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So what was the storyline that effectively marked the death of All My Children from a creative standpoint?  To understand what I'm getting at, check out the following links:






So what was it?  Was it the "unabortion" storyline?  Was it the poisoned-pancakes storyline?  Was it the one where Adam apparently shot Stuart to death?  Was it the one where Jamie Luner's Liza Colby screwed some dude on a table shortly after returning to Pine Valley?

Edited by GSGfan2017

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New York Times Nov21 1976


Home Is Not a Soap Opera



SEVERAL times a week, William Mooney leaves his home here and heads for NewYork, where he becomes Paul Martin in the ABC daytime serial, “All My Children.” In the five years that he has played the part, Mooney as Martin has been in and out of love, tried matrimony three times and suffered the slings and arrows of fortune as only the soap operas can depict them.

A seasoned actor whose one‐man show, “Half Horse, Half Alligator,” and “Damn Everything But The Circus” have brought him critical approval, the 40‐year‐old Mr. Mooney Is not about to bite the hand that has given him the fame he has enjoyed since playing in “All My Children.” For him, the serial is far more than a time filler for the housebound.

Five years ago, when Mr. Mooney tried out for the part, he was in one of those low periods traditionally experienced by actors.

“I was frantic,” he recalled in an interview in his home here. “I had just signed a contract for a new house and then hadn't worked for seven months.

‘All My Children’ was a godsend.”

When he accepted the role, Mr. Moo. ney soon learned that working under . theapressure of memorizing a 42‐page script several times ‘a week—and then relearning it after it is cut the night before taping—required rigid discipline. He learned, too; that seasoned professionals, among them two of his co‐workers, Mary Fickett and Ruth Warrick, were determined to make every segment count.

Soap operas, Mr. Mooney believes, are a variation of the cliffhangers used to entrance the audiences in the 1930's and 40's.

“These are melodramas,” he said. “People want heroes and villains. Every time I think the plot of ‘All My Children” is getting too bizarre, somebody writes in and says, ‘If you think you have trouble, listen to what happened to me.’ And then the plot‐doesn't seem so strange any more.”

But the best thing about the show for the tall, slender Mr. Mooney is that he's working at his craft every day.

:The camera's eye is relentless,” he said. “There is no way an actor is going to walk through his part and last. It may not be deathless prose, but to be able to act so often is exquisite.”

Mr. Mooney's love affair with acting began when he was 15 and hitch‐hiked Little Rock to see “South Pacific.” It is difficult to explain the impression that the musical made on him. As he recounted:

“I remember looking at the actors and thinking, My God, if they're having half as much fun doing that as I am watching it, that's the life for me.”

Determined to be an actor, Mr. Mooney attended the University. of Colorado, where he acted in college productions and branched out into radio work both at the university and the CBS.stadon in Denver.

But the big time is New York, and so Mr. Mooney left the university and headed cast in a beat‐up Ford that died 20 miles outside of Ecnver. There was only one thing to do: ditch the car and hitchhike. In New York, the aspiring actor worked as an NBC page and an extra in a Shakespearean .festival. Meanwhile, he recalled, he quietly starved.

“I finally decided that this is ridiculous,” Mr. Mooney said. “I wasn't getting anywhere, and my parents were from his parents’ farm in Arkansas to violently opposed to acting for all the usual reasons. Still, I called them and they bailed me out.

‘Ten years later, when I was making more money than my father, he felt better about the profession. I've always been grateful to him for helping me.”

The next time Mr. Mooney took on New York, he said, he had more savvy. He knew that an actor who wanted work had to be around people who knew where the work was. Thus,The applied to the American Theater Wing and was accepted.

“Tell about the wire factory,” hls wife, Valerie Goodall, a soprano, interjected.

“Oh, yes, the wire factory,” Mr. Mooney replied. “Well, I worked there from midnight until 8 A.M. to support myself while I studied acting. I felt like I was spinning my wheels, but I did hear about parts now and then and worked In a catch‐as‐catch‐can way.”

It was during one of these shows—a road company performance of “South Pacific,” the musical that started itsall that the Mooneys met. They were married in 1961.

The following year, Mr. Mooney landed a part in “A Man for All Seasons” and his wife headed for an Austrian tour. Three months later, Mr. Mooney was offered the opportunity to go to Austria with a production,’ of “Spoon River Anthology.” The Mooneys still considered this chance to be together during their early marriage as one of those lucky breaks that happens to actors once in a lifetime.

When “Spoon. River” was nearing the end of its run, Mr. Mooney began doing research on 19th‐century humor, with the idea of putting together a one‐man show. The show, “Half Horse, Half Alligator,” was successfully performed in Vienna and on a 24‐city tour of Germany that was sponsored by the State Department. It has been a Mooney standard since.

In 1967, the Mooney twins, Will and Sean, were born and the family returned to .Europe, where Mrs. Mooney had accepted another engagement and me. Mooney, interested in another oneman vehicle, contemplated dramatizing the work of Albeit Camus. After a talk with the author's widow, he undertook the project.

• “For‐years, I worked like a bloody Turk trying to whip Camus into a oneman show,” he said, “but I just couldn't do it. The project went to hell.”

Juggling two careers on two continents began to ,pall. In addition. Mr. Mooney finally decided that he was a miserable writer and a good enough editor to know it. What the couple needed, they decided, was work in the same country. When they returned to. the States, Mrs. Mooney was deter, mined to find a job here.

“You know what I did?” she said, “I went through the Yellow Pages, looking for colleges that might want voice teacher.”

The hunt paid off. Mrs. Mooney was offered a position on the voice faculty at Rutgers University, where she teaches, and the couple purchased home in East Brunswick. With the responsibility of a new home staring him in the face, Bill Mooney accepted the role in “All My Children.” thinking would last a year.

As residents of East Brunswick. the couple have participated in various township activities, often donating their talents to raise funds for civic or religious organizations. These include the Local Arts Council and volunteer fire companies.

A realist, Mr. Mooney has few illusions about his profession.

“Luck plays about 99.9 percent in this business,” he said. “It's really who you know. Some of the most talented actors are out of work either because they don't have connections or can't stand the rejections that an actor must endure to make a living. Of course, you can make some of your own luck, but you have to keep at it—not just sit around and wait.

“This soap opera is the most notorious thing I've done. It has brought me recognition, but because you come into people's homes each day they think they know you and have a right to you. rctor loves recognition, of course, but

Although Mr:Mooney is a serious deender of daytime serials, his real love the stage.

“The older I get,” he said, “the more realize that I'm bloody good on the

`If I stopped acting, I'd probably go crazy within six months’

stage and not really that good on the tube.”

The Moonevs also have a home in Colorado.

“The air is so pure there that you can snap it like grass,” he said. “I'll never forget the last time we landed in Newark Airport. We're killing ourselves here, and I wonder why we stay with it.”

“Don't tell me,” Mr. Mooney smiled rs his wife started to speak, “I know that if I stopped acting, I'd probably

go crazy within six months.” ■

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Mooney was one of many soap personnel who lived in East Brunswick (my hometown). Richard Van Vleet also lived there. Ditto Felicia Minei Behr. Jean Mazza, who played Annie on As the World Turns, also lived in EB. I think one of the directors from The Edge of Night lived there. In 1978, Edge taped April Scott's car accident in EB. 

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It's so weird to think that soaps were a thriving backbone for the acting scene in New York City back in the day.. and now there is no soap presence whatsoever in New York City.  It's kinda sad.

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1 hour ago, Soaplovers said:

It's so weird to think that soaps were a thriving backbone for the acting scene in New York City back in the day.. and now there is no soap presence whatsoever in New York City.  It's kinda sad.


It is sad...and the NYC soaps just went out with a whimper instead of a roar. :(

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My earliest memories of AMC are from around '82/'83, and Paul was gone by then.  I don't remember him or Ann, or Paul's time in Llanview (Karen takes the stand).  But from what I've read, it was Ann's tragic death that led to his leaving Pine Valley.


For those longtime viewers, I'd like to hear how you'd compare and contrast Joe and Paul.  I wonder if there wasn't enough of a contrast (e.g. Tom and Sean, or Travis and Jack) that AMC felt the need to bring Paul back on a permanent basis.

I knew Paul existed but didn't get familiar with his story until someone gave me the AMC scrapbook for Christmas '94.  Paul came back for the 25th anniversary that January.

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