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Edge of Night (EON) (No spoilers please)


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May 1968

 Soap opera queen Mil-lette Alexander makes housewives feel better when she plays Julie Jamison on TV's "Edge of Night."

No matter what a woman's problems, she can tell herself, "At least my life's not as bad as Julie Jamison's. No one's blackmailing me. I'm not a murderess. I'm not going to jail." Julie Jamison's soap bubble troubles runneth over on screen. Offscreen, the most striking quality of the actress who portrays her is her happiness. That's the way it is with the real life of Millette Alexander. With a husband she calls the doll of the world, four children, a 19-room house, a job she loves and the world's most adoring audience, her woes won't match Julie's. But Millette would never call her life placid.

Nine Children In House

"With four children of our own and five children who belong to the couple who live with us and work for us? Then there are seven dogs, and four cats, one pregnant. It's not placid but there aren't any murders." In contrast, TV Julie's life is nothing but toil and trouble. Divorced from a guitar-playing no-goodnik, she comes to "Edge of Night" as the new nightclub singer at the Riverboat, a gambling den. Good-guy Orrin Hillyer sees her and falls in instant love because she looks just like his dead wife. Former husband shows up to make trouble. Julie passes out from one drink (she's allergic to alcohol). While she's unconscious, former husband is killed in a fight. When she wakes up, real killer persuades Julie she did it, then blackmails her. Orirn lends her money, marries her secretly, and the plot thickens.

Back In Script

That's one plot. There are at least four more that make up TV's cops and robbers soap, "The Edge of Night." Only the daily watcher can keep track of all the problems. Even the writers get confused sometimes and add things that can't happen yet. But the most, amazing thing that's ever happened during this soap opera's 13 years is an act of reincarnation that wrote Millette back into the script after killing her off. Audiences liked her so well as Laura Hillyer, first wife of Orrin, that she's been revived as Julie, Orrin's second wife. Millette first became Orrin's wife, Laura Hillyer, two years ago. Laura had troubles too. She was a faithless wife who chased a disc jockey who loved her money but not her. So she killed him, then died, herself, in a car crash. The TV ratings hit an all time high.

Wedding Gifts Too

Nine months later, Millette was back in town as Julie with a Southern accent and long yellow hair. The dialogue ran, "Have you seen that new nightclub singer? She's a dead ringer for Laura Hillyer." Indeed. Trying on a new, ash blonde wig for the secret wedding last week, (Julie tones down her yellow hair for love), actress Millette said she was not bride-nervous. She'd done it all before. At Laura's wedding, Millettte received pot holders and hankies from believing fans. '

"It's weird in a kind of wonderful way." The world's most devoted audience, soap opera fans are all kinds of people. Tallulah Bankhead watches. So do teenagers and retired men. They love soap operas. So do the actors, who adopt each other as family and sometimes act together for years. Days Never Done For Millette,

her working life in "Edge of Night" is strenuous. She commutes from her Piermont home to a CBS studio two, three or four days a week, depending on the script. She's in her dressing room by 8 a.m., rehearses all morning, dons makeup and costume, does the show from 3:30 to 4. then has a pre-rehearsal from 4 to 5:30 if she's acting next day. Evenings, she memorizes 20 or 30 pages of dialogue. An actor with a poor memory doesn't do soaps. It's gruelling, but actors love it. Millette has never really had a vacation from her career since she graduated from drama school at Northerwestern University. She admits her four children slowed her down a bit. But she did head and shoulders TV commercials and radio commercials throughout each of her pregnancies. Time Out For Baby The day that Will, her third child, was born, she taped a radio commerical. "I kept teasing them to hurry up, that I was in labor. When we finished the taping, I said, 'Now can I go home and have my baby?' and I did!" As with any woman, all days are not all smiles. Millette copes by crying, woman's first right. And she relies heavily on ' husband James Hammerstein. "When I'm most upset, that's when he's most calm," she says. Hammerstein is director of off Broadway's "The Indian Wants the Bronx." Because he understands that the show must go on, he understood why Millette went on with a temperature of 105 recently. The last stronghold of live acting, soap opera doesn't allow for sickness. "They were wonderful to' me though," Millette says. "They got a doctor and set up a cot next to the set so I could rest."

Needlepoint Hobby

Millette Alexander is a pretty woman with a girl-next-door look. What keeps her from being the girl next door is her whole life style and a high energy level. To relax, she gardens and translates modern paintings into needlepoint canvases. "I woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning one night and thought, 'Wow, wouldn't Picasso look great in petit point?' " What girl next door would do a thing like that?

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I can't wait to see this reunion of (as Sharon refers to them on FB) EDGE's Angels. I haven't seen them all, but I think Alan hasn't been that bad in the past few chats. He may be finding his rhythm and learning more about listening to the panel. Hopefully this will be the case on Wednesday.

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Alan's lack of knowledge of EON was on full display with this reunion. Luckily, the three ladies are so endearing and such class acts. Sharon is steeped in EON stories and has told more detailed accounts in other interviews and reunions; but some of the tidbits in this one were nice. This reunion is more about getting to know the actresses.  I enjoyed it.

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Alan mostly was quiet and just looked pretty while the Edge Angel's took center stage.  Fun tidbit about Terry opting not to audition for Charlie's Angels.

 

Terry seems warm and sentimental, Sharon (Rosie) seems a fun spitfire with a bottomless well of warmth and humor, while Frances is a dry witted, cynical, yet funny, person.

 

It's nice to see all of them are still friends 40+ years later.  And it was a fun interview 

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I'm glad Sharon mentioned their 3 co-stars who were confirmed to have died of AIDS-related illnesses, Joel Crothers, Dennis Parker, and Irving Allen Lee. I think Edge lost more actors to AIDS than any other soap. It was a really good interview, though I wished they had shared memories of Ann Flood and Forrest Compton, who IMO were the heart of the show.

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April 1962

Will the Real Capice Please Stand? For some time before plot developments proved their observation to be correct a number of viewers wrote to "The Edge of Night" daytime dramatic serial on CBS to ask "Aren't the characters of Jack Lambert a n d Phil Capice played by the same actor?" Not only were both roles performed by the same actor— Ray MacDonnell—but this also gave rise to one of the neatest technical illusions ever to be used on dramatic television: the same man standing appeared in a single scene facing himself seated in a chair Obviously this couldn't have been done with mirrors. The trick was accomplished by VideoScene a special high quality "matting" process developed by CBS engineers Here's the background: On "The Edge of Night" MacDonnell made up to appear as an unsavory-looking plug-ugly character named Jack Lambert underwent plastic surgery with the result that he looked exactly like Phil Capice who later was kidnapped by two connivers. In a recent scene on the show the real Phil Capice and the pseudo Phil Capice met face-to-face This was accomplished by video-taping an entire scene in which the real Phil Capice was involved in a discussion with four members of the cast including his kidnappers-to-be In the same stage setting an empty area had intentionally been held in reserve partment went to work with the Video Scene process Phil Capice No 2 was seated in a chair in the formerly unoccupied stage area. The original videotape was played back and he was Inserted into it via electronic magic as the television cameras did a second "take" Thus Phil Capice No 1 met Phil Capice No 2

 

July 1963

AS WE pick up our story on July 1, Mike has just successfully proved that the young college student Beth Moon was not guilty of committing a local robbery and has brought out the real guilty party and it would seem that things will be quiet in Monticello at least for the time being. But Louise Capice has recently become a target of blackmail, having been approached by the natural mother of her foster daughter, Louise, who can have no children of her own, is desperately trying to keep Sara Louise, at the same time keeplng the knowledge of any threat to their family security and happiness from her husband Phil.

Edited by Paul Raven
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