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High Hopes

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Back before he became a real slime as Adam Carrington on Dynasty, Gordon Thomson played Michael Stewart, Jr on the Canadian series, High Hopes.

High Hopes was a 1978 Canadian television soap opera that was shown on both Canadian and United States television, starring established performers Bruce Gray; Jayne Eastwood; Dorothy Malone and Nehemiah Persoff.

The series was produced by Y&R Associates, Ltd, in conjunction with DCA Productions, Incorporated, and was filmed in Toronto. It was broadcast in Canada weekday afternoons on CBC Television, and syndicated to US television stations. Canadian producer was Karen Hazzard. The show was initially directed by Bruce Minnix, and later by several Canadian directors, including Nigel Napier-Andrews. It was written by Bryan Barney, Mort Forer, Marian Waldman and Winifred Wolfe.

The High Hopes of the people of Port Hamilton

Gray headlined the show, playing the role of Dr. Neal Chapman, a psychiatrist/family counselor who lived and worked in Port Hamilton, a fictitious community located somewhere in Canada (perhaps in Ontario).

Neal was also associated with Delaney College (presumably he worked there as well as a professor or as a counselor), which was Port Hamilton's institution of higher learning. Much of the action was set at either the college, or in his large home which also served as his office.

Neal was divorced from Helen Chapman (nee Myles), played by actress Candace O'Connor; and they (supposedly) had a grown daughter, Jessica, nicknamed Jessie (Marianne McIssac), a student at Delaney College, who lived with him.

Also living in the large Chapman house was his mother, Meg (Doris Petrie); Louise Bates (Eastwood) a Port Hamilton real estate agent who had sold Neal his house, and his close friend, Port Hamilton attorney Walter Telford (Colin Fox, Granville Van Dusen), who lived with his wife, Evelyn Telford (Deborah Turnbull). Walter, Evelyn, Louise and another person, Dr. Jean Bataille, were all tenants in Neal's home.

Neal also worked with Dr. Dan Girard (Jan Muszynski), a physician who worked at Port Hamilton's community hospital.

Despite his numerous counseling appointments (both out of his house and at the college) and his continual work at the hospital, Neal also found time for romance. He was involved romantically with Louise and also with local television talk show host, Trudy Bowen (Barbara Kyle).

One of the families Neal counseled most frequently was the Stewart family, one of Port Hamilton's more affluent families, which was composed of successful businessman husband Michael Stewart, Sr. (Michael Tait); his society wife, Norma, (Vivian Reis) and their son, Michael, Jr. (Gordon Thomson).

Another family he counseled was the more middle-class Sperrys, Amy (Gina Dick), a student at Delaney College, and her mother, Doris (Mignon Elkins). Still another family was Dr. Aaron Herzog (Persoff), presumably a doctor or a professor at the college, and his wife, Carol (Malone).

Much of the focus of the series was Neal counseling his many clients, who were either members of the larger Port Hamilton community, and/or Delaney College's students and faculty, whilst his own troubles mounted.

Neal had to deal with the trauma of realizing that Jessie wasn't his and Helen's daughter at all. She was revealed to be the daughter of Helen's sister, Paula Myles (Nuala Fitzgerald) and another man.

Upon hearing this shocking news, Jessie took her newly discovered mother's name of Myles, and then sexually went after her now Aunt Helen's former husband. Jessie's real father was never revealed.

The show had a brief run in 1978, and was eventually cancelled. Musical arrangement was produced by Aeolus Productions, known for the themes and musical cues on American soap operas like All My Children, Ryan's Hope and One Life to Live.

Notable Alumni

Many notable actors had starred on the show, but Gray; Eastwood; Persoff and Malone were the ones who were already well established when this show aired. Persoff was a long-time character actor, Eastwood was an established Canadian comedienne; Gray worked in both the US and Canada in various roles, and Malone was of course best known for her role of Constance MacKenzie on the TV adaptation of Peyton Place

However, actor Gordon Thomson is undoubtedly the show's most successful alumnus. He played Michael Stewart, Jr., the son of the wealthiest family in Port Hamilton. After playing Aristotle Benedict-White, an archeologist, on the soap opera, Ryan's Hope, he would go on to much greater fame as Adam Carrington, the villainous oldest (later revealed to be adopted) son of Blake and Alexis Carrington on the 1980s prime-time soap Dynasty.

Actors Granville Van Dusen and Colin Fox, both of whom played Neal's best friend, attorney Walter Telford would also become quite successful. Fox was an established soap veteran (playing a dual role on the Canadian series, Strange Paradise with later Love of Life star, Tudi Wiggins); and Van Dusen would play parts on both dramatic (The Young and the Restless) and comedic TV shows (Soap).

Actor Geraint Wyn Davies, who was best known for his role on the supernatural television series Forever Knight, was also featured on the show in one of his earliest roles, playing a Delaney College student named Glen.

Jayne Eastwood (Louise Bates) would later play Ramona Quimby's school teacher, Mrs. Whaley in the series, Ramona, based on the books by Beverly Cleary.

Main Cast

  • Bruce Gray — Dr. Neal Chapman
  • Doris Petrie — Meg Chapman
  • Marianne McIssac — Jessica "Jessie" Myles (Chapman)
  • Jayne Eastwood — Louise Bates
  • Granville Van Dusen — Walter Telford #2
  • Colin Fox — Walter Telford #1
  • Deborah Turnbull — Evelyn Telford
  • Jan Muszynski — Dr. Dan Girard
  • Candace O'Connor — Helen Chapman
  • Nuala Fitzgerald — Paula Myles
  • Michael Tait — Michael Stewart, Sr.
  • Vivian Reis — Norma Stewart
  • Gordon Thomson — Michael Stewart, Jr.
  • Barbara Kyle — Trudy Bowen
  • Gina Dick — Amy Sperry
  • Mignon Elkins — Doris Sperry
  • Dorothy Malone — Carol Herzog
  • Nehemiah Persoff — Dr. Aaron Herzog
  • Geraint Wyn Davies — Glen

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