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Sean

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  1. According to an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal published in July 1975, Labine & Mayer became headwriters of LOL in September 1973. There was a writer's strike from early March through late June 1973, so it's possible they may have taken over directly from the scab writers (or an interim writing team post-strike). They signed with LOL the same week they formalized their development deal with ABC for what would later become Ryan's Hope: [Labine and Mayer] wrote dialogue for CBS's "Where the Heart Is," later became its head writers while developing the ABC project. In September 1973 they became head writers for "Love of Life." They have resigned from those jobs, now that "Ryan's Hope" is a reality. .... Q. How long have you been working on this? A. When "Where the Heart Is" was cancelled in 1973, our agent got us in contact with ABC. We had a couple of meetings and they said, "Hey, fellas, would you like to develop us a serial called 'City Hospital'?" And we said, "Not very much, thank you, but we'll think about it." So, we liked the "city" part a lot, and we came back with a big-city serial. So, they gave us what they call a development fee to sit down and work with an idea and to come up with a thing called the canvas, the basic characters and the situations in which they find themselves when the story begins. Plus, you write a projected long story, six months to a year. So you have the beginning of a show right there. In serials, you don't do pilots. You do bibles, or presentations. That was what we were hired to do. This does not mean that they are going to buy it, You just get paid for developing it. In August of 1973 we said we would like to write this bible, and the very next day CBS offered us the head writership of "Love of Life," an old, old show that had been on 22 years, I think. At that time, it was in very bad ratings trouble. When we left this year in May, the rating situation was much improved and we were very proud, though we were not solely responsible for that. While this was going on, we were doing the development deal for ABC. We had an "out" in our contract to do "Ryan's Hope" if it was bought. And it was, in March of this year.
  2. Rest in peace, John Gabriel. Seneca could be insufferable at times, but JG always ensured there was something softer just beneath the surface even when Seneca was at his worst. JG seemed like a classic showman, and in an earlier era I could easily see him as a major Old Hollywood movie star. He seemed to love performing, and in reading press coverage from his stint on RH it was clear just how much he enjoyed promoting the show, attending fan events, and the like. The Nell/Seneca storyline was the highlight of the show's first year to me, along with the initial Jack/Mary romance. John Gabriel and Diana van der Vlis did some fantastic, truly compelling work together those first months of the show. I do think "controlling" is a fair descriptor and applies to all three of his marriages. Beyond her health, Nell's reason for leaving Seneca and coming to Riverside was in order to get out from under his control and do the kinds of medical research she'd always wanted to pursue. Seneca then tried to dominate Jill throughout their marriage, insisting that she put aside her career to have another child with him after Edmund's death and proceeding to nearly rape her. Seneca's attraction to Kim seemed to arise in part because he thought she would be easier to control than either of his past wives, though of course that didn't end up being the case. I don’t think he received a proper on-screen sendoff, at least based on the newspaper and SOD recaps I’ve read. The last time he appears in the episodes that are available on YouTube is at Maggie and Dave’s wedding, where Maggie thanks him for starting her modeling career (he’d hired her to be the face of Riverside Hospital in a charity campaign back in late 1983). If his absence was ever directly addressed, it must have been in passing. Tom King & Millee Taggart had a habit of dropping characters without explanation throughout their tenure as headwriters—see also Leigh Kirkland, Bill Hyde, and some more short-lived characters like DJ LaSalle, Betty Sherman, and Gloria Tassky. By the time he was let go in June/July 1985, Seneca hadn’t been involved in a major storyline since Kim’s departure in March 1983. He and Rae interfered during the early days of Frank and Jill’s marriage, but Louise Shaffer was then dropped to recurring and Rae disappeared shortly thereafter. Aside from that, he was mostly entangled in some hospital politics with Roger and Max Dubujak that was basically treated as a C/D-level story. His last significant relationship was with Judith Barcroft's Barbara Wilde, which ended in January 1982; that same year they hinted he might get back together with Jill during his custody battle with Kim, but that was squashed when Frank returned in the spring of 1983. When he showed up again in December 1988, he was working at a hospital in Quebec and came back to New York to perform emergency surgery on Robert Rowan at Roger's request, at which point he became intrigued by Robert's mother, Sherry Rowan, who was played by the former Nell Beaulac herself, Diana van der Vlis.
  3. According to this, he's listed as one of the writers in the credits for the first daytime episode of Capitol, though I don't believe that episode is on YouTube currently. It's my understanding that Capitol experienced some abrupt changes in writers that first year, with the Corringtons replacing the Karpfs as headwriters before the end of 1982, so I wonder how long he lasted. I know he was first credited at Ryan's Hope in late May 1984, a little over six months into PFS's tenure there.
  4. Not to "spoil" () anything from the blog, but from what Jon-Michael Reed and Linda Hirsch reported at the time it seems like Kelli Maroney was intended to be in the role long-term, while Marsha Clark was always meant to be temporary. This is from a JMR column, published around October 8: "ONE LIFE TO LIVE" has been announcing for the past year that actresses have been cast to play the returning role of Tina Clayton. For some reason they've never worked and never appeared on the screen. But the big surprise is that "OLTL" has cast Kelli Maroney, (formerly Kimberly Harris on "Ryan's Hope"), one of the more uninteresting actresses to ever appear on a soap. Although there weren't many defenders of her talent she managed to have a fairly long run on "RH." She will appear as Tina Clayton, again, around mid-October. (JMR was really not a fan of Maroney's - he made similar comments when she re-joined the cast of RH in the spring of 1982.) On January 17, Linda Hirsch reported that Clark's stint was temporary and that Andrea Evans was on her way back: With the exit of Kelli Maroney from the role of Tina on "One Life to Live," the show's producers have been looking high and low for a replacement. They brought in Marsha Clark, last seen as Hilary on "Guiding Light", for the short term, but she was not interested in taking over the role on a permanent basis. The producers have now decided to go with Andrea Evans. If the name is familiar, it's because she created the role of Tina several years ago. She left that show and was then seen as Patti in "Young and the Restless."
  5. You make a very fair point, and from what I've read the ratings in 1982 can only be considered disappointing in light of how well the show was doing during the summer and fall of 1981. ABC's disappointment in the ratings and itchiness behind the scenes is understandable only in that context. It does make a certain kind of perverse sense that they'd begin to feel that Claire Labine was replaceable given the success of the show under the scabs. A while back, the monthly ratings reports from Daytime TV were posted in this thread. They're not always the most reliable indicator as (1) the reports seem to be linked to specific weeks rather than specific months and (2) they were published a few months behind and not consistently so—based on the specific shows that are listed, some are only 2 months behind and some are up to 4 months behind. With those caveats out of the way, in the Daytime TV ratings reports Ryan's Hope seems to peak around August 1981, when it ranks in fourth place with a 7.8 rating—that's the last month of the strike, around the time Kim gave birth to Arley and the Monte Carlo Room opened at the Crystal Palace. For the remainder of 1981, the show is consistently ranking in either fifth or sixth place. Somewhere in that thread there's a separate breakdown of the key demos for the fourth quarter of 1981, and Ryan's Hope was also in the top 5 for that report. I have to imagine ABC was pretty happy with that performance, given that the ratings had been stagnating a bit around 1979-80. By the time you get to early 1982, the show dips down to seventh and eighth place, with a small bump back up to sixth place for May/June 1982. So by the time Labine is dumped in favor of Munisteri, the show is down compared to 1981 but basically back to where it was in 1979 and 1980. ABC's decision to make this change in writers really only makes sense in the context of the ratings drop relative to the strike material, as well as the tumultuous relationship that Labine acknowledges she had with the ABC brass at the time. Of course, by the end of Munisteri's brief time as HW the show has dropped even more, with ratings now in the 5s and dropping to ninth place. The ratings don't seem to move at all throughout Labine & Mayer's 1983 return, with the show consistently ranking either in ninth or tenth place and sometimes dipping into the 4s. Under Pat Falken Smith that ranking remains unchanged and the ratings continue to atrophy until the show ends up at the bottom of the ratings basement with The Edge of Night and Search for Tomorrow after the timeslot change. As to why ABC allowed PFS to go more than a year as headwriter when they were so willing to make quick changes in the writers' room in 1982 and 1983, I assume that they were giving her a wider berth given her track record at General Hospital and given the degree to which the show's character was altered. It may also be that they were becoming less invested, particularly with the timeslot change. (IIRC, Soap Opera Digest was speculating as early as spring 1983 that ABC was going to cancel RH in favor of Loving, though that seems drastic given that it had been in the top 5 only 18 months earlier.) To be fair, I feel like by 1986 you really had no choice but to make Little John college-aged, given that LJ was always a few years older than Ryan and that they'd already aged up and married off (!!) Ryan by the time Jason Adams was cast in the role. Of course, no need to make Frank and Delia grandparents! I had a longer response drafted to this that was unfortunately eaten by the board, but I'll just join DeliaIrisFan in singing the praises for 1983. It's definitely one of the show's most consistent periods, alongside 1976-78 and 1987. The Charlotte Greer and early Maggie/Bess storylines are really well-done, and the show is smart enough to play the Faith/Pat reunion as a B-story—it helps make the show feel more like itself, without spending too much time actually regurgitating well-trod plot points. I hated seeing Delia's role reduced, but the only material I truly loathed was when they had her frame Little John for stealing money in order to get Frank's attention—mercifully, that was abandoned after all of one week. (Her exit after L&M were fired also sounds bad.) I did like how Delia was incorporated into the Charlotte Greer story at times, and they also played up her friendship with Siobhan which I enjoyed—that friendship seemed to go by the wayside during Ann Gillespie's time as Siobhan.
  6. Hollis's past with Rae seems to have been baked into his backstory from the start, with him realizing he was Kim's father as early as June 1982, a few weeks after his first appearance on the show. Kim didn't find out until after Christmas, though. Having Hollis more closely linked to Jill would have absolutely been a rich source for conflict, and a good way for the show to utilize Nancy Addison at the time - aside from being Seneca's lawyer during the Arley custody trial, she didn't have much to do post-Meritkara and pre-Geoff Pierson based on the summaries that are available. I suspect you're right about that - given how much energy was invested in the character of Leigh, it feels surprising that they would have felt so strongly about throwing out the rest of her family. Considering the significant ratings drop that occurred midway through 1982, I assume there was pressure from the network to do a sweeping overhaul, even if it meant jettisoning an element that they'd been pushing heavily a few months earlier. Something like 10 contract cast members were dropped between January and March 1983, with only one (Roscoe Born) being by the actor's choice. It's definitely an interesting contrast with her return in 1987, when Max Dubujak was the only major character that got knocked off the show, and that move seemed destined to happen anyway given the way the Overlord storyline made no qualms about his (cartoonish) villainy. (And while I realize being a consultant is virtually always a toothless role - as shown over and over again throughout daytime history - part of me wonders if the higher-ups implemented some of Labine's suggestions when she joined RH as a consultant partway through 1986, as the show was much better then than it had been during pretty much any other period under Tom King and Millee Taggart. Maybe just my bias showing!) Before Hardy moved over to General Hospital in late 1989, he was the executive producer at Loving for a little more than a year. According to a Nancy Reichardt article I came across, his transition to Loving was announced at the show's five-year anniversary party in June 1988, where he joined Agnes Nixon in cutting the cake. In articles where he's interviewed, Hardy has always struck me as the kind of EP who didn't necessarily have his own vision to imprint on his shows but was instead happy to implement the directive of his network. That seems to be the spirit in which ABC moved him over first to Loving and then to GH, both shows that were seen as being in choppy waters (of different kinds) at the time. According to the same press coverage, Felicia Minei Behr took over at RH on June 20th (not sure if that was the production date or airdate). I believe FMB joined the show as a producer in either 1982 or 1983, so she would have overlapped with Labine & Mayer's 1983 stint as well.
  7. Someone recently posted an episode from 1975 to YouTube, along with two additional episodes from 1977. I don't think I've ever seen these circulating before online, though my apologies if I'm mistaken!
  8. I assumed the Kirklands were completely Munisteri's doing (Leigh excepted), but in spending some time during the early days of the COVID lockdown digging through old newspaper columns my impression is now that Claire Labine's stint as solo HW lasted longer than it's usually presented and would have overlapped with the introduction of both Hollis (week of April 26-30) and Amanda (week of August 2-6). Paul Avila Mayer was gone by the St. Patrick's Day episode that SOAPnet aired, as he's not listed in the writing credits for the episode. Lynda Hirsch reported his departure in her column on February 7, 1982, only a few weeks after the end of the SOAPnet run: When Claire Labine and Paul Mayer sold "Ryan's Hope" to ABC last year, they probably didn't think the move would break up their writing team-up, which goes back many years. However, that's exactly what happened. ABC has decided to retain the services of Claire Labine and team her with several writers to produce "Ryan's Hope." As for Paul, he is no longer writing scripts for "Ryan's Hope," but we assume he will turn up on another daytime drama - not that he needs the money, however, since he was given quite a hefty piece of change by ABC network for "Ryan's Hope," which is its leading soap opera. We understand ABC Is gearing up for competition that may be coming its way from the newly spruced-up "Search for Tomorrow" when it hits the NBC airwaves March 29. ABC is also aware of "Young and the Restless," which always runs a respectable fourth or fifth in daytime ratings, but has no plans to change the basic "Ryan's Hope" format, which is never at the top but also never at the bottom. Jon-Michael Reed reported that Kate Mulgrew's scenes were filmed in late July 1982, and there's a subsequent Connie Passalacqua column from early September 1982 in which Claire Labine is quoted about Kate Mulgrew's return that implies that KM returned as a favor to Labine. (Also, not that this is anything conclusive given that Labine technically remained a consultant after she was fired as headwriter, but she was also pictured prominently in the cast photo at the 7th anniversary party in July 1982, alongside Mary Page Keller and Peter Haskell.) (I've always found that situation--in which the show held off using these scenes for roughly eight months--fascinating as well, given how seamlessly those scenes with Kate Mulgrew were incorporated into the ongoing Jack/Leigh story. Imagine how frustrating it would have been had the change in headwriters/story ultimately junked that footage.) The first mention I've found about Labine's ouster as HW was in Jon-Michael Reed's column on October 2: "RYAN'S HOPE," once the most sparkling gem among daytime soaps, has fallen on weak-ratings times as well as uninteresting plot times. The show has lost its luster since ABC took over control from creators and former co-owners Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer. Labine was "kicked upstairs" from headwriting chores to a consultant position, while Mayer is no longer associated with the program. One of the most recent and not-so-bright decisions was to pack off the character of Jane Ryan, played by Maureen Garrett, a brightly and sprightly conceived and executed lady. Lynda Hirsh reported this in her October 17 column, mentioning Munisteri as Labine's replacement: Mary Munisteri has been named head writer of "Ryan's Hope." Mary, who worked for a time on the show at dialoguer and sub-writer positions, takes over for Claire Labine, who will remain on the show as a consultant. Claire was the original creator, producer, and co-head writer with Paul Mayer on "Ryan's Hope." Labine and Mayer have also worked on "Love of Life" and "Where the Heart Is." Of course, by late January 1983 these same columnists were reporting Labine & Mayer's return in an effort by ABC to go back to basics and save the ratings. (Regarding the choice to recast Amanda, one of the columnists reported that Mary Page Keller was replaced because the network felt she would look too young paired with Malcolm Groome, who returned in early February 1983 and replaced the 4-years-younger Patrick James Clarke. While I can understand the hesitation around the 12-year gap between MG and MPK, her replacement Ariane Munker ended up being only 1 year older! Age also didn't seem to play a factor when the show paired 37-year-old MG with a 21-year-old Nancy Valen in 1986...) Sorry to go on for so long - figured this was a good opportunity to share some of the (admittedly mostly useless) information I dug up earlier in the lockdown. From the recaps I've read, I totally agree with your take on Munisteri. She was the logical candidate to take over the reins from Labine, but the comments I've read about her other headwriting stints do seem to suggest that she was better suited to executing the visions of others rather than establishing her own. In the case of RH, that meant emphasizing the gangland wars and the wealthier Kirklands (including Rae and Kim) that ABC favored. I don't disagree with that - in many ways, it sounds like fan fiction. I assume that, with the show's future looking increasingly tenuous, Labine wanted to bring Jack's story full-circle, both by having him settle down with newly-returned Leigh and by having him once again revisit his abandonment issues. However, it definitely reads as being too neat an answer, at least on paper. Having only read recaps of the story, I wonder how the show had Jack grapple with the fact that he is the son of a man engaged in the very system of violence that killed his wife in 1979, nearly killed him and destroyed his career in 1981, and consistently imperiled his sister-in-law for the better part of a decade. I could see Labine doing some interesting things with that, but not necessarily the scabs. (I should also add that in that same article Labine mentioned that she couldn't bring herself to actually watch the show and was instead relying on recaps of the action when she returned after the strike, so I'm sure there must have been other things amiss with the execution that a simple recap wouldn't capture!) ETA. Found that article about the strike, which DRW50 posted here. Here are the relevant portions: As it happened, Labine had left RH in extraordinary good shape before the walkout. “It was as well-organized as it has ever been,” she says, noting that former Executive Producer Joe Hardy, Producer Felicia Minei Behr, and Coordinating Producer Nancy Horwich closely monitored the non-union writers and stuck close to her plot projections. “They were terribly careful and, out of deference, tried very hard not to commit to anything new.” There was really only one hitch—the Jack/Silvio/Sister Mary Joel situation. It wrapped up way too quickly [Labine had hoped to carry it into the new year] and, somehow in the shuffle, also wound up concentrating way too much on Jack’s daughter, Ryan. Other than that, no gripes.
  9. Seeing more material from Mary Ryan Munisteri's period as headwriter remains my holy grail as an RH fan. As has already been noted, of the Labine/Mayer replacements, her writing seems easily the most aligned with the show's original identity. I'd love to see the Kirkland story play out, and how it may have shifted over time given that Hollis and Amanda were both Labine creations (I believe). At least during those early months, they appear to have been relatively well-integrated with the show's core characters, so the moniker Kirkland's Hope seems misdirected - I believe that originates with Ron Hale, which makes some sense since Roger was on the backburner for a while after the EJ story ended. Those early weeks of Pat Falken Smith's run that are available on YouTube are fascinating in that they retain some of L&M's scriptwriters and maintain the overall look and feel of the show, though you can feel the show's center of gravity beginning to shift. Beyond the backburnering of the Ryans and the ascendency of the Dubujaks and the gang at Greenberg's Deli, 1984 presented such an extreme makeover for the show - the music changed, the types of actors changed, and of course the sets changed, most notably the bar. In retrospect it's hard to see how anyone could have thought something that extreme could work without alienating the core viewership. The Dubujaks were awful, particularly Jacqueline. I guess I can understand Daniel Pilon's appeal as a debonair man in the Dynasty vein, but Max wasn't much of a character. King/Taggart's decision to make him the sudden romantic lead of the show for the latter half of 1985 was such a head-scratcher considering how much time the show devoted to portraying him as the big bad up to that point. Interestingly enough, Joe's cousin Laslo did end up becoming a threat to Siobhan during the period in which Joe was presumed dead, though it played out as a way to further justify Max and Siobhan's romance. Laslo was responsible for reporter Sydney Price's accidental death, though everyone assumed Max was responsible since Sydney had been his escort at some point in the distant past. Siobhan eventually figured out Sydney had died during a scuffle with Laslo, and Laslo kidnapped Siobhan and whisked her away to Canada. Max rescued Siobhan, which is partially how the other Ryans came to accept him despite the fact that he was widely acknowledged as an international crime lord (ugh). The Gabrielle Dubujak/Chessy Blake doppelgänger storyline was one of the worst stories the show ever told... if not the worst. From what I remember watching on YouTube, the story largely kept Gabrielle and Jacqueline apart until right before Quealy and Scannell were written out, which was wise - Scannell being all of 2 years older than Quealy. Cesare Danova as Silvio was still a contract cast member when the show ended, though I imagine they would have written him out had the show continued. By November 1988 he'd completely disentangled himself from the mob and attempted a reconciliation with Sister Mary Joel, but she'd made it clear she intended to stay committed to the church. Danova and Rosemary Prinz make few appearances in the last two months'' worth of episodes that are available on YouTube. Unlike the 1981 Writer's Strike, I believe the scab writers in 1988 aligned very closely with what Labine had outlined in her story projections for the year. SOD or another publication at the time had writers comment on the work of the scabs, and her only complaint was that they'd overly emphasized Ryan in the Jack/Mary Joel storyline. Compared to the creative resurgence the show experienced in 1987, 1988 an odd year in terms of how many long-term characters left the canvas: Jill, Maggie, Pat, Dakota, and finally Joe. As much as I've enjoyed what's available of Roscoe Born's return that fall, moving Siobhan out of Joe's orbit strikes me as a wise choice. Beyond what's been said, I seem to recall Leigh not having a good relationship with either of her parents. I did enjoy the fact that the show brought back the Kirkland butler, Mendenhall (played by RH stage manager Dick Briggs), in the weeks leading up to the finale. (He'd also been the butler for the Kirklands' predecessor in their penthouse, Spencer Smith, during the Egyptian storyline.)
  10. There's a quote from Ilene Kristen where she describes Delia as a walking open wound, which I think perfectly describes the way the other characters handled Delia from 1975-78. By the time Randall Edwards assumed the role she was usually more restrained in her destructiveness (not always, but usually). I think 1980 was probably RE's best year in the role, story-wise (notably all the stuff with Barry). In re-watching the 1979 episodes, I've been struck by how much the show wastes RE by having her constantly interfere with Pat and Nancy's relationship, which is a shame since her Delia was many magnitudes more interesting than either of them. She got plenty of airtime but wasn't necessarily well-served by it. That dynamic kind of repeated itself in late 1981 in the E.J. Ryan storyline. (Though I did enjoy E.J. a lot, which I realize puts me in the minority.) IK's return in 1986 certainly feels like a more successful synthesis of the Delia she played in her first stint and the more whimsical interpretation of the character that was foregrounded by the show during the RE era, though it's hard to tell given how little of her second stint is available. Christian Slater was on from May 1985 through November 1985. From the recaps I've read, his character kind of just faded away, which seemed to happen a lot to characters under Tom King and Millee Taggart (most notably to Seneca, Leigh Kirkland, Bill Hyde, and a whole slew of characters written out at the end of 1985). IIRC, Robin Mattson left GH at the end of her 3-year contract after ABC refused to raise her salary, but that ABC subsequently agreed to pay her a higher salary at RH even though it was a shorter program. She felt the offer was too good to refuse but left RH after 6 months so that she could participate in pilot season on the West Coast.
  11. ABC's issues with Ilene Kristen's weight made it into the press at the time, which seems absolutely horrifying. ABC was on her case about her weight even before she returned in 1982, including during her recurring stint on One Life to Live that immediately preceded her return to RH. This is from a February 1982 Jon-Michael Reed column: When the character of lady mechanic Georgina Whitman surfaced on "One Life to Live" three months ago, she was intended as an "interim buffer'' to re-introduce the character of Tony Lord. Now, the show's writers have "extended" the character to become more active. But the actress originally hired to portray Georgina has been dropped. Actress Ilene Kristen was the original Delia on "Ryan's Hope." She left that show to pursue off-Broadway interests. Her return to the soap world as OLTL's Georgina signaled a willingness on her part to combine soap acting's financial security with her outside interests. Unfortunately, Kristen gained noticeable pounds to her girth between soap stints. A "OLTL" source claims that Kristen was cautioned to lose the flab or risk her job. Last week, "OLTL" announced that Nana Tucker will take over the role of Georgina. Interestingly, Tucker is also an "RH" alumna. She played a Jewish girl, Nancy Feldman, who had an ill-starred romance with Catholic Pat Ryan. Tucker later portrayed Darcy Collins on "The Doctors." Kristen, meanwhile, is rumored to be negotiating with "RH" to resume her role of Delia. The current Delia, Randall Edwards, is, according to another source, "tired of the part and not afraid to let her displeasure show." Edwards garnered an Emmy nomination last year and was a delightful Delia. If his reporting is accurate, ABC essentially fired her from two shows due to her weight. I seem to recall another column around the summer or fall of 1983 suggesting that ABC sent her to a weight-loss retreat, which would have been only a few months before her firing. If you watch the 1983 episodes that are on YouTube, it's essentially the only period of the show's run in which Delia is marginalized while the character is still on the canvas. (Based on the recaps available for 1982, Delia was still integrated into a number of the stories until the Crystal Palace shuts down in early 1983.) I'm assuming that's because ABC had issues with Ilene Kristen being front and center.
  12. I was hoping the Charlotte Greer story would come up as well, given that it's the story I associate most closely with Geoff Pierson's Frank. I love the not-insubstantial amount of material that's available from that period on YouTube, but it would be fascinating to find out what was intended to be the outcome aside from the wedding of Frank and Jill. In general, I wanted to hear a little more about how the actors felt about the various writing regime changes over the years (particularly IK and MG since they experienced most/all of them), though I realize that's not an area Alan usually wants to probe on these shows. It’s a little surprising they didn’t bring him back for the final weeks of the show given the prominent role he had played, though I can’t see either Roger/Delia or Jack/Leigh being especially eager to invite him to their weddings. It’s funny—in writing my post last night, I’d basically blocked out the role Jill’s amnesia and her becoming “Sara Jane” played in all of this. Totally agree that this was a dumb development, made only worse by the fact that the writers had already leaned on amnesia as a plot point earlier that same year when Katie Thompson couldn’t remember the circumstances around her being pushed down a flight of stairs by Maggie. Given how fraught Frank and Jill’s relationship was throughout 1984-5, there should have been another, less clichéd way for the show to have Dakota cause a rift between them.
  13. Sign me up as another person to like Mary Carney the best of all the Mary recasts. I know some grew to like Nicolette Goulet in the part, but her version of Mary just seemed so divorced from KM's iteration - the balance of self-righteousness and charm wasn't right. I'm currently watching episodes from August 1979 in which Jack and Siobhan are still in the process of grappling with their feelings for each other, and while I loved KM's Mary (as much she she could also frustrate me), I find it hard to care about how this situation impacts her. My one qualm with MC is that it's hard to imagine her Mary as a lead, though that may simply be a side effect of how the character was backburnered in those first months post-Mulgrew. The consensus has seemed to be that this was a mistake and out of character for Johnny, but I do think it added an interesting tension within the family and also had the nice side effect of bringing more attention to the Ryans after they were largely sidelined as a unit throughout 1984 and 1985. Quality-wise, I think it also easily eclipses all of the other stories Tom King and Millee Taggart told during their first year as headwriters, though that's not necessarily saying much given how low the show had fallen by that point. (Mid-1986 is really when the show begins to turn around in my book.) I also really liked Christopher Durham in the part. I was surprised to see Claire Labine list it as one of her favorite RH stories in this article from 1998 (https://ryansbaronline.tripod.com/labine3.html), and she definitely maximized the fallout when she returned as headwriter in February 1987. King/Taggart had Maeve forgive Johnny and accept Dakota into the family in relatively short order in the spring of 1986; once Jill reunited with Frank in August 1986, a lot of the tension in the Dakota/Ryan dynamic had seemingly dissipated. By contrast, Labine chipped away at whatever peace the family had achieved by having Dakota constantly trying to undermine Johnny's relationship with his other sons, driven in part by Dakota's blaming of Pat for the death of Melinda Weaver (Pat's wife and Dakota's childhood best friend) and his general apathy for Frank due to the Jill situation. Dakota's constant scheming ultimately led to the separation of Maeve and Johnny right after Christmas 1987, which led to some dynamite scenes for Helen Gallagher and Bernie Barrow (winning her a third Emmy and him another nomination). There was another interview where Christopher Durham attributed his departure from the show in September 1988 to Labine not liking the Dakota character, but I can see why she ultimately chose to write him off. At that point, Johnny had given Dakota so many chances to turn things around, only to be proven wrong yet again; by the time his latest schemes to undermine John Reid's political career and impregnate Nancy Don with a baby she was going to pass off as Ben's were revealed, it made sense that they needed some time apart.
  14. This would have been in August 1978 - it was the cliffhanger for episode #810 (OAD: 08/18/78). On YouTube:
  15. Alan shared a recorded video of Catherine Larson (Lizzie Ransome Ryan, 1986-89) on Instagram; during the reunion they'd mentioned reaching out to her, but that she was unable to join. She left acting to raise her children and is now a hospital chaplain. I found the SOD article I mentioned earlier that described the affiliate situation (from June 1986): When RYAN’S HOPE was moved to an earlier time slot two years ago it saw a five percent drop in its ratings. Commenting on the move, [executive producer Joseph] Hardy says, “We were affected very badly. We now have poorer coverage. Noon’s a bad time for any ABC station to take us because they usually have on their own local programming.” … As an example, ABC's top-rated late afternoon soap, GENERAL HOSPITAL, is carried by 214 affiliates. Meanwhile, LOVING, aired in an early afternoon time slot, is carried by 191 affiliates. RYAN’S HOPE trails with 179. Here's the full article, which also delves into the creative challenges and ratings woes of Loving, Search for Tomorrow, and Capitol.
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