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"Secret Storm" memories.

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Sponsor Magazine March 1963

Two disparate segments of American society -the hard- headed businessman and the soft -boiled egghead -appear to see eye to eye on at least one subject, namely the daytime television serial. Both are reportedly viewing with considerable reverence the latter -day soapers. Probers seeking a motive for the enduring affection lavished on daytime serials by national advertisers, soon learn that the latter derive Serials are adult and provocative quantity Plus circulation and as tounding viewer- loyalty from sponsoring serials. Moreover, daytime serials on television today are garnering high Nielsens. Should the trend continue, the networks will before long, offer nighttime serials. Negotiations are piesently under way.

Says a top -ranking CBS TV sales executive, speaking of the enormous popularity of The Secret Storm, a Roy \\'insor product seen Mon. -Fri. (4 to 4:30 p.m. EST) , "When the advertiser hitches on to a dramatic serial such as this he's buying the most homes for his advertising dollar and at the same time getting a story that is holding audiences with missionary fervor day in and day out, a story surprisingly well written." Anti -intellectuals as well as intellectuals seen to agree that throughout today's crop of television serials runs a sleep vein of professional and more meaningful writing, acting and production values. In the case of The Secret Storm, there is sheen and polish akin to that of the Broadway theatre; in fact, all the performers in the ten -year -old stein from the Broadway stage. Notably principal players Haila Stoddard as Pauline Fuller. Marjorie Gateson as Grace Tyrell and James Vickery as Alan Dunbar. The Misses Gateson, Stoddard and Jada Rowland, who plays Amy, are members of the original cast. The Secret Storm made its television debut I February 1954 as a 15- minute serial. It was expanded to a half - hour in the summer of 1962. Carl Bixby is the present head writer.

The strength of the dramatic serial is in its form, \Vinsor contends. "It is a continued story about characters whose hopes, fears, confusions, and ambitions stimulate an identifying emotional response in the viewer," he observes. "Some characters are basically good. The viewer sees such characters as an idealization of himself. In the immoral or amoral character, the viewer sees personal enemies who should be chastised. 'This very fact -good versus evil- produces conflict. Conflict- physical and emotional -is the stuff of which drama is made." \Vinsor and his colleagues maintain that The Secret Storer, for one, reflects the world in which we live, "a world recognized, we believe, by everyone who can be attracted as viewers only if there is some growth in the characters we present for their entertainment. These characters reflect this world by their present and future behavior. They are not presented as stereotyped personifications of goodness -a woman exposed periodically to evil in the person of the wicked carpetbagger. Nor do they stagnate- a Pollyanna beset with one larger- than -life problem after another yet never growing into a richer. wiser, or more productive human being." No tumors on the brain. Gone, for the most part, from today's serials are the interminable maladies and sicknesses, the endless surgical operations, the use of crutches, canes, plaster casts and surgical dressings. "There are no crutches in The Secret Storm," emphasizes William Francisco, associate producer in the \Winsor office.

"There are no incurable diseases among the characters portrayed, he says triumphantly. Once in a while, a character will have a slight headache or come home exhausted. Always, there is a sense of reality about the characters." What influence, if any, do advertisers play in the story line of The Secret Storm? "None," Francisco declares, adding "they are marvelous about it." American Home Products has been a sponsor since its inception. The other- Cheseborough- Ponds, Colgate, French's Mustard, Johnson &- Johnson, Lever Brothers, Nestle, General Mills -have been associated with the program front one to fine years. The Secret Storm has been a consistent, top -rated series. The latest National Nielsens make it No. 9 among the daytime programs. Both \Vinsor and CBS TV sales point out that as a group, daytime serials reach an audience of more than four million homes per minute year -round. The daytime serial group plays to an average of 99 adult women per 1011 sets; the weekday 10 a.m. -5 p.m. program average in this respect is 85 adults per 1011 sets.

In addition to The Secret Storm, (CBS TV's roster daytime serials includes As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, The Guiding Light, Love of Life and Search for Tomorrow. On NBC TV, Young Dr. Malone, after a long life fades away April, to be replaced by two new serials, Ben .Jerrod and The Doctor. ABC TV will introduce a new daytime serial, General Hospital. starting in April.

What goes into the making of a 30 -minute daytime serial such as The Secret Storm? As many as 12 hours of preparation and rehearsal, not counting the actual writing and editing of scripts. Each day's activities begin in the \Vinsor office. Gloria Monty, director since its inception, meets at 9:30 a.m. with associate producer Francisco and other staffers. Miss Monty', on this occasion, might learn the program schedule for two days hence has been preempted. Emergency measures must be taken immediately. Drastic cuts and revisions in the scripts must be made plus cast calls to alert performers to the new schedules. Major problem: six sets have been built for the two day's episodes but now only three can be used. Which best represent key scenes? Ten minutes later, with the aid of a floor plan in general manager Everett Bradley's office, script changes are made and transkited into stage positions and movements for the actors involved. At 9:45 a.m. the changes are approved by \Vinsor. Thirty minutes later, Miss Monty and cast members are starting the day's rehearsal in one of the rehearsal rooms at CBS T\"s Liederkranz Hall studios. The rehearsal continues until 12:30 when there is a 30- minute break for lunch, usually a hasty sandwich and container of coffee. The intense business of the afternoon starts at 1 p.m. with "fax on camera" or "fax rehearsal" (rehearsal with facilities) in Liederkranz Hall's Studio 54. The set for the previous show has been broken and replaced with that of The Secret Storm. Miss Monty, with the aplomb and certainty of a general commanding a garrison at Kyber Pass, issues instructions (always accompanied with "please" and "thank you ") from the darkened control room. Her commands go into the headphones of cameramen, floor manager, boom man, etc. The important business of blocking on camera continues until 2:45 p.m. when there is a five- minute break followed by dress rehearsal. Overall excellence. At 4 pm. a flashing red light in front of Studio 54 signals that The Secret Storm is on the air live. And again, the vast daytime audience, from coast to coast, sits entranced. A network executive steeped in the folklore of daytime serial asked this question: "What motivates such inordinate loyalty to a program like The Secret Storm? Larya Mantles, a discerning critic writing in The Reporter summed it up succinctly when she said: "I was held ... by the over -all excellence of the acting, the ingenuity of the plotting, and a casting little short of inspired: the performers had become the people."

When 4:30 p.m. rolls around, Miss Monty sings out over the intercom, "hit the filet" and "lap the credits." Ordinarily, when a job is done, workers immediately pack their kits and make their way into subways and busses. Not so with the performers in The Secret Storm. After a 15- minute break, the cast of tomorrow's episode sits clown in a drafty rehearsal hall to read through the upcoming episode. It is indeed a "new clay'' starting at 4:45 p.m., a day that ultimately ends at 6.45. In doing daytime television serials one should avoid condescension, Francisco told Sponsor. Remember, he said, "we have to take more care in keeping the people and situations real because they exist on a day -by -day basis." "In nighttime television, most of the heroes are people who travel and therefore can move from new adventure to new adventure," he continued. "Or, they are people whose occupations bring them a new situation and a new set of characters each week. Because in nighttime programs you are only seeing them once a week and because, in almost every' case, the story is more important than the characters, you don't have to deal with character background or motivation in the detail that the daily viewer expects and should be given." The consensus is that the daytime television serial is here to stay and that it has indeed "made a frontal assault on Mrs. America's imagination." But, above all, the daytime serial has proven one of the advertiser's most effective means of reaching his best customers, ac- cording to both Winsor and CBS TV executives. The next move they predict, will be the evening hour serial clone with the same rare adult skill. And sponsored, naturally

Edited by Paul Raven

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Movie movie star Jeffrey Lynn joined the cast Nov 30 1967 as Charlie Clemens.

When Jada Rowland returned to the role of Amy after 9 months on ATWT as Susan Stewart,she had in her contract she would never have to work a full 5 days per week.

Edited by Paul Raven

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Thanks for the Barbara Rodell interview! She's one of my favorite soap actresses. Ironic that she's talking about "dying" on "Another World," because her character on "Secret Storm" also died.

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Yes, their characters were married at one time. JC was on SS after he left DS. I only started watching SS after reading in 16 Magazine that he was on it. :)

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Barbara Rodell's character, Jill, was married to Ken Stephens. Two different actresses played Jill. The original actress, Audrey Johnson, later returned to The Secret Storm in the role of Martha Ann, a friend of Belle's.

Ken Stephens, the first husband of Jill, was also played by two different actors. Joel Crothers was the second actor to play the role.

Jill was Ken's first wife, and Ken was Jill's first husband. Both remarried following their divorce.

Ken's father, Judge Stephens (Terry O'Sullivan) was a good friend of Valerie.

There were produce of spin-off of the show with Judge Stevens as the patriarch of a family, but CBS instead decided to air Where the Heart Is instead. (CBS owned Where the Heart Is, and the creators, Lou Shofield and Margaret DePriest, were writers of The Edge of Night). I am sure that the thought of pairing Valerie and Judge Stevens (I don't know his name or even if he had a first name.), but, I guess that the decision was made to spin-off the Stevens family to a new show.

I saw the first Ken and Jill, but my memory of them (more specifically their early storylines) are quite vague.

I believe that Ken operated a nightclub.

Laurie Hollister was a concert pianist who had decided that she could no longer be so involved with her music. She was troubled, and she decided that she might use her musical abilities to support herself without the dedication that classical music demands.

I think that she was hired by Ken to play popular music on the piano. (Incidentally, Belle was introduced onto the show as a singer, so I wonder if there was a connection.)

Actress Linda DeCoff was the original Laurie. Laurie's parents, Wilfred and Nola, were played by Bernard Hughes and Rita Morley. Mr. Hughes had appeared on The Guiding Light and Dark Shadows. Ms. Morley was a leading model earlier in her life, and she was married to actor/writer Kenneth Harvey (Doug Phillips on Search for Tomorrow).

Mr. Hughes left the show when his character of Willifred died during a heated argument with Laurie. Ms. Marley left the show, and Nola was played by Rosemary Murphy (All My Children and Another World) and by Mary K. Wells (The Brighter Day, As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, and the serial Return to Peyton Place).

Incidentally, both Kenneth Harvey and Mary K. Wells retired as performers and became writers of All My Children. MaryK.Wells even won an Emmy for being one of that show's writers.

Hispanic actress Stephanie Braxton had appeared in one episode of Love Is a Many Splendored Thing and gotten so much attention that when CBS purchased The Secret Storm from American Home Products, the network replace Linda DeCoff in the role of Laurie with Stephanie Braxton.

Laurie and Ken began an affair. Normally, Jill would have been portrayed as a tragic, scorned wife and Laurie as the other woman (which she was) out to steal Jill's husband. But, although Jill was a sympathetic character, Laurie (as played by Stephanie Braxton) was someone who was falling in love with her employer despite her desires to not want to be involved with him.

Ken eventually left Jill in order to marry Laurie. He did not know that Jill was carrying his child.

Ironcailly, Ken (the character played by Joel Crothers on The Secret Storm) was in love with a concert pianist who left music. Jullian,(the character played by Joel Crothers on Somerset) was a concert pianist himself who left music (in Julian's case, to edit a newspaper). Stephanie Braxton played a concert pianist on The Secret Storm, and she played the wife of a concert pianist on the primetime drama/serial King's Crossing (and her husband was played by the late Michael Zaslow of The Secret Storm, Search for Tomorrow, The Guiding Light, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, and One Life to Live). (Michael Zaslow, a pianist in real life, also played a pianist on One Life to Live.)

Jill Stevens caught the eye of the wealthy Hugh Clayborn. They eventually married. I cannot remember if Hugh knew the truth about the little boy that Jill bore. They named him Clay. Hugh also had a teen-aged daughter, Didi (played by Judi Rollin) and a sister Birdie (played by Lovelady Powell).

The character of Ken eventually died. The characters of Jill and Hugh were lost in an airplane accident. The Secret Storm had plans for Jill to return to the show, but cancellation came before that story could be developed. Laurie remained a character until the show's cancellation. She remarried Jim Redin (David Gale), a former priest who had left the priesthood in order to marry her.

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Judge Stevens' first name was Sam. He and Valerie were at least important enough at the time to warrant a cover of After Noon TV.

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