All that Glitters series is the equivalant of a cream puff : spineless , mindless entertainment.
Never outwardly cruel or shocking to grab readers instead it merely floats along with characters
that are squeaky clean despite being famous actresses on a daytime soap. The series lasted from 1987-1988 and only had 8 books to it's credit.
Nasty , sassy , princess of pout sizzles daytime declared the blurb on the cover of T.V. Talk # 5 unfortunately I cannot give Katie or her clan such rave reviews this series fizzles rather than sizzles like bursting soap suds. Each book goes back and forth between central characters Shana Bradbury & Katie Nolan best friends and stars of the soap All that Glitters. And the books promise with their fetching blurb- their lives are a soap opera on and off screen! But no more than Sweet Valley High , in fact Sweet Valley High one ups them , left , right and center. Shana Bradbury plays Jasmin Palavi a psychic on the soap ( though most soap scenes aren’t really shown rather implied ) instead the effects of the schedule and plot turns are more integral to their plots , her grandmother ( and guardian ) Edith Bradbury plays a character on the soap. Shana has a flaky , absent mother a faded actress who returns in book #4 to cause trouble , when her and a rival have a guest appearance on the show. Shana is the product of a May-December marriage between her mother and a Saudi Arabian prince Achmed who sends her a Kaffir cat , ) , a rare Egyptian breed which was used to guard palaces. The cat is called Nefertiti and spends most of book #4 in amusing stunts ‘protecting’ Shana. The cat was a birthday present for her 18th birthday but don’t get too worked up about her age it fluctuates through the series leveling off at age sixteen. Katie Nolan is Shana’s best friend , who , though a nice girl , plays the teenage vixen Alicia Gately which often causes battles between her levelheaded , lawyer father and her ex-model mother , Denise Nolan. In future books
Mrs. Nolan tries to live her life through Katie becoming a pushy , ‘stage’ mom. Kirk Tucker is Shana’s boyfriend a tennis pro who goes through an identity problem shedding his easy going manor becoming an uptight , image obsessed model in book #6. Katie’s boyfriend Mitch Callahan , her handsome co-star , has his own loft which causes some problems for Katie , the number one problem is that it’s deemed off limits by her parents and number 2 is that in book #7 Mitch’s ex-girl friend , nasty Nikki shows up and decides to move right in. Other characters came and went - the most stand out was Katie’s younger sister often called Little-bit ( whereas Shana & Katie were similar in tone in fact neither character had any, real standout features separating them , beyond their surroundings , but Little-bit or Jewel was feisty!) She worshiped her older sibling and wanted to include herself in whatever was going on , wether it was trying out for a part on All that Glitters in book #5 , much to her sisters chagrin , or trying to get rid of awful Nikki for Katie in book #7.
One of the main problems with All that Glitters is that though it says Kristi Andrews on the cover ( as writer ) don’t be fooled , like most 80's series they were written by many other writers using a one name pseudonym. Now , I’m not positive that All that Glitters was written by several people , I’m only going by what I read , and it reads like many people got a jotted dossier on what the series was about , but often forgot facts when it came time to type it out , ages fluctuated , facts changed , and most annoying was the habit each girl had of turning against their friend in an argument - If Katie was having a problem and turned on Shana she would be rational and calm in the next book Shana would have a problem and turn on Katie and Katie would become the calm , rational one. Their personalities were woefully , interchangable. Another problem was the fact that it played up like a teen series ala SVH but these were famous school girls , their boyfriends owned apartments wore suits and sent them crimson roses , they had money and went clubbing and yet things like drugs , sex and alcohol were hardly mentioned if they were mentioned at all. The focus was on fashion & scene - Katie & Shana two beautiful paper dolls dressed up , were manipulated around the scenery like Barbie Color-forms.
Here's some 80's fashion.
#4 - brown leather skirt and apricot mohair sweater.
#5 - Jewel’s black mini skirt & sweater with electric blue stockings made her feel artistic. , Jewel’s Alicia costume - thigh high butter soft black leather skirt , a flimsy fuchsia blouse , bangles , large hoop earrings , flashy sunglasses pushed back like a hair band. Jewel’s lime
green mini dress
#6 - Shana’s high button ankle boots
#8 - Shana’s thigh high black suede leather boots are a hunk magnet.
80's soundtrack for All that Glitters.
With all the mention of Shana's cat Nefertiti and Egyptian background I can’t help humming Walk like an Egyptian of course I might not have thought of it but wait there’s more in book #5 on a double date with little sis , Jewel they go into a trendy ice cream parlor , Betty Browns where their ice cream concoctions have names like Bananaramas and Xandus! In book #6 Shana puts on her sunglasses in a nightclub ( Outter Space!) when the flashing laser lights get to be too much - calling to mind Corey Hart - I wear my sunglasses at night. #7's soap plot line has Katie sweating. They want her character to start having an affair with her married school teacher! The Police will have her singing - Don’t stand so Close to me. Hmm #8 was tough , so cue the Eye of the Tiger , Rocky music as Katie and Shana duke it out over who’ll win the Emmy.
Other 80's doo-dads
- Katie’s pastel pink & green room ( was it just me or was pink and green one of the it combos of the 80's - I’ll have to do a write up on that )
- Characters saying the word Psyched as in I’m Psyched.
- Katie’s chrome & leather living room which her parents describe as soft tech and she describes
as soft yech!
- Katie does a very 80's role reversal thing and brings her boyfriend pink chrysanthemums (
Remember Kathleen Turner climbing the latter on hunky Michael Douglas’s boat to bring him
daises , turning the damsel in the tower motif upside down. )
- The guys in Jewel’s class start singing ‘she’s a brick house..’ after she lands a small cameo
on All that Glitters.
- eating pickles for a snack - okay it’s not entirely 80's but every series book wavered from fantasy snacks - fluffernutters and milkshakes- to nutritional boring snacks - shiny
apples. Was their no bruised apples out their or spotty bananas? Pickles seemed something I could relate to and , or , carrots - I always seemed to be grabbing one for me and several for my rabbits.
Terrific late 80's covers! The background offered My-little-pony pastels while the series name slanted across the top , accented by pac-man dots , resembling marquee lights , while the
photo art was set inside a curvy box that looked like a t.v. set! The girls on the covers were beautiful had dynamite hair , often windblown , and wore colorful clothes posing with or without a male model.
#4 featured ‘Shana’ in a fabulous red tank style dress with a crinoline style skirt blown up in a carefree way. Dangling from her ears are huge red rhinestone , star earrings. Her ‘boyfriend’ is stuck in the typically , trendy 80's look - printed shirt , skinny leather tie , red suspenders. His hair is bleached.
#5 - I had a jacket just like this! Same color Celadon- green denim. Of course I didn’t have that gorgeous mane of curly blonde hair. oh well.
#6 -Criminy! A carrot pin! Was this the height of fashion? Looks more like something swiped off
a fridge. I know in Valley Girl mini soft-drink can pins can be spotted on the one girls
jacket but this? And mock turtleneck sleeveless tops? ugh! I hated these they always made
your chest look droopy! Peach skirt , Crayon blue top and a carrot pin - well it’s certainly
memorable. Love her hair though she has the perfect bangs.
#7 - baby pink denim jacket with the cuffs turned up very preppy and the boy on the cover’s pretty foxy too!
#8 - Love the dreamy gowns - Katie’s southern belle , off the shoulder , ice blue dress with lace ruffle , and Shana’s pink iridescent dress with one exaggerated shoulder strap look like some something Barbie might wear - Barbie Goes to the Emmy's.
If you’re a huge fan of this series - sorry - but I just didn’t care much for it , I was expecting something more. Sweet Valley High was often exasperating but it was never boring. The writers
should’ve taken a bigger cue from what they were impersonating - soaps and dug up
some better plot ideas or at least some more interesting characters.
Big & Bubbly - 80's soap frothed up the boob-tube in the 80's growing more elaborate , extravagant and absurd as the decade came to it’s end. First their was everyday Day soap - filled with sex , lust , marriages , divorces , elopements , trickery , blackmail , death , mayhem , illness , and most important the who-am-I-again? The most predictable of all soap plots the old reliable
amnesia. Each Soap had their own unique twists like Wade trying to evade police while in drag in ALL MY CHILDREN. Chris Chapin is carrier of a mysterious poison dust found in a trip to an Egyptian tomb in ANOTHER WORLD ( not to mention the ‘Sin Killer’ being pursued by psychic Lisa Grady ). AS THE WORLD TURNS hones material from the Looney Tunes when John fakes his death after James tries to kill him so he and Dee can ‘haunt’ James. Angela the burn victim is out for revenge like Freddy Krueger in THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. Wacky characters like Eugene Bradford an eccentric scientist and his robot Sico , Patch ( a henchman wearing an eyepatch ) , Calliope Jones , and Victor Kiriakis filled THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES with humor and Intrigue. Joe Kelly a bag-pipe playing detective who fell in love with his step mother was one of the strangest hunks , amid spies and secret agents , on GENERAL HOSPITAL , while Beth survives a rape attack by her stepfather on the GUIDING LIGHT. LOVING pulled the oldest trick in the book - faking a pregnancy with a pillow but ONE LIFE TO LIVE wins the booby prize of having the most bizarre plots ever - mad Colonel Dimitri off to sell anti-missile control panels to foreigners on Devil’s Claw island , Vicki’s operation to relieve a brain aneurysm causes her to see dead town residents in weird dreamy sequences and following suit is Clint who , after a clunk on the head , has visions of Buchanan City , old west style , with cast members playing their great so-and-so’s amid saloon settings. Then there was a soap within a soap! Fraternity Row - where actress Megan got cast as sisters Ruby and Roxanne not to mention the disastrous Eterna the lost underground city. RYAN’S HOPE offered up underage elopement , while SANTA BARBARA hauled out all the kooky stops - vixen Gina DeMott’s guest appearance on Wheel of Fortune , her wild wedding in Vegas on Christmas Day ,
Angel the fake teenage Evangelist , Bunny Tigliatti a transvestite with mob connections?! And Dr. Zack Kelton a gynecologist who turned out to be the ‘Video Rapist’. And in the YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS - Lauren had a nude picture , of her husband Paul , published in a magazine.
Not that this meager list even scratches the surface there was AIDS , kidnaping , impersonators , switches , and of course Eureka! The long-lost son / daughter / husband / wife / sister / brother / cat / dog / ghost of aunt so-and-so appearing in the easiest add-a-problem twist to the plots.
Night time soap - the Bubble Baths -started in the 80's under the ten gallon hat of J.R. Ewing in the much imitated Dallas. Glossier more fashionable and more catty than the day soaps
because more punch had to be packed in a once a week hourly installment where day soaps could spend weeks even months building up. BEHIND THE SCREEN - a short lived soap within a soap perhaps got too confusing for it’s viewers , it’s heros were creators and actors on a soap called Generations and often called two names and with a cast that kept expanding well , you get the idea. THE COLBY’S were spawned by Dynasty sporting the most bizarre cliffhanger outside of Twin Peaks - Fallon was kidnaped by aliens but what a relief to the writers for , when she and the others returned to Dynasty the next year, they could snap , the aliens dropped her off. DALLAS - Bobby shot , dumped and run over only to be resurrected lathering in Pam’s shower
dismissing 85-86 season as a dream! Bullet’s fly on DYNASTY as Alexis’s long lost daughter Amanda tries to marry Prince Michael of Moldavia only to have revolutionaries bust in during the ceremony with machine guns and blow away half the guests. FALCON CREST had a schizophrenic secretary Jordan who became hooker Monica at night , a tell-all book written by an amnesiac who forgets she even wrote it - ( say what?! ) , white slavery , and an underworld group called ‘The Thirteen’. FLAMINGO ROAD had black magic when the obvious soap shenanigans of blackmail and murder failed to do the trick ( shades of Gargamel ). THE HAMPTONS offered corporate intrigue and incest. HOTEL wavered between heavy topics - a prostitute getting gang raped by students and the usual glittery evenings. And though KNOTS LANDING was described by all as the most realistic of soaps still resorted to the usual goofy trappings - Karen paralyzed for a while?! , twins born , kidnaped and sold on a black market ring , and the grown-ups fading into the background as the teens took over the cul-de-sac.
And with all the serious soaps out there is wasn’t surprising that soap spoofs came out - MARY HARTMAN , MARY HARTMAN had a plot of a serial killer who started his spree after a bad knock , knock joke who kidnaps the hero and they split a candy lifesaver while the cops try to talk him into surrendering. SOAP was all sitcom and all soap as one character homosexual Jody was saving for a sex change operation , his half brother carried a dummy with him everywhere , and Burt Campbell was kidnaped by aliens with a replicant sent to earth in his
place ( and those were the ‘sane’ plots ) , FILTHY RICH was short lived but featured a plot of land baron Big Gus Beck found dead and after being cryogenically frozen his greedy family finds there is a twist , he has left them a living will on videotape and each clause will be played every week. Soap was even on the brain of sci-fi projects like V: the series. The battle between the resistance and the Visitors ( lizard-like aliens hiding under human face masks ) paled under the clash between Visitor leaders - the deadly cool brunette Diana and icy-blond Lydia.
In fact their cat-fight reached warrior proportions when in a spoof of night soap cat-fights Diana & Lydia meet on the space ships battle ground wearing glitter make-up resembling KISS
groupies and armed with staffs duke it out like something out of Mad Max’s Thunderdome!
With all this glitz and glamour being shown it’s surprising that All that Glitters is so boring. It doesn’t even fair well next to Sweet Valley High definitely sudsier than All that Glitters SVH had liars , boy friend stealing , drug addiction pasts , blackmail , a coma , a lukemia death and a suicide attempt all within the first 12 books! All that Glitters has shoplifting , bitchy co-stars , a boyfriend turning into a model wannabee , attack cats , and the weirdest night club ever - Outerspace were lazer lights crisscross and Monique the waitress wears a streak of paint across her forehead and cheek to go with her green and black bodysuit which in book #8 were are told made her look like 'an alien flight attendent.' There is an occational level of glossy maturity - a boyfriend takes Shana out for Pot-au-feu - a mixture of beef and vegtables in a fancy restaurant ( the girls are not above pigging out on sundaes ) , Shana does publicity shoots for animal shelters , Katie tries to avoid gossipy reporter Susan Chang's probbing questions and both girls
discuss their careers with their boyfriends.