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I wouldn't disagree that Catherine Hicks was the strongest actress to play the role, but I still don't think that version of Faith worked. The Coleridges were meant to be a contrast to the Ryans. While Frank was an arrogant prick, he was self confident. Roger didn't always have that confidence. Jill may have been an independent and strong woman, but she was always someone who didn't trust love because she was adopted and Judith Coleridge was a miserable ice queen. Initially, Faith was also that sort of neurotic mess who had a Daddy complex. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the initial projections called for Faith to be paired with Seneca, which would have made more sense given Faith's backstory involving her college professor. I just didn't get any sense of those neuroses from Catherine Hicks. Her Faith had the sort of Ryan smugness. She almost seemed like she should have been a Ryan cousin rather than a Coleridge. 

 

I do think those that mentioned that the problem with Faith was in her construction may have a point. When the show was adapted by Dutch writers, Faith's character equivalent, Renee Couwenberg, later came out as a lesbian. 

 

@j swiftYou make some interesting points about the Dubujaks. I also think they take over the penthouse that the Kirklands had purchased, which had initially been the home of Lester Rawlins' character during the Egyptian storyline. The difference between the Novotny clan verse the Dubujaks seems to again be the influence of the daytime trend of making stories bigger ala Luke and Laura. I haven't seen much of Max and Siobhan, but it's not something I have searched out for a reason. Some times I almost think its a good thing that SoapNet stopped where they did. 

 

Max as Stefano Dimera isn't surprising. Interesting, Pat Falken Smith had also worked on "Where the Heart Is" prior to Labine and Mayer, but both sets of writers had evolved so much by that point. 

 

Also, casting was a mess for the Dubujaks. I know it was common practice to hire young actors to play parents of 20 somethings (I think Callan White joked about playing a grandma at 29 in the "Loving" interviews), but I don't know in what world Susan Scannell was acceptable casting as mother of Gerit Quealey. On a complete side note, my mother had considered naming me after Jacqueline if I had been a girl and still I have no desire to explore what all that Dubujak / Overlord nonsense is about. 

 

@DeliaIrisFan I think by offing Max and Joe in one shot it eliminated the mob story, but then again was Jack Fenelli's mobster father still on at the end? I don't know. I don't even know if I want to know. The later 1980s (1986-1989) intrigue me, but I'm not surprised how little material is available from the 1988 Writer's Strike. I'm sure that low clearance doesn't help, but that stuff doesn't seem to memorable. 

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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.

 

 

On 1/3/2021 at 2:29 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

The one thing I will say is that if Joe had died saving Siobhan and/or other Ryans from a member of his own family, it would have hearkened back to Mary's murder, which in my mind was much more interesting history than what I've seen of the Max/Siobhan interlude.  I believe at some point Joe had a cousin or something on Uncle Tiso's side, but I skipped most of the mid-'80s episodes that have been posted on YouTube, so I have no idea how he was written out or if it would have been at all plausible to bring him back.

 

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).

 

 

8 hours ago, dc11786 said:

Also, casting was a mess for the Dubujaks. I know it was common practice to hire young actors to play parents of 20 somethings (I think Callan White joked about playing a grandma at 29 in the "Loving" interviews), but I don't know in what world Susan Scannell was acceptable casting as mother of Gerit Quealey. On a complete side note, my mother had considered naming me after Jacqueline if I had been a girl and still I have no desire to explore what all that Dubujak / Overlord nonsense is about. 

 

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.

 

8 hours ago, dc11786 said:

I think by offing Max and Joe in one shot it eliminated the mob story, but then again was Jack Fenelli's mobster father still on at the end? I don't know. I don't even know if I want to know. The later 1980s (1986-1989) intrigue me, but I'm not surprised how little material is available from the 1988 Writer's Strike. I'm sure that low clearance doesn't help, but that stuff doesn't seem to memorable. 

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.

 

On 1/2/2021 at 5:15 PM, amybrickwallace said:

Was it ever explained why none of the Kirklands returned in the end for Leigh's wedding to Jack?

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.)

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On 1/17/2021 at 1:42 AM, Sean said:

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.

 

I was reminded of Ron Hale's quote when watching that one late 1982 episode on YouTube, because to my surprised Roger was prominently featured in the Kirkland intrigue that day.  I tend to think it came from a place of Hale being genuine concerned about the show's identity starting to erode, as opposed to pettiness and ego about being backburnered for a few months.  Again, it was also such a blink of an eye period in the show's history that it seems impossible to know who would or wouldn't have had airtime if Munisteri's long-term vision had materialized.

 

That said, I also get the sense, partly based on what I've read about Munisteri's later head-writing stints but also that one RH episode that's surfaced, that vision just wasn't her strong suit as a writer.  Even in that one YouTube episode, I found myself scratching my head that a serial killer on Ryan's Hope was not treated as more of a BFD.  It was seemingly nothing more than a plot device in the Siobhan/Joe/mob story, and the only people who cared were Siobhan's dueling protectors.  I believe that was around the time DOOL (Pat Falken Smith's DOOL, because everything in the soap world is within six degrees of separation) got so much praise for featuring the first gritty—well, gritty for an '80s soap—serial killer storyline in daytime, and of course this was just five years or so after the Son of Sam murders actually happened in RH's real-life setting.  It seems like blasphemy to speculate, but I am curious—morbidly perhaps—what would have happened if Munisteri had been paired with a more dynamic co–head writer from outside of the show...dare I say, maybe even PFS?  I still would have wanted to see the shows' creators return eventually and go back to basics, but it might have been a more interesting detour.

 

I suppose some iteration of Hollis must have been a Labine/Mayer concept, or at least a Labine concept (adding to the chaos of 1982, didn't Paul Mayer supposedly leave of his own volition a month or two before Claire Labine was forced out?), although I have my doubts about Amanda given the character was recast and then abruptly written out within a handful of months in 1983.  I am forever fascinated by the bit of trivia that those scenes from Kate Mulgrew's return, in which she and Michael Levin spoke of Leigh Kirkland and her family by name, were supposedly filmed a year earlier, before the writing shakeup.  Even though Leigh ended up being the last Kirkland to arrive, I wonder if she was actually supposed to be the main Kirkland all along and Munisteri changed the daughter's name to Amanda just because, ultimately giving Labine/Mayer the opportunity to revert to their original plan when they came back and finally get to use those pre-taped scenes.

 

On 1/17/2021 at 1:42 AM, Sean said:

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.

 

Oh, right, I forgot Jack's long-lost father turned out to be tied to the mob.  I'm surprised that Labine said that, because what I've read of that story sounds like exactly the kind of far-fetched, stereotypical soap material she always fought so hard to avoid.  And it wasn't just something that happened with random character(s) she inherited from another writer and could maybe have some fun dabbling in the melodrama of it all—the story seemingly cheapened/watered down Jack's nuanced and fairly original backstory, which dated back to the show's original bible.

 

Not having seen any of this material play out on screen, I just assumed some scab writer said, "Oh, Jack always was so attached to that nun—what was her name again?—and we don't know anything about his birth parents.  Wouldn't it be interesting if it turns out she was really his birth mother?" In any event, even if this was something Claire Labine might have come up with herself, I feel like half of the experience of seeing her tell the story would have been the dialogue, and if the 1981 episodes that aired on SoapNet are any indication the scripts in that period may have gotten very rough.

 

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On 1/16/2021 at 5:09 PM, dc11786 said:

I wouldn't disagree that Catherine Hicks was the strongest actress to play the role, but I still don't think that version of Faith worked. The Coleridges were meant to be a contrast to the Ryans. While Frank was an arrogant prick, he was self confident. Roger didn't always have that confidence. Jill may have been an independent and strong woman, but she was always someone who didn't trust love because she was adopted and Judith Coleridge was a miserable ice queen. Initially, Faith was also that sort of neurotic mess who had a Daddy complex. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the initial projections called for Faith to be paired with Seneca, which would have made more sense given Faith's backstory involving her college professor. I just didn't get any sense of those neuroses from Catherine Hicks. Her Faith had the sort of Ryan smugness. She almost seemed like she should have been a Ryan cousin rather than a Coleridge.

 

To be fair, Catherine Hicks took over the role just after Faith had a psychotic break and underwent intensive, in-patient psychiatric treatment (off-screen).  There were many references to Faith having confronted and overcome her neuroses in that process.  Labine and especially Mayer (who found a new career as a therapist) were big believers in psychoanalysis.  Whether or not I 100% shared their perspective that the best therapist in the world could have ever turned Faith Catlin's interpretation of Faith into Hicks', I think Faith had an arc and it made sense internally, and I was willing to swallow disbelief because it suited the recast's strengths.

 

Wasn't the rumor that Faith was supposed to be paired with Clem Moultrie, but the network balked at any interracial couple?  I suspect, if Frank had also died in the first episodes as originally planned, Faith/Pat/Delia would have happened much sooner and Clem might have played a role similar to Seneca's with Jill.  I guess I could see FC's Faith going for Seneca but I...wouldn't have wanted to see that, if you know what I mean.  Her Faith was soooooo immature that the age difference would have been in some ways even creepier than Kim and Seneca's pairing.

 

Anyway, I honestly never saw CH's Faith as smug.  And I say this as someone who pretty much rooted for Delia no matter what she did to whom, and could always find a reason why whoever was calling her out was being a hypocrite.  But my recollection is that Faith at that time was a decent human being and had every right to hate Delia, but didn't actually take much satisfaction in that.

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20 hours ago, DeliaIrisFan said:

I suppose some iteration of Hollis must have been a Labine/Mayer concept, or at least a Labine concept (adding to the chaos of 1982, didn't Paul Mayer supposedly leave of his own volition a month or two before Claire Labine was forced out?), although I have my doubts about Amanda given the character was recast and then abruptly written out within a handful of months in 1983.  I am forever fascinated by the bit of trivia that those scenes from Kate Mulgrew's return, in which she and Michael Levin spoke of Leigh Kirkland and her family by name, were supposedly filmed a year earlier, before the writing shakeup.  Even though Leigh ended up being the last Kirkland to arrive, I wonder if she was actually supposed to be the main Kirkland all along and Munisteri changed the daughter's name to Amanda just because, ultimately giving Labine/Mayer the opportunity to revert to their original plan when they came back and finally get to use those pre-taped scenes.

 

 

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.

 

20 hours ago, DeliaIrisFan said:

Not having seen any of this material play out on screen, I just assumed some scab writer said, "Oh, Jack always was so attached to that nun—what was her name again?—and we don't know anything about his birth parents.  Wouldn't it be interesting if it turns out she was really his birth mother?" In any event, even if this was something Claire Labine might have come up with herself, I feel like half of the experience of seeing her tell the story would have been the dialogue, and if the 1981 episodes that aired on SoapNet are any indication the scripts in that period may have gotten very rough.

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.

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On 1/19/2021 at 9:47 AM, Sean said:

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

I don't know this story.  May I ask you to fill in the details?

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On 1/19/2021 at 12:47 PM, Sean said:

 

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.

 

These are great finds, especially that '82 cast photo.  (Side note: How recently did lower-rated soaps still get swanky all-cast parties for off-year anniversaries?)  Interesting that Claire Labine is standing with Haskell and Nancy Addison, though.  It reminds me that the early recaps involving Hollis had him interacting with Jill.  I wonder if Claire had more of that planned.  Jill representing Hollis in his efforts to take Delia's restaurant—while Rae seethed at the idea of her secret first love spending time with Jill—would have made for lots of interesting scenes, at least.  Or would Hollis have even had a past with Rae—and Kim, whom Labine and Mayer had just written out—or something else?

 

I do remember, now that you mention it, Labine being credited in the 1982 St. Patrick's Day episode without Paul Mayer, but at the time I assumed she herself left not long after and the Kirklands must have arrived not much later in 1982, given that they were gone a year later.  Knowing more about the timeline, though, I wonder if Labine would have been perfectly content to have Hollis and at least one daughter mixing it up with the original cast members.  Perhaps jettisoning the Kirklands altogether was a consensus decision when both creators returned together—since Mayer had no hand in creating them and I'm sure neither of them were thrilled with their having completely taken over the show by the time they came back anyway.  Labine seemed a bit more comfortable integrating the newer characters into her vision when she returned in 1987 as well.

 

As far as the 1988 strike, this sort of confirms that Behr took over for Hardy midway through that.  I've always been fascinated that Hardy lasted so long at RH, through multiple transitions, culminating in Claire Labine's final return, at which point he seemed to be on good terms with her—only to go onto his last job (I think?) at GH, which by most accounts was more in the vein of the material he produced at RH during Labine's absence.  And that timeline means Behr only executive-produced the show for a few months when Labine was in the building, but they apparently had a very strong working relationship, though of course Behr was promoted from within the show so they presumably knew each other before that.

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On 1/19/2021 at 12:47 PM, Sean said:

 

(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.)

 

 

On 1/20/2021 at 8:39 PM, j swift said:

I don't know this story.  May I ask you to fill in the details?

 

Several years after Mary was killed off, Kate Mulgrew returned for a few episodes, in which Jack and Maeve imagined conversations with Mary that helped them make peace with her death.  The impetus for everyone having Mary on the brain was supposed to be Jack's budding relationship with Leigh—whom they all discussed by name, and at length, in those Mulgrew scenes.  Several news articles reported that those scenes were pre-taped almost a year in advance, before the show had even cast Leigh, apparently to accommodate Mulgrew's schedule.

 

However, before those scenes could air, the show's creator(s) were pushed out, Leigh's family—which was also referenced in one or more of Mulgrew's scenes—debuted, and then said creators returned and promptly introduced Leigh at the same time they wrote out the rest of her family.  And, in spite of all that, I dare say Mulgrew's scenes made sense, both in terms of character development and story continuity.  I'm fairly certain the executive producer was replaced in the interim as well, but the editing looked consistent from a visual perspective as well.

Edited by DeliaIrisFan
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On 1/16/2021 at 4:09 PM, dc11786 said:

 Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the initial projections called for Faith to be paired with Seneca, which would have made more sense given Faith's backstory involving her college professor.

 

 

Not Faith & Seneca - but they had a Faith & Jack pairing.  TotallyKate, webmaster of TotallyKate! The Official Website of Kate Mulgrew., had bought some notes on the A Rage To Love bible .

------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the old Soapnet forum

 

by TotallyKate

 

A few years ago I happened to acquire from eBay notes about the original casting and storyline for Ryan's Hope. I had forgotten what was in it until I came across it last week when I was looking for something else.

 

In the original bible for 'A Rage to Love', Mary has gone to the police academy to follow in the footsteps of her big brother, Frank. Frank is still a policeman and he and his partner, Saul, are involved in a case with mob connections. Saul dies and then Frank is found at the bottom of the hospital steps. Frank eventually dies and Bob Clancey (last name was changed to Reid) and Mary investigate his death as they don't believe it was an accident. Mary "quits" the police force and goes undercover taking a job at the hospital. Jack does not agree with Mary risking her life by going undercover and this breaks up the relationship that has already developed between them. Jack then starts a relationship with Faith, although both he and Mary love each other. Faith was involved with Pat but that relationship broke up after Faith wanted marriage and Pat didn't. Jack's relationship with Faith of course is wonderful for the widow Delia who wants Pat back. So everyone seems to be without the person they really love which makes for many hours of wanting them to get back to the one they love.

 

Of course many aspects of the storyline changed drastically by the time "Ryan's Hope" made it on the air. It's interesting to note though that a lot of these original storyline ideas either ended up as backstory for the characters or as future storylines, such as the police academy and Siobhan.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

On 1/18/2021 at 3:27 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

Wasn't the rumor that Faith was supposed to be paired with Clem Moultrie, but the network balked at any interracial couple?

Danfling was one who has said that about Faith and Clem.

Edited by safe
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On 1/17/2021 at 12:42 AM, Sean said:

 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).

 

 

 

On 1/18/2021 at 3:02 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

I suppose some iteration of Hollis must have been a Labine/Mayer concept, or at least a Labine concept 

 

 

Had to search through my old magazines to find this - I recalled this from a Labine/Mayer interview where Soap Opera Digest said they created the Kirklands 

 

 

 

July 19, 1983 issue

 

"Ryan's Hope" : Long Awaited Return to Familiar Faces, Familiar Dreams

 

Once ABC owned the show, "Ryan's Hope",  began to change. "There was a difference in opinions as to which direction the show should take," Paul reflects. "The network wanted a new family on the show," Claire says. "All I have to say this in all justice -- philosophically, it was a viable decision. We had worked the veins of the Ryan's at this point! ABC have breathed new life into 'One Life to Live' by bringing in a new family in. But the problem here was that Paul and I had been doing this show for seven years and we were making up a new family on demand. We didn't  feel the need for it."

 

Nevertheless, because they relinquished creative control by selling the show, Paul and Claire created the Kirklands, a wealthy, power-monger family. Hollis Kirkland was played by veteran star Peter Haskell. Hollis fairly burst onto the "Ryan 's Hope" stage and his plotline, which linked him to the show's other reigning power-monger, Rae Woodard, soon consumed the whole serial. It was the end of "Ryanness" as the new emphasis on glitz, intrigue and heavy plotting took over. Viewers who had known and loved "Ryan's Hope" for it's done-to-earth storylines didn't know what to make of it, and ratings dropped to an all-time low.

 

 

Edited by safe
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On 1/21/2021 at 8:34 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

 

These are great finds, especially that '82 cast photo.  (Side note: How recently did lower-rated soaps still get swanky all-cast parties for off-year anniversaries?)  Interesting that Claire Labine is standing with Haskell and Nancy Addison, though.  It reminds me that the early recaps involving Hollis had him interacting with Jill.  I wonder if Claire had more of that planned.  Jill representing Hollis in his efforts to take Delia's restaurant—while Rae seethed at the idea of her secret first love spending time with Jill—would have made for lots of interesting scenes, at least.  Or would Hollis have even had a past with Rae—and Kim, whom Labine and Mayer had just written out—or something else?

 

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.

 

On 1/21/2021 at 8:34 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

Knowing more about the timeline, though, I wonder if Labine would have been perfectly content to have Hollis and at least one daughter mixing it up with the original cast members.  Perhaps jettisoning the Kirklands altogether was a consensus decision when both creators returned together—since Mayer had no hand in creating them and I'm sure neither of them were thrilled with their having completely taken over the show by the time they came back anyway.  Labine seemed a bit more comfortable integrating the newer characters into her vision when she returned in 1987 as well.

 

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!)

 

On 1/21/2021 at 8:34 PM, DeliaIrisFan said:

As far as the 1988 strike, this sort of confirms that Behr took over for Hardy midway through that.  I've always been fascinated that Hardy lasted so long at RH, through multiple transitions, culminating in Claire Labine's final return, at which point he seemed to be on good terms with her—only to go onto his last job (I think?) at GH, which by most accounts was more in the vein of the material he produced at RH during Labine's absence.  And that timeline means Behr only executive-produced the show for a few months when Labine was in the building, but they apparently had a very strong working relationship, though of course Behr was promoted from within the show so they presumably knew each other before that.

 

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.

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5 hours ago, safe said:

Once ABC owned the show, "Ryan's Hope",  began to change. "There was a difference in opinions as to which direction the show should take," Paul reflects. "The network wanted a new family on the show," Claire says. "All I have to say this in all justice -- philosophically, it was a viable decision. We had worked the veins of the Ryan's at this point! ABC have breathed new life into 'One Life to Live' by bringing in a new family in. But the problem here was that Paul and I had been doing this show for seven years and we were making up a new family on demand. We didn't  feel the need for it."

Labine seems to be contradicting herself here, admitting the Ryans were pretty much bled dry and a new blood was necessary but then saying a new family wasn't needed.

I would think they would be enthused about working a new family in to provide fresh material for the Ryans.

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I usually don't engage in discussions about ratings because I think they are often misconstrued by fans, and soap press, as the sole indication of a soap's viability.  However, I wonder how much the erosion the Ryan's Hope fan base in 1985-1986 can be attributed to story versus the rise of Y&R as a competitor in the time slot?  Obviously there were many factors both within the production and outside of the show, but it is hard not to believe that growth of Y&R had an impact.  It could be argued that viewers would not have been as easily lured to CBS if RH told a compelling story.  Yet, it would be reductive to believe that a change in the focus of the show was the major issue, when Y&R thrived after changing focus to new families within Genoa City.

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It's impossible to imagine Jack with Faith Catlin's Faith...

 

I remember the person who uploaded the '80s RH episodes saying they chose not to upload the strike episodes because they weren't worth uploading, in so many words. I still wish I could see them.

 

The Ryan family feels played out and at a real loss by the time the Soapnet run ends, with Pat and Frank gone, a wan Siobhan recast and an unsuccessful introduction of cousin EJ after bailing on her brother Barry after only a year. I can see why ABC may have wanted a fresh start, while still keeping the figureheads of Maeve and Johnny, along with Siobhan. I can also see why they tried to rebuild after the changes caused further audience erosion. I haven't really watched enough of 1983 to know how it would have worked out - the Delia stuff is so bad and the show just feels very flat in that way ABC soaps of the '80s sometimes can, if you know what I mean. That and I'm not exactly rushing to see Faith/Pat round 4 (or was it 5...).

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