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If someone did an oral history of soaps, who/what should be included?

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In the last year or so, we've seen oral histories published about the golden years of MTV and ESPN where people who were intimately involved in those years give open, honest, fearless interviews about what it was like to be a part of those pop culture juggernauts. I've often wished that somebody would do the same for soaps. I'm curious, if somebody were to take on this project, who (actors/writers/producers/directors/press/loved ones) would you like to see interviewed and what issues/events/people/scandals would you like to see addressed?

Just to offer an example, I would very much like to get interviews with anyone and everyone who has information about Michael Zaslow. I'd want to hear from his friends, family and coworkers about everything from his thoughts on Roger Thorpe to what happened to him at OLTL to his exit from GL. There's so much to learn there and still so many to learn from. (Brynn Thayer, Maureen Garrett, Robin Strasser, Elizabeth Kiefer, etc...)

In your opinion, who and/or what deserves a chapter in this book?

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Rosemary Prinz.

Peggy McCay too. I'd like to hear from any of the living actors who had major roles in early soap.

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Wow, what saddens me is that a lot of the names that immediately come to mind have already passed away or are getting up there.

I'd like to hear from crew members who worked on the floors and in the hallways of several soaps, or even one or two, for a number of years. People who didn't have anything to "lose" by telling it like it t-i-is. From changes in regime to the most difficult and agreeable personalities they worked with over the years. What it was like working on a soap during the golden age and what went wrong and led to their demise.

I think we've gotten all that we'll probably get from folks like Nixon, Lemay, Lucci, Zimmer, Slezak, Strasser and the like. Well, Strasser will continue to spill. But this is one case where I might be interested in hearing more from the actors who worked with the "legends" rather than from the legends themselves.

Beverlee McKinsey is someone who I wish had written an autobio. She was private and I'm sure her family and friends respect that. But I would love to hear Scott McKinsey speak at length about his mother, her personality and her art. I don't know who her close personal friends were, but I would love to hear from them too. Then of course all of her industry friends like Irizarry, Aleksander, Lowry, Conboy, et cetera.

What I wouldn't give to hear Helmut, Liza, Andreas, housekeepers and so on give us a tour of the real Susan. It would be really interesting to hear actors and crew she's worked with speak about her work, her process, her business acumen, and the like instead of just stories about how amazingly nice she really is.

Edited by SFK

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List of potential Interviewees (off the top of my head):

Kay Alden (about Bill Bell)

Kristian Alfonso & Peter Reckell

Sheri Anderson (about Pat Falken Smith, DAYS and GH in the '80's)

Jaime Lyn Bauer (on working at Y&R in the '70's)

The Bell Family (about Papa Bell)

Eric Braeden

Lisa Brown (about Douglas Marland)

Larry Bryggman (about his struggles with TPTB to produce quality performances in a genre that rewards mediocrity)

Martha Byrne

John Conboy

Jeanne Cooper

Ken Corday (about Ted & Betty Corday)

Linda Dano (about ANOTHER WORLD in the '80's and '90's)

Kim Delaney

Bridget & Jerome Dobson (about her parents, the Hursleys, as well as their own characters and stories)

Mary-Alice Dwyer-Dobbin

Jane Elliot (about Douglas Marland)

Susan Flannery (about Bill Bell)

Genie Francis & Anthony Geary (about Gloria Monty and the Luke & Laura phenomenon)

Brian Scott Frons

Eileen Fulton

Maureen Garrett (about working with Michael Zaslow)

Christopher Goutman

Deidre Hall

Van Hansis & Jake Silbermann

Bill & Susan Seaforth Hayes

Don Hastings

Catherine Hickland

Elizabeth Hubbard

Lucy Johnson

Gail Kobe

Ilene Kristen

Claire Labine

Leah Laiman

Laurence Lau

Harding Lemay (about ANOTHER WORLD in the '70's: Wyndham, Watson, McKinsey, Rauch, Reinholt & Courtney, etc.)

Judith Light

Pamela K. Long

Susan Lucci

Peggy McCay (about working in the earliest days of TV soaps, with LOVE OF LIFE)

John McCook

Scott McKinsey

Ann Marcus

A Martinez & Marcy Walker

Debbi Morgan & Darnell Williams

Sally Sussman Morina (on creating GENERATIONS)

Patrick Mulcahey

Kate Mulgrew

Agnes Nixon (about Irna, as well as about her own stories and characters)

Jill Farren Phelps

Rosemary Prinz

Thom Racina

George Reinholt

Victoria Rowell

Jada Rowland

Melody Thomas Scott

John Wesley Shipp (about Douglas Marland)

Kristoff St. John (on GENERATIONS and Y&R)

Erika Slezak

Robin Strasser

Millee Taggart

Jess Walton

Victoria Wyndham

Kim Zimmer

...as well as experts on Frank & Anne Hummert and Elaine Sterne Carrington, Orin Torinov, and other radio soap pioneers.

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Posted · Report post

Khan, did you have that list waiting in your Gmail drafts? :lol:

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To be perfect and frank, though, I think an oral history book on the daytime industry needs a specific focus than just soaps themselves (and the legends who built them). If I were the one spearheading this project, I might choose to focus specifically on ABC's wildly successful "Love in the Afternoon" lineup from the late '70's and '80's, since that seems to be the period when you had the greatest cross-section of viewers.

Khan, did you have that list waiting in your Gmail drafts? laugh.png

Nope. :)

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To be perfect and frank, though, I think an oral history book on the daytime industry needs a specific focus than just soaps themselves (and the legends who built them). If I were the one spearheading this project, I might choose to focus specifically on ABC's wildly successful "Love in the Afternoon" lineup from the late '70's and '80's, since that seems to be the period when you had the greatest cross-section of viewers.

But that leaves out Y&R, DAYS and Passions. I believe those shows and the actors who worked on them deserve to be examined. I think that if there is going to be a limit, it should be chronological. For example the MTV book covers the period from the inception of the network until the first broadcast of The Real World. The authors believe that Real World was the moment MTV "died." I don't want this to be a love letter to anyone's wildly successful anything. I want an honest, brutal discussion of what it was like to work in the genre, good and bad.

Personally, I'd want any book to have an honest discussion of diversity in daytime. That can't happen without Y&R's actors or an interview with Renee Jones. ABC gives us the Hubbard and the Fryes and little else. Maybe OLTL's Vegas and Gannons (I can only imagine the interviews with Stickney, Purdee and de los Reyes) and Sonya Eddy.

Khan, did you have that list waiting in your Gmail drafts? laugh.png

I don't care if he had it waiting in his pants. It's still awesome.

Edited by marceline

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I think you're right, and I know I sound like a broken record, but I wish SoapNet had done this sort of super-specific type of program focusing on a particular aspect of soaps each episode.

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I don't care if he had it waiting in his pants. It's still awesome.

No doubt, just super impressed by how comprehensive and alphabetized it is!

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Khan's list is so comprehensive but I would add Wes Kenney, as he was a director and producer for Days during the Bell era (and also later produced Y&R and GH).

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Impressive list Khan! Kelly Ripa needs to produce something like this instead of wasting her money elsewhere.

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they should put something about One Life's Victoria Lord and her personalities. I think she has to be one of the first character in soap history to have a split personality. and of course years later they did that explosive storyline with her six other alters. Unfortunitly now there have been so many poor imitation copycats (Jessica Buchanan, Kate Howard) that people forget that when it first aired in 1968, it wasn't something that was on television. and even when they did the six others in 1995 i don't think other soaps really devolved into the cause and reintergrations of all the alters like they did on One Life.

Also they need to interview Rachel Ames while she's still alive. She'll tell you all about what GH was like back in 1963. I remember she said in an interview that except for the doctors and nurses uniforms, they had to wear their own clothes for a few years before the show got a good wardrobe department.

Edited by BKuzak

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I'd add Frances Fisher to talk about working with Henry Slesar, Joel Crothers, Forrest Compton, etc ...

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One more name to the list: Ellen Holly.

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Anything Irna!

I would also like to hear about Frank and Anne Hummert. I would also like to learn about the radio days. Also, as much as I love Susan Lucci my friend told me she has a friend on Long Island and Susan Lucci has a really bad reputation for being demanding and rude to people unless a fan is around. She is nice to fans but not so nice to random people that don't go ga-ga on her. I wonder if that is true. She has to have a dark side!!

I would like to learn about Marland as well.

Broderick's story about how she was a professor (she was in fact the Dean of Students at MEK's college when he was in school--Could you imagine having to write the Liza/Tad/Marian story if Tad was one of your students and you are a women??)

Eileen Fulton and the other ATWT's vets.

I would also like to hear from some of the original actors that played characters such as the original Dixie and Brooke and figure out how they reacted to the success of the actors that replaced them such as Julia Barr and Cady McClain. I would also want to know what they did next.

Stories about Gillian Spencer having to balance out writing and acting would be cool.

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