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I need your help and input for a project


edgeofnight

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I have been asked to speak, once again, before the American Popular Culture Association's annual conference. I want to do, as my project, how the invisible barrier between fans and soap stars has evaporated...40 + years ago, when I was first watching...it was considered, nearly impossible, to ever, interact or meet with a soap star. It was easier to land a man on the moon. Over the years, gradually, we had personal appearances, meet and greets, fan club luncheons for current shows, and even defunct shows, like 'Dark Shadows.' I would like to do an evolution of fandom to where we now have cruises, and the like...so, I do need your help. I have until December 15 to submit my 250 word proposal. The presentation, itself, will be at the American Popular Culture Association Conference in San Antonio in mid-April 2011. Any help would be appreciated.

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What would you like help on? Topics? I guess you could address the claims some make that say fans having too much access is bad for soaps. Or talk about the good and the bad of being close to soap fans, or fandom. Then there are the fan efforts which keep various soaps alive. And through Youtube, a lot of defunct soaps have found an entirely new audience, some never seen in any other major outlet in years and years (like "Another Life").

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Maybe saying something along the lines of how the internet has helped to cause that barrier to evaporate. From the fans' perspectives, they now can communicate with other fans and be influenced by them and share opinions, for better or worse. You get more involved in the show, the storyline, the actor, when you're discussing it so often with other people. It breeds a greater sense of familiarity or attachment, I think, than a fan just watching a show and not really having other fans around to talk with. And, from the actor's perpsective, things like official websites, e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, etc., let them communicate directly with a large number of fans, in a rather casual way, again breeding a sense of familiarity.

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You're all on the right track, but, these, that you mentioned are more recent...I remember when 'The Edge of Night' Fan Club started back in January of 1971...when did the shows start having fan clubs, luncheons, personal appearances...which, have, as you mentioned, more technological closeness via the internet. Thank you all for your input. Keep the ideas and memories coming.

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Seeing as how we're speaking of this, lol...will you be trying to contact some of the soap vets by their websites or Facebook? I imagine some of them, having been there during those early luncheons, appearances would have some great insights as to how things have morphed over the years.

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The Dark Shadows book which was released in 1991 or so talked about their experiences with fans and fan clubs -- the heavy crowds, some of the bizarre appearances (I think Donna Wandrey once had to appear with a pig), some of the things from fans they didn't know how to react to (they were sent a box of cookies made in the shape of tombstones, with the name of a cast member iced onto each cookie). Lara Parker told a story in a book a few years later about a fan who would follow her from the studio to the subway and she'd walk faster and he would try to keep up and then she'd see his sad look as the subway car went away. She told some other stories too -- that a fan of DS was a nurse at the hospital where she gave birth and took some special photos for her, and her with the baby, that normally wouldn't have happened. She also got backstage at a Springsteen concert because of a fan.

I guess the springing up of the teen magazines, like Tiger Beat, really started impacting fan organization, and then SOD came along too.

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I will try and contact some old soap vets...I was stymied recently when I asked to speak to the Fan Club President of both ATWT & GL...she has been ill, so, it is understandable that she can not participate. I do remember going to one Another World luncheon...which was really quite unique, becasue a star sat at each table during the lunch, and at our table, even though she had been long gone off the show was Jacquie Courtney. The late, great Val DuFour was there, too, I recall.

To her utter amazement, I started asking her questions about her time on 'The Edge of Night' when she was only 12 years old (in 1958). Thank you for puting on your thinking caps for me, I really appreciate it.

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I didn't know Jacquie was on EON. Who did she play?

I've heard those fan luncheons for AW were very special. The cast even put on a big musical number each year.

This isn't what you're looking for but I thought it might interest you anyway. Someone uploaded a GH fan club gathering from 1987, and various fan events featuring John Reilly.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Donelys3

I have some old magazines from the 70s and 80s which feature some fan club meetings. If you want me to scan those just let me know.

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I didn't know Jacquie was on EON. Who did she play?

I've heard those fan luncheons for AW were very special. The cast even put on a big musical number each year.

This isn't what you're looking for but I thought it might interest you anyway. Someone uploaded a GH fan club gathering from 1987, and various fan events featuring John Reilly.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Donelys3

I have some old magazines from the 70s and 80s which feature some fan club meetings. If you want me to scan those just let me know.

That would be VERY< VERY helpful...Thank you so much! I do recall going to a GL Fan Club luncheon in the mid-1980s when Teri Keane (ex-Edge) was on it...as was Michael Wilding, Jr. (Liz Taylor's son)

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