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Capitol is an Americanmarker soap opera which aired on CBS from March 29, 1982 to March 20, 1987 for 1270 episodes. As its name suggests, the storyline usually revolved around the political intrigues of people whose lives intertwined in Washington D.C.marker.


Capitol revolves around the Denning, Clegg, and McCandless families, who live in the fictional Washington, D.C. suburb of Jeffersonia. At the center of the drama are feuding matriarchs Clarissa Tyler McCandless (Constance Towers) and Myrna Clegg (Carolyn Jones; Marla Adams; Marj Dusay). Kindly and down-to-earth Clarissa and vituperative and vindictive Myrna are former best friends who in their youth had been rivals over the love of Baxter McCandless; in retaliation for Baxter falling for Clarissa and not her, scheming Myrna had spread lies about Clarissa's father, Liberal Congressman Judson (Rory Calhoun), linking him to communists during the McCarthy era.

In the series, Baxter has left Clarissa a widow and Myrna is married to Sam Clegg (Robert Sampson, Richard Egan). The longstanding feud between the women is enflamed when Clarissa's war-hero son Tyler McCandless (David Mason Daniels; Dane Witherspoon) falls in love with Myrna's daughter, Julie Clegg (Kimberly Beck; Catherine Hickland). Despite Myrna's best efforts to destroy this match, they eventually marry. Also featured are Myrna's other children: Trey (Nicholas Walker), who is being groomed for the presidency, Brenda (Leslie Graves; Ashley Laurence; Karen Kelly), and Jordy (Todd Curtis). Clarissa's family includes sons Wally (Bill Beyers), a young man with a gambling problem, Thomas (Brian Robert Taylor; Michael Catlin), a doctor, and Matt (Shea Farrell; Christopher Durham), a handsome athlete. Meanwhile Clarissa is in love with Senator Mark Denning (Ed Nelson) who is in an unhappy marriage with agoraphobic Paula (Julie Adams) and is the father of reporter Sloane Denning (Debrah Farentino). Clarissa later falls for Jarrett Morgan (Ron Harper), who turns out to be her presumed-dead husband Baxter.


With the success of such "glamorous" soap operas like Dallas and Dynasty, CBS asked The Young and the Restless producer John Conboy to produce an equivalent in daytime. Capitol became the first soap opera to be produced in Los Angelesmarker since The Young and the Restless began in 1973.

The show's opening sequence during its early years showed aerial scenes of Washington, D.C. shot during the winter of 1980 to 1981. In the final year, a computerized sequence was instituted, illustrating glamour and sex in addition to the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorialmarker.

CBS announced the series' cancellation in December 1986. With the last two months of episodes taped in the span of a month to accommodate the beginning of replacement soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, Conboy and head writer James Lipton ended the series with the cliffhanger of Sloane is placed in front of a firing squad in the Middle Eastern kingdom of her lover King Ali.


During its run, Capitol featured several well-known actors in contract roles, including Carolyn Jones, Rory Calhoun, and Constance Towers. In the show's earlier years, singer Lola Falana played wealthy entertainment mogul Charity Blake, and Natalie Wood's sister Lana played Fran Burke. In 1986, Country music singer Tammy Wynette made appearances as hairstylist-turned-singer Darlene Stankowski.

  • Carolyn Jones : Myrna Clegg #1 (1982-1983)
  • Teri Hatcher : Angelica Stimac Clegg (1986-1987)
  • Marla Adams : Myrna Clegg #2 (1983)
  • Marj Dusay : Myrna Clegg #3 (1983-1987)
  • Robert Sampson : Samuel Clegg II #1 (1982)
  • Richard Egan : Samuel Clegg II #2 (1982-1987)
  • Tonja Walker : Lizbeth Bachman (1982-1986)
  • Kimberly Beck-Hilton : Julie Clegg #1 (1982-1983)
  • Catherine Hickland : Julie Clegg McCandless #2 (1983-1987)
  • Todd Curtis : Jordy Clegg
  • Leslie Graves : Brenda Clegg #1 (1982-1984)
  • Ashley Laurence : Brenda Clegg #2 (1984-1985)
  • Karen Kelly : Brenda Clegg #3 (1985-1987)
  • Constance Towers : Clarissa McCandless
  • David Mason Daniels : Tyler McCandless #1 (1982-1985)
  • Dane Witherspoon : Tyler McCandless #2 (1985-1986)
  • Bill Beyers : Wallace « Wally » McCandless
  • Brian Robert Taylor : Thomas McCandless #1 (1982-1983)
  • Kelly Palzis : Gillian McCandless
  • Michael Catlin : Thomas McCandless #2 (1983-1987)
  • Shea Farrell : Matt McCandless #1 (1982)
  • Christopher Durham : Matt McCandless #2 (1982-1984)
  • Ed Nelson : Senator Mark Denning
  • Tammy Wynette : Darlene Stankowski (1986-1987)
  • Billy Warlock : Ricky Driscoll (1984-1985)
  • Jess Walton : Kelly Harper (1984-1987)
  • Debrah Farentino : Sloane Denning (1982-1987)
  • Julie Parrish : Maggie Brady


On June 8, 1981, CBS moved Search For Tomorrow, daytime television's longest-tenured soap and a fixture for nearly 30 years at 12:30 p.m./11:30 a.m. Central, to the 2:30/1:30 p.m. timeslot between As the World Turns and Guiding Light in order to accommodate the hit serial The Young and the Restless.' Procter and Gamble, who owned Search For Tomorrow, urged CBS to return the show to its former slot. The network refused, and when their contract with CBS expired, Proctor and Gamble sold Search For Tomorrow to NBC and the show premiered there on March 26, 1982. CBS replaced Search For Tomorrow with Capitol, scheduled against the last halves of NBC's Another World and ABC's One Life to Live, the latter of which dominated the ratings at the time.

Capitol debuted on CBS in 1982 in 8th place in the ratings, roughly the same as Search for Tomorrow had done. Capitol, CBS' lowest-rated soap, remained in 8th place throughout its five-year run, with its best ratings points of 6.4 achieved in the 1983-1984 season. In 1985, ratings fell slightly from a 5.8 to a 5.1, prompting some CBS affiliates to drop the show. CBS subsequently canceled the show and replaced it with The Bold and the Beautiful on March 23, 1987. However, CBS put The Bold and the Beautiful in the 1:30/12:30 timeslot, bumping As the World Turns to 2/1. Despite The Bold and the Beautiful becoming both CBS' and America's second-highest rated soap opera, the series never surpassed Capitol ratings peak.

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