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Classic Soaps (I'm Still) Watching Another World

Discussion in 'US Soaps Forum' started by Canon, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    What kills me is how every scene seems to center around pouring drinks!

    AW was very popular in Canada (so I heard) so it very well may be a BMcK impression.

    The mark of a truly good parody (which SCTV accomplished in spades) is the material isn't mean-spirited; the actors seem to "like" the subject they're spoofing. And the writers obviously enjoyed soaps enough to watch and pick up some of the spoof-worthy elements.
     
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  2. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    I never took to Another World when it originally aired. At the time I only watched CBS soaps, then I added some ABC soaps In the early 2000s but I never cared for NBC soaps. When the show went to SOAPnet the promos didn’t interest me (mainly because of my NBC bias). Then fast forward to today and I bought Harding Lemay’s book And it’s made me a fast fan! In a way I’m happy I waited so long to try Another World because it’s like a hidden gem for me.

    What struck me in his book is how different he spoke about the process of writing a soap. I feel like the only person who might be somewhat similar is Bill Bell. Looking at how successful he was it amazes me nobody attempted to copy his more literary style and also that they gave him such hell. It also amazes me they didn’t do everything in their power to get him back considering the show went from #2 his entire run straight to the bottom. I’ve read that his brief return in 88 brought strong changes that propelled the show and I can only imagine where they’d be had he been given two or three years to write.

    The worst part of getting into AW is knowing it’s a PGP soap which means the best years are lost. Thankfully via YouTube I’ve seen a few episodes from the 70s that he wrote. I also notice if you search “Another World (insert random year)” playlists pop up with episodes and clips for each year in order. Watching the 1979 episodes you can tell as soon as it switches from his voice to the next writer, Tom King I believe. Even though his heart wasn’t into it the show was still very good. I also find a character based soap to be more interesting and faster paced than the plot driven ones. The episodes he wrote turned me into a Rachel fan. I had no idea Victoria Wyndham was so good! She could be so nasty but she has such a delicate softness to her. And Mac! What an amazing couple! Ada is also another huge favorite of mine. From what I saw I wasn’t impressed with Steve at all. I did think Jaqueline Courtney was good as Alice, but not a great actress. She was very charismatic and soapy.

    Right now I’m in the 1980 episodes from the AOL run. It’s more run of the mill soap but the strong cast and good production values carries the show along. One sad thing I notice is that the show has many different eras but important characters seem just forgotten. Alice and Sally, to Pat who could’ve kept the Matthews going for years, Blaine, hell Iris. It’s definitely a shame but I’m going to keep watching and see how it goes!
     
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  3. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I, too was raised on CBS soaps. My mom was (and still is to this day) a Y&R fanatic. Some of my earliest memories of TV as a child involved events on Y&R since my mom seemed to always have it on. It was my boredom with As The World Turns that encouraged me to drift over to AW in 1985 or 1986, and I never looked back. When those AW characters were transferred to ATWT in 1999 I peeked in, but it was not the same; I tried to get into it, but the ATWT writers seemed pissed off that they had to insert these characters into "their" show.

    I felt much the same way when I discovered The Edge of Night in reruns on the USA network several years after it was cancelled. I'd known about it, of course, but had never sampled it while it was on the air. We had the luxury at that time to pick and choose what to watch because all three networks had a full slate of shows. I picked up the EON reruns around 1988 (when they were rerunning episodes from 1979, onwards) and was totally captivated. I hoped to have a similar reaction to the reruns of The Doctors when they surfaced, but they're sort of a "take it or leave it" in my mind at this point. It's fun to watch a very young Anna Stuart (or any Anna Stuart, for that matter), but I can't get into it so much as I did EON, perhaps because EON moved so much faster.

    It was tragic that the Writers Strike happened just as Lemay had gotten settled in and was projecting storylines rather than just cleaning up the problems of the previous regimes. He got to re-establish the Frame family, even re-introduce some elements of the Matthews family and of course bring in an adult Amanda and more modernized version of Iris to keep the Corys on top of the food chain. As much as I would love to heap scorn on their scab Head Writer, Donna Swajeski, she actually did a pretty good job when Lemay honored the strike. It was the network who decided post-strike that Swajeski (a former network exec) ought to remain while Lemay was asked to remain as a "consultant". As is usually the case with "consultant" gigs, his suggestions were mostly ignored. The part many people fail to notice from that period is that Lemay had hired his son Stephen as a breakdown writer, and he remained with AW for many years after Harding Lemay had left. I like to think his son had a similar outlook on character-based storytelling rather than plot-driven. The period Swajeski was in charge featured a lot of distinctive characters making their marks, even the ones she (not HL) created.

    Still, I think if Lemay had been in charge when Doug Watson died and they had to kill off Mac Cory, the material for Victoria Wyndham and Carmen Duncan (and likely Constance Ford in a supporting role) would have been magical.

    She often drove the directors crazy. She was not good at memorizing lines, so she would leave bits of script on the set as cheat sheets, even writing lines on her hands and the cuffs of her shirt sleeves to 'consult'. I can just imagine her bursting into tears over nothing, just so she could bury her face in her hands to refresh her memory on what she was supposed to say next.
     
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  4. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    When it comes to The Doctors I feel the same. I’ll pretty much give any classic soap a go, but damn if that show difficult to handle lol. The initial RetroTV episodes are written by Rita Lakin and it’s so adult and well written and very ahead of its time. Once she left it was a nightmare. You got a couple short term decent writers then the show found it’s biggest success with the Pollack’s who stayed around five years. I’m currently almost done with 1971 which I think is their first full year and it’s terrible. Super slow, looooong flashbacks and boring, predictable stories. It amazes me that their ratings is what won them Emmys and their highest ratings. I’d do anything to trade that for seeing Another World’s run from the same period. I do hope they show Harding Lemay’s work there. I’m curious to see how that worked.

    Also I had no idea that Lemay’s son started writing for the show. That’s interesting considering how much PGP couldn’t stand his father lol. It’s a shame he never had a chance to run the show. Also interesting that in his short time back he made so many smart moves that reset the show and kept it going for years. I can’t imagine what he would’ve done had he stayed. I feel he was their best shot at fixing the show and getting them the ratings they needed to survive.

    As for Jacquline Courtney, in what few episodes I’ve seen everything Rauch and Lemay said about her is evidence. Her Alice seems almost demented in her hysteria over Steve. The second recast seemed good and the fourth one also was good. Still I did enjoy Courtney better on OLTL and in her second run in the 80s. I would’ve kept her on.

    The one character that truly shocks me that they wrote off is Pat. In the 1980 episodes I’m watching now she has a good story and is one of the most engaging characters. She’s also very attractive so you can’t use the typical excuse that she is too old or got fat. Getting rid of her was incredibly short sighted.
     
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  5. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    P&G hired Beverly Pemberthy in a short-term role near the end of Edge of Night (1983 or more likely, 1984) so I assume there was no bad blood between actress and employer (Pat was written out in 1982). Granted, the role was nothing compared to Pat Randolph. I only remember the part because she was the one playing it! Her character was involved in a mystery at the sanitarium she ran, where Marcia Cross played one of the former patients (no, not Kimberly Shaw!).

    And I recall Pat was listed among the returning characters for the 1989 anniversary party episodes, but for the life of me I can't recall specific scenes with her in them.

    Funny you should mention 'getting old or getting fat,' since it was pretty much explicitly stated that Laura Malone (Blaine) got fired in 1984 because she got fat.
     
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  6. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    Daniel that’s why I mentioned that lol. I had read that and was stunned at their foolishness. Blaine is a great character and I haven’t seen those episodes yet to judge, but come on. It’s hard to find strong young actresses and you blow it for that? Really? I know Judi Evans mentioned similar issues. Did the original Blaine ever find work on another soap? Both she and the original Cecile are so good they certainly deserve to pop up on another soap.
     
  7. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    I thought Pat looked radiant in the 25th anniversary episodes. I wish they would have brought her back full time after that. Her main function in the anniversary episodes was to stop Olivia from gawking at Sam and drop some hints to the audience that Olivia had been in some trouble in the past.
     
  8. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    I think that Laura Malone who played Blaine went on to be a lawyer in real life after AW.
     
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  9. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    I'm currently watching August 1980. I like Gwen and Cecile as sparring partners. Susan Keith is no Nancy Frangione, but she is better than I remembered her from when I watched before. She glides fairly effortlessly from sweet to devious.
     
  10. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Part of the tape I'd saved from that period (which has long since disappeared) featured a series of commercials/promos for the anniversary where 'current' characters spoke directly to the camera about the return of individual characters, and how excited/concerned/irked they were to see that returnee. To tell the audience that Pat Randolph was going to visit, they had John Hudson speaking to the camera about how he was falling for Sharlene , and he worried that Pat Randolph might try to play matchmaker for Sharlene and Russ. I remember thinking it was a bit of a stretch, but hey...why not?

    The most memorable of those promos featured MacRac at the Cory Publishing offices. Rachel was fretting about having 'all those Frames in the same room', and Mac just shrugged and reminded her that she was the one who invited them. Watson had filmed that promo and fully expected to be around to deal with 'those Frames', but never got the chance.
     
  11. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    I was going to say I didn't remember those promos, but there's something vaguely familiar about the Mac and Rachael one.



    I wonder when the name of the company changes from Cory Publishers to Cory Publishing? In these early 80's episodes is called Publishers.

    Having watched grown up Matt since he debuted as Matt Crane, I'm enjoying this episodes of a pregnant Rachel trying to persuade Mitch not to claim the baby.

    I'm enjoying Cecile vs Pat. Unfortunately the story isn't featured enough in the episodes I've seen. I think Pat's burgeoning relationship with Philip is interesting too, even though I know it must go no where.
     
  12. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    Donna's interactions with Liz here crack me up:



    Richard Beakins looks as handsome as ever in those scenes.


    I'm at late Aug 1980 with the episodes I've been viewing. Good grief Kit Perrini is a bore. Her sister Amy is fun and Blaine's soon to be ex-husband who is getting involved with Amy is pretty hot. He apparently goes on to play Bart Fallmont on Dynasty but I can't really remember much about the character other than he was a love interest for Steven. Pat has been off screen for quite a few episodes to visit Alice. I'm ready for her to return so that they can go forward with her relationship with Philip and we can delve further into her rivalry with Cecile. I don't think I am too far away from Rachel shooting Mitch. Gwen is still lingering on as a character, not doing much but talk about Willis in Australia. I'm assuming she will be gone any episode now. Supposedly Robert Delaney is returning for a few episodes soon, to visit Clarice and his son, Cory.
     
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  13. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    Jason I agree with much of what you said. I’m almost done with September and we’ve reached the part where Mitch has been shot. I had no idea that was going to happen. It’s literally the last place I expected them to go so I was shocked. Overall I agree with you about Kit. The show seems to be in a bit of a transition with all these new characters and seeing which ones work. Miranda is obviously the Iris replacement, but she doesn’t work at all for me. She doesn’t have strong enough motivations to fill that slot and has no chemistry with Mac or Rachel so you know her plan to steal Mac will fail. I do enjoy Amy and also his name is escaping me, but the character Ron Harper is playing is nice.

    I love Blaine’s storyline with the shady gambling club and people who keep popping up dead. At some points you’re afraid for Blaine, then she reminds you how scrappy she is and it takes the story in another direction.

    I also agree about Pat! It’s a shame we still have months until Alice (and even longer for a new Sally) returns. I’m enjoying what we’ve seen with Pat and Cecile and I look forward to where that goes. The more I see of Pat the less I understand how she was written off.
     
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  14. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In general, the long-term characters are the ones in the most danger when a new writing/producing regime takes over. Soap writers with less experience especially seem to resent having to write for characters with defined history, since it restricts what the writer can write for them. Many don't want to be bothered to learn the histories of veteran characters, which cuts their own throats since history can inspire so many ideas for present-day stories. Writers tended to prefer writing for their own creations, not the characters left over from previous years, since so much of the new characters' history is a blank slate. So the quickest, laziest way out is to marginalize the veterans, hope no one will make too much fuss, then quietly get rid of them. AW was certainly not the only guilty party in this regard, but I'm not sure there was anything 'right' AW could have done to hold their audience in that period when teen/college viewers were flocking to the very different storylines of GH and AMC (and to GL in a lesser capacity).

    Watching that clip above (great stuff--though Mac's accent was terrible:rolleyes:) I had forgotten how Terry Davis's Stacey was about as boring as Hilary Edson's was in the later period. Terry Davis played such a dynamic and likeable character on The Edge of Night (April Scott) that seeing her in that scene, deferring to Mark and waiting her turn to speak, made me feel like she'd gotten the short end of the proverbial stick. Granted, she had left lower-rated EON for higher-rated, hour-long AW and was probably making a lot more money...but if you go from playing a bright, sparkly lead character to a dull, wallpaper-esque supporting character...is it really a step up? It also begs the question: how on Earth did such a dud spring from the same gene pool that created a loveable, charismatic cad like Cass Winthrop?
     
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  15. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    I loved the scene of Cecile deciding to move into Iris' former penthouse and dubbing herself the new queen bee of Bay City, while tossing the blanket over Iris' portrait.

    I loved Judith McConnell on Santa Barbara and she is playing the part of Miranda well but there's no inertia with this story of her trying to get her hands on Mac. It's just sort of meandering along. There's no real sense of her being a threat and she's not in Mac and Rachel's orbit enough to make this interesting. She's basically just capitalizing on Mitch being around.

    Over all, despite dull Kit, I don't think the Holloway's are that bad of a family. The dad, Taylor, is interesting. Amy is a fun character and I know that Ric is around for a while. The family is fairly new at this point in the show. They have some potential, but I don't think most of them are around for that much longer. It seems like they were maybe heading towards a Taylor/Gwen relationship. I wonder if Dorothy Lyman left unexpectedly.

    Laura Malone is so terrific. I'm even getting sucked into her being torn between wanting to make her marriage to Jerry work and feeling like she needs to leave him even though I don't fully understand why she's doing it. I just watched a wonderful scene where Blaine answered the phone to talk to Jerry. At first she was hopeful, thinking they were maybe heading towards a reconciliation, then Jerry told her he wanted to move ahead with the divorce and she turned from hopefulness to icy contempt in an instant and hung up on him. She's so compelling. I was a huge fan of Blaine and Sandy when I watched the show back in the 80's and I can see why Blaine had my young self so captivated.

    I get why they let her go based on what @Daniel Avery laid out in his post above--but what a stupid mistake. Beverly Penberthy plays the role with such pathos. I think she's a fantastic actress and she really makes you root for Pat.
     
  16. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    P&G always had such a knack for finding a place for their 'cast-off' actors on other shows. It's too bad they could not have found something more substantial (more than that short-term gig I mentioned earlier on Edge of Night) for Penberthy to 'keep her in the family'.

    I always get way too invested in props like those. What happens to such a personalized piece once the actor leaves, or the plotline surrounding it ends? I know they have cavernous prop rooms in studios like the Brooklyn studios where AW taped, but would they hold onto a portrait featuring Bev when it was obvious Bev was not coming back?
    I seem to recall that when the show wrapped in 1999, they let the actors have a few such sentimental items, which was the least they could do. I would think iconic props like the Mac/Iris portrait (Carmen/Doug) would be the sort of things that an actor might want to keep for sentimental reasons. Fans like us would have gone absolutely insane if they had thrown a giant tag sale to clear out the prop closet. I would have given big, big bucks for the armillary sphere that sat on the table behind the Corys' sofa. Or five bucks for the Red Swan...maybe four.:think:
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
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  17. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    My initial thought was "why would Iris have left the portrait behind when she left for Texas?" But, for the most part I just enjoyed the soapy moment. Given all that Cecile gets up to during her time in Bay City, naming herself the new queen bee was a pretty apt prediction.

    The portrait itself wasn't one of Iris and Mac. It was this one:

    [​IMG]


    Didn't Robert slash a portrait of Iris after he found out about all the scheming she had done to separate him from Clarice? I know he smashed up a bust of Mac at that time and I thought he destroyed a portrait too. Did Iris have a closet full of spare portraits?


    I'd take the red swan. I wonder what I'd hide in it? I was trying to think of other props that might be fun. There's the Egyptian urn that held the poisonous dust from that awful story, copies of Felicia or Jamie's books, the scarf Walter Curtin cried into for weeks, some of Rachel's sculptures, the hideous earrings that helped Derek and Frankie identify Jason Frame's killer, a menu from Tops . . .
     
  18. Jason73

    Jason73 Admin

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    He did.

     
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  19. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, she really did treat Clarice Hobson abominably. But then the "Iris treated me abominably" club would be a large one, indeed.

    It was a poorly-kept secret that Gail Brown (Clarice) and Rick Porter (Larry Ewing) absolutely could not stand one another off-set, so every time I see them having to play a loved-up scene I have to laugh. Did you know Gail Brown and Karen Black (of the 1970s disaster movies) were sisters? I wonder if their other siblings were blue, green, and orange.
     
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  20. ChrisSumner

    ChrisSumner Soap Chat Active Member

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    I’m starting to enjoy Clarice now that Robert Delaney showed up for his short stint. I thought they had good chemistry and I wish his character had remained. From what I’ve read it looks like he’s already gone which leads me to wonder what purpose his return served. They’ve brought on Tina Sloan of GL fame as his wife and that’s even more strange because from what I’ve read he never appears with her.

    Miranda seems to be changing as she softens to Rachel and no longer seems he’ll bent on stealing Mac. I find her even less interesting now. It’s a shame because this family did have potential and the actors in it aren’t bad but the story isn’t doing them any favors.

    Mac/Rachel/Ada continue to be total standouts as Rachel is fighting a murder charge for killing Mitch. I love how fiercely protective Ada is of her daughter, but I will say I don’t understand keeping Brian out of the loop. She has attorney/client privlage so I don’t understand why she won’t tell him the truth so he can better defend her. Obviously this has to blow up badly in her face and so far I’m enjoying the build up to that.

    The Blaine/Arena story is still plodding along and keeping me invested. Now Jordan seems to be catching on that Jerry’s mother keeps trying to tell Blaine about his past and he’s already started making threats to Blaine about her. I usually don’t like this type of story but the actors are making it work.

    I know in December we have a head writer change so I’m curious to see what happens after that. It seems like November will be a busy month with the stories coming to head so it’ll be interesting to see if this is a major change or if the new writers will stay the course. One thing I hope is that the new writers stay invested in Cecile and Pat’s feud. I’ve really been enjoying Pat in this story and i love her with Phillip. She also mentioned her daughter returning soon so I look forward to that as well.
     

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