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As The World Turns Discussion Thread


edgeofnik

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It's interesting, I am reading this book on Women pioneers in television and am on the section on Irna Phillips and Phillips, being from the Chicago seemed acutely aware of the perceptions that people on both U.S. coasts may have had about the Midwest. When she decides to move production of The Guiding Light radio serial to California from Chicago, she was very reluctant, only deciding to do so because she had been to working on other projects that were based there and also for personal reasons. When she moved TGL to California, it was considered the "death knell" for radio soaps. From what I have read, it also seems as though Phillips elevated the social standing of her characters from the working class characters that radio soaps were known for, to the 'professional class' with her reverend in TGL as well as newly introduced characters like doctors and lawyers. 

With ATWT, I do think there was a consciousness (perhaps self-consciousness) about these Midwestern characters that lasted all the way until the end of the series that was signified in the way they dressed, their comportment, that wasn't haphazard. Characters like Lisa, Kim, Barbara and Lucinda traveled extensively, often taking trips to NYC, London, Milan, Venice, etc. Heck, even Lyla and Margo ventured to NYC and D.C. I would imagine that kept them current fashion-wise, so I never sweat it over reasoning why their styles seemed so sophisticated. 

It seemed more anachronistic and jarring to see upwardly mobile characters living in the equivalent of a dorm room toward the end of the series.

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10 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

Question: did Irna Phillips name Tom (Hughes) after her son Tom?

while irna doesn’t mention it in her unfinished memoir, ‘all my worlds, it certainly seems likely. tom hughes was born in 1961, when irna’s son was 20.

what’s even more interesting is another character irna named tom. ‘another world’s’ tom baxter, who would impregnate pat matthews. after a botched abortion that left her sterile, pat shot and killed tom. 

in all my worlds irna tells an affair with a doctor that left her pregnant — a pregnancy that ended with the baby dying in childbirth and irna sterile. reading tom baxter’s character description in the aw bible, then irna’s description of the doctor who ‘left me with next to nothing,’ the connection is hard to miss.

in the memoir, irna is candid about her difficult relationship with both of her adopted children, so you have to ask: how her relationship with her son changed between 1961, when tom hughes was born, and 1963-64, when irna was creating ‘another world.’

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@wonderwoman1951I am currently reading a book called When Women Invented Television and Irna Phillips is one of the four women profiled in the book and reading about her management of her career with her role as a single mother to her two adopted children definitely made me wonder about the creation of Tom Hughes as he was created by Phillips.

Another strangely serendipitous piece of trivia is the fact that her daughter was named Katherine Phillips Hughes. The spellings are different but I remember reading a quote from Kathryn Hays where she mentioned that Don Hastings once told her that when she tested for the role of Kim Hughes that Irna had said that she saw something in Kathryn, I can't remember the whole quote but it made me think that Phillips saw a connection with Hays before she had even been cast in the role.

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Posted (edited)

re irna’s daughter and kathryn hays, that’s a coincidence. however, given what irna told the late robert laguardia about the character of kim, she certainly saw something in the actress that she saw in her self; or far more likely, wished she could have seen in herself.

Kim Reynolds is really me, at a much younger age.  She's fiercely independent, as I was, and she won't settle for second best.

She looks in the mirror and refers to herself as "lady in the mirror."  Well, that was her other self, which no one knew about: the true me, the person I always hid from the world.

She's having a child out of wedlock, which will only be hers.  I adopted two children – Kathy and Tommy – without a husband.

We're both the same.  And she's going to have that child to prove that a woman can do it alone.

Edited by wonderwoman1951
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40 minutes ago, Paul Raven said:

And then Irna was fired and they had Kim marrying John to give the baby a name...

And then the child was written as stillborn. (until the retain in the late 80s)

The book is really interesting because it delves deeper into the business aspect of daytime television and the differences in sustaining sponsorship between radio and television, as well as the transitions Phillips had to make.

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Thanks for posting that news clipping. @Soapsuds

It's what I have been saying repeatedly, often times in the 80s and 90s, ATWT used to make the effort to bring back long-time characters, if only for cameo appearances, which brought some semblance of continuity, in terms of show history (never having seen Penny Hughes in her original run, it was meaningful for me to be able to see her in her 80s appearances, during which time, I learned about her impact and importance to the Hughes family and to the show's history). The problems seemed to stem from successful alumni not being able or willing to return, for various reasons.

By the late 90s, the show seemed to cut those connective ties to that show history and didn't bother to bring back the actors, opting instead to bring back some of the characters, with casting that can best be referred to as haphazardly executed.

One thing I wished they would have done with Betsy is to have brought in an actress that was previously on the show, playing a popular character, even if she wasn't Betsy. For instance, Kim Johnson Ulrich, who played Diana McColl, probably would have fit in nicely and long-time fans likely wouldn't have flinched an inch.

 

Henderson Forsythe himself had a thriving career on the stage and could barely make appearances on the show. Sure, they could have recast the role but it would've been akin to a Bob Hughes recast at that stage, with an actor who had become synonymous with the role over decades. Honestly, it was sad to me because I am usually opposed to killing off characters of that stature unless the real life portrayer dies, but everyone might have thought it for the best at the time, including Forsythe.

 

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4 hours ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

One thing I wished they would have done with Betsy is to have brought in an actress that was previously on the show, playing a popular character, even if she wasn't Betsy. For instance, Kim Johnson Ulrich, who played Diana McColl, probably would have fit in nicely and long-time fans likely wouldn't have flinched an inch.

I always felt like Betsy should have easily returned at any time in the 90's, whether it was when Dani came back in 1994 or any time Emily had gone off the deep end again and needed support. I could easily see Betsy entwining herself with some Grimaldi and/or Kasnoff relative and staying in Oakdale til the very end. I have no idea who would have played her but I could have seen the show bringing in a slightly younger actress around KMH's age to play Betsy. 

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14 hours ago, Soapsuds said:

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This article just makes me dislike Meg Ryan even more. "Reluctance to recognize her soap past" like she did porn or something. The contrast between hers and Julianne Moore's attitudes is glaring and Julianne had a lot more reason to be snobby (though she embraced her soap past). She was a much better actress than Ryan and had a much longer career. I have a feeling Ryan lucked into ATWT (based on her acting abilities at the time) so she should be grateful for it. Sorry for the rant but snobby attitudes just rub me the wrong way. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, soapfan770 said:

I always felt like Betsy should have easily returned at any time in the 90's, whether it was when Dani came back in 1994 or any time Emily had gone off the deep end again and needed support. I could easily see Betsy entwining herself with some Grimaldi and/or Kasnoff relative and staying in Oakdale til the very end. I have no idea who would have played her but I could have seen the show bringing in a slightly younger actress around KMH's age to play Betsy. 

I realized my wording wasn't the best upthread. I meant Johnson, due to her popularity playing McColl (or, at least she didn't inspire any hate mail, none that I am aware of), I think she could have been seamless as Betsy. Kim had chemistry with Eileen and, as they brought back Scott Bryce briefly in the 90s, they also had an easy chemistry.

A lot of people talk about the Stewarts but wasn't it originally the Hughes family and the Lowell family? Why doesn't anybody seem to mention them? Was Ellen the sole Lowell left?

 

I am reading this book and am on the chapter titled "The World Turns" and according to this book Phillips didn't want to work with Procter & Gamble but felt she had no choice. She felt insulted that P&G didn't seem to trust her ideas yet still found a way to adopt them. For instance, they doubted her when she pitched the idea of expanding the soap to thirty minutes from fifteen minutes when she was about to debut ATWT, yet quickly announced that their next soap The Edge Of Night would be thirty minutes. This was after she had to practically fight them in order to bring The Guiding Light to television (P&G once thought TGL would never be successful as a television series). In fact, Phillips had to pay for the pilot to be produced and was never reimbursed for it, even after TGL became a hit show. I'm beginning to see why she may have been so bitter.

Another interesting tidbits, a number of actors for the first season of ATWT had been blacklisted actors, which might not have endeared Phillips to the sponsors who ruled television.

Fascinating account of the early days of television. In some aspects, certain things have not changed.

It makes me wonder what ATWT could really have been if P&G had a little more belief in the show beyond just being a potential "cash cow". Perhaps we would have gotten a better archived and a larger amount of episodes that actually got preserved, instead of wiped.

Edited by DramatistDreamer
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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

A lot of people talk about the Stewart's but wasn't it originally the Hughes family and the Lowell family? Why doesn't anybody seem to mention them? Was Ellen the sole Lowell left?

 

The Lowells were kind of swallowed up by, or morphed into, the Stewarts. Jim died in 1957 and he and Claire just had a daughter (Ellen) so when she married David the last name was lost. Judge Lowell stayed around until the late 70s but he didn't have any other children other than Jim. So, the name was lost. Claire died in 1970 but had lost the last name Lowell when she married Doug Cassen and then, later, Michael Shea. There was really no way to keep the Lowell name alive. They tried to do it by naming one of Annie's quads Lowell but the quads weren't on the show long. So, technically, Dan, Annie, Dee, Betsy, Emily, the quads, Dani, Daniel and Allison were all Lowells (through the bloodline if not the name). 

Edited by Bill Bauer
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