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Where the Heart Is 1969-1973


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FrenchFan, reading either one of those responses would be a delight. I knew you pursuing your hunt of the old daytime newsletters, I just hadn't realized there was more to the newsletter than the recaps. Personally, I've been reading the syndicated columns that were printed in local papers starting in the late 1970s. I know you've been paying for some, but there are some papers that have their archives online for free. Jon Michael Reed's columns are my favorite. Some of his wording bothers me at times, but there I get his passion for the show if it is really working at that moment.

Lydia Hirsch's soap recaps are there too, but I prefer Reed's style. I was surprised to see Reed and Hirsch covered the syndicated soaps (Canadian "High Hopes" and the Norman Lear serials), but most of the local papers usually edited them out for space. I have't read enough of Mary Anne Cooper's synopses or Steven Shenkle (spelling) to really get a grasp on their style, but I was surprised by the number of soap columnist that were out there.

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In fact, the first issues of the daytime newsletter are only made of summaries (until mid-75. I have just found where Bryna Laub was living and I will try to reach her to get an issue of the earliest newsletters: Dec. 72 - Nov. 74 that I don't have). Later, she added some columns, pictures, interviews, coverage of the Emmys with photos (I love that) and cast changes. The last newsletter was published in Dec. 1978.

I'm also a member of newspaperarchive.com where I collec summaries written by Jon-Michael Reed or Lynda Hirsch. Hirsch's summaries tend to be longer and more detailed. When I can, I read both for the same period and make the best of it. For the moment, I have all monthly summaries from Dec. 74 to Aug. 83 even if I have not typed yet everything on my computer. It's very time-consuming but I hope building good archives.

Chris, I will post something about the end of "Return to Peyton Place" as soon as I can.

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He's Mama's Boy on TV, but, Boy! What a Mama!

Caption: She's his stepmother, so Diana Walker and Gregory Abels have things to worry about in CBS-TV's soap opera, "Where the Heart Is."

By Wade H. Mosby of The Journal Staff

Diana Walker is a cool, fragile looking blond who, at first glance, would appear to be no match for those laundry enzymes that eat blood in TV commercials.

Her hair is cut short, and her eyes, shielded by lashes that keep colliding with her band, are startling seel gray. She speaks clearly and directly and there's no nonsense about her.

Gregory Abels, once with Milwaukee's Repertory Theatre, has the blue eyes, sincere look of an Eagle Scout in a Norman Rockwell portrait. You'd buy a used car from Gregory Abels. He also is a competent actor, healthy, lean and reverent.

The two of them are key performers in "Where the Heart Is," and you can be sure it's all over the place. Miss Walker plays Mary Hathaway in this CBS soaper, and Abels plays Michael Hathaway.

Theirs is a strange relationship. They're in love. But there's this hangup, see? She's his stepmother, and if Julian Hathaway- her husband, his father- ever finds out, there goes the old ball game.

As part of our continuing service in updating daytime worker with what's going on, TV-wise, at home, we offer the following insights into "Where the Heart Is" as provided by the insiders.

How did you two ever get into this jam, anyway?

Diana: Well, you see, I was an orphan. Not me, but me as Mary. OK? And I grew up in a number of foster homes, but I had great talent, played the piano brilliantly, won a scholarship and came east to study at a college where Julian Hathaway was a professor.

Julian was a widower, eh?

Greg: Yes. You see, his first wife- my mother- committed suicide because Julian really was a bore and left her alone a lot.

Diana: Anyway, I thought Julian was really groovy and fell in love with him. We were married, and I began to find out that Julian was bookish and not so groovy.

So you started hanky pankying around with son?

Diana: Not exactly. Not right away.

Greg: You see, I- meaning Michael- had been very studious, graduated from M.I.T. I hadn't been interested in girls- my mother's suicide had created a sort of mental block. So I sat around all summer, listening to Mary play the piano.

Sounds innocent enough.

Greg: Chopin and Mozart. I started to get this feeling of love.

You mean you're sneaking around behind doors now and kissing and all?

Diana: Not quite that. We have embraced a few times, and we're always saying "I love you," but we have this great guilt feeling.

You can't be all that bad. What happened next?

Greg: Well my father tossed me out of the house- he has this big place in Northcross- becasue I had just been sitting around on my backside all summer and I found a job and moved into an apartment in Manhattan.

Bachelor pad, eh?

Greg: Well not exactly. You see, there's this girl Vicky Lucas, a teenybop type from from Northcross, who moved in with me.

You can't mean...

Greg: Yes. I don't really want her there, but she knows I'm in love with Mary and threatens to tell Julian.

But surely, you're not messing around with Vicky?

Greg: Well, yes. She keeps making herself so available and all.

But does Mary know about this?

Greg: Oh she knows all about it. I don't keep anything from MAry.

You still see Mary, though?

Diana: Oh, sure. It's ironic, but Julian, as a birthday present, gave me a series of concert tickets, and so I go into Manhattan one day every week.

And you don't go straight to the concert?

Diana: That's the idea.

And that's all there is?

Diana: Oh, no. We're only half of the story line. In the other half, there's a thing going on between Kate and Steve. You see, Julian has two sisters. One is Allison. She married a bum nam Roy. Stole Roy away from her sister, Kate.

Who's Steve?

Diana:That's Steve Prescott. He's a land developer and wanted to buy Julian's property. That's how he got to know everybody- they were all at home because Julian's father died.

I didn't know he was sick.

Greg: Grandpa had been sick for some time. Vicky was his nurse.

Diana: Anyway, Steve wants to have an affair with Kate, but she lets him know she's only interested in a serious invovlement.

Heavens to Betsy! What will happen next?

Diana: We don't know. They never tell us in advance.

And that's "Where the Heart Is," for the moment, anyway. Greg Abels enjoys his work, wants to do some Shakespeare, and will, this summer. He's married to the former Janet Kapral, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Kapral, who now live in Oshkosh. Janet came along on the Milwaukee junket, and she and Greg spent some time with her parents.

Miss Walker, divorced from agent Stephen Carbone ("he lives across the street now- we're good friends") reports that the soaps "are practically the only employment for an actor- I'm grateful to them."

"I did comedy before, and wanted to try drama. Now that I've tried drama, I want to try comedy again. I have been crying nonstop since August. But I enjoy my crying- all the way up to the bank.

and

Will Julian's Sister Kate Ever Save Steve from Alison?

By Wade H. Mosby

of the Journal Staff

There's a nicely muddled situation going on in "Where the Heart Is," a CBS-TV daytime drama, and you really should have a kindly friend to help you needle your way through the plot's complexity.

And that's the way things should be with a lively soap opera. The soaps long have been dealing with subjects that primetime dramas were only pussyfooting with- a suggestion of incest her, a dash of demonology there, with divorces, unwed mothers and the like quite commonplace.

"Where the Heart Is" revolves around the "affections, conflicts and tension found in the close knit relationships of the Hathaway family," according to the information sheet.

Close knit indeed. As we found earlier in this series, widowed Julian Hathaway, the patriarch of the clan, married a much younger woman who is now carrying on with Julian's son, Michael. Today we turn our atteniton to Julian's sister, Kate, and her suitor, Steve Prescott.

Let's examine Steve, a relatively clean cut swinger portrayed for the last month or so by Ron Harper. Somebody else played Steve for a time, but he found honest work and left the series. So let's examine Ron Harper, the reigning Steve.

Harper is decent fellow, Princeton type (which he was) who wears dark glasses (his presciption is ground into them, I guess).. Producers of prime time television haven't been actively pursuing him lately, for somewhat the same reasons that Dad hestitates to give Junior the car keys after Junior's fourth collision.

Harper has been in four prime time shows, and for one reason or another, all have bombed. First there was "87th Precint," which lasted a season. Then came "Wendy and Me," in which Connie Stevens was Wendy and Ron was me. Unfortunately, George Burns produced it, and he tended to occupy much of the time with comic asides, and the show didn't survive.

Next was "The Jean Arthur Show," the demise of which Harper attributes to the writers and producers. It bombed after 13 weeks. And then there was "Garrison's Gorillas," a hokey World War II adventure yarn (Harper was Lt. Garrison, the chap in charge of a merry bunch of GI hoodlums), and it lasted a year.

For a moment, let's examine Diana van der Vlis, who plays Kate. Canadian born, acted in repertory, trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. Played in a number of Broadway shows, including "Happiest Millionaire." Has done parts in some nighttime TV shows and in movies. In her first soaper. Married to a book editor, two kids 9 and 7. Lovely to look at, on the ripe side of 30.

All right folks. WHo is going to tell us what's going on between you in "Where the Heart Is?"

Diana: Well, as Kate, I'm Julian's sister. I also have a sister, Alison. I was engaged to Roy Archer, but Alison grabbed him away from me. She hated him and only married him because I wanted him. Alison now has divorced Roy, and he and I rediscovered each other.

Really? And you're going to be married?

Diana: Well, we were, but I discovered Alison and Roy were planning the marriage so I would sell the house and they would profit.

The cad! Can't he find a job?

Diana: Right now, he's assistant manager of the Northcross Arms Hotel. Alison calls him a "small time, drunken desk clerk."

Really fond of him, right?

Diana: No Alison. Roy isn't really evil, though. He's weak rather than evil.

What's to become of him?

Diana: Well I think he's going to be mugged in a park and killed.

A severe penalty for wekaness. But where does Steve come in?

Ron: I'm a real estate developer. I wanted to buy Kate's house (she seems to own it, along with Julian and Alison), but she doens't want to sell.

And this is enough to build a meaningful relationship?

Ron: How should I know? I've just been in the show for a month. Another guy was playing Steve up to then.

But how does the audience accept a different face with the same name?

Diana: That's the way things go. In the show, I have this close friend, Christine Cameron. For a long time, she was a short blond. Then one day she was tall, dark and Grecian. Nobody explained.

Ron: If somebody's sick, they just call in another actor to play the part.

Diana: But if its just for a day or so, they announce the switch. They don't mention anything if its a permanent switch.

But what about you and Steve?

Ron: Steve and Kate are attracted to each other, but Steve's not about to get invovled in the sincere type of love that Kate wants. Who's going to give in?

DIana: Steve is. Kate is very proper.

But don't count on it. The way things are going, Kate could mug Steve, Julian and Alison on the front lawn and quit the show.

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dc, where are those articles from? Gotta love the interested yet condescending attitude of nearly any soap piece back then.

Ron Harper had quite the career--he still works fairly regularly--but before Heart (ten years or so) was even Paul Newman's understudey in Sweet Bird of Youth (and was on Generations)

"Diana: But if its just for a day or so, they announce the switch. They don't mention anything if its a permanent switch. "

Interesting, on the ABC soaps anyway they always did until very very recently.

Edited by EricMontreal22
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Gregory Abels has a ton fo recent reigonal theatre credits. It's funny, soap actors used to talk a lot more irelevently about their work and roles back then, I can't help wondering how much of this was defesnive (if the interviewer isn't taking your work seriously why should you in your answers) and how much genuine.

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Ron Harper was ALSO on Capitol. He played Baxter McCandless, Clarissa's (Constance Towers) back-from-the-dead husband, and the genesis of Clarissa and Myrna's (Carolyn Jones, Marj Dusay) feud as Clarissa "stole" him from Myrna.

I think the general rule with replacement announcements is that if months have passed since the last actor was on, they won't get one. Days, weeks, sure. Rebecca Budig's return was of course heavily promoted so she didn't need one, and hey, if she's the REAL Greenlee, we all should know who she is already. :P Also when a recast is sort of "explained" through the storytelling (Toni/Skye on AMC), or an announcement seems awkward for such a short return engagement (Di Henry), they forego the announcement.

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I just found out my university accountallows me to see all those New York Times articles that are for subscribes only, so spent about 4 hours (seriously) reading all their great, condescending but fascinating 1960s and 1970s soap articles. Anyway they mentioned in one this as well--that the rule was (this article was frm 1972 and I believe was about Love of Life) if it was a temporary replacement due to sickness they made an announcement, if it was permanent they didn't--mentioned a scene where a couple got married Friday, and then on Monday his wife looked completely diff but got no announcement. Odd!

SFK I have to disagree though--AMC seemed to do this throughout the 90s anyway--I remember specifically the announcements for Galen (remmeber her? lol), Natalie (even though it was plastic surgeryafter the fire), Taylor and Laurel. But they seem to have stopped recently--I mean even when we had Babe change mid hug.

How was the Skye recast explained? I can't remember--but I agree that was long enough not to need one

Edited by EricMontreal22
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:lol: I admit that it's been a while since I can remember a specific AMC example. There haven't been a lot of recasts over the past few years. As you mentioned, Babe. Did Sabine Singh (I think I got that right) get one, I don't remember how long Rebecca Budig had been off the show. I definitely remember that Alicia Minshew didn't get one as it had been years since SMG. I do remember the Natalie one as she lay there with bandages over her eyes, and Laurel was such a WTF recast, OMG, Galen!? Wow, you are taking me back! Didn't even remember that there were two.

With Toni/Skye, we had been seeing the mysterious woman in white for a couple of weeks in the Dr. Kinder s/l. Then Scott was working on some family tree video project and someone asked who the woman was on the TV monitor and he was like, "Oh, that's my cousin Skye, uncle Adam's daughter. She left town years ago, haven't heard from her in a while..."

Us at home: :o OhhhHHHHhhh, that's supposed to be Skyyyyeee... :huh:

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Eric, I've been searching newspaper archives using Google News.

The wedding story is most likely from "Love of Life." The first time Audrey Peters appeared as Van it was on Van's wedding day to Bruce.

I believe Diana van der Vlis was referring to temporary recasts vs. a full time replacement. She had never worked on a soap before WTHI so she is referring to CBS' practices. When I watched "Guiding Light" in the late 1990s, CBS typically stated "The role of [insert character] will temporarily be played by [insert actor/actress]." I don't remember them announcing recasts otherwise, but maybe I'm forgetting.

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From what I read, at least in the 70s they didn't--but ABC did (that was my point if it wasn't clear).

No, NuGreenlee didn't get one. HAH I don't remember the first Galen either, except that when I first saw the character (I was brad ne to AMC) they made that announcement--it was the first time I heard it lol. So she was the only one I saw.

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Another quick one and then I'll stop thread jacking, but I remember when Claire Beckman replaced Rosalind Ingledew Allen as Silver on AMC. I *think* that was my first recast announcement. I was kinda shocked and confused, I thought the new Silver couldn't have looked more different.

Folks back at WoST shared this one, but in 1980 when Beverlee McKinsey broke her shoulder when she fell hanging drapes in her apartment, Bill Wolff announced that, "Due to illness, the role of Iris will be played by Carole Shelley" and the studio in Brooklyn got flooded with calls about Beverlee.

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