Passions’ End: Get Your Memories of Craziness and Creativity!

Josh Ryan Evans

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 9: Fabobug appreciates Passions’ honest eccentricities … Jonnysbro wishes the cast well … Cherry Ames, with mixed feelings, says the likes of Passions will never pass our way again … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

I don’t  have the chance to say good-bye to Passions because I don’t have Direct TV to watch the last episode.  But I did it in my own way by browsing the list of August 9 auction of Passions props and memorabilia here on icollector.com. To my knowledge, there’s never been an online auction like this of props and costumes from a soap.  Considering the intensity of fans’ love for soaps, I can’t think of anything else that would be more of a sure thing.

I sniffled mightily as I went through the items of two favorite characters, Tabitha and Timmy: Tabby’s  framed picture of her adorable daughter Endora; the actual paws of Fuzzy, Timmy’s largely unseen cat who menaced him from offstage a la “Fang” from the old Soupy Sales show,  and course Tabitha’s collection of fabulous gauzy skirts and beaded shawls, all purchased I’m sure at the very best of California New Age clothing stores.

bicycleBut I was unprepared for actual tears brought forth by the sight of Tabby’s and Timmy’s bicycle built for two, which I remember from the first episode (Timmy fell off  into the lake).  And the item I remember best from the show and most want for Christmas: Timmy’s and Tabby’s actual Martimmy shaker.

Now I know a lot of you hated Passions, but I thought (and regularly wrote) that the first two years of the show were a hoot and a treasure trove of creativity and imagination. From Tabitha’s peeks into her magic bowl and warnings about her unseen collaborators — Our Friends in the Basement — to Timmy’s fantasies of being everything from a World War 1 doughboy to  Rasputin’s butler, the misadventures of that ersatz mother and son brought me more genuine laughter and sheer joy than anything I’ve watched in my many decades of soap viewing.  Marlena personally prizes originality and humor in all writing.   Sadly, there’s not much of either in soap scripts of today!

How much do our  favorite soap characters mean to us?  Viewing Tabby and Timmy’s props and memorabilia in the auction list, I was surprised to feel almost as bereft and lonely as when I cleared out my own parents’ apartment of many decades recently. As everyone who ever read a Marlena column in SOW knows, I especially loved and adored Timmy and the late actor who portrayed him, Joshua Ryan Evans.  As you know, Josh died in 2002 after heart surgery, so tragically, at the age of 20.  I  still really miss the super-talented, show-biz loving kid.

When I first met him at a public appearance at Rockefeller Center, he was the tiniest person I had ever seen — literally knee high. He was 18 years old. I interviewed Josh, and found him to be a normal American teenager, listening to his music, doing his homework, thinking about his adult life to come.  I’ll never forget how serious he was about learning the art and craft of acting, a career he was already pursuing with great joy.

He spoke knowledgeably and with admiration of one of history’s most famous little people, General Tom Thumb, P.T. Barnum’s prize attraction.  Josh had played him in a 1999 TV movie called P.T. Barnum, and thus felt he and the General were kindred souls.  The General lived to age 45, Josh explained matter-of-factly, as if he knew he shared the same destiny.  Sadly, Josh left us much sooner.

Tabitha and TimmyAfter the  interview, he gave me one of NBC’s specially designed Martimmy glasses, a souvenir of Passions.  It will always be one of my most prized possessions.  Sell it at auction?  Never!   It’s priceless!

P.S.  What props/and or costumes would you like to buy from your favorite soap if they were available?   Tell Marlena.

Comments

  1. I’d like to buy a mug from Ryan’s Bar, the ball from the Campus Disco in Port Charles and Mikkos Cassadine’s weather machine.

    Every year at Super Soap Weekend, ABC sells some props and clothing from its soaps. I bought Stuart and Marion’s Etch-a-Sketch and Alison Perkins’ psycho scrapbook in past years.

    Marlena says: Rogers, can I ask: how much did you pay for them? We’re old friends, you can tell me!

  2. Cherry Ames says:

    I’d love to get my hands on Edna’s walker or Norma Bates axe. The one she tried to kill Tabitha with as a Christmas tradition.

    Only here would I admit that Passions was my guilty pleasure. I tried once to tell my book club girlfriends about this crazy show with a beautiful heroine/nurse named Precious — who just happened to be an orang. Or about the “Boys in the basement” or Rebecca’s sexual escapades, but they insisted I must be making it all up!

    Sadly,the show lost me as a viewer when Fancy was getting raped 2-3 times a day and no one would believe her. (Betcha thought I would say it was when Julian’s little julian was severed or when Julian impregnated his own daughter or son).

    Ah, the craziness of Passions and JER will likely never pass our way again. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that, either. (I, too, adored Timmy and Josh Evans. Cracked Connie was OK but she was certainly no Timmy).

    I’ll never forget David Letterman showing a clip of Precious caring so tenderly for Edna (I believe Precious was getting a clean adult diap for the incontinent old woman.) He showed the clip and made a comment to the effect, “This is proof that civilization, as we know it, is dead.” Nah. One just needed a really bizarre and Irish Catholic sense of humor to get the joke. Or maybe just a really immature mindset. Or all of the above plus an adult beverage(s).

  3. Around $30-$50, as I recall. The scrapbook’s cool. One of these days I’m going to scan all that stuff in and post it online.

  4. Fabobug says:

    I’d like to buy Marlena’s yellow contacts from the Devil Possession!!

    I’d love to find General Hospital’s soul somewhere and return it back to them.

    It was great to read this column about Passions. I too enjoyed it during the first 2-3 years. It was never must-see viewing for me, but I respected that in 1999 it seemed like the only soap relishing in it’s identity as a daytime soap. It wasn’t trying to be E/R, NYPD Blue, or Friends, it just wanted to be a classic kitchen table soap with witches and angels. It remained the ONLY racially integrated soap these past 9 years, and I thought Simone was a much more realistic lesbian than Bianca.

    The never-ending stories, absurd plot twists, and excessive violence against women had me tuning out. But Passions may go down as the last little soap that really loved being itself without trying to be something it’s not. Thank you Marlena for sharing your memories, and pointing out how losing a soap, even not a favorite, can cause much grief.

  5. JONNYSBRO says:

    Marlena, I never was the biggest Passions fan, but it was very creative when it started in 1999. Who knew it would have lasted 9 years? That is a good soap run for a new show. The first two years were fun, but the show then lost its way, especially when Timmy was gone. James Reilly has always been creative and I wonder where Reilly will end up next. He has made NBC so much money in daytime. I think Passions will be remembered for just uniqueness. I hope some of the cast shows up in other places. Also people hated the acting but some actors have actually made it past daytime. Justin Hartley is on Smallville, Jesse Metcalfe on Desperate Housewives and IMO the girl who totally is a find on Dirty Sexy Money, the wonderful Natalie Zea, who replaced Liza Huber. She definitely has some star quality.

  6. Ric says:

    I would love to have one of Jock Ewing’s leisure suits, or the actual Ice Princess, or one of Asa Buchanan’s hats. But about Passions, the first two years were a great guilty pleasure. Timmy was my favorite character of all, when Josh Ryan died, it really took the heart out of the show IMO. Drinking Martimmy’s with Julian! Hilarious, man. One last thing about Natalie Zea, as a red blooded American male, she was SMOKING hot!

  7. Aaron says:

    I had a love/hate relationship with Passions. Once you realized you simply could NOT take it seriously, it played as a pretty well done farce/spoof of soaps in general.

    However, I think Passions really came at a bad time. Since Passions (or, rather, since JER turned Marlena into Satan) daytime took a left turn back toward the kind of silly, embarrassing storytelling that makes virtually everyone look down on the genre.

    There’s ALWAYS been a place for different kinds of shows, and I think if Passions had debuted about 10 years earlier, it would have been a welcome slot on the daytime landscape. As it was, it became the shining example of how NOT to do a classic soap; a fact that was lost on all the other shows, who rushed to tell crazy, outlandish, embarrassing plots in order to compete.

    On the other hand, structurally, Passions WAS a classic soap. If you strip away the supernatural nonsense and the godawful day-to-day writing, the show was BUILT like an honest-to-god Agnes Nixon soap. Four core families of different racial and social strata, a rich history, a strong sense of setting and years of storytelling potential. Sadly, all of that got lost amongst devils in the basement and magic seeing bowls. How I would have loved to see this show written as a straightforward soap!

    Anyway, back to the question at hand. I’d love to have something from the original Company on GL, Reva Shayne’s red dress, a sign from Marshall’s Ice Cream from Generations, or a napkin from TOPS on Another World.

    Marlena says: No one else could have written Passions except Jim Reilly. He knew classic soap opera; he didn’t pioneer craziness or stunts (remember the Ice Princess on GH?) but he had the originality to come up with some pretty wonderful supernatural things (like Timmy!). I think the thing to remember about Passions is that Reilly had total control over his show a la the late Bill Bell with Y&R and B&B. I don’t know if a headwriter in daytime will ever enjoy that kind of power again.

  8. Dale says:

    Marlena, you beat me to it by mentioning it, but I always wanted the Ice Princess sculpture from General Hospital! LOL! How weird is that? I also wanted Julia Hoffman’s hypnotic green necklace from Dark Shadows! How strange is that? One wonders what ever became of all this soap prop history. Sadly, it was all probably filed under “G”. If they had kept all that stuff, the networks could have made a fortune on Ebay!

  9. BillB says:

    Abolutely one of the most unique soaps ever produced. Nothing to compare besides “Dark Shadows” … showing my age here … but those episodes are STILL great! Find them on DVD now.

    R.I.P. Passions :(

  10. Steve Ungrey says:

    I have to wonder if Passions would have lasted longer had NBC not totally screwed over its daytime lineup. When it premiered in 1999, it had the misfortune of replacing Another World, and a majority of that show’s fanbase simply would not watch Passions because of what happened to AW. (I myself switched over to As The World Turns, but NOT because I refused to watch Passions.) Then Sunset Beach got axed at the end of 1999, further angering another base of viewers.

    Had Passions been given the 3pm timeslot to catch viewers coming home from school, etc., who knows what would have happened? Yes, the show still might have failed, but NBC might have had better luck with its lineup. As it is, the fact the network now offers just one soap is criminal.

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