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As The World Turns Discussion Thread


edgeofnik

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You didn't miss anything. That dollhouse episode was pure sh*t. Again, the only good thing about it was that it involved some vets. Mainly Bob in that case. Other than that, it was hot ass garbage and a pain to watch. I'd rather watch a traditional X-Mas episode with each family caroling around their trees than that mess.

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Your mother and grandmother had it right.

I was being childish - you took the time to upload those and comment on them, and I'm sure a lot of people love that era. Sheffer and FMB are the two eras I just can't really watch, for one reason or another. I know the last 4-5 years of the show were likely worse overall, but I can sort of tolerate them as background noise.

Its a shame because I thought FMB started off really well by ending the awful stories from the previous writers and bringing back Jon Hensley. Then she completely lost it and ATWT went downhill with the firing of ART and EH. Top that off with the boring writing from LB and the show became a complete boring mess like it was before they arrived.

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I think Mitch said he wanted to see more of Charmane (?). Anyway, I'm not sure if this was posted before, but here's a bit of her, in the first clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reDukKoeFnU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPPIRLvHxPI

You can also spot Barbara Garrick (later to return in the late '90s as Reid/David's psycho assistant) as Kirk's bitchy party date.

Weird keyboard Little Richard music with Karen and Jeff. The background music in general on soaps at this time was odd I guess...

The lighting is, for once in this era, appropriate in the scene with Frannie and Bob. Touching little scene. I guess Bob whooped some ass in the next episode.

Charmane seems so much like an ABC soap character. I do think Marland might have had fun with her. I wish they'd brought her back to annoy Lisa later on...maybe during those years (89-91 or so) when Lisa was just listening to people and keeping baby secrets. She could have gotten a fashion talk show on WOAK or something. Or opened a trashy boutique nearby Fashions. Or thrown herself at Grant.

Edited by DRW50
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While I never watched the CBS soaps with any regularity (the soaps I watched, with the exception of GH, were all on NBC), every time I did watch ATWT I was always struck by Lucinda - Liz Hubbard just has that presence that commands the viewer's attention. Lucinda was the cutthroat businesswoman but was also a fiercely devoted mother - and Ms. Hubbard played her to perfection.

Since Retro TV began airing the reruns of The Doctors this past fall (starting with December 1967 - they are in September 1968 now), it's been so much fun seeing Liz Hubbard in the role that made her a star (and an Emmy winner). Dr. Althea Davis is so different from Lucinda Walsh in many ways (Althea is not a schemer and more like a classic heroine), but she has the same maternal chemistry with Penny as Lucinda had with Lily.

So to those of you who are watching TD (or have already watched it when it was originally on) and have also watched ATWT, which Liz Hubbard character do you like better - Althea or Lucinda? Like slick mentioned a few pages back, it would have been wonderful had her TD love interest, Gerald Gordon, come on ATWT - even for a short-term part - so fans could have seen them act together again before he passed away.

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Lucinda wasn't much of a maternal woman - her relationships with Sierra and Lily were horribly damaged for ages due to her not knowing what being a mother was actually supposed to entail. That's why I liked her adopting Bianca, which unfortunately went nowhere.

I like both characters. I grew up with Lucinda so I'll always love her most, but Althea's great too. What makes Althea stand out is that she has actual relationships and bonds. Lucinda, due both to her character (never trusting, never accepting thanks to being neglected as a child), and the actress (Liz seemed to do scenes her way and other actors needed to take a wide berth), never really had that as such. There was Lily, and John, and Jane and Ambrose of course, but nothing like Althea and Maggie, or Althea and Nick. Lucinda was "me and me against the world." I still remember a scene after she lost Walsh Ent. and was at the stables or somewhere, all on her own...just as she'd been her whole life. It broke my heart, then and now.

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Carl, Barbara Garrick played Lorna Whitmore, a painfully obviousl rip off of Liza from AMC. I did background work a few times during the Kirk-Franny-Lorna era and I think I've posted already here that Christian LeBlanc often said on set that he was his show's Tad Martin. Uggh.

Edited by TimWil
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Carl, Barbara Garrick played Lorna, a painfully obviousl rip off of Liza from AMC. I did background work a few times during the Kirk-Franny-Lorna era and I think I've posted already here that Christian LeBlanc often said on set that he was his show's Tad Martin. Uggh.

That's quite odd, as Tad was that show's major young stud, and resident loveable jerk. I guess Kirk filled that role to a point but nowhere near as prominently.

Of course if he hadn't quit (didn't he want to leave?) he may have filled a larger role in time, but I get the feeling Marland wasn't fond of any of that group, aside from Frannie.

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OLTL was her best known soap, but she had the two ATWT stints, and then she was on GL for a bit in 1985 as a huge bitch nurse who was murdered in some plot with Fletcher/Ed/Maureen/Claire. An example of some of the insta-plots and general OTT melodrama pushed onto the show at that point.

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The picture quality is awful, but this scene is a great example of why I enjoyed Tess so much. Endless, endless bitching about Courtney and about people we don't even see ("she probably wants to play both parts!"). There was literally no reason why Hutch was interested in Tess or why he stayed with her as long as he did. Sometimes I just tell myself he was secretly gay and saw her as a catty BFF. It's not like he ever had chemistry with women anyway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnOgrBXCZM0

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http://nycitywoman.com/features/my-life-writing-s

“Welcome to your world as a soap writer,” said the head writer of As The World Turns, when she asked me to join her writing staff in the early 1980’s after two years as her assistant. At the time, there were fourteen soap operas on television and As The World Turns, which had been on the air since 1956, was one of the longest running. I was thrilled! My words would come alive on national television for the millions of viewers who tuned in every day. I thought it doesn’t get better than that.

Meg Ryan, a journalism student at NYU, had just debuted in a small role in the movieRich and Famous and she was was hired to play Betsy as the female lead in what is known in soap speak as a supercouple. It had taken years for Betsy and her beloved Steve, played by Frank Runyeon, to overcome their many obstacles. They were finally about to marry when Hollywood called: They wanted Meg. We had two weeks to write her off. Our head writer was in tears; Meg could go but she refused to kill Betsy. Our executive producer was more rational and explained that soap opera couples usually only get two weeks of marital bliss because happily married couples on soaps are boring. So after the honeymoon, Betsy was in a car crash and presumed dead. (Downton Abbey fans take note.) Several months later a beautiful blond came out of a coma and, when the bandages were removed, our new Betsy, played by Lindsay Frost, was introduced. Of course she didn’t look like Meg Ryan so we made it clear that plastic surgery had been necessary because of the accident. I wrote her tearful homecoming when the “new Betsy” picked up a phone and said, “Grandma, I’m home.” Marisa Tomei was also in the cast playing a waif who married a prince in a Charles/Diana style wedding. Julianne Moore joined the show in the late ’80s playing identical twins, which was interesting for me because I am the mother of identical twins.

I soon learned that developing and maintaining a soap opera is unlike any other type of television show because it is on Monday through Friday all year long. There is no hiatus and no repeats. It’s the novel that never ends and there are some essential plot twists that every soap opera writer learns to respect:

When someone gets in a car, they are usually not going to make it to their destination, especially if it’s raining.

A one-night stand will likely produce a child.

Rarely does a woman give birth in a hospital. Elevators, remote cabins, and the kitchen floor are some favorite places.

Everybody in town is somehow related. For instance: The man is your father, your uncle, and your first cousin once removed and he’s only ten years older than you!

As a soap opera viewer, you will surely witness SORAS (soap opera rapid aging syndrome). For example, a ten-year-old girl goes to boarding school and when she returns home several months later, she’s eighteen, because there are more stories for teenagers than for ten-year-olds.

If a character dies and the body isn’t found, he or she is likely to return. In one of my favorite story meetings, a new executive producer wanted to bring back a character who had been killed by a jealous wife and turned into a shrunken head. The shrunken head had been seen on air, but the producer was adamant. “Make it work,” he said. And so we did.

Painful as it was for me, it was not unusual to be fired when new head writers or executive producers came on board and wanted to hire their own people. Therefore every time a 13-week cycle ended there was a chance you’d be let go. I was fired from As The World Turns the first time after just one cycle when a new executive producer and head writer took over the show. At the time I was a single mother in New York City and it was important for me to stay here and resist the lure of Los Angeles, where there are many more television writing jobs, so my children could have a stable life. I was subsequently called back by As The World Turns in the early ’90s and stayed on staff for several years until the head writer died and a new regime came in. Between stints I wrote scripts for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and Full Frontal Fashion,introductions for the hosts of America Movie Classics (AMC), and a documentary series for PBS, to name a few.

The ABC’s of Soaps

Every soap has a Bible written by its creator that outlines the show’s theme. For As The World Turns it was: As the world turns, we know the bleakness of winter, the promise of spring, the fullness of summer and the harvest of autumn. Like other show Bibles, As The World Turns included a description of the core families and detailed back stories of the main characters. The head writer writes long term story projections of up to two years. Following these story lines the head writer maps out the week scene by scene. She (or he) has a staff of six to ten associate writers. Each writer writes one day of the week. There are breakdown writers and scriptwriters. Breakdown writers write the narrative script and the scriptwriter dialogues it. There is also a script editor who makes sure all the days track. It’s like an assembly line that can’t break down and writers can’t miss their deadlines. If you are assigned the script for a Friday episode you know they really like your work because you are writing the script that brings the audience back on Monday. As Agnes Nixon, the creator of several soap operas, once famously said “Make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait.”

On As The World Turns I was a breakdown writer, which I preferred because you got to work closely with the head writer and contribute more to the story. On Loving andDays Of Our Lives, I wrote dialogue scripts. Some soap fans think you only write for certain characters when in fact you write for whoever lands in your day. I’m often asked where I got my ideas for these highly dramatic and often complicated soap opera stories. The answer is simple—from everyday life. And no matter how fantastical the plot might seem, soap stories were very well-researched.

Soap operas proudly used their story lines to cover a variety of issues. Because the audience was so broad the shows reached many people and made a difference in their lives. In the early 1960's a character on Guiding Light had a Pap smear and discovered that she was in the early stages of uterine cancer. Her brush with the disease educated daytime viewers about the test’s value. The show also tackled breast cancer by showing a character getting a mammogram on air. Both Guiding Light and As The World Turns addressed the dangers of teenage alcoholism. Another World aired a daring abortion story in the seventies and Guiding Light had an explosive storyline that brought marital rape to the forefront. As The World Turns introduced a gay character in the eighties and, in 2007, broke ground with the love story of two gay men. Several soaps highlighted story lines on the challenges faced by returning veterans. HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, and multiple personalities have also been addressed.

Today there are only four daytime soap operas on the air. One reason is that game shows, reality shows, and talk shows are cheaper to produce. Also, the massive audience of stay-at-home housewives who thrived on soaps has evaporated. In response to these factors prime time TV converted the soap opera format to once-a-week evening serials with such shows as Dallas, Dynasty, Hill Street Blues, ER, and, more recently, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Revenge, Downton Abbey, and The Good Wife. Now cable TV has entered the mix with serials like Homeland, Boardwalk Empire and Girls that are more sophisticated and racy. In the ’50s soaps, married couples slept in separate beds. In the ’60s if a couple was in bed together, one foot had to be on the floor. Today if a couple is in bed, we have what we call the figure eight sheet wrapped around the man’s waist and up to the woman’s shoulders. The advent of cable has loosened the rules because they have fewer restrictions. That goes for the internet as well, where the genre is thriving with numerous web series becoming “guilty pleasures.” So it looks like the ongoing story is alive and well and here to stay!

Julie Poll has written scripts for several soap operas, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, documentaries and specials. She is the author of the As The World Turns, Guiding Light, and Another World anniversary books.

Edited by Paul Raven
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Thanks for sharing that. Julie did a good job with the P&G books.

I've probably posted this before, but part of this episode is up on Youtube. Oh how I love the Hal/Barbara scenes in this. I didn't realize just how sporadic and stalled out Hal's story was in the early '90s, I guess due to whatever issues Ben had, or his theater work, but Marland and Ben made it work somehow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4arYMz_CIEg&spfreload=1


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v98GzZGa3U

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