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The Soap Opera Thread


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6 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Didnt Liz do a cameo appearance on one soap?? I think it was General Hospital.....

I think I remember seeing that.  My wife was still watching it then.  And my ex was into GH too.  I remember coming home from work and watching a bit of it with her.  I recall when RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON was the original Dr. Jeff Webber in the '70's, and the actress that played his wife Monica was a pert, solidly built cutie.  Never knew the actress's name.   MUCH cuter than the actress that became Monica in the '80's.  There was a different actor playing RICK WEBBER that kinda reminded me of ROYAL DANO a bit.  And I remember years earlier, when my Mom was looking into it, that ROY THINNES was Dr.Phil Brewer, nurse Jesse Brewer's husband, who walked out on her a couple of years after the debut.  EMILY McLAUGHLIN wasn't that bad lookin' in those days. ;) 

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As someone who didn't really watch daytime soaps, In the 90s (as a kid who watched EVERY award ceremony with my mom, and figure skating, but that's for another thread) I was weirdly invested in Susan Lucci's 19-year Emmy losing streak (or whatever it was, it was a long time though, longer than Angela Lansbury's I think).  I've watched the You Tube video of her FINALLY winning an Emmy and it is very emotional.  The whole audience (including the women who lost against Lucci) scream and jump to their feet in a huge standing ovation. 

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31 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

As someone who didn't really watch daytime soaps, In the 90s (as a kid who watched EVERY award ceremony with my mom, and figure skating, but that's for another thread) I was weirdly invested in Susan Lucci's 19-year Emmy losing streak (or whatever it was, it was a long time though, longer than Angela Lansbury's I think).  I've watched the You Tube video of her FINALLY winning an Emmy and it is very emotional.  The whole audience (including the women who lost against Lucci) scream and jump to their feet in a huge standing ovation. 

I think Angela's was 16. Still no win or honorary one.

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19 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I remember Morgan Freeman on Another World. And Anne Heche. I think she played twins.

I recall liking Victoria Wyndham on that show. And whoever played Carl.

John Aprea from The Godfather Part II was on there, I think as Linda Dano's love interest.

It was Charles Keating who played Carl, a villain so much fun to watch that they kept bringing him back and then made him a love interest for Rachel (Victoria Wyndham). Victoria Wyndham was annoyed that some fans would refer to her as "the new Rachel" when she had played the part for 25 years as opposed to five years by the original Rachel, Robin Strasser.

Way back in the early 60s, maybe earlier, Agnes Nixon wrote an idea for a soap featuring the character of Erica Kane. This was years before All My Children actually came on the air. When Nixon was writing Another World, she used the same character idea to create Rachel, the selfish troublemaker who caused grief for herself and everyone around her. Robin Strasser played Rachel rather like Susan Lucci would play Erica Kane in years to come. Victoria Wyndham, who had played on The Guiding Light (never saw her on that show, unfortunately), was finally cast as Rachel, and the character became more sympathetic under new headwriter Harding Lemay. Wyndham was a great recast, but Robin Strasser's combination of villainy and flair for comedy was something very special.

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1 hour ago, kingrat said:

It was Charles Keating who played Carl, a villain so much fun to watch that they kept bringing him back and then made him a love interest for Rachel (Victoria Wyndham). Victoria Wyndham was annoyed that some fans would refer to her as "the new Rachel" when she had played the part for 25 years as opposed to five years by the original Rachel, Robin Strasser.

Way back in the early 60s, maybe earlier, Agnes Nixon wrote an idea for a soap featuring the character of Erica Kane. This was years before All My Children actually came on the air. When Nixon was writing Another World, she used the same character idea to create Rachel, the selfish troublemaker who caused grief for herself and everyone around her. Robin Strasser played Rachel rather like Susan Lucci would play Erica Kane in years to come. Victoria Wyndham, who had played on The Guiding Light (never saw her on that show, unfortunately), was finally cast as Rachel, and the character became more sympathetic under new headwriter Harding Lemay. Wyndham was a great recast, but Robin Strasser's combination of villainy and flair for comedy was something very special.

I don't have anything to add, except that I know exactly what you're talking about since I watched Another World with Robin Strasser and then Victoria Wyndham and I couldn't agree more and I love your post. If there was a thumbs up and double LIKE I would have checked it ;)

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I think that Dallas and Knots Landing also had a complicated relationship. The idea for Knots Landing came first, but it hadn't sold, and the writer thought about a back story for Gary Ewing, which led to Dallas. Once Dallas became a hit, the network was eager for Knots Landing, which originally did complete stories per episode, but was much more successful once it was turned into a full-blown soap.

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8 hours ago, Hibi said:

 I know soaps like Guiding Light and Search for Tomw started on radio. Probably some others too.

Search did not start on radio. It was only ever broadcast on television. And when it went off the air in December 1986, it was the longest-running TV soap at 35 years and three months, which Guiding Light surpassed a year later. Search ended its run, not because NBC cancelled it, but because Procter & Gamble had overspent on it and it was breaking even instead of turning a profit. They sort of mismanaged it. NBC had renewed it through mid-1987. It was great at the end and should've been allowed to continue.

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A little bit about The Secret Storm, since not many of you have seen it or even heard of it except for Joan Crawford's appearance. By the way, Tallulah Bankhead was a big fan of the show, and according to Lee Israel's biography (wait, how accurate would that be?), liked to get the writers drunk to persuade them to tell her what was going to happen next. Some early episodes from the 50s are on YouTube. What I've seen is not nearly as good as what I recall from the mid to late 60s.

The show is also noted for the audience getting to watch Jada Rowland grow up on the show. She was quite young when the show began. Although she did take time away from the show more than once, she returned and as an adult was the main heroine. She was beautiful and talented, emotionally vulnerable but strong and smart with a sense of humor. Jada Pinkett Smith and many another Jada have been named for her, but there's a catch. Most people assumed that her name was pronounced "Jayda." On her website she mentions that she was named for the song "Ja-Da," and there is an interview with her on YouTube where the interviewer calls her "Zhada." After Storm was cancelled, she replaced Carolee Campbell on The Doctors. Since the character had been gone a while, she had amnesia--of course!--and for weeks Jada Rowland had scenes in a hospital bed saying the only word she could utter, her husband's name: "STEEEEEVE!!!!!" Because her eyes were so expressive, the producers decided to milk this even longer.

At the time I began watching Storm, Jada Rowland was paired with Terry Kiser, and they made a great romantic couple (though he left the show fairly soon); Dark Shadows star Joel Crothers, the most handsome man in, like, the universe, and Stephanie Braxton were a married couple having problems; Barbara Rodell played the major problem; Judy Lewis, daughter of Loretta Young and Clark Gable, played Jada's older sister; and Marla Adams played Jada's nemesis, the wonderful soap vixen/villain Belle Britten. This was the core of a most enjoyable show, though the writers or producers or somebody would proceed to mess it up. Actors who subsequently joined the show included David Ackroyd; Bernard Barrow, who would have a long run on Ryan's Hope; and "Dance Ten, Looks Three" herself, Audrey Landers.

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34 minutes ago, kingrat said:

At the time I began watching Storm, Jada Rowland was paired with Terry Kiser, and they made a great romantic couple 

Wait, this Terry Kiser?!?

TerryKiser.jpg

I can't imagine him in a romantic role. I only know him for playing creeps, and the dead guy in the Weekend at Bernie's movies.

In my household, Days of Our Lives and Another World were the shows my mother and sisters watched, so I got to know quite a bit about them without actually watching them very much. I also saw a lot of Dark Shadows. My maternal grandmother watched The Secret Storm and The Edge of Night. A lot of good classic film-era talent appeared in those shows, as did a lot of up-and-comers.

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4 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Wait, this Terry Kiser?!?

TerryKiser.jpg

I can't imagine him in a romantic role. I only know him for playing creeps, and the dead guy in the Weekend at Bernie's movies.

In my household, Days of Our Lives and Another World were the shows my mother and sisters watched, so I got to know quite a bit about them without actually watching them very much. I also saw a lot of Dark Shadows. My maternal grandmother watched The Secret Storm and The Edge of Night. A lot of good classic film-era talent appeared in those shows, as did a lot of up-and-comers.

Kiser started in dramatic parts. He also had a role on The Doctors in 1968-1969 as a young physician.

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12 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

I think it was Port Charles.

Assorted-Port-Charles-Photos-port-charle

Dark Shadows wasn't the only one!

🤓

Yes, PORT CHARLES Was a half hour spin off of General Hospital. I was unemployed for a while in the early 2000s and actually took to watching it some as a couple of the actors were smoking hot.

Really, it wasn’t a bad show at all – although it had a very small cast I want to say only 10 actors or less and was obviously done on a budget of nothing. I didn’t realize this, but generally soaps started out in a half hour format and if they were successful were then expanded to hour long...There being a couple of exceptions like PASSIONS and SANTA BARBARA Which debuted as hour long shows and didn’t last a decade.

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15 hours ago, kingrat said:

It was Charles Keating who played Carl, a villain so much fun to watch that they kept bringing him back and then made him a love interest for Rachel (Victoria Wyndham). Victoria Wyndham was annoyed that some fans would refer to her as "the new Rachel" when she had played the part for 25 years as opposed to five years by the original Rachel, Robin Strasser.

Way back in the early 60s, maybe earlier, Agnes Nixon wrote an idea for a soap featuring the character of Erica Kane. This was years before All My Children actually came on the air. When Nixon was writing Another World, she used the same character idea to create Rachel, the selfish troublemaker who caused grief for herself and everyone around her. Robin Strasser played Rachel rather like Susan Lucci would play Erica Kane in years to come. Victoria Wyndham, who had played on The Guiding Light (never saw her on that show, unfortunately), was finally cast as Rachel, and the character became more sympathetic under new headwriter Harding Lemay. Wyndham was a great recast, but Robin Strasser's combination of villainy and flair for comedy was something very special.

You know it’s funny that you mention Robin Strasser because on a lark I decided to watch the most recent episode of DAYS OF OUR LIVES And she has taken over for the immortal LOUISE SOREL in the role of THE VILLAINOUS AUNT VIVIAN- and, um...someone needs to come get Grandma because she is EMBARRASSING HERSELF, which is really saying something considering the company she’s in.

She’s giving me major drunken Patty LuPone vibes

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17 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

As someone who didn't really watch daytime soaps, In the 90s (as a kid who watched EVERY award ceremony with my mom, and figure skating, but that's for another thread) I was weirdly invested in Susan Lucci's 19-year Emmy losing streak (or whatever it was, it was a long time though, longer than Angela Lansbury's I think).  I've watched the You Tube video of her FINALLY winning an Emmy and it is very emotional.  The whole audience (including the women who lost against Lucci) scream and jump to their feet in a huge standing ovation. 

By total coincidence, I was watching the night Susan Lucci won and it was absolutely electric. I still get chills thinking about it. It gets my vote for really the greatest award show moment ever.

Just seeing her standing up there holding the Emmy with the Chyron in the background reading “best actress Susan Lucci” was incredible.

And for the record, I’ve heard from a pretty good source that in real life Susan Lucci is actually incredibly nice.

yes, Queen- 

 

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22 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

As someone who didn't really watch daytime soaps, In the 90s (as a kid who watched EVERY award ceremony with my mom, and figure skating, but that's for another thread) I was weirdly invested in Susan Lucci's 19-year Emmy losing streak (or whatever it was, it was a long time though, longer than Angela Lansbury's I think).  I've watched the You Tube video of her FINALLY winning an Emmy and it is very emotional.  The whole audience (including the women who lost against Lucci) scream and jump to their feet in a huge standing ovation. 

When Lucci was a guest host on SNL they did a sketch in which Lucci notices everybody involved with the show had won an Emmy( or several) for whatever, and them trying to hide them from her in order to not get her upset.  Like the make-up lady, seeing Lucci glance over at her Emmy, picking it up apologetically and opening a drwer full of Emmy statuettes says, "I'll just put it in here with all the others...."  At one point, Lucci stumbles around backstage and sees EVERYONE holding an Emmy.  The set builders are even hammering nails with their Emmys!   It was pretty hilarious.  Too bad I couldn't find a clip of it.  :D 

Sepiatone

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I'd like to talk a bit more about Search for Tomorrow. It truly was my favorite soap. 

What set Search apart from other daytime serials was its focus on family. When a woman was assaulted, we saw how it affected her family. When a rebellious teen ran away from home, we saw how it affected the kid's family. When there was a corporate takeover, we saw how it affected the family members involved. When two brothers fought over the same woman, we saw how it affected the whole family. Additionally, there were lots of counseling scenes which I think probably helped the audience make sense of their own real life families.

Search stayed away from over the top plots. There were no aliens, no stolen embryos, and there was no coming back from the dead. Travis Sentell, the lead romantic character in the late 70s and early 80s, was killed off in the summer of 1984 (because actor Rod Arrants elected to leave and try his luck in Hollywood). Travis' death was very hard to watch. Especially because viewers knew he'd never come back from the dead, that it was certainly final. 

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 8.34.25 AM.jpeg

Search for Tomorrow had a wonderful British actress named Domini Blythe who portrayed Estelle Kendall, an Alexis Carrington type schemer in the show's last year. But none of her plots were ever over the top. It was more about her trying to connect with an estranged daughter (Jane Krakowski) and trying to get the goods on an ex-husband for tax evasion so she could have him put in jail and get him out of their daughter's life. The ex-husband was played by Robert Reed.

One of the show's hallmarks was its stories about friendship. The McCleary brothers and their pals were as close as could be, and women like Liza Sentell (Sherry Mathis, later Louann Gideon) and Sunny Adamson (Marcia McCabe) had been through one drama after another, but could count on each other to talk over problems while shopping or having a cup of coffee. The relationships among the core characters felt real.

Of course, the main friendship on the series existed between long-running characters Jo Tourneur (Mary Stuart) and Stu Bergman (Larry Haines). During the last year, Jo and Stu were finally starting to show some romantic affection towards each other-- after 35 years of being neighbors, business partners and having a succession of other spouses. I think if Search had continued, Jo and Stu would finally have married. We were sort of denied that when the show was abruptly ended by Procter & Gamble. But the final episodes were still very well done and the series did end on a high note, with a special scene between Jo and Stu.

The final season's cast:

Top row: Geoffrey Meek as Quinn McCleary; Domini Blythe as Estelle Kendall; David Forsythe as Hogan McCleary; Louann Gideon as Liza Sentell; Lee Godart as Bela Garody. Middle row: Jane Krakowski as T.R. Kendall; Joanna Going as Evie Stone; Marcia McCabe as Sunny Adamson. Bottom row: Jacqueline Schultz as Patty McCleary; Mary Stuart as Jo Tourneur; Terri Eoff as Suzy McCleary; Matthew Ashford as Cagney McCleary. Missing: Larry Haines as Stu Bergman.

Screen Shot 2019-09-28 at 8.15.17 AM.jpeg

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TB, thanks for your post on the last years of Search for Tomorrow, which I only saw at an earlier time, probably early 70s. It was a pretty good show for some of that time frame. When I began watching, Jo had hysterical blindness; Mary Stuart did an especially believable job of playing the blindness. Jo was involved with Dr. Tony Vincente (the dark and handsome Anthony George) and then later with Martin Tourneur (John Aniston, father of Jennifer). We got to see Morgan Fairchild in an early role, progressing (if that's the word) from teenage vixen to loony tunes to psycho killer. Marie (later Maree) Cheatham played Stephanie Wyatt, always a delight to watch, often an antagonist to Jo. Val Dufour, who had been killed off on Another World (big story there), had a major role as John Wyatt, Jo's brother-in-law.

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