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Locations of Soap Opera towns


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Another World's Bay City was originally a university town located in Michigan .  Sometime during the 1980s, it became a city across Lake Michigan near Chicago, Illinois without any explanation.  It's first spinoff Somerset, was a city 50 miles north of Bay City.  It's unofficial spinoffs For Richer, For Poorer and Lover and Friends was located in the Chicago suburbs of Point Clair, Illinois.  It's other spinoff, Texas, was set in Houston.

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Bay City, Somerset, etc. also exist in the same universe as Oakdale (ATWT), Springfield (GL), and Genoa City (Y&R). IIRC, ATWT's Reid was killed in Bay City.

 

Pine Valley and Llanview also exist in the same universe as Port Charles, and Corinth.

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The real Genoa City, Wisconsin is just over the Illinois state line. I think the Y&R 25th anniversary book made mention that the Bells took Genoa City, Wisconsin as the setting for Y&R as they passed through the town on their way from Chicago to their vacation home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The real Genoa City is not a bustling metropolis that is home to multinational conglomerates and a cosmetics company in the vein of Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Clinique.

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Pine Valley, Llanview, and Corinth are near each other on Philadelphia's Main Line. Agnes Nixon even used the Welsh naming system Main Line families used for their houses for OLTL's Llanfair. OLTL's Center City is a stand-in for Philadelphia. Pine Valley is based on Rosemont, PA, the same town which would later inspire the town in Pretty Little Liars. If I recall, Llanview and Pine Valley are separated by the Llantano River with Corinth being nearby. I'd bet Corinth is a stand-in for Bryn Mawr, PA, home to the university of the same name on the Main Line.

Exterior shots of Llanview from the 1980s opening were from Harrisburg, PA. The homes and houses featured as establishing shots for Pine Valley were located in Princeton, NJ and a town in Connecticut I'm blanking on right now. I believe estates in Long Island were used as stand-ins for Corinth at the beginning of LOVING.

Genoa City is a tiny town in Wisconsin and does look like where the down at heel Fosters would have lived with the Brooks living in wealthy Lake Geneva. There is a local TV documentary produced about Y&R's relationship with Lake Geneva and Genoa City. I only saw it once and haven't been able to locate it since, but it provides an interesting window into the people who "inspired" that world. From its inception, Chicago was supposed to serve as the closest "big city" to Genoa City, but now Genoa City rivals Chicago for the number of multinational corporations and billionaires! Once Y&R "grew up" Genoa City became Pittsburgh, which is where establishing shots and location filming were done for many, many years. Around 2004, they showed an establishing shot of the Chancellor Mansion which was a mansion located outside of Pittsburgh. I don't know if it's ever been shown again.

The Los Angeles of B&B bears no relation to the real Los Angeles or even Beverly Hills, save for establishing shots of the city.

Harmony, New England from PASSIONS never had any real sense of place. I'd guess it was meant to be Salem, MA due to its heavy use of historical witchcraft.

Irna's soaps almost always took place in towns in and around the Chicago region. Agnes' took place in Pennsylvania. 

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3 hours ago, kalbir said:

The real Genoa City, Wisconsin is just over the Illinois state line. I think the Y&R 25th anniversary book made mention that the Bells took Genoa City, Wisconsin as the setting for Y&R as they passed through the town on their way from Chicago to their vacation home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The real Genoa City is not a bustling metropolis that is home to multinational conglomerates and a cosmetics company in the vein of Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Clinique.


For the longest it always seemed to me as Genoa City grew  was a Y&R replacement for Milwaukee as I always heard the characters talk about other regional locations such as Chicago, Madison, Green Bay etc. but never mention Milwaukee not once. During Isabella’s disappearance I remember it was alleged Christine dumped Isabella’s body in Lake Michigan.  Finally a couple years ago the city of Milwaukee was finally mentioned. 
 

I appreciate though Y&R had some veracity though as Dru and Neil once went off to Crystal Lake Illinois which is very close to the real life Genoa City.

 

I think Harmony was in Maine?

 

SFT’s Henderson’s location was never stated I don’t believe but during the infamous flood story of 1986 the TV weatherman had pointed to the real life Henderson KY on the weather map. 

Edited by soapfan770
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1 hour ago, Darn said:

In watching 80s episodes of AMC I discovered Pine Valley wasn't always meant to be set in PA. Tad specifically referred to his friend moving to Pine Valley from Pennsylvania.

That's correct. From what I recall, Pine Valley wasn't located in Pennsylvania until at least 1990. After that, all of the ABC soaps had their cities aligned with a state. Pine Valley was a grey area in that it was a pre-Revolutionary War hamlet within an hour of New York City.

36 minutes ago, soapfan770 said:


For the longest it always seemed to me as Genoa City grew  was a Y&R replacement for Milwaukee as I always heard the characters talk about other regional locations such as Chicago, Madison, Green Bay etc. but never mention Milwaukee not once. During Isabella’s disappearance I remember it was alleged Christine dumped Isabella’s body in Lake Michigan.  Finally a couple years ago the city of Milwaukee was finally mentioned. 
 

I appreciate though Y&R had some veracity though as Dru and Neil once went off to Crystal Lake Illinois which is very close to the real life Genoa City.

 

That's a great fact about Genoa City and Milwaukee! I never heard that before, but it makes a whole lot of sense. Kay would live by the lake and everyone else would live in the city. Nice catch, @soapfan770

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Port Charles is located in Upstate New York, most likely on Lake Ontario, somewhere near Rochester. The map below is one possible location. It is about 32 miles north-west of Rochester, about 24 miles north of Batavia and about 47 miles north-east of Buffalo. I believe the show had already been using Rochester as a stand in for establishing shots for years before actually shooting on location there for Luke and Laura's return story in 1993; however Rochester has been mentioned as a separate city (and indeed, Lesley was being held captive in a house there immediately prior to her 1996 return).

 

 

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22 minutes ago, BoldRestless said:

In the 90s SOD had a feature where they had cartoonist renderings of the soap towns. I wonder if they are online anywhere.


When I was a kid in the ‘80s, my mother and her co-workers had one of those cartoon maps of Pine Valley hanging in their office. Years later, I was in an entertainment industry person’s office, and she had one standing up in a plastic frame on her desk. I have a postcard version a friend gave me from Disney World. One of Llanview too. I’ll upload them.

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18 hours ago, SFK said:


When I was a kid in the ‘80s, my mother and her co-workers had one of those cartoon maps of Pine Valley hanging in their office. Years later, I was in an entertainment industry person’s office, and she had one standing up in a plastic frame on her desk. I have a postcard version a friend gave me from Disney World. One of Llanview too. I’ll upload them.

Cool! I'll love to see them!

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19 hours ago, BoldRestless said:

In the 90s SOD had a feature where they had cartoonist renderings of the soap towns. I wonder if they are online anywhere.


I remember that!! I think it was around 1996-97 or so when they did it. I remember they put GL’s Springfield right at the Michigan/Indiana border next to Lake Michigan while they placed Days’ Salem in Northern California for some reason. 

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17 minutes ago, soapfan770 said:


I remember that!! I think it was around 1996-97 or so when they did it. I remember they put GL’s Springfield right at the Michigan/Indiana border next to Lake Michigan while they placed Days’ Salem in Northern California for some reason. 


For years they used some San Francisco skyline buildings amalgamated together for backgrounds out of high rise windows like Marlena’s old penthouse set. 
 

Of course, it makes absolutely no sense but Salem’s location never has. 
 

Salem is on a river yet has an active harbour and fish market. It’s weather has four distinct seasons. It is a flight away from Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. It has an international airport. The architecture of most original sets is distinctly New England or Colonial. 
 

Frankly, Northern California is as credible as the Midwest or New England setting. It’s an inexplicably vague location setting. 

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