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22 hours ago, AbcNbc247 said:

Just watched the Coronation massacre. It was crazy and OTT but it was directed really well. And all the cameos from all the popular soap stars were fun to see. I miss when soaps had money.

 

Also, was Stefano originally gonna turn out to be Chloe's father? The writers really seemed to have established a good relationship between the two of them.

 

 

 

I think Stefano was strongly hinted at and I thought he was at the time.  I don't remember the spoilers about it or if it was changed but Craig being Chloe's father didn't really make sense with the previous things Nancy had said about Chloe's father.  I was under the impression the father was evil/forced her in the beginning but then the story gradually changed.  It's been so long, but I remember being like "what? Craig was the dad the whole time?"  It didn't make a lot of sense.

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3 hours ago, Khan said:

I know '80s DAYS gets a lot of flack, but I really missed that period of the show when it seemed like people CARED about putting on an entertaining show.

I love 80's Days. I even like what little i've seen of 80-81. Never was a fan of JER. Everyone having flashbacks of things that just happened. Kristen talking out loud. About her latest scheme against Marlena. As Marlena walks in. Then Kristen would tell Marlena some bs. That she ended up believing.  80's Days was fun. Filled with romance and excitement. The super couple formula did hurt the couples. But it was still better than campy Days.

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1 hour ago, carolineg said:

 

I think Stefano was strongly hinted at and I thought he was at the time.  I don't remember the spoilers about it or if it was changed but Craig being Chloe's father didn't really make sense with the previous things Nancy had said about Chloe's father.  I was under the impression the father was evil/forced her in the beginning but then the story gradually changed.  It's been so long, but I remember being like "what? Craig was the dad the whole time?"  It didn't make a lot of sense.

Thanks!

 

If that was the original plan, it was probably changed when Joe Mascolo left. I think Craig being Chloe's father didn't come out until after Tom Langan left and Brash and Cwikly replaced him.

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Langan was knee-deep in who's the daddy.  Between Greta, Chloe, and, of course, Zach.  And I think it was always obvious Abe would be revealed as Brandon's father.  The most disappointing was never finding out about Greta, who I guess confirmed John wasn't her father when she left.  The Greta character had a lot of disappointments, from that to dropping her & Austin . . . I think it was a big mistake to dump her after the Jack debacle because she had SO much story left and was a breath of fresh air, esp. during that period, despite some extreme writing with being a forever virgin and Virtual Eden.  I'm surprised RC didn't bring her out for the recent Gina mess.

 

But Craig being Chloe's father was total WTFery.  And frankly, so was Bo being Zach's father.  I LOVED Brash & Cwikly, but those were two sloppy retcons to make fans happy.

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Back in 2001, Victor instructed Gene that he wanted revenge on Wesley's for wrongfully accusing Phillip of raping Chloe and embarrassing him. What exactly did Victor do to get back at Craig/Nancy? Unless I forgot don't ever remember this playing out on-screen.

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On 10/4/2020 at 12:58 PM, fivethej said:

Back in 2001, Victor instructed Gene that he wanted revenge on Wesley's for wrongfully accusing Phillip of raping Chloe and embarrassing him. What exactly did Victor do to get back at Craig/Nancy? Unless I forgot don't ever remember this playing out on-screen.

Gene Brisco!  I loved how there were so many ancillary characters back then, that we actually saw and had speaking roles--Gene, Marie, and Henderson for Titan/Victor, Eliana for Stefano, the blonde waitress at the Brady Pub, Dr. Bader and Nurse Brenda who always gave Sami a hard time at University Hospital, etc. etc. etc.

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On 10/3/2020 at 12:29 PM, jam6242 said:

 

Was it true that she dumbed most of the characters down during her tenure?

 

I know that she was the one who wrote Samantha locking Marlena in a sanitarium and taking her place, which I don't understand how they pulled off. Identical or not, Marlena and Samantha (Deidre and Andrea) can clearly be told apart.

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10 hours ago, AbcNbc247 said:

Was it true that she dumbed most of the characters down during her tenure?

 

I know that she was the one who wrote Samantha locking Marlena in a sanitarium and taking her place, which I don't understand how they pulled off. Identical or not, Marlena and Samantha (Deidre and Andrea) can clearly be told apart.

So, obviously not being old enough to have watched at the time, I've been instead reading the Daytime Serial Newsletter write-ups about the show from this era, and...even just reading the writeups from the beginning through to Ann Marcus' tenure, you can see a definite shift the moment Pat Falken Smith leaves in April 1977 and Ann Marcus takes over. The writing is suddenly far less psychological, the stories are less compelling and emotional, though definitely still rooted in the same characterizations as before. The writing is far more broad, and it becomes much more plot-based.

I appreciate that there wasn't a real rush to end the David/Valerie story like I've come to believe. Valerie and David split up, but remain in limbo while David tries to sort out what to do about his fathering Trish's baby, and Ann Marcus even gives Danny Grant more of a story, starting a romance with Trish's roommate Toni, but instead of the drama coming from characters we know and interpersonal drama, the main source of conflict for Danny and Toni is this mob type named Kenny who's stalking and ultimately attacks Toni and Trish in an attempt to track down Toni's baby's father. Of course, in hitting Trish, Trish goes into early labour. Then Danny shows up, and Kenny pulls a gun on him! Trish faints and it distracts Kenny long enough for Toni to get the gun and give it to Danny, who saves the day! It's a bit more the type of story DAYS would take on in the 80s, albeit with far less flights of fancy and high-stakes treasures and such, than what it had been known for in the past, and frankly, I don't like this shift.

 

Marlena's story also takes a shallow turn. Under PFS, Marlena and Don seemed set to enter into a triangle with Sharon Duval, who seems be written at the beginning as a sexually provocative socialite whose main trouble seems to be replacing the affections denied her by her absentee husband with sex with other men. Suddenly within weeks of Ann Marcus taking over, Sharon becomes a different character, seemingly deranged with "sexual confusion" and confesses her love for her friend Julie, who has an (IMO) uncharacteristically homophobic reaction to the news, considering Julie's otherwise very open-minded attitude toward David and Valerie's relationship, plus the fact she was living in San Francisco for a year or two in the late 60s, you'd think she'd have dropped some of these rather provincial attitudes, but I guess I'm looking at it from my smug, modern perspective. Oh well. Sharon is so distraught by being rejected by Julie she twice attempts suicide (I mean, I know Julie's the most desired woman in Salem at this time, but come on!) and is sent to Bayview, before her husband finally shows up and whisks her away to Spain, never to be seen or heard from again.

It's at this point that Don and Marlena have to deal with Sam showing up, and they proceed to hit everyone over the head with the notion that Sam and Marlena are SO SIMILAR that everyone's always confusing one for the other, despite the fact Sam and Marlena's voices are distinctly different pitches and Sam has decidedly harsher features than Marlena. I could definitely see that this was where folks got the impression the characters were being dumbed down. You'd have to be pretty dim to confuse these two women if you knew they were twins.

 

Elsewhere you get relatively decent stuff like Tom having a series of strokes that requires Marie to come to town to look after him, taking a leave of absence from the nunnery in NYC. This leads to a story where Marie is so helpful to Tom and effective in the household, that Alice, usually a very active woman, becomes bored and depressed, feeling sidelined by her own daughter. Yet doesn't think to actually TALK to Marie about any of this, just mopes to her temporary doctor, Dr. Griffin about it, who then decides to perform a hysterectomy on her (!!!) because his "experimental testing equipment" told him there MIGHT be a problem later on if he doesn't. Bill and Tom don't like this doctor very much, as they see him as a hotshot, but because Bill was so mouthy about how pissed off he was that Greg Peters got the Chief-of-staff job over Tom (which, in part, caused Tom's stroke), Greg reflexively sides with this hotshot doctor over the Hortons.

Maggie and Mickey's struggles are sidelined, as under PFS, they were still struggling to rekindle their relationship after Mickey's breakdown over Bill raping Laura, suddenly all is well, and they get an apartment in town and nothing's wrong with their relationship. Instead, Maggie's now a confidant to her upstairs neighbour, an abused wife named Jean Barton. I'm sure it's an important story to tell, but there's still enough meat to Mickey and Maggie's story, that I think to rush a full reconciliation when you have so many other characters that could still complicate their road to happiness, it seems a little unnecessary, and I can't help but feel it's a little PSA-story-by-numbers. It may have played out onscreen with a fair bit more nuance, but the summaries are quite detailed, and I've never felt that vibe before Ann Marcus' arrival.

I'll keep reading and maybe fill some more info in, but I am fascinated by the Vietnamese character Ann Marcus spoke of leading to her being replaced by Elizabeth Harrower in '79. I expect NBC were gunshy after the response David/Valerie received, though I suspect the ratings drop was more due to the fact that the stories grew very intense and heavy in 1976, and there seemed to be an intense focus on Mike and Trish, two characters I tend to find rather eyeroll-worthy. I wonder if the viewing audience were similarly put off not by David and Valerie, nor Mickey's breakdown, which are often cited as being the 1-2 punch that caused DAYS' ratings drop in 1976-77, but the intense focus given to Trish's endless string of problems at the expense of other stories during that time. Again, I'm just going off Daytime Serial Newsletter, but considering February 1977's breakdown was almost ENTIRELY centred around Trish whacking her pervy father to death with an iron and immediately splitting into three personalities (which, thanks to Ann Marcus, were almost immediately magically integrated by May), I have reason to believe she dominated story near the end of PFS' run, and considering what a perpetual victim Trish seems to be, and what an irritating whiner Mike seems to be, I wouldn't be surprised if that put more people off than anything else.

Okay, rant over.🤣

Also, if I'm super-wrong about any of this, PLEASE feel free to fill me in, because I'm fascinated by what I'm reading, but since I can't actually watch in real time, the newsletters are the closest thing I have to go on.

Edited by beebs
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Thanks for posting this - very interesting to read. I have to agree with most of what you wrote.

 

Ann Marcus had a tough job to fill in that Days had been pretty much guided by Bill Bell and the PFS since its debut and they were both top notch writers who had an insight and set a tone that was hard to replicate.

But as you pointed out PFS was beginning to falter and ratings were reflecting that.

Days had 2 powerhouse stories that carried it through the 60's and 70's - the trevails of Julie, culminating in her finding Doug and the Bill/Laura/Mickey saga.

By the end of her tenure, both of those stories had been resolved and we had Bill and Laura/Doug and Julie  happily wed.

The challenge then was to keep those popular couples prominent without breaking them up - always a challenge in a soap.

The story planned for the Duvalls was obviously changed so it was all a bit muddled under Marcus and there was the additional issue of Susan Flannery no longer playing Laura, which changed the dynamics.

Having Mickey and Maggie playing happy families and doing the next door neighbor /social issue story was a poor choice. Why should we care about the Bartons?

There should have been more drama mined from Maggie trying to fit into Salem.

The other issue with these characters is that they were all middle aged and in the case of Bill and Mickey looked every day of it so hardly appealing to younger viewers soaps were always chasing.

 

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44 minutes ago, Paul Raven said:

Thanks for posting this - very interesting to read. I have to agree with most of what you wrote.

 

Ann Marcus had a tough job to fill in that Days had been pretty much guided by Bill Bell and the PFS since its debut and they were both top notch writers who had an insight and set a tone that was hard to replicate.

But as you pointed out PFS was beginning to falter and ratings were reflecting that.

Days had 2 powerhouse stories that carried it through the 60's and 70's - the trevails of Julie, culminating in her finding Doug and the Bill/Laura/Mickey saga.

By the end of her tenure, both of those stories had been resolved and we had Bill and Laura/Doug and Julie  happily wed.

The challenge then was to keep those popular couples prominent without breaking them up - always a challenge in a soap.

The story planned for the Duvalls was obviously changed so it was all a bit muddled under Marcus and there was the additional issue of Susan Flannery no longer playing Laura, which changed the dynamics.

Having Mickey and Maggie playing happy families and doing the next door neighbor /social issue story was a poor choice. Why should we care about the Bartons?

There should have been more drama mined from Maggie trying to fit into Salem.

The other issue with these characters is that they were all middle aged and in the case of Bill and Mickey looked every day of it so hardly appealing to younger viewers soaps were always chasing.

 

Thanks for that, it's reassuring to know that the newsletters are giving me a relatively clear picture of what's going on.

It's true, Doug and Julie's wedding seemed to really seal their fate in terms of story prominence. Suddenly both characters are sidelined and mostly are talk-to's after their wedding, up until the custody fight for baby Dougie in Summer '77. I have to say, it's another story I'm kinda going WTF about, largely because, wouldn't this be an optimal time to reveal that Dougie is actually Doug's son, allowing Doug and Julie to perhaps fight for custody? Instead the secret stays a secret, and Rebecca leaves town with her immature, grumpy boyfriend Johnny AND Dougie. I get that it was to give story to Robert, who was married to Rebecca, but I still find it an odd direction to go in, and it leaves Doug and Julie once again on the peripheral of the action, when the fact they're happily married and raising Hope together would only strengthen the tension and stakes of the custody story, IMO. I would certainly care more about Doug & Julie fighting Rebecca & Johnny for custody, knowing both sides have more of a chance of victory. 

 

Definitely agree about Maggie. Just her feeling like a fish out of water could've really heightened the drama, and with Linda still lurking about, still trying to win Mickey over, there was years of story still able to be told there. Seems silly to throw it all out the window so quickly, but, as you said, the focus on middle-aged characters was starting to be a real problem here. I suspect this is why the focus was shifted so heavily to whiny Mike and perpetual victim Trish.

Not having seen any of the Lauras in any long term capacity barring Jamie Lyn Bauer (and believe me, I know she's Laura Horton in name only), it's hard to really see the dynamic shift in earnest here. I've obviously seen Susan Flannery for years, so I have a good picture of how she would have fit into the role, but the other two are almost entirely mysteries to me, having only seen quick flashes of them. Do you have any insights into how either Susan Oliver or Rosemary Forsythe played the character? 

I also wonder if the recast Marie wasn't working either. I know Lanna Saunders was successful in the role, but I didn't even realize Marie had come back in '77. Do you remember anything about Kate Woodville in the role? She looks, to my eyes, nothing like either Marie before or after her, so I struggle a bit to picture her in the role.

Edited by beebs
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I wonder if there were plans to do more with Marie, as later evidenced with Lanna but they were dropped because Kate Woodville didn't do much with the role.

 

The Doug/Julie/Larry Atwood story that followed made better use of them (but having Julie raped was not necessary) but they never really delved into a child for them. It could have tied in with the Robert story as Doug could have wanted a son but Julie was unwilling or found it difficult to conceive or Doug could have discovered he was now impotent. The reveal that Doug did have a son would have  set a whole bunch of stuff in motion.

Maybe that could have led to a murder mystery with more heightened drama than an outside character (Larry Atwood) being the victim.

 

Susan Oliver is a fine actress but was saddled with taking on Laura at a time when the character had nothing to do.I think had Flannery still been around even mundane scenes would have been more interesting as viewers were more invested.

They were going with professional stories for Bill/Laura which was fair enough but that leading to Kate Winograd getting involved with Bill wasn't well received. Were viewers simply not prepared to see any threat to that marriage or the combination of a dull character and poorly developed story meant it was not well received?

 

After the wife beating story Mickey/Maggie had the Janice story which served them better, although losing Janice and turning Maggie into a drunk was a misguided move. Perhaps Maggie could have turned away from Mickey because he could not give her a child. Maybe bring back Jay from the farm...

 

 

 

 

 

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@beebs that was the best rant I've ever read lol

 

I can see why the ratings dropped a little at this time. The change from years of psychological realism under Bell and Falken Smith to melodrama must have been quite jarring.

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