Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
vetsoapfan

Agnes Nixon's autobiography

32 posts in this topic

I just finished reading Agnes Nixon's autobiography, MY LIFE TO LIVE, and have mixed thoughts about the book.

 

Overall, the memoir provides us with a well-written, warm, insightful, and memorable reading experience.

 

The majority of the book is spent on her personal life, with not enough (in my opinion) time devoted to anecdotes relating to her soap work. 

 

While Nixon comes across as a wonderful person, whose private life I want to learn more about, I would have loved to get more information about her experiences working on the different shows and with different executives and network officials. We do get some of this, but not enough; only bits and pieces which make us yearn for more.

 

My only serious criticism/disappointment, however, is how many historical inaccuracies there are, in terms of timelines, soap characters, and even some actors.

 

Her all-too-brief section recounting the earliest years of ONE LIFE TO LIVE is particularly egregious. Clearly, no one involved in the proofreading or editing of the autobiography had any  real knowledge of the show's history. Where was the fact checker??? They should have hired me. I would have caught all the boos-boos, and done the work for a fair fee, LOL!

 

Al Freeman, Jr., was NOT a white actor! And his Ed Hall's on-screen relationship with Ellen Holly's Carla/Clara Gray was NOT an interracial coupling!

 

Has anyone else read this?

 

Thoughts?

Edited by vetsoapfan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have my copy on order from Amazon and they have the release date listed as March 21. It hasn't shipped yet, and since I don't have prime it will take time for me to receive it. 

 

When it comes to the OLTL story, I think they were confused as I thought that Carla was passing as white, and people in the audience freaked believing she was hooking up with someone who was not. Is that what was meant, but it was edited badly?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ~bl~ said:

I have my copy on order from Amazon and they have the release date listed as March 21. It hasn't shipped yet, and since I don't have prime it will take time for me to receive it. 

 

When it comes to the OLTL story, I think they were confused as I thought that Carla was passing as white, and people in the audience freaked believing she was hooking up with someone who was not. Is that what was meant, but it was edited badly?

 

Yes, way back then, Carla, who was a light-skinned woman of color, did indeed pass for white, but reference to that storyline point was not the problem. In Nixon's book, she specifically refers to Ed Hall (played by Al Freeman, Jr.) as a WHITE police officer, whose "interracial" on-screen kiss with Ellen Holly (Carla/Clara Gray)  was a soap opera "first."

 

Um, no.

 

The controversial interracial kiss was between the black Carla Gray and the white Dr. Jim Craig (incorrectly referred to in Nixon's book as Dr. "Tim" Craig). Carla also had another potential love interest, Dr. Price Trainor (incorrectly referred to in the book as "Dr. Jack Scott"), who was black. Viewers were shocked that Carla would be kissing a black man, if she were white, or that she was kissing a white man, if she were black. Network affiliates dropped the show in protest.

 

BTW, there was a character named Jack Scott who appeared in the show, but not in 1968-9. He only turned up many years after the interracial drama was a thing of the past.

 

Really, there are many mistakes like this in the book, which are very...distracting.

 

During the writers' strike in 1981, the scab writers on GENERAL HOSPITAL had characters refer to the deceased Diana Taylor as "Diane." Multiple times. This distracted me to no end, as well. Didn't anybody on set say, "Wait a minute! This isn't the right name!"

 

Had I worked as a fact-checker/historical consultant for the soaps, I could have become a millionaire, LOL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks vetsoapfan, that is a huge error. So the story was mentioned, but the characters names were completely wrong, yikes. I'm guessing this was the most glaring error.

 

If the actors knew the character's name was Diana on GH, why didn't they correct it themselves. In the Monty era, people did ad lib, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ~bl~ said:

Thanks vetsoapfan, that is a huge error. So the story was mentioned, but the characters names were completely wrong, yikes. I'm guessing this was the most glaring error.

 

If the actors knew the character's name was Diana on GH, why didn't they correct it themselves. In the Monty era, people did ad lib, right?

 

Many of the errors were surprising, but to say that OLTL's Ed Hall was white was just ridiculous. The Carla-passes-for-white story is one of the most famous in soap history. Someone involved in proofreading or editing the manuscript of Nixon's book should have caught the mistake.

 

On GH, many people did ad-lib, so I could not understand why actors like Robin Mattson (Heather) who should have noticed the gaffe, simply did not say "Diana Taylor" instead of "Diane." Really! If scab writers on DALLAS referred to a "JF" is a script, wouldn't Patrick Duffy or Linda Gray change it during delivery to "JR"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the heads up on the book.

 

Sounds like a missed oppurtunity. Im sure Agnes private life is worthy of detail,but she was hardly a celebrity whose private life would be of great interest.

 

Most fans would like details of  behind the scenes challenges and anecdotes. I recall Doug Marland relating when he and Agnes were about to go onto an ABC exec meeting and he was pumped about GH zooming in the ratings and was anticipating the positive response.Agnes set him straight and sure enough there was drama from the execs about how they could sustain this success.

 

There are so many interesting stories out there that will be lost forever unless someone commits them to print.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Paul Raven said:

Thanks for the heads up on the book.

 

Sounds like a missed oppurtunity. Im sure Agnes private life is worthy of detail,but she was hardly a celebrity whose private life would be of great interest.

 

Most fans would like details of  behind the scenes challenges and anecdotes. I recall Doug Marland relating when he and Agnes were about to go onto an ABC exec meeting and he was pumped about GH zooming in the ratings and was anticipating the positive response.Agnes set him straight and sure enough there was drama from the execs about how they could sustain this success.

 

There are so many interesting stories out there that will be lost forever unless someone commits them to print.

 

I was truly very interested in reading all about Nixon's personal family history. It was mesmerizing in itself, and I believe other fans of autobiographies will enjoy it. 

 

In my opinion, however, many readers would pick up this book specifically for Nixon's take on her soap opera career. Yes, there are passages devoted to certain shows like AMC and OLTL, but not nearly enough. She briefly mentions that AMC was destroyed after she was forced out, but gives us no details at all about how and why the network shoved her aside in the first place. She generally skips over several years during which the soap opera genre was crippled by incompetent powers that be. The only thing she really says is that one destructive writer made it clear that character motivation was irrelevant to him. (That would be the dreadful Charles Pratt, I believe.) A female ABC executive vowed to get rid of "that damned Bible" (meaning the beloved and iconic family album used in the show's opening).

 

There is no mention at all of LOVING or her work with Douglas Marland.

 

I would have been happy if Nixon kept everything she had already written in her book, but added another 50 pages or more, to go into additional detail about the behind-the-scenes drama of the shows, executives, and networks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

Had I worked as a fact-checker/historical consultant for the soaps, I could have become a millionaire, LOL!

 

Me, too, and not just for soaps! ROFL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, amybrickwallace said:

 

Me, too, and not just for soaps! ROFL!

 

Imagine the fortune that could be made by a literate person, who was hired to correct Trump's tweets!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the info, @vetsoapfan. I probably would have gotten it, but seeing as to there's limited information regarding her soaps, I don't think I'll bother.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, amybrickwallace said:

I used to work as a proofreader, so errors of any kind in written form drive me nuts!!

 

I admit that I often make minor mistakes when I post on message boards, but that is just because I want to type quickly and rarely bother proofreading anything before I hit the send button. If it were my JOB, I would take the time to make sure everything was correct, however.

 

 

3 minutes ago, YRBB said:

Thanks for all the info, @vetsoapfan. I probably would have gotten it, but seeing as to there's limited information regarding her soaps, I don't think I'll bother.

 

I don't want anyone to think the book is worthless. It's not. I enjoyed all the chapters about Nixon's personal history. I just wanted more information and anecdotes about the soap biz. As always, Nixon's wonderful writing left me wanting MORE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/18/2017 at 11:43 PM, vetsoapfan said:

I don't want anyone to think the book is worthless. It's not. I enjoyed all the chapters about Nixon's personal history. I just wanted more information and anecdotes about the soap biz. As always, Nixon's wonderful writing left me wanting MORE.

 

Oh, certainly not! That's not the impression I got. I doubt Nixon would be capable of something worthless. My main interest, however, would be the info and anecdotes you mention, so it sounds like it wouldn't give me what I'm looking for personally. 

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
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.