LOS ANGELES -- An author suing the makers of 'Falcon Crest' for $100 million, claiming the idea for the series was stolen from a novel she wrote, said Wednesday the list of similarities between the book and show is seven feet long.
Anita Clay Kornfeld, testifying before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gadbois Jr., said she compiled the list detailing similarities between characters, settings and events after reviewing dozens of documents subpoenaed from CBS and Lorimar Productions.
'I spent days marking in red things that were taken straight out of my book,' she said outside the courtroom. 'It was phenomenal.'
Mrs. Kornfeld, of Napa, Calif., filed suit against the hit show's creators and producers in August 1981, a year after her novel, 'Vintage,' was published by Simon and Schuster. The suit was originally filed in San Francisco but was moved to Los Angeles where the network and production company have bases.
Both the book and series revolve around matriarchal families in Northern California's wine country.
'I was so upset during the time I was marking down all these similarities, the adrenalin was shooting out of the top of my head,' Mrs. Kornfeld said.
Paul Monzione, Mrs. Kornfeld's attorney, said the list was compiled 'because we were at the point where we were about to go to trial and we needed strong evidence.
'We needed to lay things out item by item.'
He said a literary expert who poured over copies of scripts and synopses of the program found additional similarities missed by Mrs. Kornfeld, making a list that measured seven feet in length.
Mrs. Kornfeld testified last week that a barroom brawl and a stabbing described in her book were used in the series' pilot, 'The Vintage Years.' She also compared her novel's white-haired matriarch to the role played in the series by actress Jane Wyman.
'I thought it was interesting that they stuck a white wig on Jane Wyman and made her look like a wax store dummy,' she said.
Mrs. Kornfeld's suit alleges that her agent had a verbal agreement with Lorimar, creator of such hit shows as 'Dynasty' and 'Eight Is Enough,' to pay the author $1 million for use of the material.