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Soap Opera finales of the past (1960's thru 1980's)


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Its funny because if I recall most of the soaps do have some kind of loose thread for the most part.

AW showed Grant alive and well on Tanquir just as Cindy was about to vacation there.

GL left the thread about Jeffery chasing Edmund unresolved.

ATWT left Holden and Lily hanging over a chance at reconciliation.

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Just a note about Jane White...Only a few months ago, I found out that she was the great-great granddaughter of President William Henry Harrison and the geat-great-great granddaughter of Benjamin Harrison IV, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. WHH had 10 children by his wife, and six by one of his slaves. Jane's father, Walter White, was head of the NAACP from 1931 until his death in 1955. Jane passed away in 2011 at the age of 89. I will always remember her from her days as the villainess Nurse Lydia Halliday on 'Edge of Night,' where she was assisted by her nurse's aide Calvin Bremmer, played by Scott Glenn, in attempting to murder their patient Phil Capice (Ray MacDonnell).

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Dark Shadows is the only soap I know of that was done in by plots moving too fast. A character could be introduced at the beginning of one episode, and be dead by the final credits. Plots were used too quickly, so that every gothic device (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, the Frankenstein story) got used up, leaving questionable material like the Leviathans and parallel time as all that was left.

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IIRC, none of the original characters were in the finale, even Barnabas. The show was in parallel time, but maybe Julia was around for that. At the end of the episode there was a voiceover saying what happened at the end of parallel time, but I don't recall if anything was said for the present day characters.

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Dark Shadows is the only soap I know of that was done in by plots moving too fast. A character could be introduced at the beginning of one episode, and be dead by the final credits. Plots were used too quickly, so that every gothic device (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, the Frankenstein story) got used up, leaving questionable material like the Leviathans and parallel time as all that was left.

Many soap press people say that DS proved that a non traditional soap just couldn't keep up quality ad success for long--they needed a "realistic" soap to do that. But i call BS on that--it's just what you said, they started to burn through story and horror (even sci fi) plot devices way too quickly--and stopped focusing as much on character and some slow burn.

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I don't think that burnout was the problem - I think that it was always going to have quick burnout. As some actors said, it was a miracle it lasted as long as it did. The show was built on a fad, and based on characters who could not be sustained long-term.

The biggest mistake IMO was in poorly utilizing Quentin after the 1897 story.

I also don't think they moved too fast - 1897 went on for nine months or more and the stories were gradually built up. The Leviathan story, which sent ratings falling, went slowly until quick rewrites at the end.

Many also believe the movie helped kill the show.

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House of Dark Shadows (the first, which is on TCM sometimes) was a success. The problem was that the movie was VERY violent, far more than the TV show. There's an idea that parents forbade their kids from watching the show after this, that kids may have gotten out of watching the show because it was not as vibrant as the film, etc.

I have always felt like the end of 1897, which was poorly done and was also a cheat, helped alienate viewers. A lot of stories had poor wrapups (the main exception was Judith's revenge on Trask), and the whole Josette-is-reincarnated story had a quick and unsatisfying finish where Josette committed suicide and Barnabas was tormented and alone yet again.

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The Santa Barbara finale basically blew, except for, perhaps, the limited focus on Mason and Julia, characters who were around from word go - or almost, in Julia's case - even if one was a recast. I'd include the rest of the Capwells, but they were so marginalized, it was pathetic. All for newbies or Pam Long's pet project Walkers. And, even if they were never the draw for me, personally, there is no denying that Cruz and Eden basically "made" SB and to end the show with not even a one-sided phone call hinting at a reconciliation was just criminal, to me.

To add, while the wedding in the finale was for Warren Lockridge, well...Jack Wagner's version bore no resemblance to John Allen Nelson's character and, actually, I would say they were different characters with the same name. At least Mason, through recasts, kept his insecure, witty, snarky essence. (I won't even touch the dumb retcon of Lionel not being Warren's dad just so Warren/Cassie was less icky. JAN's Warren was a Nicolas Coster clone. No way was he not Lionel's then.)

And, finally, Paul Rauch at the end. 'Nuff said. What an appalling ending for a once sophisticated, classy, witty soap.

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House of Dark Shadows (the first, which is on TCM sometimes) was a success. The problem was that the movie was VERY violent, far more than the TV show. There's an idea that parents forbade their kids from watching the show after this, that kids may have gotten out of watching the show because it was not as vibrant as the film, etc.

I have always felt like the end of 1897, which was poorly done and was also a cheat, helped alienate viewers. A lot of stories had poor wrapups (the main exception was Judith's revenge on Trask), and the whole Josette-is-reincarnated story had a quick and unsatisfying finish where Josette committed suicide and Barnabas was tormented and alone yet again.

I do agree with what I've seen of that.

Night of Dark Shadows was surprisingly violent as well--at least to me, as I didn't expect that.

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