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Ghost Canyon

'Hotel: The First Season'
(James Brolin, Shea Farrell, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / Paramount)

Overview: Revisit the lighthearted and romantic lives of the folks at San Francisco’s elegant St. Gregory Hotel when HOTEL: THE FIRST SEASON opens its doors on DVD July 21 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment.

DVD Verdict: Based on Arthur Hailey's popular novel and the 1967 film of the same name, ABC's "Hotel" (from super-producer Aaron Spelling and Douglas S. Cramer) was basically a land-based Love Boat set at San Francisco's opulent St. Gregory Hotel (utilizing exterior shots and modeled interiors of real life Fairmont Hotel San Francisco) featuring a combo of guest stars along with a regular cast in intertwined stories of primetime soap love, lust and drama (and occasional comedy).

Starring as the St. Gregory Hotel staff was ever dapper James Brolin (Pensacola: Wings of Gold, Marcus Welby, M.D.) as Peter McDermott, the manager; gorgeous Connie Selleca (The Greatest American Hero) as Christine Francis, the assistant manager and eventual love interest for Peter; Shea Farrell as Mark Danning, director of guest relations; Nathan Cook as Billy Griffin, ex-con turned chief of security; Heidi Bohay and Michael Spound as newlyweds Megan and Dave Kendall, the desk clerk and bellhop respectively (who themselves would marry in 1988); plus lovely Shari Belafonte (daughter of Harry Belafonte) as Julie Gillette, manager of hotel information. Look for legendary screen star Bette Davis in her first TV series role (pilot only) as St. Gregory owner Laura Trent who, due to illness, was replaced thereafter by her All About Eve co-star Anne Baxter who took over as her sister-in-law, Victoria Cabot.

A well-made primetime soap done in proven 'Love Boat' style, 'Hotel' was one of the early hits of the 1983-1984 season. It probably didn't hurt that for 4 of its 5 seasons the show originally ran after 'Dynasty' on Wednesday nights at 10p. From the excellent cast to the elegant, atmospheric decor of the St. Gregory itself, Hotel oozed with style and class. [S-A] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features.