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Stories that NEVER Happened


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By Carolyn Hinsey

"There was one story I really wanted to do," recalls ONE LIFE TO LIVE Head Writer Michael Malone with a big smile. "I wanted Joey Buchanan to fall in love with Dorian. But even my wife said, 'That's disgusting.' It would have been a Summer of '42 story, and Joey would have sided with Dorian in the family battle."

So how come Joey and Dorian never made it to the prom? "[ABC] had a problem at the network meeting," laughs Malone. "People went, 'Oh God, I'm going to throw up." Joey was about 15 at the time...." Malone says it's tough to come up with interesting long stories for the younger people on the canvas: "One minute they're in elementary school and the next they're in law school."

Malone says that often a story planned for one character ends up being told by another. "We have a story planned for Max's gambling problem that involved Angela," Malone recounts, "but we realized that all the people in the story had been tied to Blair. So we started to say, 'Blair? Should we bring back Blair?' The actress who played Angela [susan Diol] had prime-time interests, so we changed it. Now it's the Max/Luna/Blair story. Angela and Max didn't have a past relationship, but with Blair you say, 'Oh my God. She was married to Asa, she is Dorian's niece, Cassie's cousin, and she almost married Max.' And it's a very different story."

There are other Llanview tales that were never told. "We were going to have Cain be Asa's grandson," Malone continues. "Then, Cain and Cord would have both been Asa's grandsons and in love with the same woman [Tina]. But that went down the drain when Karen [Witter] left."

In fact, departing actors are one of the main reasons that stories change. "We had a big story projected for Scotty, Lucy, Katherine and the baby," laments GENERAL HOSPITAL Head Writer Claire Labine. "It would have been really fun." But Kin Shriner's decision to leave the role of Scotty Baldwin necessitated a different storyline.

"That threw a wrench in it because Claire had it all worked out," admits GH Executive Producer Wendy Riche. "We had still planned to reveal [that Katherine was Dominique's half-sister] at the wedding, but then we were going from there. We had planned a Scotty/Lucy/Katherine triangle. Instead, it's a Damian/Lucy/Katherine triangle."

"With a little Ned and Bobbie thrown in," chuckles Labine. Riche and Labine agree that some of the best stories on GH came out of actresses' real-life pregnancies: Lynn Herring's impending motherhood sparked the story of Lucy giving birth to Scott and Dom's baby, and Genie Francis's pregnancy gives Laura the chance to have another baby - on-screen this time. "We actually love it," smiles Labine. "Not just for Genie personally, but for us to write it. It's an exciting twist for our heroine."

GUIDING LIGHT Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps maintains, "Alan-Michael and Gilly is more a story we never told yet." She confides that the sparks between Rick Hearst and Amelia Marshall caught them a little off-guard. GL had already planned love stories for Alan-Michael with Lucy, and Gilly with newcomer Sid Dickerson. "Alan-Michael and Gilly had so much chemistry," Phelps continues. "The audience was saying, 'Put them together!' But we had other plans. We, too, saw what was happening. I wouldn't say the audience was wrong. But the way we perceived it was to go slow and with care. Hopefully, that's the way you tell a really good love story." (Stay tuned...)

"We've told every story we want to tell," insists Agnes Nixon, who created ALL MY CHILDREN, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, and co-created LOVING with the late Douglas Marland. Nixon has also told a few she hadn't planned. "When Francesca James was playing Kitty [on AMC], she said she wanted to leave. So we had Kitty die, because I didn't think we could recast. Then I saw Francesca at a party and she told me, 'I made a terrible mistake. I'm having withdrawals.' I said, 'Do you want to come back?' She said, 'How can I? I'm dead!' I said, 'I've always wanted to do a story on identical twins separated at birth.' At that time, it hadn't been done." True to her word, Nixon created Kitty's twin, Kelly Cole, who came to Pine Valley a year later.

Contrary to the aforementioned GH stories, Nixon recalls the time she devised a pregnancy for one of her AMC characters that actually worked in reverse. "When John Danelle [ex-Frank] was married to Lisa Wilkinson [ex-Nancy]," Nixon begins, "they said if they ever had a child they would adopt, because there were so many unwanted black babies. So I had their characters say that on the air, and I got inundated with mail from black viewers saying I was advocating genocide. Which, of course, I wasn't. So I very quickly had Nancy get pregnant on the show. Two weeks later, Nancy called me and said, 'I'm pregnant!' John said I was the witch of television - I was responsible!"

OLTL's Malone agrees with Nixon that one of the biggest challenges involves working around real-life events in actors' lives. "Laura Bonnaringo [Cassie] comes in one day with here eyes swollen shut from an allergy," he sighs. "So we had no choice but to have the rector's wife wandering around the church with sunglasses on. When Chris McKenna [Joey] broke his leg, all of a sudden Joey Buchanan had a skiing accident. Clint Ritchie's [Clint] accident was so serious, and there was nobody else who could play the part." OLTL had Clint, the character, suffer a plane crash while Clint, the actor, recovered. "We decided we'd wait as long as we had to."

What about the famous AMC tale of Bobby Martin (Tad's older brother) going up to the attic and never being seen again? "We have had some funny things happen," Nixon chuckles. "We only had three-and-a-half viewers that first summer [AMC was on the air], so Bobby went up to polish his skis and just never came down. We did see Opal trapped in the attic [years later]. She ran into a pair of skis and a pink cap with Bobby's name on it." So where is Bobby? "Today, that young man is 30 years old and a counselor at summer camp," Nixon cracks.

The truth is, most stories get told eventually. "There's always tomorrow," nods Malone. "One day, maybe Joey will fall in love with Dorian."

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Sidebar.

No Surprise? No story.

A few months ago, AS THE WORLD TURNS conceived the idea of a fire at the Snyder farm. What would the loss of their farm do to the Snyder family? Where would they live? What adventures would they find rebuilding their beloved farm?

While the idea was still in the discussion stages, it was leaked to a small soap opera newsletter, so the fire was scrapped. "It is a strong policy of mine never to disclose story plans," says ATWT Executive Producer Laurence Caso. "It takes the surprise away from the audience. Look at how we brought Shannon back - our audience was so grateful that they were surprised."

Caso prefers not to discuss the details, but stresses that a calamity on the farm would have eventually served to bring the Snyder clan together, not drive them away. "Once the surprise leaked out, there was no point in telling the story," he states ruefully. "But I can assure the audience that anything we were planning was in terms of the future growth of the Snyder clan."

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A-M and Gilly :( Too bad it never happened, because Sid and Gilly only lasted a year (I have the ep where Gilly gives Sid back his ring for defending Alan in court) and A-M and Lucy were mostly boring aside from the Marion Crane tale.

Given that the Snyders were gutted within a year I wonder if Caso ever later regretted not letting that story happen. Caso cites Shannon's return, which turned unpopular and ended badly.

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I hated Alan Michael and Lucy together for a long time. I really hated Lucy. She was cloying and fake and talked like a stupid child and was one of many GL ingenues who did not work. She was so unpopular they raped her to get audience sympathy. The Marian story was by far Sonia Satra's best work on the show and that worked with Alan Michael but it also took away a lot of his character and just made him her prop.

I really don't believe JFP's claim that the story would happen. She loved Sonia Satra and she wanted to showcase her. She gave Gilly some story but not anywhere near as much, and she has never exactly gone out of her way to push for black stories or integrated stories on any of her soaps.

I think even if JFP had wanted this the network or P&G would have said no. They killed an interracial story on AW at this time and Jessica/Duncan were also being destroyed. It makes me sad to read that fans were writing in to support this pairing and yet it still did not happen. Keep in mind that 1994 wasn't exactly a time when GL was bursting with popular pairings, aside from Roger/Holly and Blake/Ross, and then a few quick things like Bridget/Dylan (which also wasn't supposed to be the final pairing, but someone vetoed Bridget/David).

They should have gone through with the story on ATWT. The Snyders were pretty much dead by late 1995 and the 1997 reinvention made the Snyder farm an afterthought.

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I hated Alan Michael and Lucy together for a long time. I really hated Lucy. She was cloying and fake and talked like a stupid child and was one of many GL ingenues who did not work. She was so unpopular they raped her to get audience sympathy. The Marian story was by far Sonia Satra's best work on the show and that worked with Alan Michael but it also took away a lot of his character and just made him her prop.

Weren't David and Bridget also supposed to happen, but somebody in the higher ups nixed it?

I seriously believe that A-M and Gilly would have had tons of story compared to Lucy and A-M. A-M and Gilly were both complex characters, heavily dedicated to their careers, and pretty flawed as well. The writers missed out, and who knows A-M would have probably stayed longer on the canvas if he was paired with Gilly.

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Yeah, David/Bridget were supposed to happen. I'm not sure when -- I guess it could have been after Nia Long left but then Nia sat around doing nothing for many months before she left so that makes me wonder if a story had changed.

I think Rick Hearst might have been more likely to stay if he'd been in a great pairing with Gilly. Gilly mixing it up at the station with AM's rival Nick also would have been good. Not to mention how Gilly might have interacted with the Spauldings, and to see Gilly and AM taking on Roger. Alan Michael still could have stayed even without this, it was a bad recast and bad writing and a long period of time doing nothing, but it was make or break for Gilly. She had the very dull pairing with Sid, then she had nothing until her disgusting exit.

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David and Bridget were also deterred by Monti Sharpe's exit and David being recast with a miscast. I forget that actor's name at the moment but I do know he later played a pretty infamous role was on Sunset Beach as the victim of a certain turkey baster. They brought back Hart for Bridget but the focus then was on Hart/Dinah/Roger. Bridget did nothing for her last year on the show until Dylan returned to sweep her away.

It still amazes me that Amelia Marshall and Gilly was intertwined in and drove major stories for a good number of years at GL before she got perhaps the most insulting exit in GL history, even outmatching the bad exits of the '00s we saw.

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Bridget was trashed to make Dinah/Hart more palatable, which just did the opposite. Rauch did that character a favor -- no matter how trashy his stories for Dinah were they were IMO much better than Laibson's attempt to make her GL's central heroine, which helped send the ratings to all time lows.

Yeah I can't remember the guy who replaced Monti Sharp but I know who you mean. He was very dull. He also did not age whatsoever from the time he was on AW in the mid-80s to the time he was on GL and Sunset Beach.

I wonder if Monti ever wished he'd stayed. He probably was right to go, as David had little to do for a year or so before he left, but Monti never did find a good role on another soap, he was very off on ATWT and GH.

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Weren't David and Bridget also supposed to happen, but somebody in the higher ups nixed it?

I seriously believe that A-M and Gilly would have had tons of story compared to Lucy and A-M. A-M and Gilly were both complex characters, heavily dedicated to their careers, and pretty flawed as well. The writers missed out, and who knows A-M would have probably stayed longer on the canvas if he was paired with Gilly.

That's the thing right there, they were complex, flawed characters dedicated to their careers. At that time GL was undergoing an "ABC," ing type thing where the emphasis was not on friends, family, business AND romance, but all about finding your TWU fairy tale love, and the couples had to be generic enough so a viewer flipping through the channels would figure out, "oh, thats the bad boy and the good girl..theres the villian." That is why they pushed AM and Lucy (that coupled with the fact that JFP lurved her some SS) despite the audience pretty much not buying it.

Rauch did save the Dinah character..McTavish was making her into the heroine who could do no wrong and it suited neither the character, or the actress (Moniz, and I love her, just comes off as a snarky bitch no matter what she does.)

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You mean the "I'm going to throw up" or Malone thinking that Dorian would get together with a 15 year old? Both are stupid. I wonder if the story is one of the reasons they decided to age Joey -- I'm guessing ABC decided to age him anyway and then Malone managed to push his idea through.

I never knew they were ever thinking of doing that with McKenna. I never knew they were going to make Cain Asa's grandson either. I'm glad they didn't do that, it's way too cute and way too tacky. Malone's Tina seems too tacky, in the not fun way, anyway...I was watching a clip a few months before Witter left and Tina had had sex with Cain in a dirty warehouse. Tina would not do that.

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