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Loving/The City Discussion Thread

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Chicago Tribume Oct 1 1992

On any given day, viewers of ``Loving,`` which airs weekdays at 11:30 a.m. on ABC-Ch. 7, can rely on the show to provide their daily dose of melodrama. At the same time, ratings watchers can rely on `Loving` to land on the bottom of the Nielsen heap.

Fans don`t care much about ratings; they`re hooked. But in a tight economy, with wanting the most bang for their buck, networks aren`t much swayed by rah-rah types. They want to see the ratings improve.

For that reason,`Loving,' which is owned by ABC, will be undergoing some serious nip-and-tuck surgeryicon1.png. It starts with a neat little crossover story that involves the network`s highly rated`All My Children.``

In the next four weeks there will be two soaps in each one, as several characters will be traversing the fictional towns of ``AMC`s`` Pine Valley and`Loving`s` Corinth. When the dust settles, actor Jean LeClerc, who has played Jeremy Hunter for nine years on ``AMC,`` will be a permanent cast member on`Loving.``

Those responsible for the decision-network execs, ``Loving`` producer Haidee Grainger and`Loving' co-creator/``AMC`` head writer Agnes Nixon-hope to deliver the soap alive and kicking into the `90s. Grainger came on board`Loving`` just three months ago.

`All My Children` is No. 2. I know how strong they are. We felt it a very propitious time to bring some of their characters to our ,

Grainger says. ``It is genuinely our belief that `Loving` is here to stay. It is my task to get it out of 11th place.`

She might be cheered by Bill Bell`s strategy last spring when he introduced the evil Sheila and big numbers to his half-hour`The Bold and the Beautiful`from his top-rated`The Young and The Restless.``

Her task is not easy, says Grainger, a former network executive. Daytime television, like prime-time, has seen a decrease in its audience in the last decade. A ratings point is very significant,` she explains.`We went into 10th place last week. It`s been like a huge battleship in the water that`s very difficult to turn, and that`s what we`re attempting.``

For Nixon, who invented Jeremy-an artist, a cosmopolitan and a ladies man-the challenge is to ensure a smooth segue for the character.

``I know the man, I`m not letting go of him,' she explains.`He has been a great investment both professionally and emotionally for me. We had already done a (short-term) crossover involving Jeremy before with the two shows that worked quite well.

`We have so much story on `Children` that we thought we could spare him.``

In fact, in recent months LeClerc has not had a frontburner storyline; the actor will be highly visible in fictional Corinth.

Nixon, who has launched so many successes in daytime, says `Loving`should have had a better introduction in 1983, when the soap was born.

`Loving` is the best kept secret in daytime,' she says.`ABC made a terrible mistake by not hammocking it between (the already established) `All My Children` and `One Life To Live.` `

Nixon says all her characters share a style, that they are all drawn from the same broad canvas. The crossover, she says will be story-driven and character-driven, not superimposed by the network.

``In my head, (`OLTL`s setting of) Llanview and Pine Valley are adjacent. Corinth is another nearby town. Years ago I used to have crossover stories: people would visit the same psychiatristsicon1.pngfrom the different shows.

`I always see every town as its own little universe but it is also part of the greater world. If you ask `How long does it take to get from Pine Valley to Corinth?` I would say `two acts.` ``

- Meanwhile, here are the specific changes on ``AMC`` and ``Loving``:

Carter, played by John Wesley Shipp (who will be leaving in November), flees to Corinth after wreaking havoc on `AMC`s Trevor (James Kiberd). Trevor will pursue Carter to Corinth.

And thus will Kiberd join the cast of `Loving.` Beginning this week.Loving`s Hannah (played by Rebecca Gayheart) and Dinahlee (Jessica Collins) will be in Pine Valley for two weeks. Dinahlee winds up in Carter`s path. And Jeremy is offered a job at the university in Corinth and decides to accept it, which takes us back to the top of our `Loving` story long enough to add that LeClerc joins the soap Oct. 23.

Edited by Paul Raven

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Almost none of Loving is on Youtube.

I'd forgotten Kiberd popped up on Loving. I remember now reading that he had a joke scene with Shana where they both yelled, "I feel sorry for the jerk who's married to you!"

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Almost none of Loving is on Youtube.

 

I'd forgotten Kiberd popped up on Loving. I remember now reading that he had a joke scene with Shana where they both yelled, "I feel sorry for the jerk who's married to you!"

 

 

That may be the case, but appears to be less true than it was when you said it.... I cannot wait to watch all of this. From what I've seen, there's a treasure trove of great scenes and storyline!!  I don't want to even give away some of the stuff that's in it.  INTENSE, especially the stuff from the 80s..  I'm gonna post my thoughts later when I watch more

Edited by vote4llama

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The scenes with Alex and Ava stranded are really intense...the clay/ alex storyline has a lot of the 80s abc daytime adventure storyline feel (to my knowledge- i've seen a handful of rauch era oltl and know of gh's success in this area). I don't think these kind of storylines are associated with LOV. The background music is so intense.

I love Ava's jerkface at 25:13

http://youtu.be/B-EgiB13ylM?t=25m13s

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Today I had my first through-the-mail autograph success with a Loving cast member - Susan Keith Kiberd!! She graciously signed the photo I sent and with it a lovely, handwritten note. She was very quick - only took a couple of weeks. I'll send the images to Carl so he can post them here. I've seen more of her work as the first Cecile on AW (thanks to YT) but not much as Shana. One thing is for sure - Mrs. Kiberd is an absolute doll.

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Bernard Barrow:

Big Daddy

Soap Opera Weekly, September 3, 1991

by John A. Penzotti

Although I've been interviewing soap opera actors for years, I've never been as nervous about spending an afternoon with anyone as I was when I met Bernie Barrow, this year's Emmy winner for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting role for his portrayal of Louie Slavinsky on Loving. But on the way to meet him I came to this conclusion: Barrow is a veteran and a pro, and well-equipped to field whatever I might throw at him.

Still, I waited before I asked him about his toupee. Being a member of the Thinning Follicle Society myself, I wondered if it was necessary to his career or just a personal decision, especially since Johnny Ryan, Barrow's beloved Ryan's Hope character, wore one, and Louie does not. "I became balding (in my late 20's) and then bald by my early 30's," he explains, without a hint of annoyance. "I started wearing a piece for commercials in the 70's. It started as a small patch of hair and every three years or so, the hair pieces became fuller and fuller. In the 60's and 70's, commercials demanded hair. Fathers had hair."

To him it was a tool of the trade. But if he was going to wear a piece, he wanted a good one. "I went through four or five. Joe Paris, who makes Frank Sinatra's hairpiece, made mine." Now I know who to call.

"I had heard about the role of Johnny Ryan, but could not get a reading for the show," he continues, since, he says, it was felt he was too ethnic looking for the part. Through a personal friend who was connected with RH, he was able to get a reading, but it was for the part of Dr. Seneca Beaulac. Feeling that the toupee would work well with the characterization of this strong, gentle romantic doctor, he wore it to the screen test.

After he finished his test, Barrow says, he was asked to test for Johnny Ryan, so he removed the hairpiece and read for the part. Later, he would be offered his choice of the two roles. Taking the show's title into consideration, he chose Johnny Ryan (John Gabriel was cast as Seneca). "I showed up the first day, and after rehearsal they asked me, 'Where's the hairpiece that you had on during the screen test?'" he recalls. "They were referring to the test for Seneca. I said, "I wasn't wearing a hairpiece." They said, 'Yes you were.'" He phoned his wife, Joan Kaye, who brought him the piece, and Johnny Ryan was born - with a full head of hair.

When he joined Loving in the summer of 1990, Barrow and head writer Millee Taggart, who created the role of Louie, agreed that the hairpiece was not essential. "They wanted a strong, upfront, masculine kind of guy, which I equate with sexy," says Barrow. "They wanted to create middle-age romance between a guy who loved life, and somebody like Kate (Rescott, actress Nada Rowand), who needed a lift."

Louie, says Barrow, appreciates Kate for who she is. "I love the idea of playing blue-collar men," he continues. "My father and mother were both Russian immigrants. My father ran a laundry and my mother worked alongside him."

Blue collar or otherwise, Barrow has always taken on older characters. "At 19, I was playing Jonah Goodman in Irwin Shaw's Gentle People, off Broadway. (Jonah) was an older man - late 50's, early 60's," says Barrow. "So, I'm wearing a pair of my father's old pants, sticking my gut out, walking like him, and I was wonderful. I got a note from my agent; he said, 'how dare you play these roles - you're wonderful, but let the older guys play these roles. Come back in 40 years.'" A somewhat disheartening, if not insulting, comment, especially to a young actor.

Besides tackling roles beyond his years, Barrow had been a college student since age 16. On the heels of the agent's advice, the 19-year-old actor focused on his studies, earning a bachelor's degree in theater history that year, and a master's in business administration at 21. By 22, he was one of the youngest professors at Brooklyn College in New York. His mother even called him "my son the professor who acts." But the actor inside him always seemed to be in conflict with the professor.

The conflict came to a head about 20 years ago. "I was in a weekend encounter group," he explains, "Somebody asked me what I did for a living. I hesitated for a minute, then I said I was an actor. I burst into tears I couldn't control. All my life I had been telling people that I was a teacher who acts."

"Ultimately you are what you love to be, or what gives you the most pleasure," he adds. "I'm proud to be an actor. I enjoy being an actor."

He also enjoys being a husband and father. Barrow and his wife have four children between them (two each from previous marriages), now grown up and on their own. According to Barrow, one of the hardest things "is to tell your children what you really think. (Often) if you tell them what you really think and why, you will in some way wound them, or run the risk of losing some of their love or respect."

To be critical of one's children is not always a good idea," he continues, "because love gets in the way. Given the opportunities - as Johnny Ryan and Louie Slavinsky - to deal in a one-on-one way with a kid who needs to be made aware of what they are doing, or who is maybe going down the wrong path, is somehow satisfying for me. I don't know why. Maybe because it always puts me in a position to be freer than I am as a father in my own life. As though I can do it vicariously as an actor, not as a father." Barrow himself prefers a hands-off approach to child rearing, only occasionally offering opinions or advice. "I think people should make their own mistakes. It's important for kids to know that they can make mistakes, but their parents will still love them."

Barrow has found the current storyline with on-screen son Paul (Joe Breen) a moving experience. (Paul is paralyzed following an injury from an explosion). "One of the hardest things so far is the emotional trauma that Louie has gone through with having his son so severely injured. Trying to find a way to get his son to forgive him for all those things that have happened between them over the years, and realizing that all the mistakes I have made with him may have caused this to happen."

In spite of his reluctance to give advice, Barrow does share these words for theater hopefuls. "I always tell young actors to find a good teacher so they can find out what they're doing right and wrong and have some ammunition or technique for (those days) when they don't feel particularly good or haven't had a lot of sleep, or their co-star has a cold and is complaining."

Winning the Daytime Emmy award helps validate Barrow's work on Loving. But was it Louie's Emmy or did Johnny Ryan have something to do with it? "I don't think the award was given to me for outstanding work in one's lifetime," Barrow says, "because if that were true, Susan Lucci (Erica, All My Children, who's been nominated 12 times) would have one."

Barrow speaks of how his late parents might have felt about their son's victory. Barrow feels that his mother "would have been joyous. She would have said that she was glad that I won for playing a good guy and not a bad guy. When I was doing The Secret Storm, playing Dan Kincaid, she was concerned that I was a bad guy. She didn't like her son doing bad things. I just kept telling her that bad guys have all the fun." But then again, good guys always win in the end.

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Leslie Denniston as Gwyn (unfortunately not in English).

Some Elizabeth Savage and Roya Megnot (temping in her old role as Ava).

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The switch from Lisa to Roya during the temp.

More Elizabeth Savage.

O'Hara Parker and her wall of hair. Geez that dye job made John Gabriel look awful.

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