Knots Landing- Remembering Sid

There will forever be those things we regret happening, those things we will always wish we could change. Some are smaller or larger than others. For me, one is the death of Sid Fairgate on “Knots Landing”. For starters, I am tired of those who put down, or criticize, the early days of Knots. I watched “Knots Landing” ( and no it is NOT the prerequisite for “Desperate Housewives”), from the very first night it aired. It was December 1979, two days after Christmas. I was eight years old. By the time it ended in May of 1993, I was days away from the 22nd b-day. However, the beginning of Knots has always been special to me, and I resent anyone knocking it. Don’t get me wrong. Mac was a good guy, the perfect replacement for Sid. I’ve liked him all along. There was just something about Sid that was irreplaceable. To this day, of all the characters who came and went over the 14 years, he is still my favorite.

I didn’t realize until recently it’s been thirty years ago this month since he died on the operating table, during a surgery which could have possibly given him the use of his legs again. Sid had been in a car accident, which was Knots’ cliffhanger in the spring of 1981. His car had been sabotaged, and he ended up driving off of a cliff. He was left paralyzed. The surgery was a huge risk. His lovely wife, Karen, was not supportive of it. However, Sid was resilient, telling her if she wouldn’t sign the consent form, he would take the pen in his teeth, and sign it himself. That one line gave me the chills.

The death of Sid was a huge shock and blow to many viewers. Always an avid reader, I remember reading there was a possibility Don Murray would be leaving the show, but to see it played out before my eyes was another thing. Some say he felt the show was becoming too much like “Dallas”. Others have said he wanted more money, while it has also been said he wanted a movie career. He did star in “Endless Love” with Brooke Shields around that time. Whatever the reason, it was a big loss to Knots. I remember my Mom sharing an article with me she read in the paper about how many viewers were outraged by what happened. Some had stopped watching. People mentioned Sid Fairgate was the only real man on the show. The other three were weak. Each had cheated on their wives. They were unstable, and acted like immature boys. Sid, although tempted as well, remained faithful to Karen. He knew how to stand strong when the pressure was on, and was a good father. To me, the Fairgate family was ideal. I wasn’t the only one.

Sid and Karen had a marriage, a relationship, that was real. It wasn’t perfect, though. They argued. They clashed over his teenage daughter from a previous marriage. They almost cheated on one another. However, they had a love, a passion, a compatibility, which was undeniable. To me, theirs was a true depiction of married life. Warts and all. I think, especially looking back on it now, Michele Lee did some of her finest acting in those early days of the show. Later on, her emotions would be subdued rather significantly.

I watched the death of Sid Fairgate with my Mother, in our bedroom, in the dark. Seeing his body stretched out on the operating table is an image I’ll never forget. The scenes which followed were all the more intense- and true to life. Karen’s long walk up the hallway to talk with the doctor, the look of “oh, please let him be alive” in her eyes. Her kids, Abby, and Val waiting for her, huddled together. Her walk back down the hall, to face them. The silence which followed, as she gave them the news, and how they reacted. The fact we couldn’t hear their words, but only their sobs, was brilliantly written. Their faces of sadness, disbelief, and grief on the elevator. The drive home, with Sid’s voice in the background. Before the surgery, he made a tape for Karen, were something to happen. The episode ended with Karen listening to the tape alone, a photo of the two in the background. When she clicks the stop button, the screen turns black. Instead of the usual ending theme and credits, a picture of Sid, and their youngest child, Michael, together in the sunset on the beach, was shown, with an instrumental piano score in the background. I don’t think either of us slept very well that night. It was truly one of those moments in television history you will always remember. We all have our own, and this is most definitely one of mine.

I watched it all unfold again on YouTube recently. It had been several years since I had last seen it. It was as sad and traumatic as I remembered. In 30 years, some things remain the same. I still miss you, Sid.

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~ by kmnnz on November 21, 2011.

3 Responses to “Knots Landing- Remembering Sid”

  1. I just found this blog about sid online. I watched the episode last week on youtube as well, after losing my father, The writers were brilliant in captivating that scene on the drive home from the hospital. The following episode, aftermath, also did a great job reflecting the different faces of grief that the family experienced. Have been a Knots fan forever and also watched it with my mother growing up. What a wonderful show, esp. the early years .

  2. I was a fan of “Knot’s” early years. I think I stopped watching after Val had twins and named one for dead Bobby Ewing, who then became undead. For me the show lost much of its appeal after Sid Fairgate died. The episodes I remember best were when Diana and Chip were missing. Karen’s anguish was so real. Julie Harris was outstanding as Val’s mother. Like “Dallas” and “Dynasty” the show limped along well past its sell-by date. But for a while I was a devoted fan of all three nighttime soaps. I even took my phone off the hook while watching.

  3. Wow can’t believe I found this KK very well written.

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