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Lovers and Friends/For Richer For Poorer Discussion Thread

Paul Raven

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Thought I'd start an official thread for these two.

SOD synopsis Jan 78

Connie still hasn't gotten Bill to marry her... but she isn't given up yet. Plan A (pretending to give their soon-to-be-born baby up for adoption) failed miserably, but plan B (faking suicide) should work well.

Plan A should have resulted in wedding bells; but what Connie heard instead was the sound of the judge's gavel. Bill took her to court. Wanting desperately to block the adoption, he sued for custody of their child. He didn't win the suit, but he did get the court to recognize his rights as the baby's father. Connie could no longer place the child up for adoption without his consent.


Cynthia Bostick as Connie Ferguson

Connie leaves the courtroom with dreams of plan B floating through her head. She'll fake this suicide by pretending to OD on sleeping pills. She'll take only a few pills... but an empty bottle will be found at her side. Only she and Lee will know that the rest of the pills were flushed down the toilet. Bill will learn of this act and then assume the suicide was for real. He'll then marry her... she knows it.

Lester's self-esteem is eroding more and more by the day... and the situation isn't helped when he learns his son Bentley is dropping out of college to get a job to support the family. Supporting the family is the job of the father, not the son, but obviously this father isn't man enough to do his duty. He can't find work... of any kind.

These thoughts build and build in Lester's mind until he can no longer take the pressure. He needs something for the pain. He runs from the house and heads for a bar. He takes his first drink in a long... long... while.

Danger Ahead?

Since her break up with Bill, Megan has been burying herself in her work as a reporter for City Magazine. She asks her editor and friend, Stan, for a really tough assignment and he gives her one. He brings a woman, Mrs. Mildred Quinn, in to see her and tells Megan this woman has a real shocking story to tell. The tale Mildred relates to Megan is one of horror and heartbreak. She says her neighborhood is being terrorized by street gangs and her son Donny died as a result of this terrorism. These gangs force tenants out of apartments, steal their belongings, and then set fire to the who apartment structure. Her son Donny died trying to protect an elderly neighbor from these vicious hoods. These scum of the earth beat her sweet teenage boy and left him to die in the subsequent fire.

Megan writes Donny's story and then decides she wants to dig deeper. She feels a major crime ring is really behind these arsons and burglaries... they just use these gangs to do their dirty work. These criminal kingpins are very aware that as the law stands now teenagers are not sent to jail.

Megan tells Mildred of her desire and asks for help. Mildred agrees.

Life seldom works out as you plan... such is the lesson Connie will learn... if she ever returns to this life. Right now she is lying in a deep coma in a hospital. This wasn't supposed to happen. She was to have been discovered long before the pills' poisonous substance had a chance to filter into her bloodstream... but obviously this didn't happen. Her would-be rescuer (her great love, Bill) didn't read her suicide note until it was too late.

She may have been picturing him reading her scripted prose as she popped pill after pill... but little did she know that was not the case. Bill was protecting his great love, not reading her good-bye words, as she slipped into unconsciousness. She had left the note in his camera case thinking he had an assignment, but Bill had cancelled the shoot to play Lord protector to Megan. (She was meeting with Paco, information minister for the Savage Avengers, and Bill wanted to make sure no harm would come to her.)

Too Late

Bill returned to his apartment, found the note, and rushed right over to the Ferguson's. He was greeted at the door by a grief stricken and violently angry Lee. His eyes flashing, Lee shoved the empty pill bottle in his face and said, "You did this to my sister. She would never have tried to kill herself if you had done the right and honorable thing and married her." Bill is shaken. He may no longer love Connie, but he still cares for her. Lee's words hit hard and deep. He steels himself for a torturous stay at the hospital. He prays Connie and their baby will be all right.


Albert Stratton as Lester Saxon

Lester's dark days are over. he has found a job. He'll be working at Desmond's young and growing law firm as an office manager/paralegal assistant. Desmond, long an admirer of Lester's, jumps at the chance to hire him, after he finds out from George that Lester did legal work in the army. Lester is very thankful to Desmond for having trust and faith in him. It's not everyone who would hire an alcoholic -- as Lester has had the sorrow to discover.

Listening in on the extension, Viola overhears Laurie setting up a rendezvous with Jason. She doesn't interfere with her daughter's plans... it will have far greater impact if she catches her in the act... and that's exactly what she does.

Viola was hoping her surprise appearance would leave Laurie quaking and shivering and kissing Jason good-bye... but that isn't what happens. Her daughter is now no longer so easily dominated. She is developing backbone. She tells her she'll come home when she's ready.

Laurie is strong in front of her mother, but alone with Jason she breaks down. Jason is very cool. He tells Laurie she has nothing to fear. Viola isn't going to tell Desmond. She wants that marriage far more than Laurie does. She wouldn't do or say anything to wreck it -- after all, to be honest, didn't Laurie marry Desmond mainly to please mommy? Well, she no longer has to. She now can be with a man who she, not mommy, loves. If Laurie plays her cards right, their affair could go on for years.

The outlook for Connie is very grim. She came out of the coma... but then developed a serious lung infection... and subsequently after that she went into labor.

The birthing of her baby was very hard on Connie. It took even a greater toll on her already battered body. Dr. Ballard tells Bill things don't look good for either Connie or her two-month premature baby. Dr. Ballard's words do little to lessen Bill's guilt. He feels very responsible.

The sight of Bill's guilt gladdens Connie's brother's heart. It brings Lee almost as much pleasure as the success of his business. He's getting quite wealthy on what really goes on in his garage. His reputable small business is really a front for a stolen car operation. How does he get the cars? It's as easy as pie. For a small fee, he gets the gang to which Paco belongs, The Savage Avengers, to steal them.

Poor Bentley. He has no idea what he's getting into. Very anxious for a job, he approaches Lee about work in his garage. Lee replies her thinks he may have something for him. Right now Bentley is very excited about working for Lee... but what will happen when he finds out what really goes on in this business?

A Trick Works


Julia MacKenzie as Laurie Brewster Hamilton

Viola resorts to trickery to keep Laurie under her thumb -- and hopefully away from Jason. What method of underhandedness does she use? It's the old fake heart attack routine -- and it works like a charm. Laurie later tells her good friend Megan that she, Laurie, is to blame for her mother's condition. She brought on her mother's heart attack by something terrible she has been doing. Megan asks for a further explanation, but Laurie says she can't tell her.

Well, if Laurie does pull away from Jason, he won't be lacking for female companionship for long. He already has his sights on another woman. It's Megan! Jason is very aware it will be quite beneficial to his career if he married the boss's daughter. Edith would never kick a son-in-law out of Cushing and Sons.

Will Megan be hard to get? According to Connie, no. A few days before she overdosed on pills, Connie told Jason, Megan is very vulnerable right now. If he plays his cards right, she'll be eating out of his hands in no time.

While Connie hovers near death and Bill stays close to her side promising marriage as soon as she's well, Ellie and her husband George have both become aware of her underhandedness.

Ellie learns from Dr. Ballard that Connie never made arrangements to have an abortion -- in fact she never even gave him the slightest hint she wanted one. It is very shocking news because the reason Connie gave Bill for not telling either him or Megan about the baby until his supposed wedding day to Megan, was that she was planning to get an abortion, but then couldn't go through with it. Ellie tells George what she learned and he advises her to forget it... don't say anything... don't interfere.

Wise words, but will he be able to obey them when he himself learns a new bit of news a few hours later?

Walking by the lounge area, he inadvertently overhears a conversation between Lee and Amy. Lee is telling Amy the suicide was a set up. He got Connie the pills. It wasn't supposed to go this far, but Bill didn't read the note as quickly as Connie thought he would. It was all a game. She just wanted to show Bill how much he was making her suffer.

George digests the news... but will he speak out... or keep quiet?

Laurie goes to Jason's apartment with every intention of doing her mother's bidding and breaking off with him, but she leaves as much involved with him as ever. Jason told her she'd be throwing their love away for nothing. Viola didn't really have a heart attack. She faked it.

A Scheme Unlocked

Laurie didn't want to believe Jason's words, but when she returns home and finds a medical text with the part about heart attacks underlined, what else is she to think. She confronts Viola and tells her she got her number. Her trick has been discovered. She no longer has any guilt. She's going to continue seeing Jason. There's no way she's going to give up the greatest love she's ever had.

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Thanks Paul!

This is the SOD summary from their 3/78 issue, I guess this must have been when they first started (Dec. 77)?

EDITOR'S NOTE: "For Richer...For Poorer" is a continuation of the saga begun in "Lovers and Friends." There have been some changes, as follows:

Rhett Saxton is no longer Rhett, he is now Bill. Richard Cushing, husband of Edith and father of Megan and Austin, has died. His stock brokerage house, Cushing and Sons, is now being managed by Desmond's father, Roger Hamilton. Lester Saxton has returned to the bottle. He has lost his job and his beautiful new house. He and his family are now living in a small but comfortable home in the working-class section of town. There have been two marriages. Amy Gifford, cousin of Ellie, Bill, Jason, Bentley, and Tessa Saxton, has married Austin Cushing. Laurie Brewster, long time friend of Megan Cushing, has married Desmond Hamilton. Speaking of Desmond, he has left his father's investment banking firm and is opening his own law practice.


It is Megan and Bill's wedding day. They, and all their friends, are joyous. The Cushing house, where the service is to be held, is all abuzz with activity and happy chatter. It is a very happy time, but in a few short hours everything goes wrong. Megan calls off the wedding.

She had no other choice. Just moments before the Wedding March is to begin, Megan receives a visit from Billy's childhood girlfriend and longtime live-in lover, Connie Ferguson. Connie first asks Amy to leave the room and then states the reason for her visit to Megan. She first tells Megan she's pregnant and then begs her not to marry Bill. Connie then follows the request with the asking of another favor from Megan. She pleads with Megan not to tell Bill the reason why she's canceling the wedding. She wants to be the one to tell him she's pregnant. Connie concludes the conversation by saying, in addition to Bill, Megan isn't to tell anyone else about their talk either. Being a very compassionate and sensitive woman, Megan agrees to Connie's request. Bill is now very hurt and confused.

Connie certainly isn't. She's glowing. She now feels she has a chance to win Bill back. Is her pregnancy a fact or was it just a plot to break up Megan and Bill?

Lester Saxton is missing. Ellie feels to blame. After all, her father vanished right after she turned him away from Bill's wedding. He was drunk. Ellie was afraid he would embarrass her in front of Edith Cushing and her very rich friends - and what Ellie wants most in life is to impress, not alienate, these people. She's very anxious to be part of this super-rich clique.

Amy tells Austin about Megan's prenuptial visit from Connie. Amy says she doesn't know what Connie told his sister, but whatever it was it was harmful enough for Megan to call off the wedding. Austin tells Amy he's going to see his sister and find out exactly what Connie told her.

Wanting to keep her word to Connie, Megan at first fights off all of Austin's questions...but finally the burden becomes too much to bear and she tells all. Austin then asks Megan if Bill knows yet and when she replies no, he says it's time to push Connie into action. Bill has a right to know. Very forcefully, Austin tells his sister, "I'm taking you to Connie's house, right now!"

Megan's first question to Connie is, "Is it true?" Connie answers this question by pulling a prescription bottle from her purse and slamming it in Megan's hand. Megan reads the label which says the pills are for morning sickness. Megan then asks Connie how far along she is. Connie replies five months. She found out she was pregnant right after she and Bill broke up and he announced his engagement to her. Megan then asks Connie why hasn't she told Bill. Connie replies she couldn't. He's still suffering too much from Megan calling off the wedding. Megan says Bill has to know. If Connie won't tell him she will.

Megan is true to her word. Right after departing from Connie's house, she heads for Bill's parents' home. She tells Bill that Connie is pregnant with his child. Bill is stunned...but he's shaken even further by Megan's next words. She says Connie's pregnancy means their relationship is over. They can never be married. She wouldn't feel right having happiness at someone else's expense.


Edith confides in her close friend, Viola Brewster, that she fears Jason Saxton will destroy Cushing and Sons. He has come very far in the short time he's been with the firm, and already is handling most of her deceased husband's old and loyal accounts. It doesn't take a prophet to deduce that that means if Jason ever leaves the firm these accounts will go with him, and Cushing and Sons will most likely fall into bankruptcy.

There is a glimmer of hope though, her son Austin; but he still refuses to give up art and take his rightful place in the family firm. He has even forsaken his inheritance to pursue his artistic career. (One of the stipulations in his father's will was that he gets the money when he becomes head of Cushing and Sons, not before.) What is she to do. The firm needs Austin. Edith wishes she knew some way to get her son to change his mind.

Lester has returned home. He tells his family he spent the last two nights in jail. He was arrested for drunkenness. Ellie fears this will hinder her father's chances of getting another job.

Roger tells Edith he plans on leaving CUSHING AND SONS very, very soon. As executor of her late husband's estate, he gladly took over the reigns of the business, but now he's beginning to feel his own investment banking firm is starting to suffer. He's finding it more and more difficult to divide his time between two thriving businesses. He's in the process right now of doing an executive search to find a new president for CUSHING AND SONS...but things aren't going very well. Her late husband's shoes are going to be very difficult to fill. Edith then asks Roger if this shaky transitory period is giving Jason any ideas? Will he institute a power player? Roger replies the possibility does exist. Jason Saxton is one very hungry young man.

Learning that her fears aren't unfounded, Edith rushes right over to Austin's apartment. She pleads with her son to return to the family business. He's the only one who can fight Jason...and this man must be stopped. He's a potential destructive force.

Austin wants to be an artist, not a stockbroker, but he knows he can't sit back and watch the family business fall to ruin. Everything his father left his mother and sister is tied up in the firm. If the firm falls to pieces, so will their lives...and he can't let that happen. Austin tells Roger he'll work at the firm on a part-time basis.

Amy is distressed by Austin's decision. She fears this is the beginning of the end of his artistic career. The minute he steps in the door of CUSHING AND SONS there'll be no returning to the world of art. Edith will never let that happen. She'll find some way to trap him in the firm. Austin assures his wife that will never happen. He'll never give up his painting.


Jason does want it all...and he definitely means to get it. He has already attained power and money (Enough for a while anyway) and now all he needs is the woman he loves. Who is this woman? It's none other than Laurie Hamilton.

Jason makes plans to emmesh himself in her life. He learns she receives a stock portfolio as a wedding present from Desmond, and he doesn't waste a second rushing over to her house to make her an offer she can't refuse. Jason tells Laurie if she lets him handle her account, he'll triple the value of her portfolio. He'll make her an independently wealthy woman. He knows she wouldn't like that very much. She doesn't want to spend the rest of her life depending on Desmond's money? Does she? Jason definitely has Laurie's number...and she admits so outright. She tells Jason in no uncertain terms that she wants to be rich. He can handle her account...but that's all he'll be handling.

Being very worried about his daughter (he can sense Connie is hiding something from him), Ira places a call to Connie's brother Lee and asks him to come to Pt. Claire. If anyone can get the truth out of her, it'll be Lee.

Ira's assumption is correct. Connie's stubborn determination to keep the truth about her pregnancy from her family is no match for Lee's strong-arm tactics. Her brother is not the sort of man from whom you keep secrets. She quickly tells him she's pregnant with Bill's baby and in the same breath begs him not to interfere. She's in full control of the situation. She doesn't need his help. She has spoken with Bill, and though he hasn't agreed to marry her (he fears their marriage would end in divorce), he has agreed to financially support her and the baby...and that means he still cares for her...that means there's still hope he'll change his mind...he will marry her. As soon as he gets over his broken engagement, he'll ask her to be his wife. It can happen any time now.

Lee suggests to Connie they give Bill a push in that direction...and they have the perfect battering ram to use...Bill's love for their baby. They're going to make Bill feel that if he doesn't marry her, he may never see their child. Connie is going to go away for a few days and go through the motions of selling their child to some people involved in the black market adoption racket. When Bill gets wind of her sudden desire to give up the baby he's sure to rush right to her side and make her his wife.

Connie at first balks at Lee's evil plan...but no one refuses her brother anything. What Lee wants to do...he does! She's going to get involved in a black market baby operation whether she likes it or not.


The lust Jason feels for Laurie is not one-sided...a fact which Jason was very sure of all along. Desmond may be fattening her bank account, but he's in no way fanning her flames. He can sense that only he, Jason, will be able to perform such a feat.

Feeling so strongly about this belief, Jason is not at all surprised to see Laurie standing outside his apartment door. The initial reason for her visit is one of warning (she tells him Edith has brought Austin into the firm to win back some of the accounts he's now handling), but he can sense there's a deeper, more hungering explanation for her presence. He takes immediate steps to prove his point. After thanking Laurie for the warning, he takes her in his arms and kisses her long and hard. She doesn't fight. Jason is a very satisfied man. He now has power, money and love.

Edited by CarlD2
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This is from the 12/78 SOD, which means it covers the last episodes (September 1978).


Putting two and two together, (very easy after she learns from Edith, Jason is going to be in New York) Viola now knows why Laurie developed this sudden need to go furniture shopping in the Big Apple - and she can't let her daughter do it! She has to make Laurie see that a few passionate nights with Jason is not worth the possible sacrifice of her marriage. Desmond is a good man. He could give her a life of constant love, security, and wealth. Jason could only bring her heartache. He loves only himself.

Viola's motherly concern only results in a heated argument; it only results in strengthening Laurie's strong resolve to be with her lover. When Laurie comes up with something Viola can do for her, Viola hotly refuses. She says she will not accompany her to New York to be her cover. She will not help her get together with Jason.

Those last words spoken rather loudly are overheard by Desmond. He comes into the room, Laurie quickly leaves, and finding herself alone with Viole confronts her. He asks her what will Laurie really be up to in New York? What did she mean when she asked her to be her cover? Not wanting to wreck her daughter's marriage, Viola comes up with a rather unbelievable explanation - one that far from quells Desmond's anxiety. Desmond then tries to get the truth from Laurie...he runs into the same wall. Laurie just replies he isn't responsible for killing her love for him. Desmond then responds she leaves him no choice but to initiate a separation. He'll pack a few things and be out of the house by nightfall.


...But even by himself, Desmond can't let matters rest. He tells his father he's going to New York. He feels with upmost certainty that whatever is responsible for wrecking his marriage will most likely be found there.

Feeling very strongly that the problem couldn't possibly be with him, George is really thrown for a loop when Dr. Ballard reports the test results show that this is most certainly the case. George is responsible for Ellie not being able to conceive. George has developed a low sperm count - but it could be a temporary situation. He will begin hormonal treatments and he would like to recommend that George and Ellie go to this clinic on reproduction in Chicago. George says he isn't going to any clinic. He's not going to share this humiliating problem with strangers.

George's image of himself as a man has been totally shaken. Will Ellie be able to help him through this critical time? Let's pray she does.


Roy tells Connie Bill came to see him and wanted to know if it was safe for him to tell her what transpired during their marriage. He gave Bill his okay. When Bill brings the subject up, he wants Connie to be honest with him. She shouldn't play dumb. She should tell her husband the treatments have been working and she remembers everything he's reporting. If Bill loves her, he'll understand and forgive all the terrible things she did. If he lacks that compassion, he isn't worth her love. She can survive without him. She doesn't need him to prove she exists.

Connie follows Roy's advice...but the end result was what she feared. She asks Bill if he loved her and he can't say the words. What she has been thinking is true, Bill only married her out of a sense of duty - and now that she is healthy he will probably leave her. She has lost him.

Laurie is walking, or more to the point, gliding through the streets of New York. The avenues, sidestreets, and people dissolve into a haze as she falls prey to her dreams and starts re-experiencing the passion of the night before - recalling quite vividly the dizzying heights of desire to which she was brought. Still lost in this personal reverie, she asks the hotel's desk clerk for her key, inserts it in her lock...and then reality. There sitting in a straightback chair is Desmond. He's ice. He wants to know where she was last night. He won't let her cop out with her usual lie. Tired and weary (and not caring one bit if she hurts Desmond), Laurie confesses all. She tells this ferocious bull-like creature before her that she was with Jason - and it wasn't the first time they were together. She and Jason have been having a hot and torrid affair for many, many months. A saber plunging into his gut couldn't be any more painful. Desmond orders his wife (his slut is more the word) to quickly pack a suitcase. They're returning home to Pt. Claire.

The plane ride home was wrought with a tension filled silence, but once in the security of their home, Desmond lets his emotions fly. He asks Laurie who else knew about her affair with Jason. Laurie is steel as she responds Viola and her father. Still filled with an agonizing pain, Desmond storms out of the house to pay a visit to Jason. Telling Jason he knows all about his relationship with Laurie, Desmond then lets his fury ride with one powerful left to Jason's jaw. Jason now fears all his dreams of power and glory (the presidency of Cushing and Sons) may soon go up in smoke.


Lester is with Tessa as they await the results of her test - the test done to determine whether her paralysis will be temporary or permanent. Dr. Roy White enters the room. His face breaks into a wide grin. The news is good. Tessa's paralysis is temporary. She should be walking in a few days. Lester's joy is cut short by Tessa's next words. She says as soon as she's fully recuperated she's going to head to the city where Lee has been sent.

Following Roy's advice (and her own strong resolve that she wants more out of a relationship than what Bill is giving her), Connie has left Bill. She tried to make Bill understand her feelings but he couldn't. He will not allow himself to believe that this is something she really wanted to do. He has laid the blame completely on Roy's doorstep. She has fallen prey to this man's clever manipulations...and he means to find out why Roy is so interested in wrecking the marriage.

Jason's callous indifference towards her sends Laurie reeling. She feels as though she's being sucked down into a deep, dark pool. She has to end this torment. She can't go on living without Jason - and she knows just what to use as a murder weapon - the bright, shiny new sports car, Jason plans to give Megan as a gift. She enters the Cushing garage, positions herself in the driver's seat, and turns on the ignition. She then tilts her head back and waits for the deadly carbon monoxide fumes to fill her lungs.

It doesn't work. As Laurie drifts into unconsciousness, her head falls forward and hits the horn on the steering wheel. The subsequent piercing wail brings Amy and Austin rushing into the garage. They are in time. They bring Laurie to Megan's bedroom and a few minutes later she regains consciousness - and she's not too happy to be alive! Megan goes to comfort Laurie and Laurie spews forth all her hatred for this woman. She ends the tirade telling Megan that she and Jason have been having an affair for many, many months; in fact they were together during his last business trip in New York. Confronted by Megan, Jason can't deny the charges...Laurie meant nothing to him. Megan is cold and deaf to his words. She tells Jason their marriage is over.

Jason receives another blow. He loses the presidency of Cushing and Sons. Edith appoints Austin. Bitterly, Jason tells Edith he knows why she made this decision. He won't be around to trouble them any longer. He's quitting the firm.

After telling Roy good-bye, saying she's not yet ready to commit herself to a new love, Connie makes a decision about her marriage. She tells Bill she has decided not to return to him. She needs time alone. She has started becoming a person in her own right, and she likes the feeling. Bill says he understands; he won't stand in her way. They bid each other a tender farewell.

Good news for the Kimballs. George's hormonal treatments have worked. Ellie thinks she might be pregnant. Connie, there to pick up Billy, hugs Ellie in joy.

Megan is crushed. She's in dire need of something to cure the ache. She looks up from her typewriter and there is Bill standing by the door of her office. The love they feel is evident in their eyes. They are back where they belong. They are home.

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Looking at the cast of FRFP it's interesting to see that several performers quickly moved to other shows,while some vanished off the face of the earth.

Rod Arrants and Stephen Burleigh went to SFT

Stephen Joyce,Christine Jones and Richard Backus went to AW

Cynthia Bostick and Dennis Romer to ATWT

Robert Burton to TD

Breon Gorman to OLTL

Whatever happened to Flora Plumb,David Abbott, Julia MacKenzie etc?

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This is what SOD added at the end of the synopsis.


Originally born as the highly touted LOVERS AND FRIENDS - a birth that met with a very early death - FOR RICHER, FOR POORER bowed, with what was hoped, a totally improved version of its predecessor. In the opinion of this writer, it was a successful revamping, but bad programming (in a large part of the country it was opposite ALL MY CHILDREN) and viewer bigotry (duped once, it seems that viewers were prepared not to make the same mistake twice) denied it it s chance to strut its stuff. If it had been better situated and less plagued by the stigma of its originator, it could have succeed. It was an improvement.

The major failure of LOVERS AND FRIENDS was its storyline - too draggy - a characteristic not inherited by FRFP. From the onset, FRFP's plot was a grabber. It hooked you because you instantly cared about the characters. They were real people - not cartoons - none were all bad or all good. It made you want to discover the motives for their behavior. It made you want to find out the reasons why they played their self-serving and sometimes dangerous games - games played in the theater of big business and the underworld.

...But without good acting any teleplay could have brought on the snoozies...but this definitely wasn't the case with FRFP. Sure there was some bad (stilted, wooden) acting - as on most soaps - but almost to the last cast member, the quality of the work was good. The chemistry was excellent. They played off each other with great deft and skill.

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER deserved better than what it got. IT was nipped much too early in the bud. It had potential.

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Rod Arrants' character actually had crossed over to AW inbetween L&F and FRFP, and of course went on to become one of daytime's leading men in the 80s in major roles on three soaps(SFT, Days, Y&R).

Here is an overview which Matt Smith had written up on his now defunct website:

In 1976, Paul Rauch and Harding Lemay were flying high. They were the executive producer and head writer (respectively) of one of the #1 soap operas in America (Another World) and were just coming off an Emmy win for that series in the category of Outstanding Daytime Drama. When they teamed up to create a brand new soap opera, Procter & Gamble (sponsor of AW) and NBC (AW's network) jumped at the opportunity. But, why wouldn't they? Obviously, the new soap would be an instant success.

Originally titled Into This House, the series that would premiere as Lovers and Friends focused on two different families (almost a requirement on soap operas by this point) -- the ultra wealthy Cushings and the middle-class-yet-upwardly-mobile Saxtons in the posh Chicago suburb of Point Claire. The Saxtons had just moved into the house next door to the Cushings and the two families were tied together through business (Cushing & Sons, a stock brokerage firm) and romance (signature couple Megan Cushing and Rhett Saxton). However, unlike the plot-heavy soap operas that were common, L&F focused more on character development. Complete backstories and histories of each character were detailed on-screen full of past indiscretions and personal failures. In-depth character studies were stressed far more than the advancement of the plot. In translation (and by some critics' assessment) the product was a series that was a slow as molasses and as dull as dishwater. The fact that it was on the air opposite two popular soaps like CBS's Search for Tomorrow and ABC's new hit Ryan's Hope didn't help matters, either. In short, ratings were abysmal and NBC yanked it off the air after only a few months.

Instead of instantly sending it into the great here-after of soap operas, NBC must have seen something in the series that continued to hold their interest. During the next seven months, the show was re-worked and re-named. Lemay was replaced as head writer by Tom King, but continued to serve as a consultant (although, by his own admission, Lemay's involvement was minimal at best). When the series returned in December, it was now titled For Richer, For Poorer, the Saxtons no longer lived next to the Cushings, several key characters were recast, and Rhett was now being called Bill (somewhat like the sudden and unexplained name change from Skerba to Driscoll on A Time to Live on ABC a decade earlier). King also added two new families -- the wealthy Brewster/Hamiltons and the poor Fergusons.

Unlike the leisurely pace of L&F, FRFP moved quickly with characters involved in affairs, teen-aged gangs, amnesia, and corporate intrigue. It was also moved to a different time-slot away from SFT and RH. Unfortunately, it was now up against All My Children, which at that point was becoming the #1 soap on television.

Of course, you can't say NBC didn't give the series its best shot. It tried several ways to drag over viewers from Another World (at that time, NBC's highest rated soap) -- during the hiatus between the two series, it moved L&F character Austin Cushing (played by Rod Arrants) over to AW (obviously hoping he'd pick up some fans who'd follow him back to the revamped show) and, during the earliest episodes of FRFP, had AW star-couple Mac & Rachel Cory make quest appearances. Perhaps if the series had been scheduled immediately after AW, these ploys might have worked. However, FRFP led off the NBC soap block while AW concluded it.

Although it was performing better in the ratings than L&F, it still wasn't winning any Nielsen awards by a long shot -- it was the lowest rated soap on television. Finally, after only ten months on the air, NBC pulled the plug on the series. There would be no more revamps.

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It's interesting to think of the show as being badly beaten by SFT and RH, as neither of those soaps are really talked about as being big hits in that era. I guess it shows again how CBS took SFT for granted and could have done more with it.

I think that Rauch and Lemay both worked best with AW because AW gave them very interesting characters and family situations and all they had to do was flesh them out. You weren't starting from scratch. It helped that people already cared about Pat or Ada or Liz or Rachel.

I have an SOD writeup introducing Lovers and Friends if anyone wants to read that.

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Would love to read the L&F write up.

As for the performance of the show,both CBS and ABC had quite an advantage in that SFT had been running in that slot for over 25 years and RH had made quite an impression also,both critically and ratings wise.

SFT was in 5th place and RH in 8th (after only 2 years,ahead of OLTL and GH and doing well in young demos)

NBC had never run a soap in that timeslot and their soaps were tumbling. AW was still #2 but Days was #7 and TD #11 Add to that the negative reaction to the show itself and you have a recipe for disaster.

Yanking it off air seems quite drastic.Other new soaps have retooled while on air and the changes made after all those months were minimal anyhow.

Then to come back as FRFP and be slotted at 1.00 was insane. NBC hadn't run a network show in that slot since the 50's. And to go up against AMC which was peaking was madness. And the lead in was the flop talkshow America Alive. Maybe if they had been slotted at 4.00 after AW or at 2.30 following Days and moving The Doctors.

I would love to know more behind the scenes stuff about daytime at that time. Who was NBC daytime boss?

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From the 3/77 SOD...

Introducing Lover and Friends...


Point Clair is a wealthy suburb of Chicago, with homes ranging from very nice to magnificent. Its "first family" may well be the Cushings, Richard and Edith.

Richard is a successful stockbroker, Edith is an heiress raised in the grand manner and trying, if not always successfully, to accustom her children to it as well. Their marriage appears to be harmonious - more than a "convenience" but less than ideal. Edith is well aware that he is having an affair with his assistant, Barbara Manners, and they know that she knows about it, but whether her discretion is due to an attempt to be wise, to "save" the marriage, or due to a deep-seated indifference to the heart of the matter remains to be seen.

Megan Cushing, 22, is a recent college graduate. Young and lovely, she has discovered a passion for journalism and would dearly love to take a job, recently offered, as apprentice reporter for an out-of-state newspaper for six months. But she is also recently engaged to Desmond Hamilton, mainly because he seemed a good choice, and her mother selected him. Doubts and conflicts are beginning to arise for Megan. Not only does a career beckon strongly, but Desmond, who is 28, and well-to-do, and serious, and established seems so...stuffy. Megan can foresee no excitement being married to him.

Desmond, for his part, sees her restlessness and is thinking of moving up the wedding, as well as combining business with the honeymoon.

Anton Cushing is 25 and a deep disappointment to his parents. He chucked college in mid-career to join an artists' colony in New England, and seems to be ruthlessly determined not to "fall in line" as he is expected to do.

A year ago, his life was robbed of meaning when Laurie Brewster, the girl next door whom he has loved since childhood, was forced by her mother to take an extended tour of Europe. Mrs. Brewster did not approve of Austin's liberal, artistic bents, not to mention his drinking, and ever since, Austin has been nursing a bruised heart. Just two weeks ago he allowed himself to be persuaded by his family to come home, to join Richard in business. He is home, but so far he has managed to forestall any appearance at the office. His constant companion is a drink.

Sophia Slocum, Edith's mother, lives with them. Her marriage was quite loveless, and she admits to Megan that she has far more enjoyed being a widow than a wife. She senses Megan's growing reluctance toward Desmond, and advises the girl to call off the engagement. But Megan is leery of doing that. Edith has sent out invitations for the engagement party and she wants this marriage. Does Megan have the nerve to thwart her mother's wishes?


On the less desirable "side" of Chicago, the Saxtons, Les and Josie, are packing up to move. Their two youngest children, Bentley, 18, and Tessa, 15, hate the idea of leaving Hammond, and school and friends. Jason, 22; Rhett, 25; and Ellie 27, and married to George Kimball, encourage the move. Most especially Ellie.

Ellie's life is free of the hardships her mother faces, and married to a rising young lawyer, the prospects for the future are very bright, but it is not enough for Ellie. She wants more. Ellie is ambitious. Not crassly, not meanly; but she has a great need to be known and accepted by the "best" people. And her ambition is the reason Les and Josie are leaving the home they loved for many years, the home where each of their children was raised.

Les is an alcoholic. Reformed, it is true, but nonetheless it is a demon he must fight every day of his life. Ellie, more than the other children, suffered deep scars. Then six months ago, when Les lost his job, he went off the wagon and on a bender; now the past is harder for Ellie to forget.

And that is part of the reason why George found Les a new job, and also loaned him $20,000 for the down payment on the Brewster house in Point Clair. Ellie found the house. For her, it is a gift of better things to her mother and untold opportunities for the younger children.

Austin is the first of the Cushings to meet Rhett Saxton, who is helping to fix up the house before the family moves in. Jason and Amy, their cousin, are also there, and although they initially resent being mistaken for "workmen," they soon warm up to Austin, especially Amy.

Austin stays very late one evening with his new friends, licking his wounds because he was unprepared - as was she - for an encounter neither of them expected. Laurie arrives to stay with the Cushings for Megan's engagement party. She thought Austin was still away. They still care - but his unsettled quality frightens her, and she does her best to discourage him.

Megan meets Rhett briefly, and also thinking he is a workman, gives him short strift.

When Ellie decides to beard the lion in his den by calling on the Cushings, Edith is cold and unforthcoming. She had no idea Violet Brewster, her neighbor of twenty years, planned to sell the house. She is just short of being downright rude, and Elie is quite shaken by the rebuff. George wants her to be happy, though; and he will attempt a more formal introduction through members of his firm.

This is the story of how the Cushings react to the Saxtons, and how the Saxtons react to their new surroundings, a story of the older - as well as younger - generations.


There was a photo of Megan with this caption: Meagan Cushing (Patricia Estrin) has a very good reason to smile. What woman wouldn't if she had three gorgeous men after her? Who will your choice be, Meagan? Gorgeous Rhett Saxton, handsome Jason (Rhett's younger brother)...or will you follow your mother's wishes and marry the well-to-do (but stuffy) Desmond Hamilton?

Another photo with caption: One year shy of sweet 16 is Tessa Saxton (Vicky Dawson), the "baby" of the Saxton family. She's smiling now, but will that smile remain...Time will only tell.

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This is their info box

"Lovers and Friends"

NBC Television Network

colorcasts, premiere

Monday, Jan 3, 1977

Description: Serial drama focusing on the wealthy Cushing family and the Saxtons, their middle-class neighbors

Executive producer: Paul Rauch

Creator: Harding Lemay

Writers: harding Lemay with Tom King

Associate producers: Harrit Whol Goldstein and John Wendell

Set designer: Otis Riggs, Jr.

Costume designer: Harry Curtis


David Abbot...Bentley Saxton

Rod Arrants...Austin Cushing

Richard Backus...Jason Saxton

Margaret barker...Sophia Slocum

Vicky Dawson...Tessa Saxton

Patricia Englund...Josie Saxton

Patricia Estrin...Megan Cushing

Susan Foster...Connie Ferguson

Dianne Harper...Laurie Brewster

John Heffernan...Lester Saxton

Christine Jones...Amy Gifford

Stephen Joyce...George Kimball

David Knapp...Desmond Hamilton

Nancy Marchand...Edith Slocum Cushing

Karen Philipp...Barbara Manners

Flora Plumb...Eleanor Saxton Kimball

Bob Purvey...Rhett Saxton

Ron Randell...Richard Cushing

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Good work! I'd never seen most of those photos. The color photo with the four of them -- pretty awkward looking; Rod Arrants is the only one who doesn't look kind of nauseated.

I should be getting some other SODs from 76 or 77 in a few weeks or so. If I put those recaps here and you want to put them on your site that's great, although I guess they might seem extraneous, since they will be in between the first and last.

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Here is the L&F recap from the July 1977 SOD. I guess this must have been from May.

The love between Megan and Rhett is now in the open. They have each broken their engagement, and told their families.

Connie and Desmond are devastated, and the Cushings and the Saxtons are not pleased, but the break would have been cleaner had it not been for Laurie's manipulative interference.

Megan is so angry at Laurie that she can barely be civil to her, so Laurie - playing on Desmond's basic goodness - has managed things so that he has advanced her money (for, he thinks, her mother's bills) and also invited her to be his parents' houseguest.

Rhett and Megan are under pressure from all sides. And so is Jason. He feels that Richard holds him responsible for his brother's actions, and that his job is at stake unless he can get the two couples back together the way they were. To his credit, he also wants to keep Connie from further hurt.

Of all the older generation, only Sophia finds anything to be pleased about. She is delighted that Megan - unlike Edith and Sophia herself - has decided to marry for love, and not for family responsibility. Long live romance is her credo, not that she is older and free of the pain that living with it - or without it - can bring.


Ellie definitely does not want the baby. For a while she was talking about abortion, but let it drop when she saw how the mention it enraged George. She apparently resolves to go through with the pregnancy, and to take care of herself as the doctor advises. But then Edith steps in, and the call of Ellie's desire to do whatever Edith bids is too strong...Desperate to break up the undesirable alliance between Megan and Rhett, and heedless of the price anyone else will have to pay, Edith goes to Ellie for help.

Despite a scare minutes before (the doctor told Ellie she must have bed rest for several days), Ellie does not hesitate to do Edith's bidding. She goes to Rhett's studio to confront him with the threat she thinks Edith relayed from Richard: unless he and Megan part, both Jason and George will be fired from the Cushing jobs. She may or may not regret her rashness - for she collapses onto the floor in pain.

With great presence of mind, Rhett calls Ellie's doctor and rushes her to the hospital. After long hours of waiting, they know Ellie lost the baby. It is very difficult for George, very difficult, but he is relieved. Ellie will be all right. In bleaker moments, he feels Ellie is almost relieved that her pregnancy was so abruptly terminated.


Edith is shocked when George comes to set her straight on her involvement with his wife. HE blames her for the loss of his baby. Edith had been too blind to see how ill Ellie was, she sees that now. When, in self-defense, she threatens George with having him fired from his consultancy to Richard's firm, he retaliates that he would leave it in a minute if it would guarantee a removal of her interference with his family.

The course of love is not running smoothly for Rhett and Megan. The opposing factions are marshalling their forces to bear pressure on them. On the one hand, Jason - at Richard's continued instigation - is doing his best, by working on Connie, urging her to fight for Rhett. Connie, however, has a measure of pride, and she refuses, but instead goes to the studio to collect her things. Embarrassed, but not surprised, at seeing Megan there, she wonders if Megan is prepared - or capable - of doing for Rhett all the things that Caroline did so willingly - cleaning, cooking and laundry. Connie thinks Megan is merely a spoiled rich girl who will soon tire of Rhett - unless he tires of her first.

Rhett decides to face the issue head on by going to see Richard at his office. Richard asks Barbara to remain as a witness. She is amazed at Richard's rudeness, his threat to cut Megan off without a penny. After Rhett leaves, Richard faces a stormy interview of his own.

Barbara accuses him of having such a small regard for "love" that it has made her see him in a new light. She resents being pulled out of the appropriate box at his mere convenience. He has, she accuses, no heart, merely an appetite to be, occasionally, satisfied. Angry, she leaves before she says something more.

Jason is totally confused with the idea that, unless he can terminate the "infatuation" between Rhett and Megan, he will lose his job with Richard Cushing. Both Edith and Richard have fostered his fear and encourage it for their own ends, but perhaps, even they would be shocked if they realized the lengths to which he is willing to go in their (his own) behalf.


Enraged when he learns that Rhett has hit upon his big chance, a national advertising campaign, Jason realizes that this will give Rhett enough money to feel free to marry Megan. Frantically searching for a way to stop it, he gets the information he needs from Connie. Rhett, over the years, has spent thousands of dollars on equipment, but could never afford insurance for it!

Jason sinks to a new low when he stages a wanton break-in of Rhett's studio. Everything is in ruins by the time he leaves.

Barbara realizes that Jason has told George and Ellie about her affair with Richard, and the battle lines are clearly drawn when she confronts him and angrily tells him to stay out of her life. After she slaps his face, Jason turns the tables and threatens to expose her publicly if she takes steps to have him fired.


For the first time in his life, Austin has a sense of accomplishment. He will be chief of a new section of the plant. His abilities recognized and praised - it is a new sensation. Not unpredictably, Edith is upset. She had been hoping he would be fired! The Saxtons, however, are immensely proud of Austin, and Amy's joy, in particular, makes him very happy.

George is miserable, as he confides in Barbara, because he suspects that Ellie not only is relieved at losing the baby, but that she deliberately disobeyed the doctor's orders so that she would abort.

Laurie tells her mother on the television that she may have found a "rescuer" (Desmond). She is tempted by the excitement Jason offers her, but being Mrs. Hamilton will suit her purposes and solve a lot of problems. Love has a place, but so does money.

Edited by CarlD2
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