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TopBilled

Soap hunks and divas

103 posts in this topic

I've been wanting to start a thread about the soaps, but I couldn't decide who to start with.

I'd like to cover the actors, especially those gorgeous hunks women and gay men have swooned over...as well as some of the genre's more iconic actresses known for their portrayals of divas.

*****

Reruns of the classic U.S. soap The Doctors (1963-82) have been airing on Retro. Currently they're about to start on the December 1974 episodes.

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In November 1973 Gil Gerard joined the show as Dr. Alan Stewart (ahead of his days as Buck Rogers). Before he was cast, most of the men on the program were older and you might say more traditional in appearance. Some think his hiring, despite having very little acting experience, was part of a new trend to chase youthful demographics on soaps. The more youth-oriented All My Children had premiered on ABC three years before, and CBS' The Young and the Restless had begun several months earlier. By comparison, NBC (the network that aired The Doctors, Another World and Days of Our Lives) skewed much older.

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In Gil's first weeks as Alan, he was shirtless. He and Alan's wife were introduced in a Hawaiian beach setting then brought east to the soap's regular small town location. He played the nephew of established lead Dr. Matt Powers (James Pritchett, the only performer to be on the show for its entire run). Interestingly the wife Margo (Mary Denham) was British and no attempt was made to cover her accent or disguise her culture, further differentiating them as a new type of soap couple. 

Gil became a household name playing Alan Stewart over the next two and a half years. It's not surprising NBC would want to promote him to guest-starring roles in primetime and then give him his own series soon afterward. 

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8 hours ago, Jlewis said:

Certainly not Hawaii Five-O in scenic wonder.

I think the target audience was only suppose to be admiring Mr Gerad's manly chest hair

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48 minutes ago, jaragon said:

I think the target audience was only suppose to be admiring Mr Gerad's manly chest hair

The seventies was a rather hairy decade. The eighties marked the trend towards plucking it all out like feathers in a dead chicken.

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1 hour ago, Jlewis said:

The seventies was a rather hairy decade. The eighties marked the trend towards plucking it all out like feathers in a dead chicken.

Though Tom Selleck never did. He was known for his hairy chest (and mustache) on Magnum P.I. 

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And since we're now talking about Tom Selleck, I should mention on this thread that one of his earlier TV roles occurred on CBS' The Young and the Restless. From 1974 to 1975 he portrayed Jed Andrews. (There was another character later on named Jed Sanders, played by Josh Taylor, unrelated to Selleck's character.) 

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Jed Andrews was a very wealthy and very married publisher who caught the eye of heroine Lorie Brooks (Jaime Lyn Bauer). Selleck lasted a year on the series. His first role had been a small one on the western program Lancer in 1969. He then played 'Stud' opposite Mae West in MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, and found sporadic work in TV movies until he was cast on the soap. After his time on Y&R, he moved on to primetime guest spots and a few supporting roles in feature films.

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A turning point came in 1978 when he snagged a recurring part on James Garner's The Rockford Files series which led Universal to give Selleck his own series in 1980. The rest as they say was history. Selleck's screen career was at its peak in the 1980s and early 1990s. In addition to Magnum, he had the lead in several hit motion pictures. But TV became his bread and butter. In 2005 he reprised the role of Jed Andrews for one special episode of Y&R.

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Also his popular show began at the start of the decade. This was also the era of Richard Chamberlain, the leading mini-series king, remaining free of the razor as well.

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What a fun topic!  I like chest hair on the men.  I'll be glad when the hairless chest fad passes.  Last time I saw soap men with no shirts, all their chests looked virtually the same -  no variation except for skin color.  Boring!  

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Tom Selleck was also been in a mini-series about a small town cop a few years ago and he was good in that role.  Does anybody remember the name?  I think it was based on a novel(s).

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11 minutes ago, ChristineHoard said:

Tom Selleck was also been in a mini-series about a small town cop a few years ago and he was good in that role.  Does anybody remember the name?  I think it was based on a novel(s).

Not sure which one you're referring to. Here's his list of credits on wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Selleck#Filmography

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14 minutes ago, ChristineHoard said:

Tom Selleck was also been in a mini-series about a small town cop a few years ago and he was good in that role.  Does anybody remember the name?  I think it was based on a novel(s).

Those are the Jesse Stone TV movies, based on the books by Robert B. Parker. There have been 9 so far, with more supposedly on the way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Stone_(character)

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14 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Those are the Jesse Stone TV movies, based on the books by Robert B. Parker. There have been 9 so far, with more supposedly on the way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_Stone_(character)

Yes, that's it!  Thanks!  The ones I saw were pretty good.

TopBilled, I'm surprised you didn't know this.  LOL.

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2 hours ago, ChristineHoard said:

What a fun topic!  I like chest hair on the men.  I'll be glad when the hairless chest fad passes.  Last time I saw soap men with no shirts, all their chests looked virtually the same -  no variation except for skin color.  Boring!  

It is a topic worth discussing much like false eyelashes on women in the 1960s and the fad for flat chests with the same gender back in the roaring '20s, which Marilyn Monroe is jealous of with Jack Lemmon's "Daphne" in Some Like It Hot.

The one who was likely guiltiest for encouraging "bodyscaping" in the 1980s and the '90s was Calvin Klein whose models dominated the two decades appealing to men both gay and straight. It is also an appropriate topic for this thread because the first wave of "hunks" shaving it off were in daytime soaps of the 1980s.

More along the gay route, another Calvin might have also contributed to this trend a decade earlier. We all discussed Calvin Culver / Casey Donovan on the other thread. In the film that made him famous, Boys In The Sand, he sported moderate hair on his chest. Yet he was very smooth when he starred as Eddie in Radley Metzger's Score a year later. However, this was done deliberately because the other two guys in that film, Gerald Grant and Carl Parker, were typically early seventies hairy and it was also part of the play dialogue: his wife Betsy (Lynn Lowry) favors him that way and this prompts a joke involving bisexual "predator" Elvira (Claire Wilbur) liking both hairy chests (her husband) and no hair (but Betsy rather than Eddie in this case). (What can I say? I can't stop referencing that movie because it provided me with so many unexpected laughs in-between the eye-raising hanky panky scenes.)

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Yes; I recall the Calvin Klein ads.  I remember from an earlier time, way before the soap "hunks" were removing any suggestion of body hair, photos of William Holden.  In one (I don't recall from what movie or if it was just a "beefcake" shot) he has some chest hair and in PICNIC he has no hair.

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Jlewis, Thanks again.  Love Bill Holden and he looks great here!  I should have remembered - Sunset Blvd. is my favorite movie.  I guess it's time to watch it again.:)

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Yeah I think Calvin Klein had something to with the trend of hairless muscle bodies- not too mention gay porn

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Another factor in the "hairless male" look was the emergence of body-building into the mainstream during the 1970's. Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and the non-competing Sylvester Stallone) were all over TV, magazine covers, and finally movie screens, and helped usher in the muscle-bound hero of 80's cinema, which eventually led to the "superhero bod" fashionable now. The competitive body builders always shaved/waxed all body hair to show more muscle definition.

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29 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Another factor in the "hairless male" look was the emergence of body-building into the mainstream during the 1970's. Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and the non-competing Sylvester Stallone) were all over TV, magazine covers, and finally movie screens, and helped usher in the muscle-bound hero of 80's cinema, which eventually led to the "superhero bod" fashionable now. The competitive body builders always shaved/waxed all body hair to show more muscle definition.

Interesting comment. Obviously I am going to be covering soap hunks from different decades. So we will be seeing how the "species" evolves. Also the divas' fashions fluctuate wildly. Tomorrow I am going to profile a Days of Our Lives diva and I found some great, very memorable photos for her.

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6 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Interesting comment. Obviously I am going to be covering soap hunks from different decades. So we will be seeing how the "species" evolves. Also the divas' fashions fluctuate wildly. Tomorrow I am going to profile a Days of Our Lives diva and I found some great, very memorable photos for her.

Days is about the only soap I know much about, thanks to my mother and sisters watching it for decades. I'll be curious who it is.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Days is about the only soap I know much about, thanks to my mother and sisters watching it for decades. I'll be curious who it is.

I won't leave you in suspense. I will be posting about the iconic Dierdre Hall tomorrow.

Other divas I want to discuss as we go along include (in no particular order)--

...soaps' first bad girl Eileen Fulton (As the World Turns); scheming vixen Brenda Dickson (The Young and the Restless); the stylish Linda Dano (Another World); the forever fabulous Marj Dusay (Capitol); the legendary Susan Lucci (All My Children); the fantastic Kate Ford (Coronation Street); the late great Jeanne Cooper (The Young and the Restless); Scandinavian goddess Nina Arvesen (The Young and the Restless); sassy Sharon Wyatt (General Hospital); the irrepressible Kim Zimmer (Guiding Light); my cousin Colleen Zenk (As the World Turns); spectacular Katharine Kelly Lang (The Bold and the Beautiful); the always intriguing Joan Collins (Guiding Light); a past-her-prime Joan Crawford (Secret Storm); real life diva Victoria Rowell (The Young and the Restless); and Britain's baddest most rotten to the core Emma Atkins (Emmerdale).

Hunks to cover (again in no particular order)--

...perfectly chiseled Ronn Moss (The Bold and the Beautiful); superstar singer Ricky Martin (General Hospital); future super hero John Wesley Shipp (Guiding Light & As the World Turns); British heartthrob Anthony Quinlan (Emmerdale); a very young Alec Baldwin (The Doctors); the groundbreaking Brian Starcher (As the World Turns); the incredibly handsome Don Diamont (The Young and the Restless & The Bold and the Beautiful); Generation X hunk Steve Burton (General Hospital); the totally memorable Shemar Moore (The Young and the Restless); Italian dreamboat Paoli Seganti (As the World Turns); the masculine yet ethereal Bill Ward (Emmerdale); 90s nirvana Judson Mills (As the World Turns); yummy-licious Jacob Young (General Hospital & The Bold and the Beautiful); the extremely edgy Marc Baylis (Coronation Street); knight in shining armour Robert Newman (Guiding Light); and flaming hot star of tomorrow Danny Walters (EastEnders).

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I love some of those descriptions! :lol:

I know quite a few of those: Deidre Hall, of course (I also liked Kristin Alfonso back in the 80's at the height of the original Bo & Hope storyline); Jeanne Cooper, a frequent presence in many a 60's TV show; Linda Dano I remember (my mother also watched Another World) and I recall her even getting a talk show at one point; Lucci, Collins, and Zimmer are also very well known to me. The rest I'm sure about, so I'll be sure to check in and read about them.

As for the guys, I know Moss, Diamont, Alec Baldwin naturally, John Wesley Shipp (The Flash!), and Shemar Moore, who my oldest sister loves.

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I remember most of these names from my soap-watching days and reading SOAP OPERA DIGEST and SOAP OPERA WEEKLY.  I'm very much looking forward to this.

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