Katherine Kelly Lang Looks Back On The Glory Days of Soaps

How would you describe what soaps were like back in 1987 in terms of the costumes and the sets and the vibe and the glamour of it all? “Hollywood has changed a lot. I loved early Hollywood. It was more magical. It’s not the way it used to be, but that’s what I loved about it, growing up in it and then working in it. I love that era, even in the ’70s and ’80s. Hollywood was fun, and then starting the show was very exciting. I watched CAPITOL, and I used to watch YOUNG AND RESTLESS, and then I did a part on Y&R when I was 18 [as Gretchen in 1981]. I loved watching the soaps. I would be amazed by it because it was such a different feel than anything else, and when I found out that I was going into BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL and they were taking the place of CAPITOL, I thought, ‘Oh, this is really interesting.’ ”

What did you like most about joining a soap then? “It was a brand-new show and I was excited about that. It was here in L.A. and I was not going to have to go to New York to do a soap. It was bigger than life, and to know that Bill Bell created the show, because he already had an amazing track record? It was all very exciting.” B&B had a glamorous look from the get- go. “The sets, for sure, were humongous, They were gorgeous; so was the wardrobe. Everything was to the extreme. Everything. Everything that was placed on the set, the props, it was all so gorgeous.”

What else do you recall from the era? “When Brad took over the show [as head writer in 1993 and executive producer in 1995], he made the show totally different. It was like, ‘Let’s bring the show up to date as far as the times have been changing.’ A lot changed, from the technical aspects of the show, with the rhythm of the show. It had a totally different feeling all together. It was updated, more modern and more of the times, so bravo to Brad for doing that and making it his, to work with the day and age. The storylines were faster. The information came faster. Everything was made to move faster.”

Speaking of fast, Brooke took off from the beginning. What was that like for you to come into this genre and be immediately popular? “Well, I would not want it to be any other way. It couldn’t have worked out better. It was amazing to be hired for that part. It was a great part, to be the girl on the other side of the tracks who falls in love with the rich guy and the rich world, and how those two worlds collided. I loved it. I’m very romantic that way, so that all made sense to me. And then I got to live it. Everything that would happen, like being on a magazine cover, would spur me. It would ignite me. It would give more motivation and inspiration, and the more I had, the more I wanted, the more I wanted to continue all of this and make it a legacy. I really didn’t think I’d be on the show this long but it just kept going [laughs]. There was no reason for me to leave or to go anywhere else because it was the best opportunity and the best job that I’ve ever had. I was working with the best people. It’s heaven.”

Which of B&B’s glamorous location shoots are your favorites? “All of them, for different reasons. Of course, Italy because Italy is known for its fashion and its glamour and its history and its food and wines and passion, so Italy is perfect for BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL. We did so many in Italy — Venice, Lake Como, Portofino. We did so many, all over.”

How was the fan reaction in Italy? “Well, the show is huge in Italy and it’s so fun because the Italians make it fun. They’re warm. They embrace you and love you and once they love something, their love just hits the roof and you feel it. You hear it and you see it and they are just wonderful. It was fun to see the popularity in the European countries and [others] outside the U.S. and have that success for our show. It really says a lot about the show, and I’m happy that we were able to get in all those countries and still be there for so many years and be the top.”

What are your thoughts now looking back on the glory years? “I wish we still had time to do bigger shows, but we just don’t have the time. I wish we still had some of the sets that we used to have that would add so much in different storylines and different locations. I do miss that a lot. I miss getting out and doing remotes. Because of Covid, we feel like we’re stuck, so that might be a while. But I always think that is spectacular because it gives something fun to the fans to look at. It’s like we take them on this journey with us. I’m sure we’ll get back to it but for the time being, I do miss that. I miss the glamour. B&B was so much about the fashion and that’s not as big a story as it has been in the past. But I’m sure it will come and go, depending on certain storylines. The business has changed … but that was a magical time.”