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Irna Phillips as a Storyteller & Mentor

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I think they were trying to grab "As the World Turns" viewers by making the connection very obvious.

The "As the World Turns" anniversary book has a good cast list, summary, and background information on "Our Private World" and if you have the wonderful "Prime Time Network Serials" book there is an episode guide for the shows brief run. The focus was a rather wealthy family, the Eldridges, who appeared on "As the World Turns" in the early 1990s when Doug Marland was writing the show. The mother was Helen, her lawyer son John(Nicholas Coster) who married Lisa, a fragile daughter Eve (who had a twin sister Lenore in the mental institution), and another son Tom, who was either studying to be a doctor or a lawyer.

The main storyline was Lisa's attempt to restart her life. Lisa romanced John Eldridge and they married either at the end of the show's run or shortly afterwards on "As the World Turns". Eve was dating Brad Robinson, who was still sort of seeing his old flame Franny Martin. Brad's father Dick had a heart attack and they married. In the one episode I saw, Eve was contemplating divorce. I believe there were hints that Eve was as crazy as her sister. Lisa worked at the hospital with Dr. Tony Larson. I think they my have flirted. Dr. Tony was married to nurse Sandy who was jealous. Sandy got pregnant and Tony ended up murdered. Tom eventualyl proved Sandy was the culprit.

Robert Shaw was another one of the writers for the series. Shaw also had some stints on "Somerset" and "Guiding Light", I believe.

In terms of the sets, I thought they were at least on par with "THe Long Hot Summer" another primetime soap from that period.

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DC can you tell me more about Long Hot Summer?? I *adore* the Paul Newman movie, which is wonderfully soapy, and the William Faulkner stories it's based on and I assume this was an attempt to take a soapy hit 50s movie and make it a hit primetime 60s soap--like Peyton Place? ABC did Peyton too--yet Hot Summer had lower production values/sets? Are there any clips online or any survived episodes? I'm a bit embarassed to say I've never heard of it before.

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Some more on The Long Hot Summer

The show aired on ABC from Setember 65 thru July 66

It aired Thurs 10 -11 before moving to Wed 10 -11 in January 66

It originally followed Peyton Place and was up against Dean Martin (NBC) and the 2nd hour of the CBS Thursday movie.Dean Martin was in the Top 10 the following season so probably killed TLHS in the ratings.Midseason it was moved up against I Spy(NBC) and Danny Kaye (CBS) both stronger shows

Around that time Dan O'Herlihy replaced Edmond O'Brien as Will Varner.


Executive producer Frank Glicksman had done an excellent job in 1964 of turning the movie "Twelve O'Clock High" into a TV series. Gregory Peck gave perhaps his finest performance as Brigadier General Frank Savage, and coming up with a TV replacement for Peck was daunting. But Robert Lansing was so good it would be hard to say which actor was the better Savage.

The next year Frank Glicksman turned "The Long, Hot Summer", another 20th Century Fox movie, into a TV series.

The toughest job here was the casting of Ben Quick, who had been played by Paul Newman in one of his best, loosest performances. Roy Thinnes had done a couple of impressive supporting guest roles on "The Eleventh Hour" and "Gunsmoke", but he was far from a star. He wasn't even working that much. Gary Conway ("Burke's Law" "Land of the Giants") was reportedly the early front runner for the role of Ben Quick, but Thinnes beat him out with an audacious sexually aggressive audition. Burt Reynolds also once said this was the one TV role he really wanted, and he was extremely disappointed in not getting it. Reynolds said he wasn't pretty enough for the producers, and he had some dismissive things to say about Thinnes who he didn't name.

Roy Thinnes gave a very strong, star-making performance that was almost as impressive as Robert Lansing's had been the previous year. When this series ended, Quinn Martin immediately signed Thinnes for "The Invaders".

The rest of the cast was also terrific. Edmond O'Brien ("D.O.A.") played stormy patriarch Will Varner and blond Nancy Malone ("Naked City") was subdued Clara Varner. Lana Wood was Eula (the role in which Lee Remick simmered.) Ruth Roman was outstanding in the Angela Lansbury role and John Kerr ("Tea and Sympathy") played the Richard Anderson role of Clara's gentlemanly beau. Only the casting of Jody Varner (a fascinating Anthony Francisosa in the movie) seemed a little weak. Maybe they could have gotten Robert Blake or Dennis Hopper.

But, all in all, Frank Glicksman did a remarkable job of casting.

The series was done with independent stand alone episodes rather than in serial format (as had originally been planned), and that was probably a mistake. The series didn't get you involved enough in what was going to happen next. The characters were basically frozen and weren't truly allowed to develop and change as the characters on "Peyton Place" did. Also none of the characters was given enough of a dark side or allowed to engage in outlandish behavior. Even old Will Varner seemed a pretty agreeable guy, sort of like Ben Cartwright. (Edmond O'Brien quit the series when the producers decided to focus on Thinnes (who received third billing after O'Brien and Malone.) Dan O'Herlihy ("Fail Safe") replaced O'Brien.)

If "The Long, Hot Summer" wasn't going to be a serial, maybe they should have made Ben Quick a man drifting from town to town, and forgotten the rest of the characters.

Frank Glicksman was a little too straight laced and serious to make his "Long, Hot Summer" the true guilty pleasure that the movie is. But the series was very professionally done. Glicksman had a big success three years later with "Medical Center".

Interesting that this reviewer didn't know about,or acknowledge Roy Thhinnes previous stint as Phil Brewer on GH.

Micheal Zaslow had a role in 2 episodes.

Long Hot Summer was remade once more into a mini series in 85 with Don Johnson,Jason Robards,Cybill Shepherd and Ava Gardner

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It's interesting that despite the success of PP, there were no imitators.

Usually,networks would either try to duplicate a successful show one way or another.

Dr Kildare ,in it's final season went to 2 30 min eps week and became more serialized.

NBC did make a pilot for a series called Royal Bay.It starred Joan Crawford.The pilot aired as a TV movie called 'Della'from what I have read,it had a prime time soap premise.

There were a lot of 50's soapy movies that were ripe for TV versions.

One that comes to mind

'Written on the Wind'(1958) - a dysfunctional Texas family.

15 years later Dallas took off and the schedules were full of prime time soaps.

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Hahah me and someone else were just discussing Written on the WInd--I think in the thread about Francesca James saying AMC should be like a DOuglas Sirk movie. He's one of my three favorite directors and someone I've studied a lot in various film classes (it's still upsetting to me that so few of his movies are on commercial DVDs, though many more can be found as bootlegs). I mean surely story elements from some of his biggest movies like Wind, Magnificent Obsession, Imitation of Life, All That Heaven Allows have been ripped off many times over for soaps... (Actually the infamous gay uber producer Ross Hunter who got Sirk into making "Women's pictures" or melodramas later tried to bring Sirk back for several 609s sudsers, but Sirk stayed retired. Both Back Street, by the author of Imitaiton of Life and Lana Turner's Madame X are grand over the top soapy fun although lacking in the artistry Sirk brought to his movies).

Yeah it has always surprised me, the lack of more PP imitations. Maybe the failure of shows like Private World did play a part? I know PP started off huge but after 2 year sor so the ratings evened out didn't they?

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The biggest thing that hurt Peyton Place was the same as the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire syndrome of today - overexposure.

In its first season (64-65) they aired it 2 times a week and both shows got in the Top 20. That prompted ABC to air it 3 times a week the 2nd season (65-66), and the show did not do as well.

But it was not until the final season (68-69) that the show started to really slip - the show lost more viewers with each airing.

This was the first time that a primetime series aired 2 different episodes a week - so for both to be Top 20 was phenomenal.

ABC had been the 3rd place network - never reaching no 1 - until Peyton Place. The 2nd month it was on the air ABC went to #1 for the first time ever.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications says in their Encyclopedia that both NBC and CBS announced similar series for their schedules in the 1965-1966 season. CBS has Our Private World and ABC offered up The Long Hot Summer, but those are the only 2 primetime soap operas that I know of that debuted in 1965. So not sure what NBC had planned for that season.

The MBC Encyclopedia also offers a nice anecdote about why PP's ratings really slipped in the 1968-1969 season. Dorothy Malone departed that season and some changes were made in her story to accomodate, but the biggest change that year was that ABC's Chief demanded the show have a more youthful look and more youth oriented stories.

Obviously they didn't work. Peyton Place was already losing steam, and that just made the decline even faster.

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Oh and back on Irna Phillips, I have always loved this quote from Ms. Phillips:

"When you have saturated logic, You should take your show off the air"

- Irna Phillips, Time magazine, June 10, 1940

It is from a Time Magazine article I have posted on my site SoapsWEB. It is about the writers of the big radio soap operas of the time, and focuses a lot on Irna.

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