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To me it felt like it was more about certain actors than the Matthews family characters.  Although he did like to write characters he knew from his own life - the Frames (similar to his own family) and wealthy New York socialites. He said something like no mother was as perfect as Mary and when he tried to change her Virginia Dwyer refused to play the scenes as he wrote them.  He then brought back Liz, defanged her and basically wrote her the way he wanted to write Mary.  He also did not like Jaqueline Courtney's "soap opera" acting style.  He preferred New York stage actors.  In my opinion there was room for both.  I will give him credit for keeping the Matthews family on the show. When he left Jim, Liz, Susan, Pat, Marianne and Michael were still part of the canvas. I suspect he would have eventually brought back Russ, Alice and Sally.  

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28 minutes ago, Efulton said:

To me it felt like it was more about certain actors than the Matthews family characters.  Although he did like to write characters he knew from his own life - the Frames (similar to his own family) and wealthy New York socialites. He said something like no mother was as perfect as Mary and when he tried to change her Virginia Dwyer refused to play the scenes as he wrote them.  He then brought back Liz, defanged her and basically wrote her the way he wanted to write Mary.  He also did not like Jaqueline Courtney's "soap opera" acting style.  He preferred New York stage actors.  In my opinion there was room for both.  I will give him credit for keeping the Matthews family on the show. When he left Jim, Liz, Susan, Pat, Marianne and Michael were still part of the canvas. I suspect he would have eventually brought back Russ, Alice and Sally.  

Alice and Sally were still on the canvas when Lemay departed in May 1979. Wesley Ann Pfenning assumed the role of Alice in early April while Julie Phillips joined as Sally in mid-April.

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44 minutes ago, robbwolff said:

Alice and Sally were still on the canvas when Lemay departed in May 1979. Wesley Ann Pfenning assumed the role of Alice in early April while Julie Phillips joined as Sally in mid-April.

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4 hours ago, Efulton said:

I have read Eight Years in Another World multiple times as well as several interviews with Harding Lemay.  There is no doubt that he was charming, intelligent and extremely talented.  Writing Irma Phillip’s obituary was a classy move. His Another World got me hooked on soaps and was like nothing before or since. However,  he was also arrogant and had a huge ego.  His disrespect towards Virginia Dwyer and Jacqueline Courtney was gross. Getting them fired was completely unnecessary and I believe it caused long term damage to the show.  He expected everyone to fall in line yet was unwilling to find any common ground IF he didn’t like the actor.  Connie Ford was a genius for changing his dialogue.  Hugh Marlowe was a movie star so it was fine he could not remember his lines.  Virginia and Jacqueline fought for consistency with characters they created so they had to be punished.  

Your post is exactly what I was trying to say, especially about the arrogance and gigantic ego. I imagine if Lemay/Rauch didn't like you or your character, AW had to be a very tough place to work.

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21 hours ago, Efulton said:

To me it felt like it was more about certain actors than the Matthews family characters.  Although he did like to write characters he knew from his own life - the Frames (similar to his own family) and wealthy New York socialites. He said something like no mother was as perfect as Mary and when he tried to change her Virginia Dwyer refused to play the scenes as he wrote them.  He then brought back Liz, defanged her and basically wrote her the way he wanted to write Mary.  He also did not like Jaqueline Courtney's "soap opera" acting style.  He preferred New York stage actors.  In my opinion there was room for both.  I will give him credit for keeping the Matthews family on the show. When he left Jim, Liz, Susan, Pat, Marianne and Michael were still part of the canvas. I suspect he would have eventually brought back Russ, Alice and Sally.  

With all due, I disagree with the logic or the implications of Lemay's motives in this comment.  Certain actors simply do not belong with certain writers.  Imagine if Susan Flannery was still on DAYS when JER was writing, she would have done poorly with those OTT scenes and dialogue because it would not have fit with her style of acting.  It is neither the actor nor the writer's fault.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, j swift said:

With all due, I disagree with the logic or the implications of Lemay's motives in this comment.  Certain actors simply do not belong with certain writers.  Imagine if Susan Flannery was still on DAYS when JER was writing, she would have done poorly with those OTT scenes and dialogue because it would not have fit with her style of acting.  It is neither the actor nor the writer's fault.

I am not sure what the disagreement is.  He is on the record saying he did not think Mary Matthews was an accurate portrayal of a real mother.  Virginia Dwyer fought the changes he made so he killed off the character.  He also stated publicly that he did not like Jaqueline Courtney's acting and was much happier with her replacement. His could not get past his personal opinions/biases and accept that both actors were very popular and had created their characters so they were gone. He liked Connie Ford so he accepted her input. I am sure many head writers have written for actors that they were not thrilled with because the fans loved them. He was unwilling to do so. Should they have accepted the wishes of their head writer?  Possibly but both actors had been on the show since the beginning and deserved much more respect from him than they got.

Edited by Efulton
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52 minutes ago, Efulton said:

Possibly but both actors had been on the show since the beginning and deserved much more respect from him than they got.

It's just too bad they couldn't have found middle ground. They were all talented in their own way, and the show could only have been better had they worked together. Then again, was the show itself better when Reinholt/Courtney left? That was before my time and I really can't gauge their popularity from the few clips of them available on YouTube.

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17 minutes ago, amybrickwallace said:

It's just too bad they couldn't have found middle ground. They were all talented in their own way, and the show could only have been better had they worked together. Then again, was the show itself better when Reinholt/Courtney left? That was before my time and I really can't gauge their popularity from the few clips of them available on YouTube.

I agree.  I wish they all could have taken a step back and figured out how to make it work.  

I did not start watching until 1976 but I have read many fans say 1972-75 was incredible.

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3 minutes ago, Efulton said:

I agree.  I wish they all could have taken a step back and figured out how to make it work.  

I did not start watching until 1976 but I have read many fans say 1972-75 was incredible.

I've heard the same thing. I even read the "complete" history of the Alice/Steve/Rachel triangle on We Love Soaps and it was engrossing. I can only imagine what it was like actually acted out on screen.

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18 hours ago, Efulton said:

I agree.  I wish they all could have taken a step back and figured out how to make it work.  

I did not start watching until 1976 but I have read many fans say 1972-75 was incredible.

That was Rauch's job to reign in his writer and talk to his actors to meet in the middle. I would think Dwyer would have been happy to play a bit more of an edge to her character...Nancy Hughes was controlling and even good Mom, Grandma and everyone's friend Bert Bauer had her moments.

I do remember some clips of Lemay on some primetime special on soaps or on some newsmagazine show when the soaps were at their 80s peak and Lemay was dissing what had to be Dwyer in reference to "An actress who actually thought she had the same qualities as the character, the good mom who was a wonderful cook and baker, and...she wasn't" Lemay still was holding a grudge against her so who knows if she could have delivered..Lemay could be bitchy indeed but he made for great interviews.

There was a time he was either headwriting or consulting on ATWT right before Marland came back...and the producer was restoring the Hughes as the core family and bringing back Nancy and Chris. They were giving Nancy her old bite in scenes with John, "Oh hello Dr. Dixon, I see the mustache is about the only thing about you that has changed." and having some friction with Kim who just married Bob...with Lisa showing her old ways a bit by "advising" Kim on getitng into Nancy's good graces by making her favorite dish..."steak kidney pie" which Nancy hated. That was straight up Irna there and interesting that as soon as Marland came Nancy became Bert Bauer and Lisa went back to Bob and Kim's friend..so I think the domineering Mom thing was all Lemay (and I have to say much more interesting ....)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mitch said:

That was Rauch's job to reign in his writer and talk to his actors to meet in the middle.

Considering that Mary died "for no reason other than the writer's wish", it does sound like Paul Rauch pretty much gave Lemay free reign once the ratings started to rise. 

Edited by AbcNbc247
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1 minute ago, Franko said:

I'm sure we've determined this a million times before, but I forgot -- who wanted the hour expansion? NBC? P&G? Rauch? Lemay? All of the above? Half of the parties?

Lemay said that he was the one who wanted it. He was used to writing long scenes in his plays and felt he couldn't do that in the half hour format. At first, the execs. said no, but when the hour long 10th Anniversary episode was successful, they changed their minds.

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Just now, AbcNbc247 said:

Lemay said that he was the one who wanted it. He was used to writing long scenes in his plays and felt he couldn't do that in the half hour format. At first, the execs. said no, but when the hour long 10th Anniversary episode was successful, they changed their minds.

Thanks! I thought it was Lemay, but wasn't 100 percent sure. I had considered NBC on the grounds that they hadn't had much luck with the 3:30 p.m. slot (Bright Promise, Return to Peyton Place, How to Survive a Marriage).

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