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


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#1 marceline

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 06:56 PM

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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#2 DRW50

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:07 PM

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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#3 SFK

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

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, 15 December 2012 - 07:31 PM.

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#4 Khan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:31 PM

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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#5 SFK

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:32 PM

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

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:33 PM

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? Posted Image


Nope. :)
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#7 marceline

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:50 PM

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? Posted Image


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

Edited by marceline, 15 December 2012 - 07:52 PM.

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#8 SFK

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:55 PM

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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#9 SFK

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:58 PM

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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#10 jam6242

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:11 PM

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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#11 theherowithin

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:23 PM

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

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:19 PM

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, 15 December 2012 - 09:20 PM.

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#13 Bright Eyes

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:45 PM

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

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:49 PM

One more name to the list: Ellen Holly.
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#15 allmc2008

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:52 PM

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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#16 DramatistDreamer

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:28 PM

Yes, Khan, that is pretty darn impressive.Posted Image Don't expect mine to be alphabetized like Khan's list but I want to add to that:

Speaking of diversity, I think I'd add:

Marguerite Ray, Stephanie E. Wiliams, Phil Morris, Nathan Purdee, Elizabeth Sung, Phillip Moon (Y&R) and John St. Elwood
Also, Quinn Redeker because I think he'd have a lot to tell and being a screenwriter, he'd probably be terrific at relating those stories.
Patty Weaver
Maura West (specifically her time at Y&R)
Would love for Beth Maitland, Eileen Davidson, Jerry Douglas and Marguerite Ray to talk about Terry Lester.

Would love to hear from Tonya Pinkins (She's known to be very frank), concerning her time on As The World Turns specifically
Hugo Napier
Brian Bloom
Tamara Tunie and Michael Swan,
Count Stovall,
Eddie Earl Hatch,
Paul Taylor,
Lamman Rucker,
Napiera Groves
Ming-na,
Lea Salonga
Robert Harris (okay he played a boring character in Ben Harris but the actor might surprise us with what he has to tell)
Lauren B. Martin
Patricia Bruder (Dobsons and Douglas Marland)
Finn Carter
Scott Bryce
Hayley Barr (ATWT & GL)

Nia Long and Monty Sharp (Guiding Light)
Jean Carole
Jordan Clarke and Amelia Marshall, Nia Long and Monty Sharp (Vince Williams)
Audrey Peters and Gil Rogers

I'd also love to hear from some behind the scenes people, former PAs, interns, people who were heavily relied on but might otherwise be rendered invisible in a credits listing.

Edited by DramatistDreamer, 15 December 2012 - 10:32 PM.

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#17 Y&RWorldTurner

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:33 PM

Charity Rahmer (on raising the bar for acting on daytime television).
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#18 Khan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 10:49 PM

More names:

Grant Aleksander, Judi Evans (Luciano), Michael O'Leary and Krista Tesreau (about GL's "Four Musketeers" story)
Denise Alexander
Rod Arrants (about Travis and Liza's romance on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW)
Matthew Ashford & Melissa Reeves (about her affair with Jason Brooks -- KIDDING)
Julia Barr & Richard Shoberg (about Laura Cudahy's death on ALL MY CHILDREN)
Felicia Minei Behr
Jeff Beldner, Lorraine Broderick, Hal Corley, Frederick Johnson and Michelle Patrick (about the conception and execution of Michael Delaney's coming out story on ALL MY CHILDREN)
Meg Bennett
Roscoe Born
Tracey Bregman
James Harmon Brown (mostly about the noble, but failed, experiments that were THE CITY and PORT CHARLES' telenovela format)
Kimberlin Brown
Ron Carlivati & Frank Valentini (Let's be fair...)
Tricia Cast
Crystal Chappell (about Carly's buried alive story on DAYS and Otalia on GL)
Leslie Charleson
Maree Cheatham
Christie Clark & Ali Sweeney (about DAYS in the early '90's, and the Carrie/Sami/Austin/Lucas storyline)
Michael Corbett
Nicolas Coster
Nancy Curlee
Shelley Curtis
Michael Damian
Stuart Damon
Doug Davidson
Eileen Davidson (about Kristen/Susan/Sister Mary Moira/etc.'s antics on DAYS)
Lane Davies
Don Diamont
Ellen Dolan (about working on AS THE WORLD TURNS during the "mercy killing" story and about Margo's rape/AIDS scare)
Jerry Douglas
William Grey Espy
Andrea Evans
Mary Beth Evans & Stephen Nichols
John Gabriel
Helen Gallagher
Linda Gottlieb
Nancy Lee Grahn (about working on SANTA BARBARA)
Josh Griffith
Malcolm Groome
Robert Guza, Jr.
Ron Hale
Lindsay Hartley, Liza Huber and Eric Martsolf (on the Ethan/Theresa/Gwen triangle on PASSIONS)
Susan Haskell
David Hasselhoff (I think they'd be remiss not to try and interview him)
Kathryn Hays
Lynn Herring & Jon Lindstrom (about their experiences on PORT CHARLES)
Susan Bedsow Horgan
Roger Howarth
James Houghton
Finola Hughes
Liz Keifer
Maeve Kinkead
Harley Jane Kozak (C'mon, "The Big C"?)
Wortham Krimmer (about the AIDS/Homophobia story on ONE LIFE TO LIVE)
Michael Levin
Julianna McCarthy
Kimberly McCullough
Megan McTavish (yes, Megan McTavish!)
Beth Maitland
Michael Malone
Brad Maule (if nothing else, for The Moment...you know what I'm talking about)
Donna Mills (about the hugely popular triangle w/ her, Leslie Charleson and David Birney on LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING, the first of a wave of soaps that emphasized youth-oriented storylines)
Juliet Mills (about PASSIONS)
Julianne Moore (she'd be willing to talk)
Phil Morris (about Tyrone Jackson's "White Like Me" story on Y&R)
Lisa Peluso
Audrey Peters (about LOVE OF LIFE)
Wendy Riche
Chris Robinson
Tristan Rogers
Frank Runyeon (about working with Meg Ryan on ATWT)
Emma Samms
Edward Scott
Louise Shaffer
Kin Shriner
Courtney Simon (about playing proto-feminist Kathy Parker Phillips on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW)
Peter Simon (about GL, and specifically about the Bauer clan)
Tina Sloan
Hillary B. Smith (about AS THE WORLD TURNS, Doug Marland and OLTL's "Spring Fling" date rape storyline)
Louise Sorel (about SANTA BARBARA and about crazy Vivian on DAYS)
John Stamos
Sherry Stringfield
Susan Sullivan (about ANOTHER WORLD in the '70's)
Michael Sutton (about Stone and Robin's love story)
Brynn Thayer
Gary Tomlin
Jessica Tuck (about Megan's death on ONE LIFE TO LIVE)
Michael Tylo (about the Quint/Nola romance on GL)
Jerry verDorn
Jack Wagner
Kristina Wagner
Ellen Wheeler (about playing twins on ANOTHER WORLD, Cindy and Stuart's love story on ALL MY CHILDREN -- and, Lord, yes, even Peapack)
Robert S. Woods (about the early days of the Buchanans on OLTL)
Jackie Zeman (hey, SoapBoy!)
Colleen Zenk

I'd also like to talk with network execs such as Michael Brockman, Michael Eisner, Michael Filerman and Fred Silverman, many of whom "cut their teeth," so to speak, supervising daytime programming at the different networks.

Edited by Khan, 15 December 2012 - 11:23 PM.

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#19 Khan

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:30 PM

Meanwhile, how's this for a title: "When Every Day Was Friday: An Oral History of the American Soap Opera."
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#20 Bright Eyes

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:49 PM

Beverly Penberthy: About Pat's abortion story, her alcoholism, John Randolph, her thoughts on Harding Lemay planning to have Michael be homosexual ...

Carol Roux
Joseph Gallison - Especially on why his story on OLTL never truly came to fruition.

Michael Storm / Agnes Nixon, others from Dark Shadows - As much as can be said about the most underrated soap writer of all time, Gordon Russell.

Edited by Bright Eyes, 15 December 2012 - 11:57 PM.

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