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On 8/12/2021 at 4:27 PM, Efulton said:

Writing Irma Phillip’s obituary was a classy move

except lemay did not write her obituary, and did not say he did in ‘eight years…’ here’s what he did write:

"Bob Short phoned me the Sunday before Christmas to tell me Irna Phillips had died unexpectedly in her sleep. The news surprised and saddened me for she had seemed indestructible after forty years of creating concurrent worlds of love, divorce, disease, desertion, and illegitimate babies.

I glanced through the New York Times for her obituary for several days but none appeared. Dorothy [Lemay's wife] called the newspaper and informed them that the grand old lady of soap opera had died, a fact that some of their readers might find of interest. A week after her death, a brief obituary appeared but it did scant justice to the woman who almost single-handedly evolved the storytelling form that dominates daytime television screens. I did not get along very well with Irna Phillips, but my admiration of her had grown immeasurably as I fought to win acceptance for my ideas. . . ."

the obituary he referenced was written by the associated press, and indeed, ‘did scant justice…’ 

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12 minutes ago, wonderwoman1951 said:

except lemay did not write her obituary, and did not say he did in ‘eight years…’ here’s what he did write:

"Bob Short phoned me the Sunday before Christmas to tell me Irna Phillips had died unexpectedly in her sleep. The news surprised and saddened me for she had seemed indestructible after forty years of creating concurrent worlds of love, divorce, disease, desertion, and illegitimate babies.

I glanced through the New York Times for her obituary for several days but none appeared. Dorothy [Lemay's wife] called the newspaper and informed them that the grand old lady of soap opera had died, a fact that some of their readers might find of interest. A week after her death, a brief obituary appeared but it did scant justice to the woman who almost single-handedly evolved the storytelling form that dominates daytime television screens. I did not get along very well with Irna Phillips, but my admiration of her had grown immeasurably as I fought to win acceptance for my ideas. . . ."

the obituary he referenced was written by the associated press, and indeed, ‘did scant justice…’ 

I did not say he said it Eight Years in Another World. I did read somewhere that he did write it and paid to have it put in the New York Times.  I am not sure where I read that so it may be incorrect.  

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i did wonder if he had might have bought a paid obituary in the times. one afternoon i was in copley square with some time to kill, so i stopped at the boston public library and  looked through the january 1974 ny times on microfiche — found nothing. i suspect someone misread what he had written and it took on a life of its own — one more urban legend. 

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3 hours ago, AbcNbc247 said:

Considering that Mary died "for no reason other than the writer's wish"

I wonder if this experience soured Virginia Dwyer on acting for good. I've never seen any post-AW credits for her. There were still plenty of NYC-based soaps going on then - I wonder if any of them offered her a job. I guess we'll never know.

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The death of Mary Matthews probably didn't meet with a lot of resistance from P&G due to the fact that Lemay/Rauch were bringing in the ratings-revenue and that was always their bottom line.

Although Mary was an original and much loved character, she wasn't driving story and scoring in the fan polls.

Also, this was at a time where P&G were dropping older characters.

Patricia Bruder on ATWT, Teri Keane on EON, Ellen Demming on TGL (mmm...all women coincidentally) so it wasn't as though this was a one off for them. Dwyer was probably earning quite a lot as an original cast member so money would be saved dropping her.

They were spending quite a bit extra with the expansion to 60 min.

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4 hours ago, Xanthe said:

Richard and Carolyn Culliton will be on the Locher Room on Thursday August 19th. Interested in anything they have to say about AW.

Carolyn Culliton was a writer on AW during the return of Harding Lemay and the transition to Donna Swajeski.  I would definitely like to know her perspective on that situation.

 

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On 8/12/2021 at 4:27 PM, 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...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.  

I agree. His material was excellent and memorable (from 1971 to 1974, I'd say), but blatant evidence of his arrogance, mean-spiritedness and ego are hard to dismiss, particularly considering how Lemay and Rauch ended up crippling AW before they were through with it.

On 8/12/2021 at 5:50 PM, AbcNbc247 said:

I do sometimes wonder if he purposely diminished the presence of George Reinholt and Jacquie Courtney, or made storyline choices that he knew they wouldn’t agree with, in order to get them to leave the show.

Yep. The potential romance slated for Alice and Willis, proposed to Jacqueline Courtney by Paul Rauch, supports this idea. Of course Courtney objected to it; a romance between them was idiotic and out of character for Alice.

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On 8/12/2021 at 7:52 PM, 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.

Wesley Ann Pfenning. UGH. So many painful, failed recasts in the role of Alice. It's a relief that the show eventually gave up trying to replace Jacqueline Courtney.

 

On 8/12/2021 at 9:26 PM, amybrickwallace said:

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.

Add the notoriously toxic Paul Rauch to the mix...what a nightmare.

On 8/13/2021 at 5:04 PM, Efulton said:

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.

I agree. New writers who come aboard and cannot/will write for a show while retaining its heart, soul, and DNA, should not be allowed to decimate it to fit their own personal likes and dislikes. You cannot take over the reigns of the original Star Trek, and decide that Kirk, Spock and Bones are not good actors, and then be allowed to dismiss them, regardless of how much eliminating the series' core would hurt the show and infuriate the fans. You cannot turn the Starship Enterprise into an interplanetary disco, where celebrities from various planets "trek" to party amongst each other. Forget about exploring the universe! Soaps are a unique medium unto themselves which thrive on continuity, history, and viewer loyalty. Destroy those concepts, destroy the genre.

On 8/13/2021 at 6:01 PM, 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 would say definitely not. To me, the writing started to show signs of weakness with the expansion to an hour, but familiar faces gave the audience a solid incentive to stick around. (It also helped that 1975 was a weak year for AW's principle competition TGL and GH. Viewers getting bored or frustrated with AW would be unlikely to abandon a familiar show, even with it going through a rough patch, for other soaps which were just as bad--or worse--at the time. Plus, the 60-minute format was an intriguing novelty.) With the loss of Courtney, Reinholt, Dwyer and Susan Sullivan, the show's golden days faded. As soon as the competition started to pick up and soar, AW's steady and significant rating decline began.

On 8/13/2021 at 6:26 PM, amybrickwallace said:

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.

It was engrossing.

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1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

Wesley Ann Pfenning. UGH. So many painful, failed recasts in the role of Alice. It's a relief that the show eventually gave up trying to replace Jacqueline Courtney.

Based on what I've seen via YouTube, Wesley Ann Pfenning was not the worst Alice recast. I actually enjoyed her interpretation of the role. But it does seem as if TPTB didn't seem tightly invested in the role of Alice.

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5 hours ago, vetsoapfan said:

Yep. The potential romance slated for Alice and Willis, proposed to Jacqueline Courtney by Paul Rauch, supports this idea. Of course Courtney objected to it; a romance between them was idiotic and out of character for Alice.

Which never came about because Susan Harney allegedly had no chemistry with John Fitzpatrick or Leon Russom. It always seemed a little suspicious to me 

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4 hours ago, Liberty City said:

Based on what I've seen via YouTube, Wesley Ann Pfenning was not the worst Alice recast. I actually enjoyed her interpretation of the role. But it does seem as if TPTB didn't seem tightly invested in the role of Alice.

Now I am curious: if you have seen most or all of the Alices on youtube, whom did you think was worse than Pfenning?

I thought all of the recasts were wrong for the role, for different reasons. 

 

19 minutes ago, AbcNbc247 said:

Which never came about because Susan Harney allegedly had no chemistry with John Fitzpatrick or Leon Russom. It always seemed a little suspicious to me 

I don't think Harney had chemistry with anyone at all, to be honest.

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1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

Now I am curious: if you have seen most or all of the Alices on youtube, whom did you think was worse than Pfenning?

I thought all of the recasts were wrong for the role, for different reasons. 

 

I don't think Harney had chemistry with anyone at all, to be honest.

My vote would be for Linda Borgeson. Her acting was painful to watch. I never saw Courtney during her original run, so Susan Harney was my first introduction to the character of Alice. I don't recall seeing Pfenning in the role except for a brief clip online. I enjoyed Vana Tribbey in the role and never understood why she was replaced by Borgeson. It's a shame that they so underutilized Jacquie Courtney in her 1984-85 stint as she really shined in the role.

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8 minutes ago, robbwolff said:

My vote would be for Linda Borgeson. Her acting was painful to watch. I never saw Courtney during her original run, so Susan Harney was my first introduction to the character of Alice. I don't recall seeing Pfenning in the role except for a brief clip online. I enjoyed Vana Tribbey in the role and never understood why she was replaced by Borgeson. It's a shame that they so underutilized Jacquie Courtney in her 1984-85 stint as she really shined in the role.

If I were forced to choose one worst-Alice actress, it would probably be Borgenson. So bland, so lifeless, so lacking in emotion. She was a non-entity. I thought Tribbey was a better actress than Borgenson, but after watching Courtney for a decade, Tribbey's cooler, sarcastic Alice just did not feel right to me. I would have preferred her as another character. In any case, I'll bet that Borgenson would "win" the title of the worst Alice in a poll, LOL.

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38 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

If I were forced to choose one worst-Alice actress, it would probably be Borgenson. So bland, so lifeless, so lacking in emotion. She was a non-entity. I thought Tribbey was a better actress than Borgenson, but after watching Courtney for a decade, Tribbey's cooler, sarcastic Alice just did not feel right to me. I would have preferred her as another character. In any case, I'll bet that Borgenson would "win" the title of the worst Alice in a poll, LOL.

I just read that Vana now goes by the name Vaughn Taylor. And she's married to Paul Tinder who played the role of Jerry Grove on Another World and Larry Watts on The Edge of Night.

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