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41 minutes ago, Khan said:

I wish they had talked about her guest turns on "Law & Order" as Shambala Green.  Otherwise, it was a great read.  Thanks, @DRW50!

 

I do too. I guess since it is her most known role (or was until Orange is the New Black - I never did watch that but many seemingly did), they decided not to talk about it. Too bad.

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Toussaint is one of those parts of the TV and film firmament - you see them everywhere yet they rarely get their regard. I'd seen her onscreen through most of my childhood but her recent run on She-Ra as the villain Shadow Weaver was benchmark work even as 'just' a voice performer. I'm glad she has a new perch on Queen's show.

Edited by Vee
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  With releases of a few mid-late 70's episodes of "One Life to Live" on YouTube...

  I am intrigued by the character of Cathy Craig Lord (Dorrie Cavanaugh, Jennifer Harmon)...

It almost seemed to me the character had so much more longevity - the daughter of the show's patriarch Nat Polen as Dr. Jim Craig, and with familial/romantic ties to the Woleks and the Lords. She was also a reporter for the Banner...

  I always wondered if her character was written out (possibly if Harmon wanted to leave and the demand of recasting) and replaced her character with that of Edwina Lewis, played by Margaret Klenck...

  I could see in lieu of Cathy being dumped by Tony, becoming embittered and taking it out on Viki and Karen (like Edwina tended to do), as well as becoming a cohort to Dorian.

  Speaking of Dorian...the first two Dorians are present in these releases: Nancy Pinkerton and Clair Malis. Very interesting takes on a character Robin Strasser left her mark the most on. Anyone a fan of either actresses' previous work?

  Don't know if there are any "One Life" legacy fans, but would be curious to hear your take. 

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Newspaper article from Sunday Dec 29 1974.

 

 Life at 'One Life to Live -  the filming of Episode 1561

 By Bob Bender

(A few weeks ago, The Sampler ran an article on why soap operas on television are so popular, from the point of view of a housewife. Bob Bender, former News Director at WBEC, knows what its like on the other side of the tube, after a recent visit to New York. Since writing this article, Bender has left Pittsfield for a broadcasting job in Ohio.)

 

The warehouse-like building on 67th Street on New York City's West Side gives only a hint of the drama being played inside, daily. A marquee, reading "Watch One life to Live' on ABC-TV," is the only indication that the real home of Dr. Jim Craig, and the others who populate the serial, is here. When one goes past a guard on the first floor, and past double doors, next to signs reading "Silence On Air," a quiet green hallway leads to the dressing rooms, a few feet from the studios. Each weekday, the cast and crew of the ABC-TV serial "One Life to Live" gather to rehearse, block floor movements, set up camera angles, hold dry-runs, and finally tape the continuing story seen in millions of American homes each weekday afternoon. (WAST-TV in Albany broadcasts the show at 3:30 p.m. )

 

It is lunch-time; actors and actresses are having soup and sandwiches in the dressing rooms, and talk to a visitor about life in front of the TV cameras. In a few moments, they will again rehearse episode 1561, to be broadcast seven days later. Ellen Holly, who plays Carla Gray Hall, secretary to Dr. Jim Craig, has her hair tied back, with no makeup on. Her fair skin makes some people say she does not look like a black woman. Ellen's great-grandmother, Susan McKinney Steward, was the first black woman doctor to practice medicine in New York City. She has no questions about her blackness, and concentrates on her acting and writing. Appearing on television, she feels like a member of many families. A job as a soap opera actress has lots of rewards. "The theatre and acting are very chancey businesses, in which 90 per cent of Actors' Equity is unemployed at any given time," she says. The work is steady, and a character can be created who will become familiar to millions and millions of viewers. "You can walk into a supermarket and someone will come up to you that you don't know at all, and they'll say Carla!' because you're a real person and that only comes from constantly seeing somebody in that particular part, so it's kind of fun too."

Ellen says she uses part of herself in establishing the character she plays. But, she is different from Carla, and uses only one aspect in establishing her character.

 

The cast of "One Life to Live" performs on a sound stage, where several cameras will record the scene while a director will choose the shots from among the different points of view seen through the camera lens. Director David Pressman has gone over the 43-page script for the half-hour episode. The script takes up only the left-hand page. The blank half is filled with directions for camera locations, movements, actor positions, cues for the music which punctuates dramatic moments, and other information.

Episode 1561 is divided into four acts.

There are six commercials, a prologue and epilogue. It is a miniature play, except it will never be completed, as long as the characters created by Agnes Nixon and a stable of writers continue to turn out stories and characters to perform them. This particular show begins in the living room of Dr. Jim Craig, and, after the opening title and first commercial, moves to his office and back to the living room.

Following the second commercial, the second act takes place in the reception room in a funeral parlor where a memorial service will take place for a character who died under questionable circumstances. The third and fourth commercials will run together. Act three will be set in the Craig living room and Jim's office. The fifth commercial wili preceed Act four in Jim's office. Finally, the final commercial, and the closing credits will be shown.

 

The actors and actresses in the program worry about learning their lines, which is a daily challenge. It means studying lines each evening at home, in preparation for the next day. Nat Polen, who plays Dr. Jim Craig, commutes by train from Long Island each morning, and has to get up at 6 a.m. At home, every night, he has to find someone to help him learn his part. "You get the script and begin to work," he explains. "Whoever volunteers to be the victim that evening cues you. You trundle off to bed at a disgustingly early hour. You come in, clutching the script, hoping you'll absorb it by the process of osmosis. ' ' Some actors are able to learn a script easier than others. But even a "quick study" can have problems not faced by stage performers who deal with the same lines night after night.

Ellen Holly used to learn her lines the night before. Now, she rehearses each morning with Al Freeman, who plays her husband on the program. (She is single in real life). They go over the lines in his dressing room. it's easier because you learn them more organically, by working with the actor you'll be seen with. You learn some kind of response that is similar to the response that you're going to get once the tape starts," she explains. Both she and Nat find the ease of learning lines depends on which of several writers produced the script.

 Nat, who wants writers given credits for an individual episode, says each person produces a different script. He says a well-written script is much easier to learn by heart. "The flow is more natural, the sound of the dialogue, the rhythm of the dialogue is something you can identify with. When the script is not written that way, the dialogue doesn't have a natural sound, and thoughts don't track as they should in life. Then it's difficult. But that portion of the brain that retains the printed word through sheer doing it over and over again is like working on the bicep of one arm. You develop a tremendous bicep, but you have no use for it. The problem is forgetting the dialog as quickly as you memorized it because the next day, you'll be saying something similar but not the same '

 

' Three writers take turns preparing the scripts, but they rarely visit the studios. Polen thinks if each writer had to see his name on the screen as the sole author of a particular episode he would come up with even better scripts.

 

The huge studio has several sets arranged next to each other or a few yards apart. During the commercials, cameras are quickly moved into position in front of the appropriate setting. During the rehearsals and taping, the directors in the control room are unable to see the stage area, and depend solely on a bank of a dozen monitors from which to choose the appropriate shot. In adjoining rooms, with their own monitors, video and audio engineers make sure their appropriate tasks are performed on cue. The director gives commands to the actors and technicians through headphones or a public address system. "Nat, don't cross in front of Michael until after you've given him that line. We're losing the shot in here because you're cutting too soon." An exasperated director looks over the script, i thought we worked that out this morning when we blocked it out."

 

The cast and crew assemble in the ABC Production Center every morning. There is a discussion of the basic action to take place in the day's episode. Camera movements and placements are discussed, and a rough run-through is held. After lunch, a rehearsal is tried, and any problems cleared up. The taping for broadcast goes without interruption, like a live show, and is usually finished about 5 p.m. The performers on the program have played their characters for so long they are often identified outside the studios.

 

Some people get the actor and character confused, forgetting the program is only a fictional serial. Ellen Holly says people have known her for so many years as Carla Gray that they develop a schizoid-like reaction. They know she is an actress, but still address her as Carla. Others have the same problem. She explained, "I remember Niki Flax, when she was on the show, playing a villain. She got a letter in which a woman said to her, 'I know you're only playing a part and it's not real life, but you so-and-so-and-so and then she laced into her as if she were that person."

 

Nat Polen continually plays doctors. With his brown-gray, wavy hair and deep resonant voice, he looks like the chief of medicine he plays. Before One Life to Live," Nat was Dr. Doug Cassen, brain specialist on "As the World Turns." Then he was a chest and abdominal specialist. Dr. John Crager on "The Nurses." But his medical knowledge is strictly from a script. "I have no actual medical background at all, although the question is frequently asked because I've played a doctor in one daytime show or another, with rare breathers in other areas, for the past 20 years. It's always been a doctor for some reason. 

 

(I haven't got the rest of the article unfortunately)

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I recently re-watched the Kyle and Fish story. Luke & Noah may get credit for being the first major gay male couple and Will & Sonny may be the longest lasting, but for me, even though their time was brief, Kyle and Fish was the best. The show was building something special. Such a shame they chickened out and ended them prematurely. I will always be mad about that, but I am grateful they did get a happy ending (though rushed).

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June 1969 - one year in...

Saturday, June 28, 1969-'One 'Life to Live'-Team Guides Characters in Daytimer By MERIEMIL RODRIGUEZ NEW YORK

You don't have to belong to the big-breakfast bunch to qualify as one who wouldn't miss a  daily serving of serial--with an "s" please. Millions of the faithful make the five-a-week daytimer in any of several forms a "must" item of their daily video diet. To the untutored, the continuing stories are "soap operas," but to the faithful they represent very real slices of life.

 

TO EXAMINE this phenomenon, let's take one serial- ABC's "One Life to Live"-and view its development through the eyes of Agnes Nixon, creator of the program. It is seen in El Paso at 1:30 p.m. weekdays over KELP-TV, channel 13. Mrs. Nixorn, petite, blonde, and veteran of 16 years in the production and writing of video serials ("As the World Turns," " G u i d i n g Light," "Another World"), sees "One Life to Live" as a broad canvas on which its characters delineate their deep 'involvement. To Mrs. Nixon, this is contemporary drama in a metropolitan setting, drama dealing with basic emotions experienced by real people facing the modern world. She views their problems as those of a kind which could conceivably beset any viewer within the framework of his or her own life.

 

"EACH PERSON in our story is fighting for what he wants in his life to live," she says. "They are not always facing outside obstacles, but more often forces within themselves." Working behind the scenes, in addition to the prolific Mrs. Nixon, is producer Doris Quinlan, who began her broadcasting' career as assistant director of the famed "Theatre Guild of the Air" radio series, later co-produced the hit "I Remember Mama" television program and subsequently produced "Young Dr. Malone," "Another World," "The N u r s e s " and most recently served as associate producer for the motion picture "Charly" for which its star, Cliff Robertson, won an Academy Award.

 

In the writing of "One Life to Live," Mrs. Nixon is joined by Paul Roberts and Don Wallace, the latter also a director on the serial. Together, this knowledgeable team guides the characters through their plights and fortunes. One of the central plots of the serial concerns Victoria Lord, whose wealth and beauty are not to be envied. As a child, she witnessed her mother's tragic accident and, in later life, this shock caused Viki to suffer a dual personality. Gillian Spencer, who plays the role, says "As Niki, Viki's alter ego, she is fascinatingly different, a flashy creature who desires to gain control of the body she shares with Viki. It's like Joanne Woodward's role in 'Three Faces of Eve'." Gillian, whose TV credits include parts in "Edge of Night" and "Guiding Light," adds that romantic complications beset the troubled Viki and sexually attractive Niki. Caught in this quadrangle are crusading newspaperman Joe Riley, in love with Viki. His best friend, truck driver Vince Wolek, from the wrong side of the tracks, is drawn to Niki. Lee Patterson, Vancouver born actor with a broad stage and screen background, stars as Riley. (He also starred on ABC-TV's "Surfside 6" and "The Nurses.") Anthony Ponzini, a veteran of daytime serial dramas such as "Edge of Night" and "Another World," portrays Wolek.

Patterson notes that a recent survey conducted by the network to indicate whether viewers preferred Viki to Niki indicated that the audience was equally divided on which of the two should become the surviving personality. Another dilemma for the "One Life to Live" scripters!

Another plot line involves Viki's sister Meredith, who believes she is incurably ill. She breaks her romance with a doctor who subsequently falls into the hands of a scheming nurse -- and she conspires to win his affection through trickery. Lynn Benish, Michael Storm and Niki Flacks star in ths triangle. "We find the studio technicians engrossed in our daily lives," noted Miss Flacks, "and they're always taking sides with the characters. Most of them would prefer the doctor to reunite with Meredith and give 'Karen,' the part I play, her comeuppance. "When I walkon the set, they greet me with a hiss or two. I enjoy playing a meanie. For me, there's more meat to that kind of part."

Moving to another stage of the many-plotted serial viewers find"Carla Benari, who for nine years passed for white, earning the enmity of her mother and a of close friend, a young black doctor whose pride stands in the way of his forgivingg her deception. Though there is a Negro police lieutenant carrying the torch for her affections, Carla would like to win back her doctor. Carla is played by actress Ellen Holly, whose television roles include performances in "The Defenders," "Dr. Kildare" and "The Nurses." Lillian Hayman, who won a Tony Award as "Mama" in the Broadway hit musical, "Hallelujah, Baby," plays Carla's mother. peter De Anda, the militant medic, is a co-founder with actor Robert Hooks of the Negro Ensemble, a theatrical group. He appeared in the film, "The Pawnbroker"; off-Broadway in "MacBird!"; on television in "N.Y.P.D." Jack Crowder, the police lieutenant, originated the part of Cornelius Hackl in the Pearl Bailey production of "Hello, Dolly!" Crowder has also appeared on television in "Run For Your Life," "Big Ben," 'Twilight Zone" and "Perry Mason." Off-Broadway, he appeared in "The Fantasticks."

 

One of Mrs. Nixon's favorite characters on "One Life to Live" is Anna Wolek, a first generation American w h o made sacrifices, forsaking her own happiness to send her younger brother though medical school and to keep house for the older one. Doris Belak is Anna, Miss Belak joined the ABC production from " Another World" and "Edge of Night." A graduate of the American Academv of Dramatic Arts, she is married to Broadway producer Philip Rose. Newest member of the cast is Nat Polen, veteran radio and television actor, who portrays a widower with a teenage daughter. He courts Anna because he feels his young one needs the attention of a mother.

 

Ideas, ideas and more ideas. Agnes Nixon is constantly engineering stories for "One Life to Life." "I write every day. plotting outlines act by act, scene by scene," she says. "Then Paul Roberts and Don Wallace take it from there. Finally, they turn in the completed scripts to me for editing. "Sometimes I awaken in the middle of the night with a story idea," she says. "I take the kids to the dentist and spend the time in the waiting room figuring out the situations to come on the show." Perhaps the feeling she has about "One Life to Live" Can best be described by one of the actors. "To me, it's opening night every afternoon." Agnes has the same feeling. 

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Posted (edited)

I was recommended this clip, for whatever reason. These aren't Elizabeth's last scenes (those take place in the prison breakout I have vague memories of seeing in other clips), but they are probably the final tribute to what a superb actress Lois Kibbee was. Even with just a guest appearance, she gives her all, with none of her usual bravado, or even any makeup. She is given some of the patches of good, human material OLTL still had around this time, which seemed to leave for the rest of Rauch's tenure after the departure of S Michael Schnessel. Her last line to Clint (Clint Ritchie is also in good form here) really stays with you.

 

One Life To Live- Clint Visits Elizabeth Sanders to Find an Antidote for Roger 1989 - YouTube

Edited by DRW50
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On 2/28/2021 at 12:01 AM, Paul Raven said:

June 1969 - one year in...

 

 

"EACH PERSON in our story is fighting for what he wants in his life to live," she says. "They are not always facing outside obstacles, but more often forces within themselves." 

That is the perfect description (granted, she did create the show).

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Posted (edited)

@DRW50 Elizabeth is one of my favorite OLTL baddies. If i remember correctly Jamie, Ursula and Elizabeth stopped appearing right after the jail break. But that was so many moons ago. Maybe i'm wrong.  One of my favorite Elizabeth scenes is when she told Jamie. She was too old to be running and dodging bullets. Lois Kibbee was amazing as both Geraldine and Elizabeth. Who were both very similar yet vastly different.

Edited by victoria foxton
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