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Ryan's Hope Discussion Thread


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I forgot how much the bar set shrunk after the bombing.  The end of the bar almost reaches the door.  It feels as if they played with the depth of that set a bit over the years because in the final episode when Maeve sings Danny Boy, I recall more of an entrance corridor and more room between the bar and the back window.

 

Here it is 1976 (compare it to the prior clip)

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It is also always amusing to me that, (like Roger in this episode), nobody on a soap set can hear what is happening two feet away, unless they are obviously snooping on someone else.

Edited by j swift
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90 is a long life, but still sad to hear. Seneca was such a wonderfully rich character in those first few years - the story with Nell was incredibly powerful and still stays with me. Sadly the character was one of several trashed for Kimberly, but at least he managed to have a good ending.

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I read the news of John Gabriel's death this morning from the (not so) reputable New York Post.  I noted that they mentioned that he played the "controlling" doctor Seneca Beaulac which I found remarkable because I don't think that controlling was a defining characteristic on the character.  Then, I looked at the wiki, and I found that they lifted the adjective from the one sentence character profile on the Ryan's Hope page.

 

Anyway, I see that Seneca returned for the finale, but I was wondering if anyone remembers his exit storyline in 1985?  Where did Seneca go and with whom did he end up?

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54 minutes ago, j swift said:

I read the news of John Gabriel's death this morning from the (not so) reputable New York Post.  I noted that they mentioned that he played the "controlling" doctor Seneca Beaulac which I found remarkable because I don't think that controlling was a defining characteristic on the character. 

Seems like a lot of outlets sourced that line from the wiki because THR used “controlling” as well. 

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In all fairness, as I am rewatching Ryan's Hope from the beginning in recent times thanks to a generous YouTuber, Seneca WAS introduced as a controlling husband. That was the entire point of Nell leaving him and moving to NY as far as she could from him. He wasn't letting her have her career etc. His first scenes had him trying to interfere with her attempting to start a new life before moving himself to NYC... And the tone of those scenes was more "How dare she" rather than "I miss her".

I gather the relationship between them ended up being portrayed differently later but in these first few months at least, it is strongly hinted that Seneca is a controlling suffocating husband indeed.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, DRW50 said:

90 is a long life, but still sad to hear. Seneca was such a wonderfully rich character in those first few years - the story with Nell was incredibly powerful and still stays with me. Sadly the character was one of several trashed for Kimberly, but at least he managed to have a good ending.

 

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.

 

3 hours ago, j swift said:

I read the news of John Gabriel's death this morning from the (not so) reputable New York Post.  I noted that they mentioned that he played the "controlling" doctor Seneca Beaulac which I found remarkable because I don't think that controlling was a defining characteristic on the character.  Then, I looked at the wiki, and I found that they lifted the adjective from the one sentence character profile on the Ryan's Hope page.

 

Anyway, I see that Seneca returned for the finale, but I was wondering if anyone remembers his exit storyline in 1985?  Where did Seneca go and with whom did he end up?

 

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.

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So sad to hear of John Gabriel's passing.  

 

One of my favorite descriptions of Seneca, on the show, was from Siobhan. While she was checking in on sick little Edmund at the hospital, she met Seneca for the first time - she then went back home and told Maeve, Johnny, and Mary that "he's a cuddle". Of course, they did not see him that way - but I thought it was adorable.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Newspaper piece from May 28, 1976



After 3½ years of playing "scheming inconsequential opportunists " on daytime television, John Gabriel has become a good guy.

Gabriel wanted to portray a character "with whom I could identify with and admire" and has fulfilled that desire by taking the role of Seneca Beaulac, a superstar researcher on the daytime series "Ryan's Hope seen Monday through Friday, 1 to 1:30 pm on ABC-TV.

"Seneca", according to Gabriel, "is a dark slightly-graying handsome man, is a person who has confidence and doesn't need to impress anyone, has a sense of humor about himself, is dedicated to his profession, and is extremely moral."

He is a far cry from Teddy Holmes in General Hospital and Link Morrison in Love of Life, whom Gabriel portrayed. "Both these men used their appeal for selfish gains", he said. "They were womanizers with a long line of women as their victims."

"But that didn't that bother me as much as they were inconsequential. They were men of little substance. If I'm going to be a bad guy, I'd like to be a bad guy like Iago."

Gabriel wasn't the only one to dislike the characters. Teddy Holmes, for example, received a great deal of hate mail.

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On 6/14/2021 at 11:47 AM, gimmetoo said:

Locher interviewed John and Sandy Gabriel earlier this year.  John looked and sounded great and it was clear that he and Sandy adored each other.  

 

 

 

I'm so glad we got one last interview with this longtime couple. All love and prayers to Sandy, their daughters and grandchildren. ❤

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