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Nicholas Blair

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  1. I apologize if someone else has corrected this long-standing error, but the name of the character played by JoBeth Williams was Brandy Shillitoe, a name possibly inspired by the British novelist Alan Sillitoe. Somehow this name was printed somewhere as Brandy Shillooe, and the error has been picked up in other publications, including a book on GL. Robert LaGuardia's THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF TV SOAP OPERAS was either the source of the mistake or perpetuated the mistake. By the way, LaGuardia's book is now selling for $768. Wonder if I still have my old copy?
  2. I saw both L&F and FRFP when they were on. Clearly Amy was originally intended to be the bad girl (the Rachel or Erica Kane) trying to come between Austin and his true love, Laurie. However, Christine Jones and Rod Arrants had so much chemistry, and Christine was just so much more interesting than her counterpart, that there was a quick switch, and Austin and Amy were now the couple to root for. Rod Arrants clearly had what it took to be a TV star, and Richard Backus was an excellent villain. Christine Jones had star quality, too. She was a great substitute for Erika Slezak briefly on OLTL and she played the evil Janice Frame on AW, Victoria Thompson having begun as the nicer Janice. I was also a fan of David Abbott, the youngest brother Bentley Saxon, a short, funny, cute guy who didn't get a whole lot of story time. According to imdb, he is now known as Abbott Alexander, an actor and casting director.
  3. Thank you to everyone researching and archiving these topics. Does anyone know what happened to Brian Farrell, who played David Hart on LOL in 1975? His acting credits extend only to 1986, per imdb, which suggests he either got out of the business, or, like so many, succumbed to AIDS. He was a good young actor who played the son of the evil mayor (Charles Baxter). He was part of a young love storyline with Deborah Courtney as his screen partner, but his evil dad tried to rape her (of course) and he had to shoot his dad (of course) and went crazy (of course). I believe this era of LOL, which brought back the character of Meg (played by Tudi Wiggins), as well as bringing in the mayor and his son, began well with Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer as HWs, but went downhill after they left, though I'm not sure exactly when that was. Was Gabrielle Upton the HW who made Arlene (Birgitta Tolksdorff), acceptable as a minor character, and Lloyd Battista, enjoyable as a thuggish type, into the romantic leads of the show, which turned into The Perils of Arlene? This was so dreadful that I stopped watching.
  4. Asa Buchanan was the J.R. Ewing of OLTL. This was one of the more obvious copyings, especially for a show that had been very much urban Northeastern.
  5. Does anyone else remember Lynn Deerfield as the original Holly Norris? She was excellent, in a very different way from Maureen Garrett, and tall and lanky whereas Maureen was shorter, with dark hair and a rounder body. As originally conceived, Holly was a spoiled rich girl, though generally sympathetic. MG's Holly always seemed much more middle-class. Although Maureen Garrett was obviously a good actress, it took a good while for me to accept her as Holly. She was at least as different from Lynn Deerfield as Victoria Wyndham was from Robin Strasser. I did not see Holly's introduction to the show or the trial where Leslie, then played by Barbara Rodell, was accused of the murder of Holly's father. However, I loved the very well-written story as Holly married a fallen-off-the-wagon Ed Bauer (Mart Hulswit) in Vegas, her brother Ken (Roger Newman) married Janet Mason (Caroline McWilliams), who had once had an affair with Ed, and Holly's ex-boyfriend Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) pursued Janet, mainly because she couldn't stand him. Roger made it appear to Ken and Holly that he actually was having an affair with Janet, activating Ken's jealousy. All of these actors gave consistently fine performances, and all had great working chemistry with each other. With Roger's father (Robert Milli) falling for Holly's mother (Barbara Berjer), the situation became even more tangled. To me, this character-based storytelling was more interesting than the contrived issue-oriented spousal rape drama which would eventually follow.
  6. Yes, Assante and Lauren White hadn't been on HTSAM long before it was canceled. That's also true of F. Murray Abraham. I gathered they were going to do a mob storyline with his character. I had forgotten the facial reconstruction story on TD. Trying to make logic of cast replacements is often good for a chuckle! I remember Peter Burnell quite well and thought he was a good actor, well cast as Mike Powers. One of the many we lost to AIDS. I believe he had come out at some point after he left TD.
  7. Those ingenue roles are much harder to cast than you'd think, given that there are always a lot of young, pretty, aspiring actresses. Carol Roux had that waif-like appearance, sort of like Leslie Caron in LILI. She believably brought out the protective instinct in men like Bill Matthews, and also believably would do the wrong thing for the noble reason. Find out you're illegitimate? Of course you have to flee to another town without telling anyone and fall into the clutches of a no-goodnik like Danny Fargo. Perhaps Missy would seem terribly old-fashioned now, but she was very believable at the time. The only other really outstanding soap ingenues who come to mind are Alexandra Moltke on DS and Kristen Vigard on GL, though there are probably others. I think a lot of girls were named Melissa or Missy after Carol Roux's character, including a cousin of mine.
  8. Although I did see some of the post-1980 AW, I saw much more of the show in the late 60s and 70s. I was not a big fan of Harding Lemay, for reasons I can explain at length, although there were some things he did well. AW was the most popular soap where I lived in the 60s. I saw some, though not enough, of the Missy Fargo story which was extremely popular. One of my first soap memories is of one woman asking another what was happening on her story. "Oh, Miz Mac, they've put poor little Missy in jail!" Carol Roux as the innocent Missy and Audra Lindley as the sociopathic Liz Matthews played Soap Opera Hall of Fame archetypes. Lemay reduced Liz to a harmless busybody; too bad that Irene Dailey didn't get to play the all-out almost-evil almost-crazy Liz Matthews that Audra Lindley and Nancy Wickwire played, and played brilliantly. Joseph Gallison as Bill Matthews managed to be not only handsome, but not weak and not dumb, as he could easily have seemed, given the manipulations of his mother, who drove orphan Missy away by revealing that Missy was illegitimate. Liz wanted her son to marry the rich Lenore Moore. I don't much recall Judith Barcroft from this era, though I will have more to say about her fine work once she got her own starring role as accused murderer in the Wayne Addison story. Sam Groom seemed like the ideal older brother. David Bailey would be more male-model handsome as Russ Matthews, but Groom was a much better actor. Viewers would see the young Jacquie Courtney grow up into the biggest romantic heroine on daytime. I think that Shepperd Strudwick may have been playing Jim Matthews then (not sure), and Virginia Dwyer as Mary Matthews looked a good bit like my mother. The supporting cast had Constance Ford as Ada, Jordan Charney as Sam Lucas, Harry Bellaver as Ernie Downs, Antony Ponzini, a great villain, as Danny Fargo, and Doris Belack as Madge Murray. The stories ran slow by our standards, but this was a strong cast, probably as good as AW ever had. I don't know if this era was mostly written by Irna or Agnes.
  9. I scarcely remember her. I had forgotten that Assante was a Dr. Mike Powers--again, strange casting for Assante. Michael Landrum at least was more the Mike Powers type. But it's really weird that for a show on such a short time so many of the original men were gone in less than a year: George Welbes--gone because of illness Steve Elmore--gone because he wasn't masculine enough (per Elmore's comments to mags) Allan Miller--killed off Michael Landrum--eventually replaced by Ken Kercheval not long before cancellation, IIRC Peter Brandon--written out for unknown reasons
  10. Amy, I wish you'd heard Assante's Irish accent--for about ten seconds, that is. He also had a mother called "Mother McGee" who was as stage Irish as all get-out. After a bit, "Mother McGee" vanished and Assante no longer spoke with a (very bad) Irish accent. It was clear that Assante was a talented actor but miscast and with poor material. In fact, the first few times I saw Assante on TV or in movies, I kept thinking that here was an actor who would be good in some other kind of role. I can't think of any other actor like that. BTW, it seemed like Assante was going to be the love interest for Fran Brill had the show continued. Some people blamed the failure of HTSAM on Jennifer Harmon, but I don't think that's fair. Granted, she did not have the charisma of say, a Jada Rowland or an Andrea Marcovicci, who would have brought more to the role, but Harmon was capable enough. Michael Landrum had the truly thankless task of playing the cheating husband who broke up the marriage. Like Harmon, he was a decent actor if maybe not an A-Lister. Anne Howard Bailey made a huge mistake in making the other woman a Playboy-bunny type rather than a soap opera biotch. IIRC, Lynn Lowry may have eventually made a porno film. I think her character, Sandra, was supposed to be modern and sexually free, but she was a male fantasy rather than the female fantasy that works better for soaps. Sandra seemed like the kind of girl you'd hire for a Playboy Club, take home, have sex with, and never think of again. In other words, a network executive's fantasy rather than the fantasy of a typical soap viewer. I also liked Jeff David, who played the original manager of Noah's Ark, IIRC. Jennifer Harmon had a fling with him after her marriage broke up and got an STD from him. Jeff David's character then left the show. I had liked him as club owner Ron who had an affair with Lahoma on AW before Sam and Lahoma reconciled and moved to Somerset. Between substandard writing and getting rid of almost all the male characters, HTSAM was doomed, and deservedly so, despite some actors who deserved better.
  11. I saw How To Survive a Marriage. It wasn't especially good, but I liked some of the actors. Rosemary Prinz as a therapist was excellent, but she left after six months, as she did when ALL MY CHILDREN began. At one point they were going to give her a Tea & Sympathy story with Brad Davis as a teenage patient, son of a godfather obviously based on Don Corleone, but someone realized that a therapist having sex with her teenage patient was, ah, not exactly a good idea. Brad Davis was a good actor even then, even with stupid material. Fran Brill and Allan Miller, both excellent, played the nice, funny, normal Jewish neighbors. Allan Miller's character had a heart attack and died, exactly as his character, also named Dave, had done on OLTL. Miller, by the way, was Streisand's acting teacher. Fran Brill went on to marry IRL a network executive, IIRC. F. Murray Abraham arrived a bit later in the run, as the gangster owner of a nightclub called Noah's Ark. He was excellent, though I would never have guessed that he would go on to win an Oscar. Armand Assante played an Irish character who, like John Wayne in THE QUIET MAN, had killed a man in the ring. This was beyond hokey and stupid, and they quickly had Assante get rid of his phony and stupid Irish accent. I loved George Welbes, originally Rosemary Prinz's love interest. He was a New Age type (in real life, too), extremely sexy with 70s hair and hairy chest. He was in the cast of OH,CALCUTTA! and you can find pictures of him naked. Leon Russom of LIAMST and AW was also in OH, CALCUTTA! and the same is true of him. Welbes had cancer, used natural remedies to treat it, and died. IRL Welbes was living with Tricia O'Neil, also on the show, also good. I used to get her mixed up with Laurie Heinemann of AW. They look very much alike. The actor who played Tricia O'Neil's husband (Steve Elmore) had played the Paul Lynde-like role in DAMES AT SEA. Apparently the producers of the soap kept after him to play his character in a more macho way. Then they got rid of him. Note how the men are disappearing? So did Peter Brandon, who played the significantly younger husband of Joan Copeland. Brandon had played Don Hastings' brother on ATWT, a good actor. I have no idea why Brandon was written off the show. Copeland had very little airtime, especially given that after Prinz left she had top billing. At times the talented actresses scarcely had any men to play against. BTW, I believe that at some time Rick Edelstein took over from Anne Howard Bailey as HW. He may have been the one who invented the ridiculous Armand Assante subplot.
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