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The Holy Grail of Soap Collecting

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I know many sports fans who spend years of their lives hunting down and collecting rare sports memorabilia like cards, autographs, and gloves.

 

I know avid science fiction fans who break the bank and go wild buying hard-to-find Star Trek and Star Wars merchandise.

 

I, myself, am always looking for out-of-print and obscure material from my favorite authors and musical artists.

 

What about soap fans? Are there particular soap-related books, videos, dolls, scripts, or other merchandise that you fervently want and keep trying to find?

 

I really want:

 

Daytime TV LIBRARY SERIES, Number 4, from 1976:

The Young and the Restless

 

dtvyr4.jpg

 

I have all the others in the series, but I am missing the Y&R one. I'd kill to read the interviews with the original cast members.

 

ANOTHER WORLD: May 3, 1974

Alice remarries Steven

 

bec308e1ff0820925b6a70ca3ca58ec2.jpg

 

A color copy of this episode has survived on 16-mm film and remains in the hands of stingy collectors, but has never been shared with the general public.

 

ANOTHER WORLD: Good Friday, 1975

Mary Matthews Dies

 

dc2a39e156dba63c67410dfd49c084b6.jpg

 

A copy of this exists among private collectors as well, who do not want to share their treasure. :(

 

DAILY TV SERIALS Magazine: 1970s

 

6-75dailytv.jpg

 

2-75dtvserials.jpg

 

12-74dailytv.jpg

 

This was one of the best soap magazines ever published: informative, glossy, hip; always a good read. I lost my huge collection in a move, and regret not being able to go back and enjoy all the great material DTVS had to offer. Yes, copies occasionally pop up on eBay, but there's no way I am going to pay $20.00 plus $10.00 shipping for a single issue. I would go broke trying to restock my collection.

 

What about everybody else? What elusive soap-related treasure remains like The Holy Grail to you?

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, YRfan23 said:

I want a complete archive of Y&R 1973-2005 please! :D 

 

Ahhh, don't we all?  Alas, with the master tapes being locked away from public view, that is one wish that will probably never come true.

 

All we can hope for to an occasional episode here or there to fall into the hands of traders.

 

I'd kill to see Y&& from 1973-78, specifically.

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Anyone sitting on pre-1978 episodes of any soap that isn't named The Doctors, Ryan's Hope, or Dark Shadows and ISN'T actively trying to upload them somewhere needs their soap fan card revoked.

I hate that our preferred obsession is such a niche and has been traditionally targeted at an audience that won't buy tons of useless knickknacks and other dorky stuff. I'd love to walk into one of these hipster book/music stores and find a Nancy Hughes Pop! figure or some T-shirt with a Brooke Logan inside joke. As it stands, the most we can collect are books, periodicals, and actual episodes themselves.

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Access to those collections held at various libraries from the likes of Ralph Ellis, Bill Bell and Irna Phillips.

 

Being able to read outlines, projections etc would be nirvana.

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11 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:

Anyone sitting on pre-1978 episodes of any soap that isn't named The Doctors, Ryan's Hope, or Dark Shadows and ISN'T actively trying to upload them somewhere needs their soap fan card revoked.

I hate that our preferred obsession is such a niche and has been traditionally targeted at an audience that won't buy tons of useless knickknacks and other dorky stuff. I'd love to walk into one of these hipster book/music stores and find a Nancy Hughes Pop! figure or some T-shirt with a Brooke Logan inside joke. As it stands, the most we can collect are books, periodicals, and actual episodes themselves.

 

Many years ago, before the internet made communication and sharing of media so much easier, I was HEAVILY involved in trading rare soap episodes. I would make contact with other fans across North America  via snail-mail or the telephone, and negotiate trades from among our collections.

 

Back then, vintage episodes were SO rare, it was a herculean task to get your hands on ANYTHING. I often guarded extra-special material very carefully, because it the only fodder I could use for hard-ball trading: trying to wrestle episodes I desperately wanted from another fan who did not want to part with ANY part of his own stash.

 

I can understand collectors wanting to protect their investment and not freely distributing their episodes to everyone, everywhere, without any compensation in return (like other episodes they want to acquire). But to have historically-significant material sitting in their basement, most likely rotting away, and not allowing anyone else access to copies even when fair compensation is eagerly offered? That\s just pointlessly selfish.

 

I still know traders with episodes we would all kill to see, which they will simply not copy and not share under any circumstances. I just don't see the point.

11 minutes ago, Paul Raven said:

Access to those collections held at various libraries from the likes of Ralph Ellis, Bill Bell and Irna Phillips.

 

Being able to read outlines, projections etc would be nirvana.

 

A lot of AW's scripts from the early years still exist. Eddie Drueding of the AW Home Page has amassed a collection, I believe.

 

I'd love to get and read all of Nixon's and Lemay's material!

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7 hours ago, Paul Raven said:

Access to those collections held at various libraries from the likes of Ralph Ellis, Bill Bell and Irna Phillips.

 

Being able to read outlines, projections etc would be nirvana.

Ditto! I want to go to UCLA where they have all those Bill Bell scripts/outlines stored!

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53 minutes ago, YRfan23 said:

Ditto! I want to go to UCLA where they have all those Bill Bell scripts/outlines stored!

 

Can you imagine how enthralling it would be to peruse all that material?

 

It would be more exciting than watching the dreck that daytime TV broadcasts in 2018!

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I've read through the first week of outlines for Y&R at the Bell archive at UCLA and it's a treat. Go see it; it's an easy archive to gain access to. 

Northwestern holds Agnes Nixon's work from Search for Tomorrow, the radio soaps, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, Another World, All My Children, One Life to Live, and Loving. When I visited the archive in 2015, it was still being organized, but they were gracious enough to let me see it. The material is available for the public to see, so if you're in Chicago, go visit! Oh, and contrary to what people have said, Agnes did write the first thirteen weeks of Search for Tomorrow. Her scripts are there with Roy Winsor's notes. This lady kept everything!

The University of Wisconsin, Madison holds all of Irna's papers, scripts, etc. I believe they hold every As the World Turns script from when she wrote the show, along with the stuff from her last year on the show. It's thrilling to see her name on scripts with Bill Bell & Agnes Nixon. You can also see all of her correspondence with P&G, the ad agencies, Bill, Agnes, the Dobsons, etc. along with her legal issues (the Guiding Light lawsuit is exciting to read). Again, this archive is open to the public, just make an appointment. I would say the biggest treat in Irna's collection would be the original pilot of As the World Turns. If you want to see it, be sure to request it at least a week prior to your visit. It's kept in cold storage and needs to be brought to room temperature before it can be played. It exists and should be copied and put on view in the Library of Congress. 

Now, as for the rest of it, yes, there are way too many episodes of classic soaps being hoarded with the strong likelihood of never being seen again. If the collector dies, the heirs may not care to know what's on that old VHS and will chuck it in the trash. This is the legacy of a genre which has been severely neglected and seen, studied, and analyzed by as many people as possible. We should have a venue to upload videos (a la World of Soap Themes... How I miss it!) to share our treasures with each other. The more people who have access to the videos and can help store multiple copies of an episode, the stronger our community will become. 

The episode where Morgan Fairchild's character, Jennifer, falls through the glass plate window on Search for Tomorrow exists, but the collector refuses to share it. There are episodes of Where the Heart Is, but the collectors who have them will not share them with anyone. Period. The entire run of Y&R exists, but outside of Episode #1, #205, and a handful from the mid-70s, nothing else exists from the show and that's a tragedy. There's one color clip of All My Children from its first year and that's it.

I once purchased a mid-70s script of Y&R on eBay from a day player and Paley and the Museum of Broadcasting wouldn't take it - Episode #205 - so I sold it. 

Many of the soaps were shown abroad once they were taped, so there's every chance in the world that a large cache of episodes is sitting in a vault or broadcast house waiting to be seen. If episodes of Doctor Who & Crossroads can turn up in the oddest places, I'm certain the same can happen with the early run of Y&R, AMC and most of the soaps from 1970-75 when they were in their heyday. 

 

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On 8/3/2018 at 10:12 AM, vetsoapfan said:

 

Can you imagine how enthralling it would be to peruse all that material?

 

It would be more exciting than watching the dreck that daytime TV broadcasts in 2018!

What are some of the episodes that you know of that collectors are holding us out from?

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4 hours ago, SFK said:

What are some of the episodes that you know of that collectors are holding us out from?

 

Well, the first hour-long ep of AW, from 1974: Steve and Alice's remarriage, along with the Good Friday episode from 1975, when Mary Matthews died.

 

The 90-minute episode of TEON when it switched from CBS to NBC.

 

The premiere of How to Survive a Marriage.

 

Alan and Hope's wedding and Roger's and Peggy's wedding from TGL.

 

Eps of Where the Heart Is and Return to Peyton Place.

 

The premiere of SFT from 1951.

 

And more, I am sure. I hear things, but have no verification.

 

I understand when collectors conserve these episodes to use as trading fodder, in order to get other, valuable eps (I have been guilty of this, myself), but to NEVER make back-up copies or NEVER share these treasures, even when offered fair compensation, boggles my mind.

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1 hour ago, vetsoapfan said:

 

Well, the first hour-long ep of AW, from 1974: Steve and Alice's remarriage, along with the Good Friday episode from 1975, when Mary Matthews died.

 

The 90-minute episode of TEON when it switched from CBS to NBC.

 

The premiere of How to Survive a Marriage.

 

Alan and Hope's wedding and Roger's and Peggy's wedding from TGL.

 

Eps of Where the Heart Is and Return to Peyton Place.

 

The premiere of SFT from 1951.

 

And more, I am sure. I hear things, but have no verification.

 

I understand when collectors conserve these episodes to use as trading fodder, in order to get other, valuable eps (I have been guilty of this, myself), but to NEVER make back-up copies or NEVER share these treasures, even when offered fair compensation, boggles my mind.

The premiere episode of Search for Tomorrow is viewable at the Library of Congress in Washington DC; I’ve seen it - just make an appointment. If I recall correctly, it was on YouTube or Internet Archives a few years ago, but only very briefly.  

 

I’d love to see more of The Secret Storm, especially from its last five years. The show seemed very nuanced and character driven, but it’s hard to tell from the few episodes online. 

 

Where the Heart Is is at the top of my list. The few audio clips that have surfaced on YouTube make me yearn to see it. 

 

Love of Life. I’ve always enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen, but I’d love to see the show from Meg’s return through the last show. 

 

Search for Tomorrow. I’m no fan of the 80s episodes, but from what I’ve seen of the 70s, I love and would like to see more. 

 

Any episodes of All My Children from 1970 until its first hour long episode. To see Ruth’s anti-war speech, Erica/Phil/Tara/Chuck in their youth, and - most importantly - the full arch of Erica’s abortion. Oh, and Brooke riding into town on the back of Benny Sago’s motorcycle. 

 

The first five years of Y&R

 

Bert’s uterine cancer on Guiding Light. 

 

The full Clara Gray story on One Life to Live. 

 

As the World Turns from debut through Lisa’s first exit from the show. There’s quite a bit around, but there’s so much more. 

On 8/2/2018 at 9:05 PM, vetsoapfan said:

I know many sports fans who spend years of their lives hunting down and collecting rare sports memorabilia like cards, autographs, and gloves.

 

I know avid science fiction fans who break the bank and go wild buying hard-to-find Star Trek and Star Wars merchandise.

 

I, myself, am always looking for out-of-print and obscure material from my favorite authors and musical artists.

 

What about soap fans? Are there particular soap-related books, videos, dolls, scripts, or other merchandise that you fervently want and keep trying to find?

 

I really want:

 

Daytime TV LIBRARY SERIES, Number 4, from 1976:

The Young and the Restless

 

dtvyr4.jpg

 

I have all the others in the series, but I am missing the Y&R one. I'd kill to read the interviews with the original cast members.

 

ANOTHER WORLD: May 3, 1974

Alice remarries Steven

 

bec308e1ff0820925b6a70ca3ca58ec2.jpg

 

A color copy of this episode has survived on 16-mm film and remains in the hands of stingy collectors, but has never been shared with the general public.

 

ANOTHER WORLD: Good Friday, 1975

Mary Matthews Dies

 

dc2a39e156dba63c67410dfd49c084b6.jpg

 

A copy of this exists among private collectors as well, who do not want to share their treasure. :(

 

DAILY TV SERIALS Magazine: 1970s

 

6-75dailytv.jpg

 

2-75dtvserials.jpg

 

12-74dailytv.jpg

 

This was one of the best soap magazines ever published: informative, glossy, hip; always a good read. I lost my huge collection in a move, and regret not being able to go back and enjoy all the great material DTVS had to offer. Yes, copies occasionally pop up on eBay, but there's no way I am going to pay $20.00 plus $10.00 shipping for a single issue. I would go broke trying to restock my collection.

 

What about everybody else? What elusive soap-related treasure remains like The Holy Grail to you?

 

 

 

If I come across any of these publications at flea markets, estate sales, etc. in Los Angeles, I’ll certainly let you know. The oddest things pop up from time to time in this town. 

Edited by mikelyons

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1 hour ago, mikelyons said:

The premiere episode of Search for Tomorrow is viewable at the Library of Congress in Washington DC; I’ve seen it - just make an appointment. If I recall correctly, it was on YouTube or Internet Archives a few years ago, but only very briefly.  

 

I’d love to see more of The Secret Storm, especially from its last five years. The show seemed very nuanced and character driven, but it’s hard to tell from the few episodes online. 

 

Where the Heart Is is at the top of my list. The few audio clips that have surfaced on YouTube make me yearn to see it. 

 

Love of Life. I’ve always enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen, but I’d love to see the show from Meg’s return through the last show. 

 

Search for Tomorrow. I’m no fan of the 80s episodes, but from what I’ve seen of the 70s, I love and would like to see more. 

 

Any episodes of All My Children from 1970 until its first hour long episode. To see Ruth’s anti-war speech, Erica/Phil/Tara/Chuck in their youth, and - most importantly - the full arch of Erica’s abortion. Oh, and Brooke riding into town on the back of Benny Sago’s motorcycle. 

 

The first five years of Y&R

 

Bert’s uterine cancer on Guiding Light. 

 

The full Clara Gray story on One Life to Live. 

 

As the World Turns from debut through Lisa’s first exit from the show. There’s quite a bit around, but there’s so much more. 

If I come across any of these publications at flea markets, estate sales, etc. in Los Angeles, I’ll certainly let you know. The oddest things pop up from time to time in this town. 

 

  Ahh, I could ramble on about these vintage soaps for hours, but I won't bore you, LOL. Suffice to say: ALL your choices are worthy. I've seen many of them and would kill to watch them again.

 

WTHI's fate frustrates me, because it ended up being so great, but it was initially written by Margaret DePriest and Lou Scofield whose material was simply slow and mediocre. As soon as they left, the writing improved dramatically and the show soared, but I guess viewers, once burned, did not want to give it another chance. But it was great while it lasted.

 

I was unhappy with the writing of TSS during its last several years, and how the core had been decimated, but it had been great for a long time in its heyday. LoL and SFT varied wildly in quality and interest over the years, thanks mainly to whatever great or dreadful writers who were in charge at the time, but Meg's return, under Claire Labine, was a GLORIOUS time for the series. I hated missing a single episode!

 

Ruth Brent's anti-war speech on AMC, and the Clara saga on OLTL were TV at its best. Not daytime TV, TV...period. Ruth's emotional speech gave me goosebumps, which I am getting again right now thinking about it.

 

And the first several years of Y&R set the soap opera genre on its ear. William J. Bell's glorious writing, John Conboy's lush production values, and THAT CAST were a soap fan's dream come true.

 

I cannot express how wonderful it was, getting to watch Bell's early Y&R, Harding Lemay's masterful AW, Henry Slesar's brilliant and often terrifying TEON, Agnes Nixon's fresh AMC, Pat Falken Smith's sexy DAYS, and so many others...all at the same time. We've never had a quality line up like that, since the 1970s.

 

 

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1 minute ago, vetsoapfan said:

 

  Ahh, I could ramble on about these vintage soaps for hours, but I won't bore you, LOL. Suffice to say: ALL your choices are worthy. I've seen many of them and would kill to watch them again.

 

WTHI's fate frustrates me, because it ended up being so great, but it was initially written by Margaret DePriest and Lou Scofield whose material was simply slow and mediocre. As soon as they left, the writing improved dramatically and the show soared, but I guess viewers, once burned, did not want to give it another chance. But it was great while it lasted.

 

I was unhappy with the writing of TSS during its last several years, and how the core had been decimated, but it had been great for a long time in its heyday. LoL and SFT varied wildly in quality and interest over the years, thanks mainly to whatever great or dreadful writers who were in charge at the time, but Meg's return, under Claire Labine, was a GLORIOUS time for the series. I hated missing a single episode!

 

Ruth Brent's anti-war speech on AMC, and the Clara saga on OLTL were TV at its best. Not daytime TV, TV...period. Ruth's emotional speech gave me goosebumps, which I am getting again right now thinking about it.

 

And the first several years of Y&R set the soap opera genre on its ear. William J. Bell's glorious writing, John Conboy's lush production values, and THAT CAST were a soap fan's dream come true.

 

I cannot express how wonderful it was, getting to watch Bell's early Y&R, Harding Lemay's masterful AW, Henry Slesar's brilliant and often terrifying TEON, Agnes Nixon's fresh AMC, Pat Falken Smith's sexy DAYS, and so many others...all at the same time. We've never had a quality line up like that, since the 1970s.

 

 

Now I'm sad. ;-)

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14 minutes ago, mikelyons said:

Now I'm sad. ;-)

 

 Me too. It depresses me, an avid soapaholic. to know that the genre I loved for decades is basically dead and buried. Reading TGL thread on the vintage soaps thread has been really painful lately, because folks are discussing how much of a dismal failure Peapack was, and how the show was crippled and unrecogizable by then, with pointless, irrelevant characters and embarrassingly shoddy production values. When I think of how classy the series was from 1950 to about 1982/3, and then again from about 1989 through the early 1990s, it depresses me. Of all the cancelled soaps, I think I miss TGL the most because to me, it had the longest run of continuous, uninterrupted quality: about 33 years.

 

But at least I got to see all this stuff once, for which I am eternally grateful.

 

 

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