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Proposed Soaps Over The Years

Paul Raven

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This topic got archived, so I will start it up again and bring over the info gathered on the previous thread, as well as updating.


Young Lives

ANEW syndicated soap opera may have found the ultimate approach to ''give 'em what they want'' programming. ''Young Lives'' is having a ''special preview'' this week at 5:30 P.M. on WPIX-TV, Channel 11. Viewers who watch all five episodes are being asked to answer several questions being published in the current issue of TV Guide.

Among other things, the producers want to know if the situations and characters are realistic: Which characters did you find most interesting? Most realistic? Would you watch ''Young Lives'' on a regular basis? Would you watch it with your family? Would you prefer to see it in the afternoon, early evening or after 10 P.M.? Presumably the answers to these burning questions will be carefully collated by the psychologists and family counselors who are said to have helped in the preparation of the show, and the producers will be left with a thoroughly computerized foolproof construction.

Judging from Monday's first half-hour episode, ''Young Lives'' is about as realistic as any other soap opera -and that observation is not intended to be snide. For years, the soaps have been tackling social problems well before they or the dramatic treatments of them were allowed into the more heavily patrolled precincts of primetime. Using a clever, carefully calculated mix of realism and fantasy, ''daytime drama'' weaves its own special spell.

The problem is that the plot lines, devised and usually written by committees, tend to be superficial and simpleminded, more concerned with milking a story for as long as possible than with exploring its more complicated ramifications. ''Young Lives'' would appear to be no exception to the hackneyed norm.

The series is being touted in the ads as being ''about young people, and the people who share their lives - about romance, rebellion, relationships.'' The people who share their lives seem to be parents. Susan's mother, for instance, is recently divorced and is being wooed by Johnny, the rough-edged owner of a nightclub. Johnny is not totally uncouth. He does recognize the name of Mikhail Baryshnikov when it's mentioned, though he quickly notes that ''Misha'' is a great athelete.

Problem No. 1 is that Susan, who is trying to get admitted to the American Dance Conservatory, does not like Johnny. When he tries to be friendly and says something about Susan having a job at his place, she shouts, ''I didn't take dance lessons for 10 years to work in your stupid club.'' Mother looks understandably apprehensive.

At high school, Susan and her friends spend most of their time in a luncheonette setting complete with booths and pinball machines. Here they talk about whether to have one or two ears pierced, or who has invited whom to the weekend party. Prominent in this group is Problem No. 2, a pretty young woman named Rachel, who is aggressive, bitchy and experienced. Slithering up to Brad, the local nice guy and allround heartthrob, Rachel begins nibbling at his face. ''C'mon, Rachel, not here,'' whispers embarrassed Brad. ''Well,'' smirks Rachel, ''let's go somewhere else.''

The third problem is Dirk, Melanie's younger brother who is obviously flying high on something as he listens, droopy eyed, to Bruce Springsteen in his loudly blaring portable radio. Melanie admits to her friends that ''Dirk is having a little problem right now.'' Meanwhile, there is Tony, a dark-haired ethnic type, who is also catching the attention of many of the girls. Obviously bad news, Tony seems to be a friend of Dirk's even though he looks several years older. But when Tony asks ''You wanna do something?'' visions of joints begin dancing in Dirk's head.

Clearly, a lot of plot was stuffed into the first episode of ''Young Lives.'' At fadeout, Dirk's mother was confronting him with a strange looking object - a water pipe for smoking pot - that she found in his bedroom. He insisted that it was an incense burner. She was deciding to show it to his father. He was looking increasingly glum. Would I watch this on a regular basis? I don't think so, but I probably would dip into it once a month just to see how things are going with the kids.

Edited by Paul Raven
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NBC 1950s


Family Doctor was to be written by John Haggart and produced/directed by Al McCleery who had worked in radio with the prolific Hummerts,who created many radio soaps.

Candy and Bill was a domestic comedy packaged by Carol Irwin an ad agency exec who had also worked in radio soaps.


Cinderella Story.

Produced by Biography Films, the serial has been optioned by NBC. The estimated cost comes to $11,000.00 for five 15 minute programs weekly. Curtis Mitchell, co-producer along with Blair Wallis. says that by the use of standardization techniques invented for this series the weekly cost is comparable, to the cost of a live serial. A big advantage for advertisers: good prints rather than kinescopes can be distributed to markets which haven't been cleared live.

The story line: Young Ohio school teacher wins a cover contest conducted by a famous New York magazine: comes to the big city. This lends itself to another cost-cutter: actual backgrounds will be used. Whenever necessary, the cast will he photographed against Radio City. Statue of Liberty, and other Manhattan sights. Shooting schedule calls for Biography Films to work 20 15 minute episodes ahead on the 35mm. black and white soaper.

Sincerely, Katy Randall

To be broadcast from Philadelphia


'Hometown USA'

,NBC had a plan for 4 15min soaps under the banner 'Hometown USA'.The idea is that the shows would be cheaper to produce because common permanent sets could be used.The Brooklyn studios were planned as home for these shows.

I guess that is the same studio AW taped in.

They were to air in the 10.30 - 11.30 a.m..

Each 15 min show would focus on different residents of the town-the doctor,a female personnel manager in a local factory,a mother seamstress and the local grocery store. Some of the supporting characters will appear in all four stories

This last segment would be patterned after the successful radio soap 'Vic n Sade' and was to be written by that show's writer Paul Rhymer.

Authorities said present thinking is that the sale of two quarter -hours will be sufficient to get the series under way. Talent costs were estimated at less than $9,000 per quarter - hour. NBC -TV officials said an advertiser would have to spend almost $45,000 a week to use a setting comparable to Hometown for his own 15- minute daytime strip. Under the Hometown concept, they reported, this cost is cut as much as 80%. Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., NBC vice president in charge of radio and television, told a news conference t'.:e programs would represent soap opera "on a more interesting level, and more informative," and said it was hoped the new pattern would stimulate writers to move into "new dimensions" which, while providing entertainment, would do more than entertain. With the action of all four plots taking place in a single town, he said, the effects of real -world events can be shown in the actions and reactions of the characters in the stories. He said the programs will have the quality of nighttime shows. Outlines of Hometown's four stories were presented in a kinescope with Dave Garroway as m.c.

NBC would not put the show to air until they had substansial sponsorship and obviously that never happened.



 'Fisherman's Wharf' produced and directed by Charles Powers.



Flamingo Road . Continuation of nightime soap slotted at 3pm. Change of daytime execs saw it shelved.

Edited by Paul Raven
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CBS 1950s

After NBC cancelled her first TV soap 'These Are My Children'.Irna Phillips announced she was developing a new serial which had attracted sponsor interest ,thus proving there was interest in daytime soaps and NBC may have been hasty in cancelling.

The show was titled 'Challenge To Spring' and expected to air on CBS.


 Garden of Eve,from an idea by Jerry Horwin of CBS script department and to be written by Manya Starr.


General Mills may divorce "Bride and Groom" this fall. The program has done a good job for the sponsor in the 12 -12:15 Monday - Wednesday- Friday CBS -TV spot, but the advertiser is considering whether a soap opera might not do even better. GM may program the old soaper, "Woman in White," which was a radio serial.


 'Haven House' for actress Joan Bennett.


 US version of hit British medical soap 'Emergency Ward 10' with plans to produce it on location at New York's St Luke's Hospital.

Actress Margaret'Maggie'Hayes was approached by CBS for the lead in the proposed Mildred Pierce, based on the 1945 Joan Crawford movie.This was shot down due to legal wranglings over ownership of the property.

 'The Will to Dream' ready to go.It concerned the relationship between an atomic scientist and his wife,with the background being 'contemporary' and many of the problems 'topical'

Doris Frankel was listed as writer.She wrote for GH,SFT and AMC


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I've been reading online that a tv series is being considered by the name of "Sin City." "Basin City" is the town's criminal-infested setting, and it's apparently based on some dark comic strips and movies created by some guy named Frank Miller. I read some of the details about the comics and the movies and I think it would translate well into some weekly dark tv show. Most of the characters sound like larger-than-life criminals and I can already see it reminding of some modern-day Edge of Night.

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I’ve always wanted to know more about Union Place. Here’s a section of an interview where Claire Labine talks about it



John asks: I've read that you had developed and pitched a new soap to CBS during the years when you were away from RH. Was this an earlier version of what almost became your GH spinoff in the mid-90s, or was it something else? Can you tell us about it?
Claire Labine: Yes.  There were two, actually.  The first was one of the ones that could be a novel.  It was set on a horse farm in Kentucky.  It was called CELEBRATION. And it’s still around and it’s still alive.  The other was HEART & SOUL (aka Union Place). HEART & SOUL was about two families, one black, one white, both show business families.  The black family was three generations of jazz musicians.  Next door was a theatrical family.  The Brooklyn community was a big part of it, as well as a local radio station, some very colorful characters.  Matt (Labine) and I really loved it.  We had the first go around with it with ABC, then NBC, then ABC again.  

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