Brent

"Secret Storm" memories.

507 posts in this topic

This thread is awesome.I have some SS material that I will share in the coming days.

By the way,Carl,you are confusing Keith Charles with Larry Keith.

Interestingly,Keith Charles returned to SS after his role as Nick to play Brian Neeves late in the shows run. He was one of the actors who played the most roles on soaps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suddenly this promo makes a lot more sense (apologies if it's already been posted).

This show sounds absolutely brilliant, loving all the info you have on SS, this is brilliant stuff. Thanks so much for sharing with us all, Brent!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread is awesome.I have some SS material that I will share in the coming days.

By the way,Carl,you are confusing Keith Charles with Larry Keith.

Interestingly,Keith Charles returned to SS after his role as Nick to play Brian Neeves late in the shows run. He was one of the actors who played the most roles on soaps.

In addition to SS's RB Keefer,there was a hippie pusher on "Best of Everything" named Squirrel and played by Gregory Rosakis. During the summer of 72, Vanessa Sterling on LofL had a female teenage ward drug addict connected with the hippie world. That's all I know of.

BU

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brent, you and I are fairly the same age, and I cannot express how delightful it is to read your shared recollections. I seldom post regarding The Secret Storm as few remember the serial or seem at all interested in it. I apologize in advance, as my response will ramble a bit.

To answer your question, the younger blonde with Belle and Charlie was Belle's younger sister Karen Clemons. Actress Beverly Hayes portrayed Karen. Jeffrey Lynn, who played Charlie, briefly replaced Forrest Compton as Mike Karr on The Edge of Night a few years later when Compton fell ill.

Your descriptions of Secret Storm were exacting. Storm was indeed a dark, moody serial, with an upper crust flavor contrasting the middle class environs of most serials from the 60's era. You mentioned the smart clothing of the women and the superb diction of the actors. These are elements woefully missing from today's serial drama. In many ways, Storm's settings and costumes reminded me of the ladies melodramas of the 40's. There was an elegance and intelligence in the proceedings one did not necessarily find on other programs, which were more "homey" in my estimation. In those days, a viewer never would have tuned into The Secret Storm and thought it was As the World Turns or The Guiding Light. Each serial drama was unique in tone and presentation.

As you reminded us, The Secret Storm was deadly serious. It was true drama. I believe it possessed the best confrontations on daytime television. Characters were constantly at odds with another, as well as their own emotions, and whereas many characters on other programs suffered quietly, nobly, the emotions on Secret Storm bubbled to the surface daily.

The success of Storm was due to its creator/owner Roy Winsor. I interviewed Winsor back in the 80's shortly before his death, and he spoke so eloquently of The Secret Storm. He had a clearly defined concept of what the program was, and as long as the writers and directors didn't stray from that concept, the program thrived. We see this today. So many fine programs have gone to pot when networks and sponsors gain control and destroy the creative vision.

Interestingly, Belle had been slated to die originally. She was a short run character, but Marla Adams played the part so beautifully, icily, that Belle was saved and the part expanded. Someone else mentioned the transition to color. Personally, I didn't care for it. There were a few serials (Storm, Edge, and Dark Shadows) which worked best in my opinion due to their dark tone. The transition to color really signaled the beginning of the end for The Secret Storm. According to Winsor, CBS became more demanding in 1968. The network wanted color and fancier sets and a brighter look for the show. The loss of Winsor and director Gloria Monty cannot be underestimated. Storm had always been a realistic serial. It was about people and emotions. Beginning with Winsor's departure, the stories became sillier: evil twins, spouses returning from the dead, impostors, amnesia, paralysis, mobsters, etc. The more lurid the writing, the worse the ratings became. I recall my grandmother being quite upset with the artificial insemination plot between Amy, Kevin, and Brian Neeves. She felt it damaged the integrity of Amy's character. She stopped watching altogether when an argument between Father Mark Reddin and his sleazy brother Stace resulted in their mother Jesse being impaled on a pitchfork and dying in the barn.

Joan Crawford: at least one episode does exist. I know a collector who has a copy, and I have seen it. Joan was clearly nervous and out of her element in live drama; however, she was professional and not the embarrassing drunk as has been described in books and films.

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All this...is just amazing. I can read it all day. SS seems like my kind of soap, from the moodiness, to the raging emotions, the confrontations, Belle, Valerie, etc. I need to see more. Thanks, sayno, for the episode you posted. It's the best one I've seen of the show yet.

The Joan Crawford episode is now #1 on my things to do before I die.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carl, Keith Charles did not play Nick Davis on All My Children. You are confusing him with Lawrence Keith, though both are fine actors and should have been on We Love Soaps' top actors list, but do not even get me started on that rant.

I do not recall a big difference in the transition from live to tape with The Secret Storm, because soaps at that time were live tape. Although they were recorded on tape, they were performed as if live because editing was near impossible. One thing I did note in the transition to color was the greyness of the sets. All of the sets had been painted and designed of course without thought to color. Winsor said that CBS pressured him to use more of his budget to improve the look of the series, and this created a good bit of conflict because he preferred to spend his money on getting the best possible performers and writers.

I apologize for usurping Brent's territory (the question was directed at him), but I feel that the tone of The Secret Storm remained fairly dark and brooding throughout its run. Although it flirted with relevance, it did so in such a way that it remained rather ominous. For example, as I described in another post, the storyline of Mark Reddin leaving the priesthoood for Laurie was a socially relevant storyline; however, much of the setting was on his family's ranch. Mark had a younger brother Stace who looked like he walked out of a William Inge play. Stace wore denim and had a cowboy hat. He was a bit of a [!@#$%^&*]-kicker and deliberately tried to take Laurie away from his brother. It was presented as quite lurid and sexual. Stace was sweaty and swaggered and attacked Laurie in the barn. He and Mark fought. When their mother Jesse, the warm, wonderful Frances Sternhagen tried to break up the quarrel. She was flung onto a pitchfork, was impaled, and died. The accident was gruesome and unsettling. Any other serial attempting the same story in 1973 would not have presented the story this way.

Jon

That's fascinating, that Joan took publicity photos for the show with other actors. I knew she had taken some on her own. I really wish that was available. I think that the idea became so shocking that Joan would fill in for her daughter that people never bothered to find out whether Joan had actually done a good job in the part. So Joan with Keith Charles? Wow, I'd love to see that. He went on to play Nick Davis for years and years on All My Children.

I love the story about Belle's daughter. It sounds chilling. Back then soaps seemed to be much more willing to kill off child characters, don't you think?

I was wondering -- do you remember when the show moved from black and white to color, and also, did you feel like, in those later years, the show became more "socially relevant," as some soaps did, or if it stayed in its own format?

Jada Rowland sounds great. I remember reading about some of the backstage stories of Secret Storm, when the crew would try to shock her when she was live on air. One time she had a scene in a bathroom and they had put her shoes in the toilet. She also talked about when a llama chased Gloria Monty around the studio. And one time when there was a kitchen scene and the entire shelf on the refrigerator crashed, and they had to carry on.

Did you notice any transition from live to live on tape or to tape at that time?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carl, All My Children's Kitty and Kelly weren't the first twins on soaps. Many soaps had done this story before AMC.

Also, the character played by Dorothy Lyman on The Edge of Night (Elly Jo Jamison)was not a hippie. I think you may be confusing this part with Lyman's role on A World Apart a year earlier (1971). Edge did have counterculture elements in 1971 when the character of Keith Whitney pretended to be a hippie named Jonah Lockwood. The show's ingenue Laurie Ann Karr became involved in campus activities at the local university and hooked up with two pot smokers Tango and Max. Laurie started dating Jonah Lockwood and moved into an apartment with Tango. Tango discovered Jonah's true identity and attempted to blackmail him. He laced her drink with LSD, and when she was high, he shoved her out of a highrise window, pretending she was a Diane Linkletter.

Elly Jo was a demure girl from the country who moved to Monticello as a nursemaid for the wealthy Orin Hillyer. Elly Jo was the niece of Orin's late wife. She was also a scheming fortune hunter who planned to murder Orin and his daughter and inherit the Hillyer fortune. Dorothy's character on A World Apart was a campus radical. I think her name on that series was Julie, but I can't be sure without checking.

Thank you so much Brent! I have wanted to hear more about Joel Crothers's Secret Storm role for years, as that's what he left Dark Shadows for. Do you remember any of that?

This all sounds fascinating. Was Secret Storm the first soap to do an identical twin story? For some reason I always thought All My Children was, with Kitty/Kelly.

Were a lot of the soaps doing stories about hippies and bad counterculture types at this time? This was around the time Edge of Night had Dorothy Lyman as an evil hippie who tried to kill the show's young ingenue, wasn't it? The one with the rich widowed father.

That story about Amy and Irene sounds chilling.

You may have already seen this, but this is the first part of a Love of Life episode from around the time you may have been watching:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qblvMGB6Snc

I posted this in the other thread but in case anyone didn't see it in there, this is a Secret Storm from 1966:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJ7A5Sc0Pnc&feature=related

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Jon, for your corrections and your insights, I appreciate them.

Was Windsor still at the show when they began killing off the Ames family?

And also, is it true that they almost got a syndicated deal after they were canceled?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brent, you and I are fairly the same age, and I cannot express how delightful it is to read your shared recollections. I seldom post regarding The Secret Storm as few remember the serial or seem at all interested in it. I apologize in advance, as my response will ramble a bit.

To answer your question, the younger blonde with Belle and Charlie was Belle's younger sister Karen Clemons. Actress Beverly Hayes portrayed Karen. Jeffrey Lynn, who played Charlie, briefly replaced Forrest Compton as Mike Karr on The Edge of Night a few years later when Compton fell ill.

Your descriptions of Secret Storm were exacting. Storm was indeed a dark, moody serial, with an upper crust flavor contrasting the middle class environs of most serials from the 60's era. You mentioned the smart clothing of the women and the superb diction of the actors. These are elements woefully missing from today's serial drama. In many ways, Storm's settings and costumes reminded me of the ladies melodramas of the 40's. There was an elegance and intelligence in the proceedings one did not necessarily find on other programs, which were more "homey" in my estimation. In those days, a viewer never would have tuned into The Secret Storm and thought it was As the World Turns or The Guiding Light. Each serial drama was unique in tone and presentation.

As you reminded us, The Secret Storm was deadly serious. It was true drama. I believe it possessed the best confrontations on daytime television. Characters were constantly at odds with another, as well as their own emotions, and whereas many characters on other programs suffered quietly, nobly, the emotions on Secret Storm bubbled to the surface daily.

The success of Storm was due to its creator/owner Roy Winsor. I interviewed Winsor back in the 80's shortly before his death, and he spoke so eloquently of The Secret Storm. He had a clearly defined concept of what the program was, and as long as the writers and directors didn't stray from that concept, the program thrived. We see this today. So many fine programs have gone to pot when networks and sponsors gain control and destroy the creative vision.

Interestingly, Belle had been slated to die originally. She was a short run character, but Marla Adams played the part so beautifully, icily, that Belle was saved and the part expanded. Someone else mentioned the transition to color. Personally, I didn't care for it. There were a few serials (Storm, Edge, and Dark Shadows) which worked best in my opinion due to their dark tone. The transition to color really signaled the beginning of the end for The Secret Storm. According to Winsor, CBS became more demanding in 1968. The network wanted color and fancier sets and a brighter look for the show. The loss of Winsor and director Gloria Monty cannot be underestimated. Storm had always been a realistic serial. It was about people and emotions. Beginning with Winsor's departure, the stories became sillier: evil twins, spouses returning from the dead, impostors, amnesia, paralysis, mobsters, etc. The more lurid the writing, the worse the ratings became. I recall my grandmother being quite upset with the artificial insemination plot between Amy, Kevin, and Brian Neeves. She felt it damaged the integrity of Amy's character. She stopped watching altogether when an argument between Father Mark Reddin and his sleazy brother Stace resulted in their mother Jesse being impaled on a pitchfork and dying in the barn.

Joan Crawford: at least one episode does exist. I know a collector who has a copy, and I have seen it. Joan was clearly nervous and out of her element in live drama; however, she was professional and not the embarrassing drunk as has been described in books and films.

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Jon:

Thank you so much for your gracious reply. I must admit I was hesitant about commenting on "SS" since I sensed it is so out of touch with today's daytime serials, not to mention that I know nothing about most of the modern programs emphasized on this site. Felt like a fish out of water, but the young people on this site have been so gratifying in their interest.

And you are certainly a font of knowledge!!!

Thanks also for the info on "Karen Clemens". I felt that she was almost certainly Belle's younger sister, but remained un-positive, since, although she was heavily featured in the Belle's return/Robin plot line, she was shortly thereafer written out of the show. I can see her very clearly in my mind's eye right now--I would say that she wasn't much above 23 or so. Incidentally, it was she who was featured in the drowning sequence, diving in to save Robin. Wouldn't it be wild if that location footage still existed somewhere?

In that connection, is your friend's Joan Crawford episode a black and white kinescope or color from original video master? Although many video masters were "wiped" some were saved I am told.

Joan wasn't bad. I already knew her work, and was a huge movie buff as a kid. If she had seemed way off, I would have yelled: "Hey mom come into the living room to see "Secret Storm"--Joan Crawford's bombing!"

Incidentally, before each of her appearances, the announcer, would say, :"Ladies and Gentleman, the producers of the "Secret Storm" take great pleasure in announcing that the role of Joan Kane will today be played by Miss Joan Crawford."

As to the black and white vs. color I'm with you. Although the other soaps had re-painted their sets, perhaps SS didn't. I do remember the hullabaloo surrounding the conversion of "As the World Turns" since a great deal was made of their move to the big, new CBS center production studio. The premiere in color, or an early episode in color, was Patricia Bruder's outdoor wedding, which was done with a huge cast and an enormous cyclorama. CBS made quite a thing of that!

But SS worked better in color. For me, its strongest mise en scene would be about 1964 in Marjorie Gateson's living room. Your observation about the films of the 30's and 40's is relevant, and the "feel" and look was almost that of a Kay Frances film. One wouldn't have been surprised to see Constance Collier drop by. SS was far advanced beyond the early 50's episodes that have been posted on You Tube by this time, (was it still originating from Leidercrantz Hall by the 60?). In any case, there were better, more spacious sets.

The reason in my view that the serials were so much stronger then, is fairly simple--they originated in New York City and were heavily populated with theater people. The acting was excellent even when the scripts weren't since the players brought a level of committment to the material that would be rare today.

And where would you find performers like that now--like Lester Rawlins, whose cultured speaking voice, honed on Shakespeare became so famous on the Benson and Hedges commercial.

And thanks so much for that wonderful promo of "The Best of Everything"--it's a real kick in the head that takes me back. Can you believe I remember that show when I only watched it 3 months 40 years ago? And now, I can't remember things from last week.

Again my thanks,

All Best,

BU

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if soaps were better then because people at the network were less likely to pay attention to them. It seems like the more a network paid attention, the more a soap declined.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have wonderful memories of 'The Secret Storm,' including the time that the legendary Joan Crawford substituted for her daughter. One memory that stands out is my mind is the scene where Frances Sternhagen's character held a pitchfork to her 'son' Gary Sandy. Ms. Sternhagen is an accomplished stage and television actress who lives in my home county of Westchester. She's getting up there in years, but she is still acting, but if I ever get the opportunity to meet her, i will do so. Of course, Gary Sandy went on to 'WKRP in Cincinnati.' Other Woodbridge nymphettes I remember fondly are Audrey Landers and Linda Purl. I loved the storyline with Laurie Stevens (Stephanie Braxton) and the priest (David Gale)...even though I was raised as a Catholic. My heart will always belong to Jada Rowland and Marla Adams and, most especially, the elegant Lori March.

I wrote to her, but sadly, the address I had for Ms. March Scourby was not correct. I would have loved to connect with er after all these years. The reason why I wrote to her is something that has been bugging me for years...I was 17 going on 18 when SS was cancelled, but I keenly remember talk that the show's owner, American Home Products was shopping the show around for a possible syndication deal to another network. Nothing came of it, but I distinctly remember an effort being made at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re Joan Crawford's appearance on SS. Legend has it that she was boozed up and her performance was erratic.Whether this has any basis in truth is unknown(after Mommie Dearest,anything connected with La Crawford was tainted).

The fact remains that she was a 60 something woman playing a 24 year old - not even a star of her magnitude could pull that one off.apparently Joan made $585 for her 4 appearances.

Timeslots - SS always played late afternoon.Originally from 4.15 - 4.30.it premiered in tandem with Woman With A Past at 4.00 but that show(starring Constance Ford) lasted only a short time. Then Brighter Day took over as lead in until Storm expanded to 30 min in 62. Until 68,it played from 4.00 - 4.30.

From 63-68 Edge of Night was a strong lead in.

from 68 - 72 it moved forward an hour to 3.00 replacing To Tell The Truth, Edge of Night now followed SS.Guiding Light was the new lead in.

in 72,CBS shuffled its lineup and SS moved back to 3.30.Love Is A Many Splendored Thing was the new lead in.

Then it moved to 4.00 for its final year.Hollywood's Talking,the Match Game was the lead in.

After regularly being in the top 5,the ratings fell in 68 and never really recovered.

Competition ABC - At 4.00 ABC aired the Afternoon Film Festival till 56,the American Bandstand,Never Too Young,Dark Shadows,Dating Game and Dark Shadows again. Then it moved to 3.00 up against GH. The 3.30 move put it up against OLTL. The 4.00 competition in 73-74 was Love American Style.

NBC - A variety of shows went up against SS in the 50's and 60's but it was Match Game from 62 - 68 that was the mainstay.The at 3.00 the competition was AW. At 3.30 in 72 NBC offered RTPP. Finally at 4.00 SS was opposite Somerset.

Original title 'Bright Star'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brent,

I have news for you about Judy Lewis. You remarked in an earlier post that you thought that even though Judy was 'adopted,' you thought that she looked like her famous superstar mother Loretta Young. Well, I've got news for you...Judy was Loretta Young's biological daughter, born out of wedlock, and her papa was none other than the LEADING MAN OF THE 1930S...Clark Gable. Judy wrote a book about it. If I recall, she did not find out about her true parentage until she was a grown woman about to be married, herself. The book, Uncommon Knowledge was published in 1994. It is a fascinating story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.