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kingrat

The Soap Opera Thread

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10 hours 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.

I'm not surprised if you only know Terry Kiser from his later roles. Even I was surprised to see his performances on The Doctors (available on YouTube) as a nerdy innocent doctor, which predated his run on The Secret Storm. Nerdy innocent, then romantic leading man--he could also do comedy. I actually thought he would have a much bigger career. His imdb entry shows that he did work steadily as a guest star on TV, and he also did theater work as well. His performance as a charismatic evangelist in Rachel, Rachel shows what he looked like in his romantic lead days.  I agree with the "Stallone without HGH" comments. It's totally weird that he is best known for playing a dead body.

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56 minutes ago, kingrat said:

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.

You're welcome.

Cheatham had started as an original cast member on Days of Our Lives. She moved to New York in the mid-70s and joined Search for Tomorrow. She played Jo Tourneur's rival Stephanie Wyatt from 1974 to 1984. After she left Search, due to a dispute with the writers about the direction of her character, she resurfaced on General Hospital as a white trash character named Charlene Simpson.

Marie Cheatham was replaced on Search by Emmy winning actress and writer Louise Shaffer. Shaffer had the impossible task of following Cheatham who was very much identified with the role of Stephanie Wyatt. But I came to enjoy Shaffer's performance a bit more, because I think she nailed the business scenes in a way that Cheatham really didn't do too well. Plus Shaffer was a bit sexier so it was believable that her version of Stephanie would attract the daughter's boyfriend. 

The character of Stephanie Wyatt was killed off in January 1986, because with the addition of British actress Domini Blythe as Estelle Kendall, Stephanie had become sort of redundant. Plus, almost all of Stephanie's family had been written off the show at that point anyway.

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38 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Victor Kiriakis!

John_Aniston_as_Victor_Kiriakis.jpg

 

In his recent interview with the Television Academy Foundation, John Aniston talks about his last year on Search for Tomorrow. He played business owner Martin Tourner from 1978 to 1984 on Search. He describes how one day in mid-1984 his then-15 year old daughter Jennifer visited him on the set and met his young costar Jane Krakowski. According to him, Jennifer and Jane became fast friends and because of that friendship, Jennifer decided she wanted to become an actress too. At one point Jennifer called her dad's agent, while John was working on his latest scenes, and told him to start finding her jobs. That's how her career in show business began.

He sardonically says he expected Jennifer to fail but she kept getting call backs and soon was landing good roles. And as we know, her career sort of eclipsed his. But John Aniston is still appearing on Days of Our Lives, so he's certainly had a long career in daytime television. 

Martin Tourneur was written out in October 1984. He was the only husband of leading lady Jo (Mary Stuart) that wasn't killed off. In the story, Martin and Jo divorced and he left for the Caribbean to open a new casino. They had left the door open for him to return later, but John Aniston relocated to Los Angeles. And in the summer of 1985, he began playing Victor Kiriakis on Days. In the same interview, he says Victor had a different last name, but he suggested Kiriakis since it was the name of a town in Greece where the Anistons are originally from.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

You're welcome.

Cheatham had started as an original cast member on Days of Our Lives. She moved to New York in the mid-70s and joined Search for Tomorrow. She played Jo Tourneur's rival Stephanie Wyatt from 1974 to 1984. After she left Search, due to a dispute with the writers about the direction of her character, she resurfaced on General Hospital as a white trash character named Charlene Simpson.

Marie Cheatham was replaced on Search by Emmy winning actress and writer Louise Shaffer. Shaffer had the impossible task of following Cheatham who was very much identified with the role of Stephanie Wyatt. But I came to enjoy Shaffer's performance a bit more, because I think she nailed the business scenes in a way that Cheatham really didn't do too well. Plus Shaffer was a bit sexier so it was believable that her version of Stephanie would attract the daughter's boyfriend. 

The character of Stephanie Wyatt was killed off in January 1986, because with the addition of British actress Domini Blythe as Estelle Kendall, Stephanie had become sort of redundant. Plus, almost all of Stephanie's family had been written off the show at that point anyway.

I never saw Louise Shaffer on Search, but was a big fan of her work on other shows (Where the Heart Is, The Edge of Night, Ryan's Hope). She was smart and funny and always worth watching. It's not surprising she turned to writing.

I should also mention Joan Copeland as Andrea, who had been an antagonist for Jo before I started watching, and Kathryn Walker, excellent as a schemer gone bad. Walker was involved in real life soap opera: when she was married to James Taylor, she helped him get off heroin. Walker and Taylor were both from upper-crust New York society.

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Re: VICTORIA WYNDHAM

I started watching ANOTHER WOELD In 1989, and by that time Rachel had ensconced herself as the lady elegant of Cory Mansion. Sometime later I discovered a written History of the show and was downright FLOORED to  discover she was a HO back in the day. 

Anyhow, just now I was watching the scene from 1990 where her daughter comes to her and admits that she is having an affair. It’s a really terrific scene- it starts at 23:23, and Wyndham plays it beautifully

Somebody needed to tell Amanda to cut the crap.

 

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I wasn't allowed to watch soaps as a kid, so never acquired a taste for them. Until college. I once caught some wild dialogue/action on Guiding Light involving the evil Roger Thorpe character while waiting for frat house fave Price Is Right. I started watching Light and found it pretty funny in a silly pre-code sort of way. Once that plot line shifted to a "younger" charactors, I became disinterested.

But it perfectly primed me for SOAP, which I loved & own the complete series on DVD.

soap.jpg

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For those who have only seen Another World in the 80s/90s timeframe, you can get an idea of what it was like in the mid to late 60s in one episode available on YouTube. Because it is a wedding episode, you get introduced to just about all of the characters. The sound and picture quality is poor, alas. The show is all about the Matthews family--All-American Midwestern middle-class--and their friends. The D.A., Walter Curtin (Val Dufour) had wrongly prosecuted poor little Missy (Carol Roux) for murder--but that has been resolved and Missy has married the love of her life Bill Matthews (Joseph Gallison), much to the chagrin of his mother Liz Matthews (Audra Lindley), and Missy and Bill have left town. Liz had wanted Bill to marry rich girl Lenore Moore (Judith Barcroft), but Lenore is now going to marry Walter. She will have reason to regret this choice later on.

Rachel Davis (Robin Strasser), daughter of the hard-working hairstylist Ada Davis (Constance Ford), is engaged to marry Russ Matthews (Sam Groom). He's a young doctor, and Rachel mistakenly believes he can support her in a style exactly like Lenore is used to. Rachel wants to be BFFs with Lenore (this will also have consequences later on) and to be able to live exactly like Lenore. Russ's parents are Jim (don't recall if Hugh Marlowe has replaced Sheppard Strudwick by this time) and Mary Matthews (Virginia Dwyer). Russ has two sisters, Pat (Beverly Penberthy) who is married to John Randolph, the attorney who got her acquitted of a murder charge (Michael M. Ryan), and a younger sister Alice (Jacquie Courtney). During the wedding party Alice is introduced to a rich young businessman, Steven Frame (George Reinholt). AW fans will appreciate getting this first glimpse of the Alice/Steve/Rachel triangle which will create major story for a decade.

There's also a secondary love triangle in this episode. Ada's brother Sam Lucas (Jordan Charney), who has a blue-collar background but studying to be a lawyer, is in love with John Randolph's daughter Lee (Barbara Rodell), but Lahoma Vane (Ann Wedgeworth) is the gal from his past still carrying a torch for him.

The show at this time was a combination of realism, murder trials, and a little bit of social relevance. Lee Randolph is afraid to marry Sam because someone had put LSD in her drink, and she's concerned that any children of hers might be damaged by this. This storyline will ultimately end with Lee having an LSD flashback and dying in a car crash, much to the anger of the fans who adored Barbara Rodell. When Agnes Nixon repeated this plot on One Life to Live, she had learned not to kill off the character who had taken the LSD. On the other hand, nothing could be more true to life than the way the Matthews women try to make Rachel part of the family even though none of them really like Rachel and all of them think Russ could have done so much better. This is exactly the way women of my mother's generation behaved.

A couple of notes about the actors: Judith Barcroft had actually grown up as a kind of Grace Kelly debutante, so she is perfectly cast as Lenore, and later as Anne Tyler on All My Children. If you've only seen Audra Lindley in comic roles like Mrs. Roper on Three's Company and The Ropers, or as the madam Fauna in Cannery Row, you might never guess how great she was as the villain you love to hate, Liz Matthews. Nancy Wickwire, who followed her in the part, also was outstanding, and Irene Dailey certainly could have been, but by that time Liz had dwindled down to a gossipy busybody. Sociopaths are much more interesting, as TV characters that is.

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The prime time soap I am most familiar with (albeit only the first three years, as that was all that was put on DVD) is Falcon Crest..... Jane Wyman made a great lead, and the cast around here was great too, especially Margaret Ladd as her eccentric daughter.

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On 9/27/2019 at 10:42 AM, Hibi said:

 When did they ditch that AWFUL ORGAN music??? (soaps in general, I mean).

Whenever I hear the organ music, I think of Carol Burnett's As the Stomach Turns. They had a funny one where Carol Channing played Jinx, the world's unluckiest woman. Widowed many times, set sail on the Andrea Doria, and according to the narrator at the end, "Will she be able to close her charge account at Forest Lawn?"

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1 hour ago, CinemaInternational said:

The prime time soap I am most familiar with (albeit only the first three years, as that was all that was put on DVD) is Falcon Crest..... Jane Wyman made a great lead, and the cast around here was great too, especially Margaret Ladd as her eccentric daughter.

56f41-screen2bshot2b2016-12-042bat2b12-37-492bpm.png

I think the first four seasons of Falcon Crest are on DVD. And the individual episodes from those seasons can be streamed on Amazon.

Probably the actress who had the most challenging material on Falcon Crest was Abby Dalton, who played Wyman's oldest daughter Julia. During the first season her character was a divorced alcoholic. By the second season, Julia had become a killer. She spent much of season three behind bars, but was eventually released. In the fourth season, she was involved in an over-the-top Nazi treasure plot. In the fifth season, she was revealed to be the mother of an illegitimate son, a young man that had become a priest. And in the sixth season, she was written out when she went off to a convent.

So during the course of those six years, Abby Dalton had to take the character from murderess to nun. She made every single one of those stories work, to her credit.

Margaret Ladd's character, the younger sister Emma, was more of a comic loon. While Dalton had to play insanity and innocence in a much more dramatic way. The point of those stories was that the daughters of Angela Channing (Jane Wyman) had been damaged but were ultimately redeemed by their mother's power and influence. On that level, it was a brilliant series.

The writers also had Wyman's matriarch involved in an ongoing feud with an interloper named Richard (David Selby) who turned out to be her long-lost son. And that was an equally brilliant storyline, helped by Wyman's close off-screen friendship with Selby.

7615c-screen2bshot2b2016-12-042bat2b12-39-032bpm.png

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11 hours ago, TopBilled said:

had to take the character from murderess to nun

Love that!

Yeah, soaps launched many a movie career. It's a great place for actors to learn discipline of show business, training ground. A very talented friend who is a costumer works on a soap. Sometimes I think those involved are a bit embarrassed, but I think it's a huge success to land a job like that.

When it was trendy for people to say "Kill Your TV" I'd cite all the creative jobs TV work offers: writers, camera operators, editors, lighting/sound techs, make up & hair artists, set designers, etc. TV is a very important medium for artists.

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14 hours ago, kingrat said:

re: Liz Matthews. Nancy Wickwire, who followed her in the part, also was outstanding, and Irene Dailey certainly could have been, but by that time Liz had dwindled down to a gossipy busybody. Sociopaths are much more interesting, as TV characters that is.

and yet, IRENE DAILEY won the DAYTIME EMMY FOR BEST ACTRESS for her role as AUNT LIZ on ANOTHER WORLD, which neither VICKY WYNDHAM, CONSTANCE FORD or BEVERLEE MCKINSEY ever did...

(I did not watch the show during this period, having just been born and all, but it is intriguing to me as someone who only knew "AUNT LIZ" when she'd be trotted out for an ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL in the 80's and 90's. i think her last appearance was the 30th aniversary of the show in 1994. wonder what episode they submitted for her)

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I AM WRITING something in my spare time (of which i have a lot) and in order to "keep pure from outside influences" i am avoiding classic movies and sticking to youtube re-runs of ANOTHER WORLD from 1988-1991 (1992 is when the show started to go downhill with the UNFORGIVABLE recast of ANNE HECHE as MARLEY/VICKY with JENSEN BUCHANAN- who my sister and I dubbed "Sh!tty Vicky" and who- after a year- refused to play "Boring" twin Marley and turned Vicky from a reckless but lovable character into a stupid, irritating, spoiled, unlikable "rhymes with" who later gleefully married her sister's rap ist.)

-sorry, that was an aside there.

in watching, I am really struck by what a genuinely GIFTED and appealing actress ANNA STUART is as DONNA LOVE HUDSON, another spoiled, reckless, delusional troublemaker who we, as the audience, should hate, but the actress in the role is so FUN, you just CANNOT. She's funny, she seems like she can improvise (she's often fiddling with her earrings or jangling her RUN DMC gold bracelets in a scene)- this weekend I watched a scene where she is in jail for perjuring herself at her Daughter's trial for shooting a man (she lied and said she did it) and she is behind bars talking about how she was looking at her nails thinking she needs a manicure- then realizes she can't get one IN PRISON, and she has a MAJOR BREAKDOWN OVER IT on a par with MERYL STREEP's over picking which kid to fork over in SOPHIE'S CHOICE.

it's EMMY-level.

ALSO, THE EYELINER AND THE SHOULDER PADS!!!!!!!!!!!

donnalove1.jpg

Everytime i read an interview with an actor or writer for AW, they rave about ANNA the person, she seems to have been the set-favorite (anne heche GOES ON AND ON ABOUT HER IN HER BIOGRAPHY, CLAIMING SHE WAS LIKE A SECOND MOTHER)

She did some more soaps after AW, but seems largely retired now and is married to actor JAMES CROMWELL.

 

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14 hours ago, CinemaInternational said:

Whenever I hear the organ music, I think of Carol Burnett's As the Stomach Turns. They had a funny one where Carol Channing played Jinx, the world's unluckiest woman. Widowed many times, set sail on the Andrea Doria, and according to the narrator at the end, "Will she be able to close her charge account at Forest Lawn?"

I loved those sketches. They were very funny. I loved how Vicki Lawrence just threw her baby in the umbrella stand....

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Just now, Hibi said:

I loved those sketches. They were very funny. I loved how Vicki Lawrence just threw her baby in the umbrella stand....

SAY WHAT NOW???

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On 9/28/2019 at 12:05 PM, kingrat said:

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.

My grandmother watched ths show right up to the end, I think. I remember her watching Search and Light when they were 15 min. shows. I can't imagine how slow the pace must've been then. I remember a lot about the show without really watching it. The travails of Joanne Tate! (that was her name in the early days before all the later marriages...). I recorded that last show out of curiosity. I remember the last scene still. You could tell there was a lot of emotion under the surface esp. from Mary Stuart who was with the show from the beginning...

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15 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

SAY WHAT NOW???

It was sort of a running gag. I'm not sure it was in every sketch. She'd play the unwed daughter who turns up with a baby, then after entering throws it in the umbrella stand!

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42 minutes ago, Hibi said:

It was sort of a running gag. I'm not sure it was in every sketch. She'd play the unwed daughter who turns up with a baby, then after entering throws it in the umbrella stand!

oh am SO OFF TO YOUTUBE to track down this....

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2 hours ago, Hibi said:

I loved those sketches. They were very funny. I loved how Vicki Lawrence just threw her baby in the umbrella stand....

:D I remember seeing that.  I do think it might have been done in more than one sketch, but I'm not sure. 

Sepiatone

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7 hours ago, Hibi said:

I loved those sketches. They were very funny. I loved how Vicki Lawrence just threw her baby in the umbrella stand....

Another one was a takeoff on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, with Steve martin as Richard Dreyfuss and Tim Conray as an alien. Betty White was also in the skit and when Conroy came out in the alien getup, she said "That shape.... that form.... he could be the Pillsbury doughboy!"

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On 9/30/2019 at 5:33 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

and yet, IRENE DAILEY won the DAYTIME EMMY FOR BEST ACTRESS for her role as AUNT LIZ on ANOTHER WORLD, which neither VICKY WYNDHAM, CONSTANCE FORD or BEVERLEE MCKINSEY ever did...

(I did not watch the show during this period, having just been born and all, but it is intriguing to me as someone who only knew "AUNT LIZ" when she'd be trotted out for an ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL in the 80's and 90's. i think her last appearance was the 30th aniversary of the show in 1994. wonder what episode they submitted for her)

Yes, the weird thing about the Daytime Emmys is that the actors submit reels (two consecutive shows for 60-min. programs and four for 30-min. shows) whereas the distinctive element about daytime drama is that actors perform throughout the year. A limited number of people vote after watching the highlight reels.

In the early years of the award, the Daytime Emmys often went to actors like Macdonald Carey who had appeared in movies or actors like Irene Dailey and Al Freeman, Jr. who had built reputations in the theater. Irene Dailey had starred on Broadway in the original cast of The Subject Was Roses. I believe that some of the voters felt that choosing actors who had movie or theater credentials gave more prestige to the Daytime Emmys and to the genre of daytime serials.

Originally there were no supporting actor/actress categories, just as in the early years of the Oscars. Dailey and Freeman would have belonged in the supporting category if there had been one. It is said that when Laurie Heinemann, the original Sharlene Frame on Another World, won the Best Actress award, to the surprise of many, the Emmys decided they needed the supporting categories.

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16 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Falcon Crest had a wonderful opening theme song.

 

Absolutely. So majestic. Written by Bill Conti, who did the music for Rocky, The Right Stuff, For Your Eyes Only, and The Karate Kid.

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