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5 hours ago, All My Shadows said:

The story bible says that Susan was 14 when she jumped into the high school pool and suffered a fatal concussion. I'm assuming that point must have changed by the time the show got on the air.

 

The Helen Wagner firing story always gets simplified as Irna just didn't like the way Helen poured coffee, but I wouldn't be surprised if Irna, in true fashion, had major issues with Helen's portrayal and saw the coffee pouring as the last straw.

 

 

Interesting. I've never seen the story bible. Where did you see it? All the story synopses that I've seen says she was struck by lightening so maybe Irna did change it. She probably wanted to make it more of a freak accident because Irna LOVED death by freak accident (Liz Stewart falling up the stairs, Kathy Holden in her wheelchair being knocked into oncoming traffic by boys on bicycles, Frank Collins losing control of his wheelchair on wet pavement and going off a cliff, etc.). So they could have changed it from the story bible or the historical summaries got it wrong (although that would be a very strange and creative error). We'll probably never know for sure since probably none of us saw the episodes where they talked about it and the episodes were only aired once and didn't survive. I know Susan Hughes was discussed by Christopher Hughes after Nancy died. He mentioned how hard it was on Nancy when she died. But he didn't say how she died. Or maybe he said she drowned. I don't remember. I thought it was cool that Susan got a mention after 50 years. I wonder if they ever mentioned her in between. I remember a scene between Nancy and Lisa when Lisa was depressed about John humiliating her and Nancy reminded her that nothing is as bad as losing a child. I thought it was a veiled reference to Susan and Chuckie. 

 

And then there's this that makes it even more ambiguous: 

 

https://www.soapcentral.com/atwt/whoswho/susanh.php

 

They make it a point to say she was diving into the pool which would make it sound like a head injury but then mention it was during a violent thunderstorm which would indicate the lightening scenario is right. Otherwise, what difference would it make that there was a violent storm? Maybe while she was diving into the pool she got struck by lightening and then hit her head and died? Sounds like it was definitely her time to go. 

Edited by BillBauer
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9 hours ago, BillBauer said:

Is Marland responsible for Rosanna, the Kasnoffs, Connor and Linc? Because all of that seemed VERY different from the rest of his writing back in the 80s. In my opinion, it's like a bunch of one dimensional, boring characters that had no real connection to the rest of the characters invaded Oakdale and that sort of would have Marland breaking all of his "rules". I know everybody has different taste but I, personally, couldn't stand most of the characters that the early to mid 90s brought. Even Carly who everyone seemed to love. I couldn't stand her. 

 

I did love Connor, but otherwise I see what you mean. Past similar characters under Marland, like Pam, felt more "real," even though they never had that much to do. I think Beau is the first character similar to what you describe (and he's one it felt like Marland quickly tired of). I wonder if Caso's arrival is one of the reasons for the flatness.

 

11 hours ago, chrisml said:

I also remember the backlash against Glynnis O'Connor as Margo. Was it me or did a lot of the backlash stem from O'Connor playing Margo as a closeted lesbian? Some of the criticism seems to hint that Connor was playing her as too "mannish."

 

Ellen Dolan had already taken the character in that direction...I suppose an unfamiliar face, with some wooden performances and not that good of chemistry with Scott Holmes, didn't help. She came in at the worst possible time for a recast of such a key role.

5 hours ago, danfling said:

My late mother watched As the World Turns from the beginning.   She hated Nancy during the early years.   She said that Nancy was downright mean to Penny.   (She blamed Penny someway for Susan's drowning.)   She loved it when Aunt Edie would periodically return to the show (I say "periodically," but I think that it may have only been once.)  She did like Pa and Judge Hughes.

 

I know that Helen Wagner was written off as Nancy during the first year.  I think that she played Nancy as a too mean character.   Then Irna Phillips wanted her back.  I guess that Ms. Wagner then toned down the character.

 

Schemering's book mentions that Edith would return for Christmas visits for years. I wish we had more info on that. 

 

I feel like Irna used the Hughes family to work out her issues about repression in society. The idea that Jeff was a "bad boy" caused no amount of heartbreak for Penny - if Nancy and Chris had accepted his goodness sooner, then he wouldn't have lashed out so much and they would have been happier. Nancy then interfered nonstop in Don's relationships (isn't this what caused Don to leave Oakdale for years in the '60s?) and to a degree in Bob's, and was in general a cold and brittle personality. It seemed like, similar to Bert and Papa Bauer, Pa Hughes was the main one who could see through her and push her down the right path, it's just Nancy was cold and Bert was a volcano.

 

I think one of the reasons viewers connected to the Hughes is because they were more of both an idealistic and a realistic version of the American family - you got both sides. I remember when Marlena de la Croix panned Pa Hughes as boring, and she got some harsh letters from fans, 25-30 years after the character was gone and rarely mentioned. That's fan loyalty. 

 

I do wonder why Nancy was softer on Lisa than on a lot of the more genuinely nice women that she gave hell to, like Janice Whipple and so on. Maybe Irna's soft spot blurred her writing, or maybe Nancy saw Lisa as the woman she wished she could have been - all emotion, all drama. 

Edited by DRW50
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Schemering's book mentions that Edith would return for Christmas visits for years. I wish we had more info on that. 

 

Edith left in 1960 and definitely returned for Pa's 70th in 63 (?) and by 66 Ruth was working on Peyton Place in Hollywood.So there were only a few years when Ruth was available.

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1 hour ago, DRW50 said:

 

I did love Connor, but otherwise I see what you mean. Past similar characters under Marland, like Pam, felt more "real," even though they never had that much to do. I think Beau is the first character similar to what you describe (and he's one it felt like Marland quickly tired of). I wonder if Caso's arrival is one of the reasons for the flatness.

 

 

 

Ugh. I forgot about Beau. He was awful. He definitely would have fit in better in early 90s ATWT. Maybe he was a foretaste of things to come. I always thought he was just as creepy as his psycho sister Laura. Maybe more. 

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25 minutes ago, BillBauer said:

Ugh. I forgot about Beau. He was awful. He definitely would have fit in better in early 90s ATWT. Maybe he was a foretaste of things to come. I always thought he was just as creepy as his psycho sister Laura. Maybe more. 

 

His stories are all pretty ??? too, especially compared to how constrained and tightly plotted much of ATWT was. The sister, losing his voice (which feels more like a Johnny Bauer story), didn't he have a crazy fan (or am I making that up). And his ending, where he sleeps with Nella Franklin and they head to LA together, is also a bit jarring compared to what we normally got at that time. It's also something I'd never heard about - I didn't even realize Marland had kept Nella or her mother around and were still using them in story at that point. 

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2 hours ago, Soapsuds said:

 

Such a weird time on ATWT..

 

Its weird to see Deas be attractive and sexy as Tom..maybe Buzz shoulda had a beard??? Steve is obnoxious as ever..did Deas learn the gum chewing schtick from that actor.

 

Love Ariel...what a funny "vixen"..I would have thought Marland would have loved to write for her but maybe she was more Dobson..more campy..humorous...Thought Lisa as "Dolly Valentine" was also funny, they should have kept that up.I think the Dobson's wrote well for Lisa...she was their kind of character, flamboyant, funny..but her time as STAR of the show was over and I don't think Fulton was ready for that. The reincarnation thing was really stupid but I wonder if it was ended from viewer backlash or that Zenk and the Dee actress didn't like each other?  Cricket is really pretty and not THAT bad of an actress if I remember...I wonder why they didnt have her chase after Jeff, especailly with the baby thing (Annie at that time was afraid she couldn't conceive...)

12 hours ago, DRW50 said:

I think one of the reasons viewers connected to the Hughes is because they were more of both an idealistic and a realistic version of the American family - you got both sides. I

My Mom LOVED "Word Turns," and wouldn't watch it as the Dobson's took over. She loved Nancy..and I always thought she was a bit..creepy in a way..overbearing..controlling. I never bought her sweetness that Marland gave her. Wagner was too cold of an actress..she would have made a great rich, controlling Alexandra Spaulding matriarch of a show. I wonder if that is why the Dobsons had a hard time writing for her...going from bubbling warmth Bert to colder, more controlling Nancy had to be hard.

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7 minutes ago, Mitch said:

 

My Mom LOVED "Word Turns," and wouldn't watch it as the Dobson's took over. She loved Nancy..and I always thought she was a bit..creepy in a way..overbearing..controlling. I never bought her sweetness that Marland gave her. Wagner was too cold of an actress..she would have made a great rich, controlling Alexandra Spaulding matriarch of a show. I wonder if that is why the Dobsons had a hard time writing for her...going from bubbling warmth Bert to colder, more controlling Nancy had to be hard.

 

I do wonder if Helen Wagner preferred getting to play a harder Nancy - she would try to work that in at times. 

 

The Dobsons were very talented writers but they seemed to have no real idea what the concept of ATWT was. 

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7 minutes ago, Mitch said:

going from bubbling warmth Bert to colder, more controlling Nancy had to be hard.

 

I'm far more acquainted with the Bert Bauer of the 50s and 60s than the Bert Bauer of the 70s and 80s so it always throws me to hear Bert described that way. :) 

2 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

 

I do wonder if Helen Wagner preferred getting to play a harder Nancy - she would try to work that in at times. 

 

The Dobsons were very talented writers but they seemed to have no real idea what the concept of ATWT was. 

 

Helen Wagner would bring up the fact that Nancy was meddlesome and controlling in her younger days a lot in her interviews. I think she liked playing that aspect of Nancy. It gave her an edge. 

 

Did the Dobsons write ATWT from 1980-1984? Because, to me, those four years more than any other years of the show's entire history seemed to stray the farthest from the overriding tone of the show. I'm not saying worse or better, just different. And kind of weird. 

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The Dobsons were gone in 1982. Tom King and Millie Taggert took over as HW in 1983. Cynthia Benjamin and Susan Bedsoe Horgan took over in 1984 before Marland arrived.

Edited by Soapsuds
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49 minutes ago, BillBauer said:

 

I'm far more acquainted with the Bert Bauer of the 50s and 60s than the Bert Bauer of the 70s and 80s so it always throws me to hear Bert described that way. :) 

 

Helen Wagner would bring up the fact that Nancy was meddlesome and controlling in her younger days a lot in her interviews. I think she liked playing that aspect of Nancy. It gave her an edge. 

 

Did the Dobsons write ATWT from 1980-1984? Because, to me, those four years more than any other years of the show's entire history seemed to stray the farthest from the overriding tone of the show. I'm not saying worse or better, just different. And kind of weird. 

Ha..I just know her from the late 70s to 80s..as a mag once said.."She was as familiar to daytime viewers as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny!" I much preferred her Bert..warm, but could kick some ass when needed...(i.e. the frequently seen clip of her taking wheelchair Josh to task.) I could see her wanting to take Annie Dutton in ("Annie, put that dynamite down and help me with this cookie dough!")

 

It would have been interesting to have Nancy counsel Lucinda later on the pitfulls of controlling your kids..as an acknowledgement of her past. I know when Lemay was story consultant before Marland came, (he previously had thought the Nancy Hughes model of matriarch had. a dark side and when Dywer on AW wouldnt play that he killed her off and brought Aunt Liz to the forefront..) he wrote Nancy in her first few months back with a sharper edge ("Well hello Dr. Dixon, it seems the mustache is the only thing that has changed about you." and Lisa manipulating her to have issues with Kim..) and it was much more fun. I kind of wonder how Lemay would have worked writing full time..he was making Lisa more manipulative and a spoiler in Bob/Kim, etc.  I just never thought Wagner had any warmth even in her "good" Gram days.  McClaughlin's Chris was supposed to be warm one there.

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1 hour ago, Mitch said:

Such a weird time on ATWT..

 

Its weird to see Deas be attractive and sexy as Tom..maybe Buzz shoulda had a beard??? 

I was thinking the same thing.

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Who was the first of the true "warm, loving matriarch" characters? Maybe Alice Horton? It seems like by the 80s, soaps decided that viewers no longer were interested in those older females outside of them just being sweet and kind talk-tos for the younger characters.

 

14 hours ago, BillBauer said:

Interesting. I've never seen the story bible. Where did you see it?


https://www.welovesoaps.net/2011/04/as-earth-turns-original-story-bible.html

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14 hours ago, BillBauer said:

All the story synopses that I've seen says she was struck by lightening so maybe Irna did change it. She probably wanted to make it more of a freak accident because Irna LOVED death by freak accident.

 

Irna certainly was sadistic, LOL. She was planning to have AW's Alice Matthews burn to death in a fire when she became annoyed at Jacquie Courtney's bubbly performances. No one was safe when Moss Phillips was vexed.

 

14 hours ago, BillBauer said:

I remember a scene between Nancy and Lisa when Lisa was depressed about John humiliating her and Nancy reminded her that nothing is as bad as losing a child. I thought it was a veiled reference to Susan and Chuckie. 

 

Nancy also commented to Lisa that they had both lost a child, and once you lose a child, you can get through anything else.

 

 

14 hours ago, BillBauer said:

And then there's this that makes it even more ambiguous: 

 

https://www.soapcentral.com/atwt/whoswho/susanh.php

 

There are A LOT of errors in the Soap Central synopses.

 

14 hours ago, BillBauer said:

They make it a point to say she was diving into the pool which would make it sound like a head injury but then mention it was during a violent thunderstorm which would indicate the lightening scenario is right. Otherwise, what difference would it make that there was a violent storm? Maybe while she was diving into the pool she got struck by lightening and then hit her head and died? Sounds like it was definitely her time to go. 

 

Susan was electrocuted when she was struck by lightening at the pool. She might have then banged her head which resulted in a head injury, but I don't specifically recall. All this had happened off camera before the show began. We did not see any of it. Because Susan had been her favorite, Nancy subconsciously resented Penny for surviving while Susan was dead. As has been mentioned, Nancy was NOT the most pleasant of mothers when the show began. In fact, she could be quite the shrew. She used to light into Bob all the time. And when Don married a girl Nancy did not care for, she cried very loudly and obnoxiously through the ceremony, LOL. When Nancy did not get what she wanted, she could make her family suffer. Like Bert Bauer, however, she did mellow over the decades. Charita Bauer exuded a natural charm, joy and sweetness which made Bert's transition to loving matriarch believable, however. Helen Wagner (while I adored her) came across as much more aloof and reserved.

1 hour ago, Mitch said:

My Mom LOVED "Word Turns," and wouldn't watch it as the Dobson's took over. She loved Nancy..and I always thought she was a bit..creepy in a way..overbearing..controlling. I never bought her sweetness that Marland gave her. Wagner was too cold of an actress..she would have made a great rich, controlling Alexandra Spaulding matriarch of a show. I wonder if that is why the Dobsons had a hard time writing for her...going from bubbling warmth Bert to colder, more controlling Nancy had to be hard.

 

I couldn't watch ATWT consistently under the Dobsons' work either. They and producer MEB really fractured the show the way Long and Kobe did TGL. Suddenly Oakdale was not home anymore.

 

1 hour ago, DRW50 said:

 

I do wonder if Helen Wagner preferred getting to play a harder Nancy - she would try to work that in at times. 

 

The Dobsons were very talented writers but they seemed to have no real idea what the concept of ATWT was. 

 

Neither did MEB, which made the problems worse. No wonder the show started to tumble in the ratings.

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37 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:

Who was the first of the true "warm, loving matriarch" characters? Maybe Alice Horton? It seems like by the 80s, soaps decided that viewers no longer were interested in those older females outside of them just being sweet and kind talk-tos for the younger characters.

I have to say, GL bringing back Meta was a great idea...(believe it or not it was McTavish who started it) and while she disappeared from the screen often (some due to Stuarts illness some not) when she was on she was a spot on tough but loving town matriarch. She had a short scene with Abuela Santos once where she firmly blew her off and put her in her place...(we needed more of evil matriarch vs. good matriarch...)

 

6 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

Irna certainly was sadistic, LOL. She was planning to have AW's Alice Matthews burn to death in a fire when she became annoyed at Jacquie Courtney's bubbly performances. No one was safe when Moss Phillips was vexed.

 

All of those deaths described above cracked me up and almost seemed like a soap parody. Did Seinfeld get the out of contol wheelchair idea from Ms. Irma?  Mo's death on GL was small potatoes on what she could have come up with (she would have been the original "crock pot" as death machine writer..)

8 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

Charita Bauer exuded a natural charm, joy and sweetness which made Bert's transition to loving matriarch believable, however. Helen Wagner (while I adored her) came across as much more aloof and reserved.

 I think this describes it well. Charita was just a force of joy that could not be contained so the writers gave up and no matter how hard they tried, Wagner kept a distance..(I have seen interviews with her that she is very firmly NOT sweet grandma) I wonder what the cast thought of her (besides her nakedness in the make up room...) It seems when she left in 80 there was not a lot of cast remarks on her leaving.

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