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Historical Inaccuracies


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#1 vetsoapfan

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 09:41 PM

One of the best aspects of the daytime drama genre is how we, the audience, get to know the cast of characters so very well. We watch them live, grow, and evolve over years, sometimes decades, and our intimate knowledge of their histories makes for greater emotional involvement.

A major problem with soaps, however, is the constant turnover in creative personnel, many of whom simply don't know about the shows' rich pasts, and who don't seem particularly interested in learning. Sometimes a lazy soap press exacerbates the problem by reporting, or reinforcing, false information about the dramas' past storylines and/or character backgrounds.

While perusing a French website devoted to Y&R recently, I noticed that an original character from the show's first decade, Chris Brooks Foster, was erroneously referred to as "Christabel". I've seen this error in a variety of different places. I don't know who came up with the "fact" that the character's name was Christabel. According to on-screen references, including the January, 1974 episode in which Chris marries her beloved Snapper Foster, her name is Christen Leigh Brooks Foster. A small point, I know, but it's always irked me.

Many references in the soap press and on-line have discussed how, also on Y&R, Paul Williams supposedly gave Nikki Reed VD, back in the 1970s. Not true. Those of us who watched the series religiously back then know it was the other way around. Nikki infected Paul (and he was furious about it, LOL). Actor Doug Davidson even did an interview at one point, years later, lamenting in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, the false information that had damaged his character's...character.

Soap columnist David Johnson, writing a review of Y&R for Rona Barrett's Daytimers, lambasted the show for episodes surrounding the death of matriarch Jennifer Brooks, again back in the '70s. Johnson complained how stupid it was that only three of Jennifer's four daughters (Leslie, Lorie, and Chris) were seen in the family living room, consoling each other over their mom's fate. He was very critical of the "fact" that the youngest daughter Peggy was supposedly nowhere to be seen. Yet, the error was Johnson's, who simply didn't know what he was talking about. The Brooks' girls scenes carried over two episodes. Peggy was fully present during the first day, but at the end of that episode, she ran sobbing from the room, intent on being alone in her bedroom with her grief. Her sister Lorie even mentioned this the following day, when Chris asked, "Where's Peg?" Lorie replied that she "couldn't take this", and had fled upstairs. I'm all for soap critics calling out shows for actual errors or absurd storyline decisions...just not ones they, themselves, invent in their heads.

On ANOTHER WORLD, young heroine Pat Matthews became involved with a ne'er-do-well named Tom Baxter in 1964. In a melodramatic twist, she ended up shooting him dead and being charged with his murder. You know, with a gun.Yet since then, subsequent writers, including the generally-great Harding Lemay, have referenced how Pat had supposedly stabbed Tom with a letter opener. You'd think they would check their facts.

In the 1980s, someone asked AW's Jamie Frame how he was related to Sally Frame. He replied, "She's a cousin or something." Apparently, he didn't understand that if your father adopts someone, she ends up being your sister, not your cousin...or something. Jamie must not have been the brightest crayon in the box anyway, since as an adult, he proclaimed his name to be "James Steven Frame", clearly forgetting that he had been baptized "James Gerald", named after the two men considered his grandfathers when he was born. Sure, he could have changed his name somewhere along the way, although it had never been mentioned. Maybe he swiitched names when AW's locale, Bay City, miraculously transported itself to Illinois. It had been in Michigen in the 1970s, but again, clueless and/or careless PTB apparently never bothered finding out where their own show was actually set.

There are more famous, and egregious cases of factual/historical error, like on THE GUIDING LIGHT, how we saw Brandon Spaulding expire on-camera, yet he appeared alive (if not so well) years later, during the 1980s, without any attempt made to clarify the atrocious storyline inconsistancy. For every writer like Douglas Marland or Pat Falken Smith, who would research their shows' and characters' histories intensely, there are many more like Chuck Pratt whose work clearly reveals their lack of interest in detail.

Before the character of Kelly Nelson was written off TGL, he had a scene in his godfather Ed Bauer's office. He asked, "Do you remember Steve Jackson, the surgeon?" Why WOULDN'T Ed remember his own father-in-law (from when Ed was married to Steve's daughter, Leslie), and his son Rick's grandfather? Writer Pamela K. Long obviously did not put two and two together.

While I realize it's impossible for any writer to know the details of every episode, every script, every moment from a soap's past, little, or sometimes major, boo-boos like these can be irritating.

What are YOUR favorite pet peeves regarding your favorite shows' historical blunders?
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#2 DRW50

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:11 PM

There are too many to mention, many have already been mentioned a million times, but one that really set tongues wagging back in the day was when Megan McTavish was writing GL (95-96) and Reva and daughter Marah had a heart-to-heart. Reva was trying to comfort Marah and said something like, "Of course I love you, you're my first born." Reva had had a son, Dylan, years before she gave birth to Marah.

This was more a matter of bizarre writing than a blatant innacuracy, but around this same time, Annie was trash talking Reva (who was "the other woman" in Annie's marriage to Josh), to Vanessa and Lillian. They both joined in, going on and on about how Reva was a homewrecker. This made Lillian look terrible, because, not even five years before this, she had had an affair with her best friend's husband, which caused said best friend to be killed in a car accident.
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#3 vetsoapfan

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:14 PM

There are too many to mention, many have already been mentioned a million times, but one that really set tongues wagging back in the day was when Megan McTavish was writing GL (95-96) and Reva and daughter Marah had a heart-to-heart. Reva was trying to comfort Marah and said something like, "Of course I love you, you're my first born." Reva had had a son, Dylan, years before she gave birth to Marah.

This was more a matter of bizarre writing than a blatant innacuracy, but around this same time, Annie was trash talking Reva (who was "the other woman" in Annie's marriage to Josh), to Vanessa and Lillian. They both joined in, going on and on about how Reva was a homewrecker. This made Lillian look terrible, because, not even five years before this, she had had an affair with her best friend's husband, which caused said best friend to be killed in a car accident.


At the very least, a head "writer" should have charts with who is related to whom on his/her show, and know how many kids a character has. I remember reading that Hogan Sheffer didn't even know that Margo was John's daughter on ATWT. UGH. These people get paid a lot of money to know their stuff, yet we, the fans, can run circles around them.
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#4 SweetPea36

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:32 PM

GH used to have a continuity staff who were charged with keeping track of those things, but they were perceived as being an unnecessary expense and disbanded. Elizabeth Korte used to be part of that staff. GH recently forgot that Monica had a deceased daughter named Dawn.
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#5 vetsoapfan

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:41 PM

GH used to have a continuity staff who were charged with keeping track of those things, but they were perceived as being an unnecessary expense and disbanded. Elizabeth Korte used to be part of that staff. GH recently forgot that Monica had a deceased daughter named Dawn.


GH also seemed to forget that Monica has a mother in Gail Baldwin, who adopted Monica back in the day.
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#6 frequentsoapfan

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:43 PM

Pratt and Guza forgot that Emily was an adopted Quatermaien because they were too busy drooling at the prospect of seeing TC dressed as a pirate when they decided to do that dumb Pirate's in Em's Pant's storyline where a Quartermaine ancestor looked just like Emily. But some smart writer slipped in the fact that Emily was adopted in one of the scenes.
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#7 Cheap21

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

Gail was Monica's mother? I didnt even know they even had a relationship. Did Monica ever have one with Scotty? I cant remember anything acknowledge at all since he and Serena came back to PC in 1997
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#8 DRW50

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:48 PM

Monica and Scotty had no real bond, as Gail didn't get involved with Lee until Monica was well into adulthood and involved with the Webber brothers.

Gail was a mother figure to Monica, although their backstory involved Monica sleeping with Gail's boyfriend, which caused a lot of strain. Gail remained a confidant for Monica off and on until the mid-90's, I think.

Edited by CarlD2, 01 April 2012 - 10:48 PM.

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#9 DRW50

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:51 PM

Another one I remember reading about was around 1994, when they were investigating the murder of Bradley Ward, who had been killed in the late 70's. One character said something like, "Bobbie was still wearing pajamas and being tucked in," apparently not realizing that Bobbie was a grown woman, in nursing, by that time.
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#10 vetsoapfan

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:51 PM

Gail was Monica's mother? I didnt even know they even had a relationship. Did Monica ever have one with Scotty? I cant remember anything acknowledge at all since he and Serena came back to PC in 1997


Monica was an orphan who, as a very young woman, ended up having an affair with Gail's previous husband, Greg Adamson. This seriously crippled Monica's friendship with Gail for a long time, but the two women eventually reconciled and Gail adopted her. Technically, Monica and Scotty would be step-siblings since her adoptive mom, Gail, is married to Scotty's adoptive father, Lee Baldwin. But they never mention any of this. I doubt any of TPTB even know.
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#11 SFK

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:52 PM

Huh, I didn't know that Brandon Spaulding had been on the show pre-Barbados. I thought he "died" when Alan and Alex were children.
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#12 vetsoapfan

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 10:56 PM

Huh, I didn't know that Brandon Spaulding had been on the show pre-Barbados.  I thought he "died" when Alan and Alex were children.


The revolving-door string of writers for TGL seemed intent on creating their own take on Brandon Spaulding; history be damned. That's why everything kept changing. The only worse, more relentless history blunders/rewrites must have been with the Victor Lord character on OLTL. Don't even get me started on how they screwed that up! :)
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#13 SFK

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:04 PM

Oh Lord (<-- Posted Image ), tell me about it! He went from being one of the most fascinating dead characters in the history of television into a complete joke.
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#14 AMCHistory

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:14 PM

I loved recently reading Harding Lemay's book about Another World (thank goodness for the Kindle). In it, he noted he had to learn about storyline sfrom the fans because no one in the show wrote any of the character history down. All the writers had been writing so many stories they were getting jumbled about their characters. It made writing motivation for actions hard early on.
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#15 Susan Hunter

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:22 PM

Here are some of my pet peeves. I've also included some story rewrites that totally disregarded established history.

Days of our Lives:

-Hope never referred to Alice as 'Gran' she was always Grandma. It is minor, but it always annoyed me.


Another World:

You mentioned Sally and Jamie. They also dated. Even though she was adopted, someone should have said something. It was icky.

Evans Bates Frame. Janice had two big runs in Bay City. The first time, I believe, she was teamed up with Rachel to break up Alice and Steve. The second time, she was poisoning Mac. She poisoned Howard Battis, Evan's father. So where did Evan grow up? Who raised him?

Gwen Frame's vendetta against Rachel during the show's 25th Anniversary. Totally made up and totally out of left field.


Y&R - This is more of rewrite, but rewriting Jill's parentage pretty much ruined the character. Did they not read the show's bible or watch the first five years of the show?

OLTL - another rewrite, but an interesting one. Turning kindly, advice giving, being bamboozled by Dorian, patriarch Victor Lord into a child molesting, underground city building, psychopath threw a lot of stuff from the show's early years into question.
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#16 DRW50

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:29 PM

Evans Bates Frame. Janice had two big runs in Bay City. The first time, I believe, she was teamed up with Rachel to break up Alice and Steve. The second time, she was poisoning Mac. She poisoned Howard Battis, Evan's father. So where did Evan grow up? Who raised him?

Gwen Frame's vendetta against Rachel during the show's 25th Anniversary. Totally made up and totally out of left field.


I think they implied that Willis and Gwen had done a lot to raise him. It was all kind of a mess. Dorothy Lyman was bewildered about the writing for Gwen, and I think they just wanted to make her seem like Opal (a homicidal Opal, anyway).

On GL, when they rewrote Amanda's paternity for no apparent reason, saying that Brandon Spaulding was her father and Alan was her brother, some fans were annoyed because the name given for mother on the birth certificate was Jennifer, when she was actually named Jane Marie Stafford at that time, and not Jennifer until some years later.

On ATWT, when they decided to inexplicably give Lucinda and James Stenbeck a child, the characters referenced a long ago affair, totally ignoring the fact that James and Lucinda met onscreen for the very first time, in 1986, and Lucinda talked about wanting to know more about him, digging up dirt on him, etc.
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#17 Paul Raven

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:34 PM

On AW when they celebrated the 25th,it was played on air as Cory Publishing's 25th.Photos of Brava magazine covers were shown as a backdrop,detailing big events of those years eg moon landing in 1969.

However,Brava was started onscreen in 1980/81 by Pat Randolph as a magazine for working women.
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#18 P.J.

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 11:45 PM

ATWT infamously switched around the birth order of Jack and Brad Snyder, making younger brother Jack the "older" one to accomodate both Austin Peck's physique and less-than-serious on-screen gravitas. They completely threw out ALL of Brad's previous history (it seemed) because Peck arugably "looked younger" than Park. The fact that his story usually blew chunks and only compounded Peck's shortcomings was (IMO) kind of karmic retribution for our shallow and grandiose IIC.

I'm sure there were lots of continuity errors I can't recall, but missing/forgotten children always bothered me the most, I'm sure.
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#19 juppiter

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 12:12 AM

ATWT's Lucinda said, "I have 2... no 3 daughters" during the Sheffer reign. This was an ad lib by Liz Hubbard to make up for the inaccurate script.

At the very least, a head "writer" should have charts with who is related to whom on his/her show, and know how many kids a character has. I remember reading that Hogan Sheffer didn't even know that Margo was John's daughter on ATWT. UGH. These people get paid a lot of money to know their stuff, yet we, the fans, can run circles around them.


I'm not a Sheffer fan, but I don't blame him for this. Somebody should have told him, plenty of his staff had been with the show long enough to know its history intimately. His only knowledge of ATWT came from watching the show during Laiman.
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#20 AMCHistory

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 12:19 AM

ATWT's Lucinda said, "I have 2... no 3 daughters" during the Sheffer reign. This was an ad lib by Liz Hubbard to make up for the inaccurate script.


What is the story behind Bianca Walsh?
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