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On 2/22/2021 at 9:25 PM, FrenchBug82 said:

Is there anyone who has worked at Y&R from another show and had good things to say about that set? Yeesh. 

 

Miles gaston villanuava (luca) said everyone besides kristoff  was mean to him lol

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Jeanne Cooper was always looking sideways for her lines and multiple cast members have complained over the years about Eric Braden not learning his lines and being lazy.  Sorry, it’s true.  He must have worked with a coach or a Director got up in him because for years he had a terrible tic of ending every other line with “OK”!  Was terrible 

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Y&R under Bell was rigid with line readings though. From small bits I have picked up from actors, Bell was demanding when it came to performing the script as written, in terms of lines. So I understand why they were needed on Y&R. I am convinced if someone said "well my dear" instead of "So my dear" Bell would have asked why the change occurred. 

 

I cut some slack to Jeanne due to her addiction probably effecting her memory. Plus as you get older it gets harder

 

In terms of the Y&R set - Bill Bell was very much Irna Phillips protege. I have no doubt despite the respect he commanded there was also a lot of fear as well. His one concern was the show and nothing more. Though he was loathe to replace actors, I get the feeling he saw them as his little puppets to do what he needed (hence his refusal to allow line changes) though I do believe he gave actors freedom of interpretation (to a certain extent). Brenda ran amok only until Bell moved to LA and got more control of the show. Within six or so months of his move, she got the chop, which probably cost the show a fair price since she most likely got fired while still within her contract period. I am sure everyone on the show got that message loud and clear. Eric and Peter were also threatened with the chop too after their bust up and quickly fell into line. Now I doubt any producers or writers have that much power and control. They have favourites and actors they are too afraid to lose. Creates a very different environment. 

 

 

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Mr. Bell Sr. may very well have been cut from the same autocratic cloth as Ms. Irna Phillips, but As The World Turns never used Cue Cards, nor Teleprompters.

Recently, some former ATWT actors expressed shock at going to do work on the Y&R set and seeing the cue cards being used.

Some former ATWT actors talked about this last year on some of the reunion livestreams.

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By many accounts Bill Bell was much more collaborative and supportive than Irna was. Almost all the DAYS actors loved him, and many of the Y&R folks seemed to have a lot of affection for him.  Even years later most actors don’t talk about him like the ones that worked under Irna!  From everything I have heard Gloria Monty was a much more demanding boss than Bell.

 

He certainly accepted input from people like Victoria Rowell.

 

By all accounts Y&R is a tough show to work on- not just the excellence required (those days are long gone), but the talent and backstage have been filled with drama almost the whole time.  Bell and Conboy clashed, the top stars have several instances of fighting or not speaking to each other, etc.

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Before SEARCH FOR TOMORROW premiered, there was a big behind the scenes talk about whether or not to use cue cards or if they should only use actors two days a week to get them to rest. One of the producers from Compton insisted that ANY actor worth their salt could learn dialogue without cue cards because that's what they're trained to do! This producer went on to say that if theatrical actors in repertory companies can memorize three different Shakespearian plays to perform every day, a soap opera actor can memorize a few ten page scripts every week. Needless to say, SEARCH didn't get cue cards.

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1 hour ago, mikelyons said:

Before SEARCH FOR TOMORROW premiered, there was a big behind the scenes talk about whether or not to use cue cards or if they should only use actors two days a week to get them to rest. One of the producers from Compton insisted that ANY actor worth their salt could learn dialogue without cue cards because that's what they're trained to do! This producer went on to say that if theatrical actors in repertory companies can memorize three different Shakespearian plays to perform every day, a soap opera actor can memorize a few ten page scripts every week. Needless to say, SEARCH didn't get cue cards.

 

I am not impressed by that argument. Actors who learn a play learn it over weeks, rehearse it to the hilt and then play the same play every night for months.

A soap actor has a few days to learn many pages of script, no rehearsal or almost any and will only play that dialogue once.
Not quite the same skill set.
I am not defending cue cards; I think soaps should hire people who can do the above over giving them crutches. But the comparison with theater seems unfair to me.

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1 hour ago, FrenchBug82 said:

Not quite the same skill set.
I am not defending cue cards; I think soaps should hire people who can do the above over giving them crutches. But the comparison with theater seems unfair to me.

Agreed

 

I think it is unfair to judge all actors who used cue cards with the broad stroke of being lazy.  As I mentioned on the prior page, soap scripts were notoriously rewritten at the last minute.  The single take nature of soap production may have relied on cue cards to maintain an efficient production.  Actors who deride cue cards in interviews are generally not talented enough to be able to read and act at the same time.  And, most soaps could no longer afford them as a luxury, so it is not a contemporary issue.

Edited by j swift
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  • 3 weeks later...

One thing I'm noticing from watching the late 60s episodes of The Doctors is how well the actors either masked using it or rarely seemed to use it. I mean, on top of learning just ordinary conversation lines, they had to sound convincing with all the medical jargon and gravitas. Plus they had the added pressure of getting it right the first time. I mean, you can see all the technical booboos, mics and cameras failing to pull back in time, the actors occasionally making eye contact with the camera, but it's hard to pick out anyone who relied on cue cards so heavily as to be obvious. And the fact that an actor might have misspoken a word or name or even ad-libbed a little just made the dialogue seem all the more real, as people do make errors when they talk.

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It's hard to talk about cue cards or teleprompters without mentioning how much soap writing has changed in the past thirty years.   In the old days, soap actors were often asked to perform scenes that ran four, five, maybe six minutes, with only two actors in the scene.   That amounted to pages and pages of dialogue, and as some have noted, speeches were constantly being rewritten if the episode ran long, or if the episode ran short during dress rehearsal.   So if I've stayed up half the night memorizing ten pages of dialogue for a long scene, and then suddenly just before taping the entire scene is reworked, it's going to confuse me, and I'm apt to screw it up if I don't have a visual aid to glance toward that reminds me of the changes.  

 

That doesn't happen anymore.   Each episode has more scenes now, and the scenes tend to be choppier and less dialogue-laden.   In today's prologue on Y&R, Sharon and Nate had a scene.  She had literally two lines of dialogue, and Nate had two lines.   How long does it take to memorize two lines?  Less than a minute for most of us.  We would just glance at the script quickly five minutes before taping, go out onto the sound stage, say the two lines, then forget about it entirely, and concentrate on our next two-line scene.   With the scenes being shorter, with minimal lines per scene, cue cards just ain't very necessary anymore.   

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