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ALL: Are you a Nixon or a Bell??

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Well one thing--as described in All her Children , AMC had five acts (plus prologue and beauty shot) as a half hour show--Agnes said one strength of an hour show back then was they could have longer segments between the commercials--to an extent just longer commercial breaks. of course this isn't taken advantage much at all now but... And you basicallys ay what I mean about the pros vs the cons--though AMC was known (according to LaGuardia) for being one of the 30 minute soaps (and I think OLTL was the same) with the largest cast--unliek the small castof say Y&R

Ah I didn't know ANY of Lovers and Friends existed--I'm dieing to see that. But Lemay was one of the few who was VERY VERY thankful for the push ot an hour--in 8 years in Another World he mentions he helped push for it (and of course pushed for the 90 minute evn tho he left VERY soon after). he loved being able to write longer scenes in a theatrical way and grew his style that way.

And I love Strnage Paradise--I knwo Lemay seems to think it should be completely forgotten and ignored but his work at that time was fun. How long was he at Doctors?

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Labine and Mayer typically did a four acts plus the prologue. A typical RH episode went like this: Prologue/Opening/Commerical Break/Act 1/Act 2/ Commerical Break/Act 3 /Commerical Break/Act 4/Credits. The acts were rarely more than a single scene. Did Nixon use mulitple scenes per act?

I timed what aired yesterday on SoapNet and the RH scenes most scenes fell in the 3 to 5 minute range but one did go on for about eight minutes. It wasn't impossible to do longer scenes, it just requires really good time management, and possibly short changing other actors and stories in that episode. I think longer scenes could be done on the half hour, but I can see where Nixon with her large casts would benefit from the extra half hour. For the most part though, Nixon's point becomes almost void with the arrival of Gloria Monty and her scene splicing.

The Museum of Television and Radio has the sixth episode of "Lovers & Friends" in their archives. The episode focused on an engagement party for Megan Cushing and Desmond Hamilton. During the party scenes, there was a bit of a scuffle over the presence of Barbara Manners, Richard Cushing's executive assistant/mistress. Upstairs, Megan found her brother Austin in a drunken stupor and he had a rather lengthy monologue about growing up and hiding out in their grandmother's room. Rod Arrants and Patricia Estrin had a nice sibling chemistry, which isn't surprising since I believe they were (maybe still are?) married. Sophia Slocum, Edith's mother, was in the kitchen talking to her new neighbor Josie Saxton. Josie had come over to borrow some kitchen utensils as her stuff wasn't completely unpacked. Josie and Sophia sat in the kitchen for a bit and chatted about raising children. Josie explained how she had named her children Rhett (after Clarke Gable's GWTW character), Eleanor (after Mrs. Roosevelt), and Jason (the hero of the Greek myth). Megan ended up leaving her own engagement party and found herself in the Saxton's home next door. Connie and Rhett were there with Jason, I believe. I know the ending had Rhett and Megan sharing looks of longing while Connie seemed aware she was losing her boyfriend.

The episode was very chatty and you certainly had to invest in the characters. The acting was top notch though and the characterization was excellent. I seem to recall the Cushing's foyer/living room set was rather nice and I believe there was some location footage of Megan walking between the two houses. The show had a funny billing in the opening credits: "Lovers & Friends: The story of the younger generation" or something along those lines.

They also have the premier episode of "For Richer, For Poorer" which wasn't as good. The show moved a little too fast, but did feature a guest appearance by Victoria Wyndham as Rachel Cory, who was on the outs with Mac. The opening episode revolved around Megan and Bill's wedding rehearsal. The first shot was Bill and Megan exchanging vows only for the audience to learn this was just their rehearsal dinner. The second Edith Cushing was much sweeter than Nancy Marchand's snobbish socialite. Ellie and Josie discussed the family's return to Hammond, the poorer section of Point Claire. Lester went on a job interview and they refused to hire him because of his alcoholism so he went to the bar for a drink. Connie was moping because she had lost Bill and her father Ira told her to get over it. Connie rubbed her stomach and talked about her own plan.

From what I've read, the show did a decent job picking up where "Lovers & Friends" left off continuity wise. Richard Cushing had a heart attack in the final scene of "Lovers & Friends" and when the show returned, he had died. Jason had learned that Connie was pregnant and convinced her to use that to keep Rhett/Bill by her side. The show brought on Desmond Hamilton's father Roger and had him run Cushing & Sons and then had him romance Edith Cushing, who had been his old sweetheart. Overall, I just didn't enjoy the pacing and found the script weak by comparison.

I know Lemay was grateful for the hour, but he seemed to end up burning himself out in the ninety minute format.

I know Lemay started in December 1981 on "The Doctors" and there is a dramatic shift in the tone of the synopses I've read. Suddenly the show is more hospital oriented and there is a lot of character stuff. I would suspect he was only there through late March/early April as Adrienne Hunt arrives the first week of May. In March 1982, Billy Aldrich gets a job at a bank and then suddenly in April 1982 he is offered a job writing a column for the newspaper Nola owns. To me, this sounds like the result of a change in headwriters. So I think Lemay wrote from December 1981 until March/April, but that end date is speculation on my part. It may have been shorter, but I have doubts it was any longer.

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Sorry I was wrong--in All her Children they say an episode has 4 acts (plus prologue and beauty shot) and 6 commercial breaks. Still, my point stands that when soaps went to an hour they didn't went to I believe 6 acts or so--not 8--so it meant each act could be, if needed, longer. Lemay much prefered this, he said in his memoir.

There's a great book on writign soaps that I don't have that had a sample early RH script and a sample later one when the Labines weren't there and the pace of the scenes were much quicker. I can't remember what Agnes usually did--I have 3 eps from AMC in 1970-1971, that 1969 OLTL ep, and her two AW eps and I think ti changes though often at least one act would be just one longer scene.

You're right tho that it could allow for one long scene (like she did for the Wedding scene in her 1968 Another World) but it means the other scenes would be very brief indeed. It is weird that Agnes really didn't want the longer shows though since she did have more characters and often more stories (and faster paced ones) at the same time

Lemay is funny though--ti was his decision to go 90 minutes but I think he had already started to burn out on the soap anyway--or lose interest. he didn't seem all that upset even when Lovers and Friends didn't take off and was revamped by his associate (Tom King?) and then failed for good--and he left AW by his own choice, what within 2 months after the revamp?

As you knwo from my thread in the canceled soaps--Friends and Lovers is perhaps the one American daytime soap I most wish i had seen. The plot descriptions sound--yes VERY slow--but wonderful, deep and complex and it would be great to see Lemay start from scratch. I wish he talked about it more in 8 Years iN ANother World cuz it still feels like he gave up on it remarkably quickly. then again he was busy with AW whose ratings were dropping, and maybe he was just relieved to be free of one more obligation. I guess as a soap fan it always makes me feel weird when soap writers give up one of their shows so easily--Bell in his interview makes it clear he had NO trouble leaving Days of Our Lives, or Another World--Agnes seemed to have a bit more concern and would give the shows more time to transition but still...

Your decription of Lovers and Friends is wonderful, and makes me think all the more that I'd lvoe it--and the comparison with Richer/Poorer sounds dead on. It's amazing (but telling) how all of a sudden a show that had carefully avoided melodramatic plot manipulation opened with an episode completely MADE out of such devices. I wonder if it would ahad more life on, say, ABC?

Another thing about the Bell interview I forgot--how Y&R was planned by Screen Gems for NBC but he said there was never any doubt in his mind that it would go to CBS and that's where he wanted it--he never really says why (well he says cuz he worked there for years on ATWT--but he worked longer on AW and DAYS...)

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