for him to be even considered for such a role, although he did play the arrogant race driver Aubrey James in 'Stroker Ace.'

"This role lets me go unshaven," he said. "I let my hair grow up and get greasy. I wear old clothes. I look so tacky. But I get mail from people saying they love my new look. New look? I'm just trying to look like a bum."

Stevenson makes his final appearance in February. "I can't tell you exactly what happens, but no one blows me away," he said. "It's left up in the air. Fortunately, I've already been contacted by the producers about coming back. I hope they don't make me a good guy if I come back, a guy who's gotten it together. The only way I'd do that is if I could start out as a good guy then go back again."

Alfred Hitchcock Presents:
The Method Actor (1985)

Martin Sheen and Parker in "Method Actor"
Photo courtesy of Hitch2001.com

This intense and macabre story benefitted from the type-casting of both Parker and Martin Sheen as actors in competition for the lead in a major movie. Whenever I watch it, I wonder what it was like on the set during the filming.

The episode opens with a clip of Sheen in "The Execution of Private Slovik" being shown to a university drama class. Sheen's character, Paul Dano, is brisk and brusque responding to the students' questions. In the back of the room, Lane Richards (Parker), an actor who got his start in toothpaste and shampoo commercials, watches with admiration. "He's the greatest," he says quietly.

But when the two actors are both up for the same part in a film that has Oscar potential, it is Lane who gets the role. Paul is infuriated that "the toothpaste guy" has edged him out. Lane finds himself struggling with the role, and shows up at Paul's home looking for advice. Paul starts out trying to help, but loses his temper and kills Lane. He carves up the body in the bathtub, and disposes of the pieces individually. But his work is interrupted when two old associates(Marilu Henner and Robbie Benson) drop by. Panicked, he shoves Lane's head in the ice bucket. When Paul tells his friends that he believes Lane is not going to finish the movie and the part will be his, they begin to celebrate - and when Paul is out of the room the other two open the ice bucket to find Lane's head, eyes turned up at them.

The episode was directed by Burt Reynolds.

You can buy a copy of "Method Actor" from the Hitch2001.com website. If you place an order, please tell them you saw them on the "Starring Parker Stevenson" site!

Mission Impossible
"The Haunting" (1988)

The Haunting

Parker guest-starred as villain Chance Foster, a rich young man with a history of murdering beautiful young women. The episode opens with Parker/Chance frantically digging a hole on the beach in the middle of the night, flashing back to a scene in an amusement park with his hands around the throat of a dark-haired girl. The girl turns out to have been Princess Jehan, daughter of an oil tycoon who is now threatening to stop selling oil to the U.S. because of the inability of American police to find her killer.

The Mission Impossible team uses a series of gadgets and psychological tricks to convince Chance and his mother (played by Janis Page) that Jehane has come back from the dead to reveal her killer. Chance is so rattled that he rushes to the beach on a stormy night to uncover her body and make sure that an incriminating piece of evidence isn't actually there. But of course the MI team and the police are waiting to arrest him.

Up to the point that Chance cracks, he is a handsome and charismatic villain, and this is a fun episode to watch.

Parker's Best-Ever Television Series was 1988's "Probe."
For a Complete Look, Go to the Probe Page.