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Where the Heart Is 1969-1973

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I am loving this thread. I am so getting schooled. So help me out...

Agnes Nixon is listed as the official headwriter of AMC from 1970 to about 1990, but then I keep seeing things about a stint with Lorraine Broderick in the mid-80s and then DePriest in late 80s and I know Wisner Washam fits in there somewhere...who was head writer when?


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Wisner Washam was Nixon's protege for many many years. They worked together much like Irna Phillips did with William J. Bell and even Agnes for awhile - as co-headwriters basically.

I have heard for years that it was really hard for instance on ATWT in the early 60's esp. to know what exactly was a Phillips thing and what was Bell's thing.

Agnes and Wisner worked very much the same way. She was grooming Wisner to take over I have always heard. Why he left and never worked in daytime again (except for a short time on GL) is still a mystery to me. He was a great writer and would have been perfect to take over the guiding of AMC. I know after he left AMC in 1992 that he worked with foreign soaps quite a bit, but why he wasn't snatched up as HW for another show or at least rumored for one is a mystery.

I have always wondered too why Judith Barcroft didn't return to the role of Anne when they brought her back. Her husband was still on the show as co-headwriter with Agnes. I liked Gwyn Gillis in the role, but loved Judith Barcroft.

Wikipedia says Washam did not begin working with AMC until 1981, but I know for a fact he was there in the 1970's. I am not sure what year he started on the show as my sources do not say. I know he was nominated for his first Emmy for writing AMC in 1976 with Agnes Nixon, Kathryn McCabe, Mary K. Wells and Jack Wood.


As to WTHI, I can remember briefly watching this show in the early 70's. It was not a regular show for us to watch. In fact for awhile here in my part of Tennessee it was taken off by our affiliate who got complaints that the show was too risque.

I know that happened in several other areas too. I think it was the only daytime soap that I can remember that happening too. It would later happen to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in primetime when many affiliates aired it late at night after the children went to bed instead of the normally scheduled time slot.

WTHI had some great performers - James Mitchell, Diana van der Vlis, and Louise Shaffer were splendid. But so was Robyn Milan but when she guest starred as Delia on Ryan's Hope she seemed like a totally different performer.

I have always heard that Labine & Mayer wanted Milan for Delia when Kristen left and that the guest stint was her chance to audition for the role. From what was on screen I can see why she didn't get it.

They did hire Shaffer and van der Vlis to work on Ryan's Hope.

James Mitchell was so good as Julian, I was totally shocked that it took 6 years before he ended up back onscreen when AMC hired him to play Palmer.

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Wasn't Wisner a producer at AMC first? THey interview and talk to him a lot in the 1976 book All Her Children and I think he basically says he was there from the start.

I think Wikipedia is kinda wrong with their AMC writing credits but it's hard to know. Certainly Agnes was VERY involved thru the early 90s--but there were periods where she went and wrote full time at Loving etc. Furthermore, despite what listings on here and Wikipedia say, in the actual TV credits Lorraine Broderick was HW for at least a few years in the 80s, as were others. Of course when the show would be nominated for an Emmy, Agnes would still lead the nomniation credit as head of the team (somethign I think she did thru the mid 90s even--)

So it's hard to know...

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As far as I know Bud Kloss and Doris Quinlan were the only early producers of the show.

I know I have seen credits from AMC in 1970 and Wisner was not listed at all in the closing credits but of course I have not seen every episode from 1970.

In the eppys I saw Doris Quinlan was listed as Executive Producer and Bud Kloss as Producer. Later He and Agnes served as producers together.

but I had always felt from interviews that Wisner seemed to talk as if he was there from the beginning too. In fact I seem to remember reading that he was there before Judith Barcroft moved from AW to AMC and that was part of the reason she moved.

Edited by SteveFrame
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I know this is an odd place fro it, but since we discussed DePriest's era at AMC here, Snarksweighsin just put some AMC with her listed as HW (Lorrained Broderick AND Megan McT are also writers) from 1989. I believe (I have't watched it all yet) it may have some of the infamous Erica's father is a clown story.

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For the record -WTHI headwriters

Lou Scofield and Margaret DePriest (creators)

Gabrielle Upton

Cornelius Crane

Rick Edelstein

Pat Falken Smith

Robert and Elizabeth Haggard

Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer

This indicates a lot of behind the scenes changes over the 4 years.It seems Scofield and DePriest didn't last long.I have seen Rick Edelstein listed as a writer for other shows and Cornelius Crane is listed on IMDB as having written for Strange Paradise.

I read on another site that the Haggards were in fact another well known writing team, using an assumed name for some reason.

Does anyone know why there were so many writer changes on the show?

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Here is a review of the last few months of "Where The Heart Is" (1972-1973)

Written by: Claire Labine & Paul Avila Mayer

Starring: James Mitchell (Julian Hathaway), Diana Walker (Mary Hathaway), Gregory Abels (Michael Hathaway), Louise Shaffer (Allison Jessup), Dian Van Der Vlis (Kate Hathaway Prescott), William Post Jr (Dr. Joe Prescott), David Cryer (Dr. Hugh Jessup), Alice Drummond (Loretta Jardin), Peter MacLean (John Rainey), Tracy Brooks Swope (Liz Rainey Hathaway), Priscilla Pointer (Adrienne Harris), Lisa Richards (Vicky Lucas Hathaway).

Kate Prescott has entered the hospital for a battery of diagnostic tests to explain her recent symptoms - blackouts and erratic beahvior. Kate is relieved to then learn she's in fine physical condition, but is shaken tohear the recommendation (nearly an order) that she see Dr. Feldman, a psychatrist as her problems may well be emotional in origin. Kate is apprehensive about the upcoming session and carefully prepares in advance the things she'ill tell the doctor. When her release from the hospital is delayed, fatigue and nervousness cause her to once more lose control and Betty (that part of her which is uncharactertically sarcastic and bitter) emerges and behaves insultingly towards Amy and the floor nurse. When Kate regains control, she realizes it's happened again and cries out for "somebody in this place who can just tell me what's happening to me".

But still, at her first session with Dr. Feldman, Kate cannot free herself to talk openly and deeply. Dr. Feldman uses her original fear that she was suffering from a series of embolisms as her mother did before her death to turn the conversation to her parents, but Kate carefully helps praise upon her capable and precise mother and professionnaly involved father while taking Dr. Feldman asks her if her parents' busy lives ever led her to feel neglected, she becomes uncomfortable and says she refuses to say anything bad about her parents. Dr. Feldman tries to make her see she has so far given him a lawyer's brief - an edited version of her life which says only nice things about everybody, nothing critical anywhere. He explains this is, however, typical of a first session and informs her she should schedule analysis sessions three times a week. Kate protests her law studies won't allow this, she'll delay it until after graduation. But Dr. Feldman cautions her that her medical problem is serious enough that she must take the time.

John Rainey stops by to see Chris in order to learn the facts about her confrontation with Adrienne, his wife, at the sanitarium during Chris' stay there. Chris carefully tells John the initial scene with Adrienne caused her to suffer a second withdrawal but in a leter discussion, Adrienne assured her it was an intentional attempt to help her. And since Adrienne did get Katina back for her, she, Chris, feels she owes Adrienne something and hence agreed to Adrienne's request that she establish an emotional distance between herself (Chris) and John.

John then goes to the sanitarium and, since Chris' doctor is in Europe, talks with Miss Butterfield, who decides she's not violating professional confidentiality inasmuch as Chris herself gave John the original information. Miss Butterfield firmly stats that Adrienne knew exactly what she was doing when she confronted Chris and what the results would be - a disrpution of the delicate balance of Chris' supportive therapy, she could only be disturbed by the confrontation, and also, it was unconscionable to interfere with someone else's patient. Kate, meanwhile, has told Hugh that she's sure John is still in love with Chris and Chris with John.

Julian Hathaway notices his daughter-in-law Liz (Adrienne's daughter) flirting with Bert, a fellow student, just before class is to begin. Feeling suddenly unwell, he arranges for Loretta Jardin to take over the class and he goes home. Liz tries to cut Loretta down in class inferring her background as a high school teacher is insufficient for a college teaching assignment, but Loretta slashes Liz to ribbons by showing Liz's lack of preparation for the literature class in an embarrassing (to Liz) and clever (as realized by the class) way. Liz, however, later turns Loretta's counterattack to her own advantage by complimenting Loretta's cleverness on the one hand while implying, on the other, that Loretta's brightness is the reason Julian's attracted to her as the rumor goes. Liz adds the rumor (her rumor) is believable because Julian's wife Mary is a mousy housewife totally preoccupied with her new baby.

Julian, meanwhile, admits to Mary he's been suffering stomach pains for weeks now. Mary sees the pain mirrored in his face and calls Joe, who says he'll expect Julian in his office in the morning. Learning from Joe that Julian's symptoms are classic ulcer symptoms. Mary asks Julian what could be bothering him as that's an ulcer cause. When he's quick to say nothing, she suggets it could be subconsciously bothering him. He should think about that.

Ed is worried about Vicky Hathaway's apparent retreat to her millhouse. Vicky tries to make him understand there's a difference between loneliness and solitude - she has found peace and happiness there. Vicky later tells Carol she's moving out if the apartment to live at the millhouse. Carol thinks it's a good idea for Vicky. Michael and Liz help Vicky move her things to Back To Nature. Liz thinks it's kind of odd that Vicky's taking very few possessions with her, she cannot understand the idea of living simply, a more basic way of life without every possible creature comfort.

Liz tells Michael there's a terrible rumor circulating on the campus that his father and Loretta are having a "thing". Michael is concerned that the rumor not get back to Mary. Liz stops by Julian's home and cannot conceal a flicker of pleasure at Loretta's disclosure that Julian's suffering ulcer pains. Seeing this, Loretta expresses disgust at a girl who would first try to take a man from his family and, failing that, would try to make everyone suffer as a consequence.

When Liz shares the news of Julian's ulcer with her mother, happily taking credit for his emotional torture - "he doesn't know what I might say or do" - Adrienne warns her that she must be careful, she could wind up hurting the two of them in the process.

Hugh and Allison Jessup decide when John, who is closing in on the true facts about Chris and Adrienne, asks them point blank, they will take the chance in telling all for Chris' sake after all, what realy can Adrienne do after the fact?

Liz encourages Mary to believe Julian is indeed keeping something from her, hence the ulcer. Julian, meanwhile, has learned from his secretary that the rumors on campus are progressing to the point where he, Mary and Loretta are now being called "menage a trois".

John finds another piece of the mosaic - Michael tells him that he and Liz had decided to marry before John married Adrienne but Liz asks him to keep it quiet until after the wedding as her mother preferred it that way.

Julian calls Liz to his office and accuses her of starting the rumors. She denies it but Julian knows better and informs her the only way to stop her vendetta is to tell Mary the truth now. Liz retorts that HE doesn't know the whole story - the baby she's carrying is not Michael's, it's his! AS she explains further Julian realizes it's true, but he insists he'll still tell Mary, or Liz will continue to torture him.

John goes to Chris and tells her his whole situation is soon to change and when it's resolved, he'll have much to tell her. He then asks her to avoid Adrienne for the next few days, saying Adrienne's not her friend and for her own (emotional) sake, she must avoid Adrienne.

Julian tells a devastated Mary about his deeply regretted affair with Liz last summer and her subsequent torture campaign. He then tells her the child Liz is carrying is his, adding he had to tell her before Liz, herself, did.

Michael visits Vicky at the Back To Nature and comments he would like to live there, himself, but Liz wouldn't care for it. Michael and Vicky's friendship deepens.

Liz drops by to see Mary. Finding Mary already knows, Liz adds salt to the wounds saying she's not sorry about the affair, they had a marvelous time last summer. This snaps Mary's attempts at restraint and she releases her anguished hostility upon Liz. Liz retaliates by assuring Mary her pregnancy was no accident: she jeers that an affair Mary might have forgiven, but "fathering a child is something you will never be able to forgive of forget." Mary slaps her across the face and lets Liz know what she thinks of her. But only when Julian tells Liz he cannot allow Michael to go on believing the child's his, does Liz stop enjoying the game. She begs him not to, but Julian's adamant and Liz runs from the Hathaway home in hysterics. She runs to her mother for help but Adrienne's out, so she appeals to John. John dismisses her lies about the Hathaways, and tells her he knows what she is, a deceitful liar who deserves everything she's now getting. He informs her he's discovered she was already planning to marry Michael when she made all those pretty speeches about how much she wanted to live with him and her mother after their marriage. He concluded he did Liz a greater disservice than he realized when he left her as a child as she grew up as deceitful as her mother.

Mary tells Julian she could have forgiven infidelity, anything, if had had only come to her and been honest to her, and not left himself open to manipulation by Liz and her, Mary, in a position where Liz could make a complete fool out of her. Julian is desolate when she informs him she's packing and leaving, taking Danny with her. She'll go to Kate's and needs time to think.

Liz goes home, wanting to tell Michael the truth before Julian can, but she does have feelings for Michael and even tosoften the blow, she cannot bring herself to hurt him with the facts.

Adrienne returns home to find John waiting for her. He carefully chronologues her duplicity in tricking him into marriage. He starts with her testimony against Chris, disclosing he's discovered she supplied questions for cross-examination in advance, then her deliberate confrontation to upset Chris, insuring that she would remain in the sanitarium until the marriage was a fait accompli. He concludes that she knew of Liz and Michael's wedding plans, a final deception, part of the master plan. Adrienne tries to deny it and failing that, defends herself by claiming she was motivated by love for him, pointing out they have had happiness in their marriage. But John makes it clear he understands her only too well and, taking his waiting packed bags, he walks out.

Julian tells Michael, in front of a stricken Liz, about his affair with her, he revenge upon him when he ended it and her threats to tell Mary. Michael is horrified, he begins to put it all together in his mind. Liz insists it was only a rebound infatuation but Julian then tells Michael about the baby and Liz's informing Mary it was a deliberate decision. Michael goes over the events of last summer in his mind and realizes it was all lies on lies on lies. Liz tries to make him see that she didn't know what to do but that she knew he loved her and she loved him and she thought it would all be okay, but Michael now sees what she really is and telling her what he sees, he turns and walks out.

John comed to Chris explaining what has happened, how he was tricked by Adrienne but he's now ended that. He asks her if it's too late, could there still be a life for them, are any of her old feelings for him still there? Chris quickly moves into his arms and assures him of her love.

Joe convinces Kate that her condition may be serious and she promises to begin regular sessions next week. Kate's happiness at Chris and John's finding each other again is dimmed by Mary's arrival. Learning why Mary's left Julian and that Julian's telling Michael right now, Kate becomes very upset and Steve instantly decides he's taking her off to the Caribbean for ten days of rest and relaxation. Joe approves the decision and Kate agrees that both analysis sessions and law school will have to wait. They immediatly pack for a tonight departure.

Michael goes to Vicky's for consolation. She shows him that Liz lies, therefore she is the fool, not he. Michael begins to see the beautiful qualities Vicky possesses and the completeness of the life she's establishing here at Back To Nature. Vicky doesn't want to have to face anyone, saying why should he go when he's already where he belongs.

The family rejoices in Chris and John's happiness and their efforts in helping this come about have brought Alison and Hugh back to the family: there is a new closeness.

Julian arrives at the Prescotts' to see Mary. He confronts her in the kitchen and begs her to listen to him. Mary is reluctant, after all, it hurts so much because of her love for him. But Julian makes Mary see his anguish has been as great as her own, that he only wants to make a good and happy life for his family. Mary begins to realize she can see what happened in terms of a mistake in Julian's past and they reconcile.

Adrienne and Liz tearfully console each other over the loss of the men in their lives. Liz maintains she wants her baby, it's all she has left. They consider their future and decide that at least until the baby's born, they will stay in Northcross, they will but a house and live together. And then later, well, they'll see.

Julian comes to Back To Nature to see his son. He takes full blame for all that's happened but assures Michael that Liz had convinced him she and Michael were through before he began his affair with her and that he learned only today the truth about the baby. He then askes Michael if their relationship can ever be salvaged. Michael explains he doesn't want to lose his father any more than his father wants to lost him. He adds that he never wants to see Liz again and concludes they can have hope for the future.

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Well, if soapnet would get off their butts and do a special every ONCE IN A WHILE on historical soaps, they could negotiate to air things like this... just like Game show network did for those 9 1973 episodes of the 10,000$ pyramid that the UCLA film library had. The licensing issues for a DVD release ARE quite tedious and not worth the investment... but a simple re-airing is NOT. But of course, soapnet can't manage do put together a historical block special even ONCE A YEAR. They aired those old AMC episodes a couple years ago, and that hs been about IT as far as historical specials. It was even mentioned that soapnet's deal with sony allowed them to air archive footage of Y&R for specials and documentary. Have they availed themselves of this clause in the contract? NO. I'd love to see a repeat airing of Y&R from the beginning on soapnet, but I know they'll never do it. It would suck the viewers away form the current show.

Edited by alphanguy74
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Wow. Thank you for this. I don't think I ever heard Kate was planning to become a lawyer. Curious since I been reading a lot of different syndicated columns, what is the source? An old Daytime TV? One of the things I really like about this is there is such a sense of the show's pacing. You can read a summary in a soap book that says, "Adrienne and Liz plot to use Liz's baby to land John and Michael respectively," but seeing it play out in all its grandness is wonderful. Scripts or actual episodes would be wonderful. "Where the Heart Is" is one of the few shows were the more I learn about it, the more I enjoy it. So many times short lived soaps were cancelled because they were plain awful.

There are actually a few reviews of the final months online from various papers. It's one of the few shows that seemed to really grab writers attention because of its pacing. I do wonder how long Mayer and Labine would have been able to keep upping the ante. I believe Labine said they wrote the final 18 months, but I don't remember if that's the exact number or if that's even true. Maybe they would have been able to considering they kept "Love of Life" going for some time as well.

BTW, I would die to see the confrontation between Loretta and Liz in the classroom. I love the one upmanship going on in that scene.

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I have found it on an issue of the Daytime Serial Newsletter of Bryna Laub (I've recently purchased all issues from Dec. 74 to Dec. 78). In addition to monthly summaries, the Newsletter has a column called "we're glad you asked" in which Bryna answers questions such as "how did WTHI end?". She did the same for The Secret Storm or Return To Peyton Place for instance. I can list the diferent columns if you want and if you're interested in a column, I can type it.

Edited by FrenchFan
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