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I wonder if it's down to some writers being better at half-hour and some better at hour (weren't Marland's biggest successes all hour soaps)?

I believe you are correct, Carl. Marland was Harding Lemay's protege, and Lemay felt constrained by the half-hour format. He wanted more time to build scenes, and Marland's style was more in the Lemay vein (though, IMO, Lemay's dialogue was far superior). Henry Slesar, on the other hand, told me that although he found a half-hour soap more difficult to write, he preferred it over hour serials because his soaps were heavily plotted, and with a 30 minute format, there was no room for fat. It made him trim away all the excess and focus on that which was essential. In his opinion, hour soaps were just thirty minute soaps with unnecessary padding. So, yes, I think some writing styles were more appropriate to a particular format.

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I wonder how the Dobson's have fared at SEARCH, especially when it was being contemporized. Would it have been a smash like their GL, or a mixed bag like their ATWT?

Good question. The Dobsons successfully wrote GH and GL as half hour soaps, and I believe they probably could have written Search, just as long as they kept their irreverence in check. That would be the only thing to trouble me about them. The Dobsons loved to kill popular characters just becaue they could, such as the unfortunate demise of Leslie Bauer on GL. During the Corringtons reign on Search, they had Stu experience a heart attack. I could see the Dobsons doing the same story and have Stu survive ...only to get run over and killed by a speeding beer truck in front of the hospital. Granted, the Corringtons pulled the same trick when it suited them, such as killing off veteran Val Dufour in the middle of a Tuesday episode just because they hated Maree Cheatham, but the loss of John Wyatt was not nearly as bad as it would have been to lose Stu or Jo.

I thought Ann Marcus did a good job writing for Search. She and her team won the WGA award in 1975 for their work. Jane Chambers, one member of Ann's team, was a renowned playwright and well-liked by her peers. I always wondered what kind of work Jane would have produced had she been given the opportunity to headwrite.

Edited by saynotoursoap
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Why did the Corringtons hate Maree Cheatham? I know she may have been a bit difficult but you'd think they'd enjoy writing for her.

Was Val on the way out anyway, due to his age?

I've only seen bits and pieces of him as an actor...I think I've seen more of him in the soap magazines, going around with kilt and bagpipes and writing columns about his AW time (I guess that didn't end very well either - although I always felt bad for him when Lemay called him out for stealing the spotlight from Susan Sullivan in his last scenes, since...um...they were his last scenes ever on the show!).

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It's interesting that Lemay wrote both ST and TD (both 30 min) but only for short stints (weren't both affected by writer strikes?)

I wonder why he never took on a 60 min show until AW? Maybe he didn't like the workload after his AW experience. Both ATWT and GL could have used him in the early 80's.It wasn't a case of a dispute with P&G as they were willing to have him at SFT.

With Val,I guess his contract was up after 6 years,John had been through a lot of story,he would have been expensive,he was old,so he was shown the door.

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I can see Lemay not wanting another 60 minute show for quite a while. I'm just sorry that he never got a chance for a real run at SFT or Doctors.

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Why did the Corringtons hate Maree Cheatham? I know she may have been a bit difficult but you'd think they'd enjoy writing for her.

Was Val on the way out anyway, due to his age?

I've only seen bits and pieces of him as an actor...I think I've seen more of him in the soap magazines, going around with kilt and bagpipes and writing columns about his AW time (I guess that didn't end very well either - although I always felt bad for him when Lemay called him out for stealing the spotlight from Susan Sullivan in his last scenes, since...um...they were his last scenes ever on the show!).

I apologize. This is what happens when I write while I am tired. I forget to filter those things I generally keep to myself.

Apparently the first meeting between the Corringtons and Cheatham at a cast and crew party did not leave the couple and the actress with favorable impressions of one another. Remember, in that era -late 70s- it was not uncommon for a villainess to get clobbered on the street or in a supermarket. The Corringtons attempted to make Stephanie the most reviled person on the show. Regardless of what you may think about Dufour, he was hugely popular, regularly ranking in the top 10 actors of magazine polls. Also, within the series itself, John Wyatt had strong core ties. He was the brother-in-law to Jo, father of her niece Suzi, and as an attorney, was a franchise character who had reason to become involved in many different stories. So, the Corringtons set him up to be killed and shifted the responsibility to Stephanie. It made it worse that he was killed mid-episode, mid-week. I remember all of the calls made to our local radio station complaining about how horribly Dufour's departure was handled. To further remind the audience of her culpability, Stephanie was constantly talking about killing John, killing their dream, etc. To make her even more hated, they had her fight Jo for custody of Suzi and blithely go after Jo's potential love interest Martin Tourneur. The funny thing was that Cheatham played the part with such verve, the plan somewhat backfired. Stephanie came across as fun, and it was hard to hate her no matter what she did. Plus, we were moving into the era of glamorous villainesses, with Alexis Carrington only a couple of years away.

I do not feel John/Val was too old. The producers hired John Aniston and Wayne Tippit around the same time, two equally older leading men, who were not beloved or tied to the core at that time. I agree about Lemay, too. Susan Sullivan was new, and had not achieved the popularity Dufour had at that time. He deserved every scene he had, and it was wonderful that Bette Davis became so moved by his scenes that she contacted to tell him what a great job he did.

Edited by saynotoursoap
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That's a wonderful story about Bette Davis. Can you imagine what it was like being a soap actor in those years and wondering if she would let you know how she loved your performance?

I've seen very little of Dufour - just a few clips with Morgan Fairchild, mostly. I guess I was associating him with other older actors being let go from P&G soaps at this time.

That's an interesting story about the Corringtons. I'm glad Maree was able to turn the writing around. At least they didn't do some of the crap that later writers did when they wanted people to turn against a character (like when LML had Lucy Coe inadvertently blind her own child...not to mention the Guza follies).

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I wish Rod Arrants hadn't gotten the perm/afro. I hope that wasn't any Luke homage.

Actually, I think it was, although I can't remember who came first, Travis or Luke.

I don't recall how John Wyatt died. Was it a heart attack?

Also, I think the Corringtons went the wrong way in getting Maree Cheatham booted from the show. To SEARCH fans, Jo was "their girl," and Stu "their guy." Stephanie should have gone after either one of them, hurting them either physically or psychologically. That would have turned the tide against her for sure.

Edited by Khan
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Actually, I think it was, although I can't remember who came first, Travis or Luke.

I don't recall how John Wyatt died. Was it a heart attack?

Also, I think the Corringtons went the wrong way in getting Maree Cheatham booted from the show. To SEARCH fans, Jo was "their girl," and Stu "their guy." Stephanie should have gone after either one of them, hurting them either physically or psychologically. That would have turned the tide against her for sure.

It was so close they may as well have started together, but technically, Travis preceded Luke. Rod Arrants started on SFT in October 1978, and I believe Tony Geary's Luke arrived in Port Charles in November 1978.

Khan, John Wyatt died the same way his late wife Eunice had, shot and killed by his rival. Stephanie had become involved with Ted Adamson and withheld the fact that she slept with Ted because she had breast cancer and feared she would die. When Ted told John the truth, he and Stephanie reconciled after her mastectomy, but John became obssessed with the idea that Ted was corrupt. Ted was indeed secretly using stockholders' money from the Collins Corporation to fund a land deal, because oil was supposedly buried on the land. Ted seduced Janet to keep it all quiet, but John was determined to expose what he considered embezzlement. Stephanie refused to go along with it and continued to support Ted to get back at John who told Stephanie that she behaved like a mistress instead of a wife. John got drunk one night and unable to find Stephanie, decided that she was with Ted. He went to confront Ted, who he saw in a romantic clinch with a woman, as it turned out, the woman was Janet, not Stephanie, and during a scuffle, Ted shot and killed John. Stephanie blamed Janet, as Janet could have ousted Ted and stopped the land deal, and shortly thereafter, a mystery assailant shoved Janet down a flight of stairs. Stephanie was arrested for the crime, but it was later revealed that the deranged Mignon Sentell had done it by mistake.

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Who played Mignon? Was she fun? I always lose track of the various Sentells, Tourners, McClearys, etc.

I was looking through some old posts about Janet and you mentioned that Mary Ellis Bunim strongarmed Lemay into having a female character brutally raped. That wasn't Sunny, right?

I still never understand why the show just casually wrote Janet out when she had so many people on the show. Perhaps it was cost-cutting, but it's just strange to me they would write out the mother of the show's lead heroine at that point.

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Thanks, saynotoursoap, for the information.

I think Sunny's rape came much later, Carl. IIRC, Gary Tomlin wrote the actual episode.

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