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From AFTERNOON TV, January 1981:

 

A summary of the soaps' ratings at the time and a review of the debut of TEXAS.

 

review of TEXAS debut.jpg

 

A harsh, but accurate, analysis of Y&R, which was quite dreadful in 1980. I only endured its heinous writing and plots because of the remaining actors/characters whom I still cared about. This period was NOT one of William J. Bell's best.

 

yr review 1.jpgyr review 2.jpgyr review 3.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by vetsoapfan

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I remember reading this article first time around...

 

Who is being called out ? Doug Davidson? Melody? Tammy Taylor?

 

Agree about the dialogue -  at the time it added a campy layer.

 

You can tell they were floundering with the move to the hour. Moving Derek into business, giving Leslie amnesia etc

 

Y&R always had tightly focused stories up till then.

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54 minutes ago, Paul Raven said:

I remember reading this article first time around...

 

Who is being called out ? Doug Davidson? Melody? Tammy Taylor?

 

Agree about the dialogue -  at the time it added a campy layer.

 

You can tell they were floundering with the move to the hour. Moving Derek into business, giving Leslie amnesia etc

 

Y&R always had tightly focused stories up till then.

I would say Tammy Taylor since she was dropped quickly. When Lilibet Stern took over,  she and the character of Patty became popular and she was all over magazines. 

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Interesting to note in the Publisher's Memo was that reruns of The Love Boat, The Jeffersons, and Alice were pulling in higher ratings than many of the soaps during 1980.  An early precursor of things to come later on as soaps would be canceled as fans tuned to a multitude of cable channels and the Internet for their daily entertainment.

 

Also, did NBC heavily promote Texas before its debut with print, radio, and nighttime TV commercials?  Did it receive as much promotion as the Editor's Note states?

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1 hour ago, watson71 said:

Interesting to note in the Publisher's Memo was that reruns of The Love Boat, The Jeffersons, and Alice were pulling in higher ratings than many of the soaps during 1980.  An early precursor of things to come later on as soaps would be canceled as fans tuned to a multitude of cable channels and the Internet for their daily entertainment.

 

Also, did NBC heavily promote Texas before its debut with print, radio, and nighttime TV commercials?  Did it receive as much promotion as the Editor's Note states?

Yes, Cable and Satellite in the late 70's/80's started to pull viewers away from network TV. I think another problem is people of the young generation (Millennial's and Gen Z) have a shorter attention span and do not have the patience or tolerance for long dragged out storylines. They want action within the first 10 minutes or they move on. TV seasons use to consist of 25-30 episodes a season, now a season is maybe 8 episodes if that. 

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Thank you! Loved reading that. I'm sure your recollections on YR '80 are accurate, along with John Genovese's assessment... but hindsight is 20/20... YR '80 is oscar-worthy compared to YR 2019 :/

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Loving these articles @vetsoapfan !    By chance do you have any articles on the P & G soap changes in 1980-81, where P & G got rid of veteran stars on all of their shows and revamped the themes and credits for all of their shows in an attempt to compete with the "hipper" ABC soaps that were stealing viewers from the P & G shows.  I imagine that in pre-Internet days, that longtime P & G fans were not happy with all these changes.

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On 8/7/2019 at 7:59 AM, Paul Raven said:

I remember reading this article first time around...

 

Who is being called out ? Doug Davidson? Melody? Tammy Taylor?

 

Agree about the dialogue -  at the time it added a campy layer.

 

You can tell they were floundering with the move to the hour. Moving Derek into business, giving Leslie amnesia etc

 

Y&R always had tightly focused stories up till then.

 

The writing really nose-dived in 1979 or so, and was quite poor for the next few years. Viewers were forced to endure painfully stupid, campy plots along with strangely stilted and unnatural dialogue, performed by several ((ahem)) "actors" who should have remained hair models.

 

One thing used to drive me crazy: multiple characters would put the objects before the subjects in their sentences:

 

--"The book, are you going to write it?"

 

--"The concert, are you going to perform it?"

 

--""The divorce, are you going to accept it?"

 

--"Your wife, are you going to stay with her?"

 

ARGH! Noooooobody speaks like that, so having multiple characters using the same bizarre style was egregious.

 

Personally, I thought Tammy Taylor was fine, but both Erica Hope and her replacement, Melody Thomas, were unbearably bad.

 

21 hours ago, watson71 said:

Interesting to note in the Publisher's Memo was that reruns of The Love Boat, The Jeffersons, and Alice were pulling in higher ratings than many of the soaps during 1980.  An early precursor of things to come later on as soaps would be canceled as fans tuned to a multitude of cable channels and the Internet for their daily entertainment.

 

Also, did NBC heavily promote Texas before its debut with print, radio, and nighttime TV commercials?  Did it receive as much promotion as the Editor's Note states?

 

Yes, NBC promoted the heck out of the show. They wanted to cash in on the success of primetime's DALLAS, which was a mega-hit at that time. 

 

14 hours ago, yrfan1983 said:

Thank you! Loved reading that. I'm sure your recollections on YR '80 are accurate, along with John Genovese's assessment... but hindsight is 20/20... YR '80 is oscar-worthy compared to YR 2019 :/

 

True. Even though I cringed my way through Y&R in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I DID stick with the show. I knew William J. Bell would eventually turn it around. I cannot stomach today's pod-version of the soap.

 

12 hours ago, watson71 said:

Loving these articles @vetsoapfan !    By chance do you have any articles on the P & G soap changes in 1980-81, where P & G got rid of veteran stars on all of their shows and revamped the themes and credits for all of their shows in an attempt to compete with the "hipper" ABC soaps that were stealing viewers from the P & G shows.  I imagine that in pre-Internet days, that longtime P & G fans were not happy with all these changes.

 

I cannot really say what I still have until I stumble across it. I have been finding various old magazines here and there as I clean out my apartment, and only know what I have when I actually find it and look at it. But yes, at the time of all the upheaval and gutting of the vets, the letters-to-the-editors pages were filled with irate complaints from livid fans. They threatened to abandon the soaps, and judging by the ratings, many of them did. ATWT really took a nose-dive when it made drastic and delirious changes in a lame attempt to capture the youth market. Only mindless idiots who did not understand the show would allow Helen Wagner to drop out of the series.

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7 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

ATWT really took a nose-dive when it made drastic and delirious changes in a lame attempt to capture the youth market. Only mindless idiots who did not understand the show would allow Helen Wagner to drop out of the series.

Would that lame attempt include the pairing of Peter Reckell and Dana Delany? Both future stars, but my impression is that they both tanked on ATWT.

I remember when Dana hit it big on China Beach, she appeared on a talk show and spoke disparagingly of soap operas. Jeanne Cooper was not pleased.

Edited by yrfan1983

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58 minutes ago, yrfan1983 said:

Would that lame attempt include the pairing of Peter Reckell and Dana Delany? Both future stars, but my impression is that they both tanked on ATWT.

I remember when Dana hit it big on China Beach, she appeared on a talk show and spoke disparagingly of soap operas. Jeanne Cooper was not pleased.

 

Neither Reckell nor Delany had interesting roles to play on ATWT, and the writing for them was tepid, so I'm not surprised their characters tanked. Clearly both actors had talent, as evidenced by their later success on other series, but Oakdale was not the place for them.

 

Still, a new romance with new young characters was not a terrible idea per se, so I did not fault the show for that. The idiotic choices I was thinking about were gratuitously axing several veteran, older (and beloved) characters in favor of nubile newbies; introducing campy adventure stories like Mr. Big and Babs' past-life regressions; the cheesy disco-ball-off-its-axis opening which debuted in 1981, etc. YUCK. The established audience was not thrilled.

 

What did Dana say that annoyed Jeanne Cooper, do you remember?

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50 minutes ago, vetsoapfan said:

What did Dana say that annoyed Jeanne Cooper, do you remember?

Oh gosh, this is going off a long-ago memory... I just tried googling it but nothing came up.

 

I think it was the Tonight Show in the late 80s or very early 90s ... Dana dissed her experiences being on Love of Life and ATWT. Something about soaps not requiring or empowering "real acting" - just memorizing dozens of script pages.

 

Jeanne responded, perhaps in SOD? saying that Dana was very mistaken and soap actors are the most talented and hardest-working actors in the biz.

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1 hour ago, yrfan1983 said:

Oh gosh, this is going off a long-ago memory... I just tried googling it but nothing came up.

 

I think it was the Tonight Show in the late 80s or very early 90s ... Dana dissed her experiences being on Love of Life and ATWT. Something about soaps not requiring or empowering "real acting" - just memorizing dozens of script pages.

 

Jeanne responded, perhaps in SOD? saying that Dana was very mistaken and soap actors are the most talented and hardest-working actors in the biz.

 

IMHO, the actors who denigrate their time on soaps were either too lazy to put any real effort into their performances, too indifferent to try because they felt soaps were "beneath" them, or simply not technically adept enough to keep up with the fast pace. Don't tell me that Michael Zaslow, Beverlee McKinsey, Judith Light, Julianne Moore, Charita Bauer, Larry Bryggman, Susan Flannery, Jacqueline Courtney, David Canary, etc., did not treat viewers to complex, layered, great acting. Pffft! Delany bombed out on daytime TV. Many others did not.

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7 hours ago, yrfan1983 said:

Oh gosh, this is going off a long-ago memory... I just tried googling it but nothing came up.

 

I think it was the Tonight Show in the late 80s or very early 90s ... Dana dissed her experiences being on Love of Life and ATWT. Something about soaps not requiring or empowering "real acting" - just memorizing dozens of script pages.

 

Jeanne responded, perhaps in SOD? saying that Dana was very mistaken and soap actors are the most talented and hardest-working actors in the biz.

 

     I remember watching that Dana Delany interview!  It was on Later with Bob Costas and she was talking about the acting on soaps and taking shortcuts with the acting or something like that.  And later I remember Jeanne Cooper saying in TV Guide that she was so angry she wanted to reach through the TV and grab her by the throat!  That Jeanne Cooper, she did not suffer fools gladly!

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2 hours ago, Jagger1966 said:

 

     I remember watching that Dana Delany interview!  It was on Later with Bob Costas and she was talking about the acting on soaps and taking shortcuts with the acting or something like that.  And later I remember Jeanne Cooper saying in TV Guide that she was so angry she wanted to reach through the TV and grab her by the throat!  That Jeanne Cooper, she did not suffer fools gladly!

Ha! I'm torn because I loved Dana on China Beach and she quite deservedly won 2 Emmys for it. Also enjoyed her on Desperate Housewives. But how dare she put down our beloved soaps!

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20 minutes ago, yrfan1983 said:

Ha! I'm torn because I loved Dana on China Beach and she quite deservedly won 2 Emmys for it. Also enjoyed her on Desperate Housewives. But how dare she put down our beloved soaps!

 

A part of me thinks it's incredibly hypocritical, given that the last two seasons of China Beach were nothing but turgid soap opera, but then I also remember that her main soap gig was on ATWT in a period where it was a dead zone of acting and writing.

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