Jump to content
danfling

The soap opera writers' discussion

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, MichaelGL said:

People often credit Pat Faulken Smith, Margaret DePriest, Marland, and etc for GH's renaissance during the late 70s and early 80s, but what about Robert J. Shaw? On another post I saw that he may have written for Bright Promise during one of their more stronger periods, and his name is rarely mentioned after having written for shows such as Dallas, Peyton Place, and Our Private World. 

 

Robert J. Shaw: for me, an overall NO.

 

His work on daytime dramas, or at least that of it which I personally endured (LOL) was substandard. He was dreadful on Somerset.  His contribution to GH was even worse. Years after his departure, a colleague on the writing team acknowledged that Shaw did not even know much about what was going on with the show during his tenure, even asking questions like, "Who is Luke Spencer, again?"

 

His individual scripts for Peyton Place were fine, but taken as a whole, I personally do not feel his work lived up to the high standards set by other, legendary soap scribes.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MichaelGL said:

People often credit Pat Faulken Smith, Margaret DePriest, Marland, and etc for GH's renaissance during the late 70s and early 80s, but what about Robert J. Shaw?

 

I read once that Shaw was HW "in name only," and that it was actually Leah Laiman and Thom Racina who handled those duties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Khan said:

 

I read once that Shaw was HW "in name only," and that it was actually Leah Laiman and Thom Racina who handled those duties.

 

Yes, that is what's been revealed about GH in those years. Unfortunately for the show, Laiman and Racina sucked big-time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know.. I thought Laiman wrote some good stuff on Days of our Lives in the late 80s.  She created Justin/Adrienne, made Patch/Kayla a memorable couple (their first wedding was beautful), and had the idea to put Shane/Kimberly/Eve in a house together.. and years of story was generated by Kimberly and Eve's attempts to get along.  

 

And I will say that her storyline on AW about who shot/'killed' Grant made perfect sense in a weird way.. because Paulina took the rap to protect the person she thought was her child.  It was the only story that really made sense on the show (though I will credit the Lumina story for restoring Rachel back to her old self again.. that was the only bright spot of that story).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert J Shaw had worked on soaps as far back as the 50s. Possibly Brighter Day and definitely Love of Life. I think he is regarded as a bit of a 'journeyman' ie he knows the basics and can come up with a year or so of stories and then move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how Ira Avery was on LIAMST, but his stint on The Doctors from fall 1969 to summer 1970 was an unmitigated disaster. He broke up Althea and Nick (and had Nick rape Althea), throwing her into the arms of Steve, who had finally been making inroads with Carolee. It didn't help that Liz Hubbard was in Hollywood during this time and Althea was being played by Virginia Vestoff. This is no knock whatsoever on VV, who did her best with subpar material, but they made the character so unlikable by then that it was impossible to root for her. Even after Liz Hubbard returned to the show in October 1970 (and her return coincided with the debut of the Pollocks as the show's new writers), the writing regimes that followed never were able to return Althea to the strong heroine she had been under the pen of Rita Lakin.

 

Other duds during Avery's tenure included the Gary Corrigan (aka "The Boy" or "The Corrigan Boy") saga, where Maggie became inexplicably drawn to the young patient. This led to several bizarre fantasy scenes where this patient, a gifted artist, sculpted an extremely creepy-looking bust of Maggie. Then there was Carolee and the lockbox story. The less said about that, the better.

 

That said, the bright spots of Avery's time on TD included the introduction of the Kearney siblings - Eileen as Greta Powers and Mark as the original Billy Allison. Greta's rabbit bite story and how it changed her into a "bad seed" was easily the most compelling story of his tenure on TD, and 9-year-old Eileen absolutely killed it. The other good thing that summer was the introduction of Richard Niles as the original Rico Bellini, and how his story ended up crossing into the Greta story.

 

It's also important to note that by the summer of 1970, Avery had been assigned a co-writer named Stanley Silverman. The best work of Avery's TD regime was when he was joined by Silverman. 

 

According to imdb, not only did Avery never write a soap after TD, he didn’t write for TV again, period. Not sure about Stanley Silverman.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I've seen Cenedella in action on The Doctors.. I can see why some @vetsoapfan isn't too keen on him, but he certainly isn't the worst of writers... more like the middle of the pack.  I can't wait to see pre GH Depriest on The Doctors (I liked her brief stint on AMC and her first stint on AW wasn't that bad.. but everything after...no comment).

 

I see a lot of Gabrielle Upton mentioned as a headwriter of the 70s... I've heard good and bad things about that writer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Soaplovers said:

Now that I've seen Cenedella in action on The Doctors.. I can see why some @vetsoapfan isn't too keen on him, but he certainly isn't the worst of writers... more like the middle of the pack.  I can't wait to see pre GH Depriest on The Doctors (I liked her brief stint on AMC and her first stint on AW wasn't that bad.. but everything after...no comment).

 

I see a lot of Gabrielle Upton mentioned as a headwriter of the 70s... I've heard good and bad things about that writer.

SoapLovers can you please tell me about Gabrielle Upton ? Don't know much about her HW runs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Soaplovers said:

Now that I've seen Cenedella in action on The Doctors.. I can see why some @vetsoapfan isn't too keen on him, but he certainly isn't the worst of writers... more like the middle of the pack.  I can't wait to see pre GH Depriest on The Doctors (I liked her brief stint on AMC and her first stint on AW wasn't that bad.. but everything after...no comment).

 

I see a lot of Gabrielle Upton mentioned as a headwriter of the 70s... I've heard good and bad things about that writer.

 

 

Well, I always found Cenedella's work to be "ehh," not really good but not the worst of the worst either. The best he did was on AW right after Agnes Nixon left and he had her bible to guide him. He was sandwiched between two stellar talents on that show, Nixon and Lemay, so his "adequacy" was more glaring, I suppose.

 

Really, you've heard good things about Upton?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

 

 

Well, I always found Cenedella's work to be "ehh," not really good but not the worst of the worst either. The best he did was on AW right after Agnes Nixon left and he had her bible to guide him. He was sandwiched between two stellar talents on that show, Nixon and Lemay, so his "adequacy" was more glaring, I suppose.

 

Really, you've heard good things about Upton?

 

Maybe not good things.. but more like they saw what Upton was trying to do and thought that Upton had good intentions.  By the time I started watching soaps.. Upton was not head-writing shows and I've never seen any of Upton's work so I can't judge for myself... so I'm curious about Upton.. is all

 

Some of what Cenedella's done on the Doctors so far isn't too bad.. he's actually good with character driven scenes... and showing the staff behaving and interacting like a family.. but his big weakness is plot/pacing (the Eleanor story has promise.. but it's happening too lightening fast... and he resolved the Karen/Steve/Carole custody story nicely and made Karen human instead of a cold hearted monster that the Pollock's wrote.. but that story dominated for two weeks straight.. and once it was over.. there wasn't anything else to take it over.. so he jump started a doctor's illness story as well as the Eleanor story quickly over the last few weeks of episodes aired).

 

I've heard the Corrington's were good on SFT (never seen their work on there)... but based on their stints on Texas and Capitol..I don't know if they're type of writing is my stint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

 

 

Well, I always found Cenedella's work to be "ehh," not really good but not the worst of the worst either. The best he did was on AW right after Agnes Nixon left and he had her bible to guide him. He was sandwiched between two stellar talents on that show, Nixon and Lemay, so his "adequacy" was more glaring, I suppose.

 

Really, you've heard good things about Upton?

Robert Cenedella killed off Bill Matthews and Lee Randolph. You don't kill off the next generation of the core families.  Sigh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Robert Cenedella-created Somerset was WONDERFUL.  He was succeeded on the show by Henry Slesar, who used the already-created characters to be used in one of his best mysteries (Who had murdered Jasper Delaney).

 

Mr. Cenedella later succeeded James Lipton as the head writer of Return to Peyton Place.

Didn't Mr. Shaw co-created (with Irna Phillips) Our Private World?

Again, I cannot now determine if Gabrielle Upton/Gillian Houghton was good or not.  

 

She made each episode seem self-contained, yet there was continuity at the same time.

 

I understand that Jada Rowland (Amy #1) and Stephanie Braxton (Laurie #2, who later became a writer herself) would complain about the quality of scripts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Bill Matthews/ Joe Gallison on AW - Was he fired or did he leave when his contract expired.

Just that I find it hard to believe that AW would drop such a popular character unless the actor decided to depart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2018-05-17 at 7:22 AM, Paul Raven said:

Regarding Bill Matthews/ Joe Gallison on AW - Was he fired or did he leave when his contract expired.

Just that I find it hard to believe that AW would drop such a popular character unless the actor decided to depart.

I believe that Joseph Gallison (Bill Matthews) and Carol Roux (Melissa Matthews) left Another World in 1969 on their own accord.  I read that Agnes Nixon brought Joesph Gallison to One Life to Live.  When Somerset was created TPTB wanted Bill and Melissa & and Sam Lahoma to anchor it.  Apparently Joseph wanted to join Somerset but he could not get out of his OLTL contract so they killed Bill off.  Then Carol Roux was unhappy and left after 6 months.  I wish someone would do an interview with Joseph Gallison about his great soap opera career.  I am sure he has amazing stories.

Edited by Efulton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×