He signed his name John Forsythe. But the crowd saw him only as Blake Carrington. "Why is Alexis so mean to you?" they asked. "Where is Krystle?"
Krystle, presumably, was looking after her own affairs while Forsythe, a.k.a. Carrington, was at the Downtown Broadway Plaza store, seated at a desk worthy of "Dynasty."
As students, housewives, tourists, lawyers, secretaries and executives filed by his temporary throne, he smiled, shook hands and autographed--frequently along the sleek surfaces of fragrance bottles.
The fragrance was his, in a sense. Labeled Carrington, it's the new "Dynasty" offering from Charles of the Ritz, the company that last year brought out Forever Krystle.
A cologne and after shave made with citrus oils, cedarwood, Spanish rosemary and French lavender, Carrington is modestly priced from $10 to $21. But it holds out the extravagant promise of being like Blake--sexy, sophisticated, elegant, romantic, powerful yet vulnerable.
Lawyer David Strouse was among the noontime crowd of 1,500 at the Broadway. As he carefully returned his purchases--two autographed bottles of Carrington and two of Forever Krystle--into a bag, he beamed with satisfaction. "I'm missing a seminar at UCLA. But, yes, it's that important to me. I'm a fan. He's wonderful. He's got style, a dynamic presence."
Did Strouse buy the cologne because it promised to make him sexy, sophisticated, elegant, romantic, powerful yet vulnerable?
Not a chance. "I'm that already," he grinned.
Jenny Khoo, an administrative assistant, waited without a bottle of fragrance, because the line at the cosmetic counter had been too long, she said. She had given up her lunch hour to see Forsythe and it was worth it.
"He looks great," she sighed.
Forsythe did look great with the spotlight playing up his distinguished features--the silver mane, the handsome profile, the dazzling smile.
Then there is the voice. It's the voice that sells Michelob beer and the voice that once portrayed Charlie on "Charlie's Angels." It is resonant, captivating, kind. It is also unexpectedly chatty during an interview just before his public appearance.
"A curious thing happens in this business. When I was playing 'Bachelor Father,' I got a lot of mail from women saying: 'Mr. Forsythe, you're such a lovely man, I'd love to have you to meet my daughter.' Now I get letters saying, 'I want to spend a weekend with you. Meet me in Acapulco.' I'm essentially the same guy. I'm just wearing different clothing."
Forsythe's daughters, paid to handle his fan mail in their spare time, he says, find some of the new crop of letters so offensive "they tear them up without showing them to me."
He and his screen persona definitely have their differences.
"I'm a simple man. I'm also very different in my attitudes. I have a son and he is not a homosexual. But if he were, I would have reacted very differently than Blake Carrington."
Being a "lousy businessman," Forsythe says he has modeled Carrington after business tycoons he has known and shaped him in other ways as well.
"For one thing, I resisted the producers' desire to make a 'Dallas' J.R. out of him. (Blake) isn't a villain. He's a complicated, fascinating, dimensional human being."
And what about Carrington the fragrance? Will it really do all its publicity promises?
"You mean make a man warm, sexy, powerful, romantic, arresting?" Forsythe asks, flashing one of his trademark smiles.
"I promise nothing, but it's possible he will become everything."