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Back From the Dead.


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So I was wondering, when exactly did soaps start doing back from the dead storylines and what was the inspiration for them? I know GL brought back Bill Bauer back to life with a secret family to boot much to the utter shock of viewers, and I've read about the whole Brooke/Stephanie thing on Days where she burnt off her fingerprints. I understand one of the earliest was Vanessa's dead husband showing up on Love of Life...while I'm vaguely read up on Love of Life as a show aside from some clips I can imagine it would have been akin to one of Jo on SFT or Ada on AW's dead husbands showing up.Why did a perhaps shocking/thrilling yet silly concept become so heavily overused that no soap character's death is even taken seriously anymore?

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I think a lot of it came from primetime also aping the idea, and then daytime copying primetime soaps in their success.

I think the first back from the dead were on radio, but I'm not sure.

The back from the dead idea which makes more sense is for the viewer to know all along the character is not actually dead. Radio soaps did this (there was one about a woman who became a senator because her husband, who was the senator, was presumed dead and wandering around the world as an amnesiac - when he got his memory back, returned home, and took back his job, people lost interest and the show was canned). Bill Bell also did this often.

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GH's first one I think was Phil Brewer, who was presumed dead in a plane crash in 1969 and came back in 1971.

and even before that Days had revealed (in 1967?) that Marie's new love interest Dr Mark Brooks was in fact Tommy Horton (who'd been presumed dead in Korea years before the show began) and was thus her brother!

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Back from the dead was used sparingly- and effectively-until the 80's when Days in particular went overboard with that plot device. It was a result of 'supercouples' and actors being regarded as stars and too important to the shows to be killed off .

Also,because of the media attention, actors were more inclined to leave soaps and try to break into movies and primetime.Whereas in the 70's you didn't have Bill or Susan Hayes deciding to quit the soaps.

Prior to this , if an actor left,the character would either be killed off (permanently) recast,or the couple split up and the character leave town.

Penny and Jeff on ATWT were hugely popular but when Mark Rydell wanted out,Jeff was killed off.

Both Tara and Phil on AMC were recast because the story and characters were as important as the actors.

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Back from the dead was used sparingly- and effectively-until the 80's when Days in particular went overboard with that plot device. It was a result of 'supercouples' and actors being regarded as stars and too important to the shows to be killed off .

Also,because of the media attention, actors were more inclined to leave soaps and try to break into movies and primetime.Whereas in the 70's you didn't have Bill or Susan Hayes deciding to quit the soaps.

Prior to this , if an actor left,the character would either be killed off (permanently) recast,or the couple split up and the character leave town.

Days already had that problem prior to the supercouples. You couldn't even hint at Marlena being killed off without the switchboards lighting up and a (near?) picket of the studio. Stefano had come back from the dead twice before the supercouple era took off as well, though I don't know how much anything had to do with Joe Mascolo himself.

That said, supercouples completely fried up Days. Lots of halves of couples started to leave, but the fans wouldn't even think of accepting other pairings. Do it with Shane and Kayla and fans go bonkers 20 years later at the mere mention of it.

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Days already had that problem prior to the supercouples. You couldn't even hint at Marlena being killed off without the switchboards lighting up and a (near?) picket of the studio. Stefano had come back from the dead twice before the supercouple era took off as well, though I don't know how much anything had to do with Joe Mascolo himself.

That said, supercouples completely fried up Days. Lots of halves of couples started to leave, but the fans wouldn't even think of accepting other pairings. Do it with Shane and Kayla and fans go bonkers 20 years later at the mere mention of it.

Agreed! Its sad how some take things like that so serious. It happen, get over it! That Shane/Kayla/Kim stuff was never even dealt with & that stuff that happen in June 2010 was a total rewrite cause in the past Kim & Shane were on good terms and she was married to Phillip Collier

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That said, supercouples completely fried up Days. Lots of halves of couples started to leave, but the fans wouldn't even think of accepting other pairings. Do it with Shane and Kayla and fans go bonkers 20 years later at the mere mention of it.

I hate the super couple style of writing that Days has had bc it makes things so predictable bc no matter what, you know certain people will always end up together. It takes away some of the fun out of viewing soaps. Like why get invested in some pairings when you know they are only a temporary diversion till the supercouple reunites?

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Back from the dead was used sparingly- and effectively-until the 80's when Days in particular went overboard with that plot device. It was a result of 'supercouples' and actors being regarded as stars and too important to the shows to be killed off .

Not so much. The only characters that were brought back from the dead in the 80s were Roman as The Pawn (which technically doesn't count since John turned out not to be Roman) and Stefano ONCE in 1988, when he kidnapped Diana Colville. Stefano was only killed once, when he was shot by Marlena and supposedly burned in the fire. Other than them, nobody on DAYS was brought back from the dead in the 80s.

Didn't they have "Marlena" throttled on her sofa and then Roman found the body. I can see where that got a few complaints. :lol:

Sort of. It was actually her twin Samantha and always intended to be so. And she stayed dead.

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That's why I put the quotes. I meant that the show had what they wanted people to think was Marlena being strangled oncamera. I think they wanted a big fan reaction and they got it. I guess it worked very well at the time, although the precedent (the lesson learned about never messing with popular actors) might not have been worth it.

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Not so much. The only characters that were brought back from the dead in the 80s were Roman as The Pawn (which technically doesn't count since John turned out not to be Roman) and Stefano ONCE in 1988, when he kidnapped Diana Colville. Stefano was only killed once, when he was shot by Marlena and supposedly burned in the fire. Other than them, nobody on DAYS was brought back from the dead in the 80s.

Warning: Most of this is from watching YouTube clips a while back. Correct me if only the other characters in their infinite Salem wisdom believed they were deceased.

Stefano was believed dead of a heart attack or stroke in 1983. It was later revealed he paid off the nurse, who Andre (as Tony) later killed. He turned back up in February or March 1984.

Stefano was believed dead in 1984 after he, Petrov, and Alex Marshall crashed their limo into the river. Only Alex was pulled out of the river. He turned back up in October.

Stefano was believed dead after Marlena shot him at the ballet in 1985. This was the 1988 resurrection.

Petrov also turned up alive in 1985 before he was permanently killed off later that year by Victor's thugs.

They teased around a good bit with Marlena in 1986 and 1987. She was believed dead before the plane explosion made her believed dead again. I don't remember if the first death was to the characters only or to the audience as well.

Of course, there was also the Days plot device where if you mentioned an ex-lover or ex-spouse of yours that had died offscreen before you arrived on the show, there was 100% guarantee s/he was alive and would turn up at the most inopportune time. Anna, Emma, Marina, Cal. Anyone I'm missing?

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I remember reading a Digest thumbs up/down that tore into DAYS for the Marina story and talked about how overused that device was and how ridiculous it was that he had never mentioned Marina. Then I read that the story was cut short due to fan anger. Was that true?

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