A Letter to Marlena De Lacroix (a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman)

Dear Ms. Passalacqua Hayman: 

I wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoy reading your columns and your insights into the soaps.  You are the reason I started buying Soap Opera Weekly so many years ago and I was sad when you left.  I bought that magazine every week, at first for your columns, but then cause I just loved it.  I would not get a subscription

I hope something comes along and saves our shows from themselves, but that alarm has been ringing for a long time.  Why can’t those in charge hear it?

because I wanted to buy it every week so the cover would not be damaged with those damn postal stickers.  Their covers used to be so good — those were the days!  I was pleasantly surprised to find your web site recently and am excited to read what you have to say about the state of soaps today. 

I, too, am just saddened by the state of the soap business these days.  I, of course, do not pretend to know all it takes to make soaps or the incredible pressures the show runners face to put out quality shows.  It has to be tough in this day and age.  But I do know I miss my character based shows.  I miss seeing people on my shows who were better actors and cherished because of it rather than their looks.  I miss characters like Aunt Liz, Frankie Frame, and Mac Corey from Another World, Soap Opera Weekly

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Another World cover, 1994

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and I am sad to think those types of characters could never exist in our current soap landscape.

I get so angry with “fans” in this new media age who vent their frustration on message boards with comments about how they wish their show would just get cancelled rather than having to watch what is on their screens day in and day out.  I just want to scream:  I’d take the worst years of Santa Barbara or Another World, or even Loving, just to see my “friends” again.  I mean, be disappointed, but don’t wish the end to your show.  I will never get that.  My heart still aches at the loss of those shows as well as Guiding Light.  I despised Passions, but I never wished Irene Baileythat show would come to an end — we cannot afford to lose any more soaps, but I fear that will happen all too quickly.  I hope there will be some soaps on the air still in five years, but I suspect there will not be.

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Irene Dailey, Another World’s beloved Aunt Liz, died last year at 88.

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I guess I wanted to tell you this because it seems like some of your passion has been drawn away because of the plot-driven drivel that appears on so many of our shows.  You seem beat up and weary, as we all are.  At least it seems evident in your recent writing (and by no means is this a critique of your writing — not one bit — and please forgive me if I have read into something that is not there).  It is sad to see that someone who so obviously loves this genre and its people and has always shown such great respect for everyone involved in it may just be defeated by what has become of something that was once so grand.  I hope something comes along and saves our shows from themselves, but that alarm has been ringing for a long time.  Why can’t those in charge hear it?  I will never know… 

Keep up the good fight, I say.  I will continue to enjoy your writing and know that, even when our shows might be letting us down, you still have people who look to you for your critique both good and bad.  We love soaps, even when they’re hard to love.

Respectfully, 

Thom Shepard

Director of Residence Life

Queens University of Charlotte, N.C.

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Dear Thom,

Your letter is so special to me and I thank you profoundly. I decided to run it here as a guest column because the grief and frustration you express so eloquently speak for many, many longtime soap fans. You’re right, I have been feeling weary of the fight. But your letter gave me just the lift I needed. Thanks again for this, dear Thom, and for your devotion to my work over the years.

                                                   Love,

                                                  Connie (a.k.a. Marlena)

                                                   XXXOOO

Comments

  1. Shawn says:

    Marlena, do the people above Brian Frons pay any attention to what is written about ABC Daytime? He has single handedly ruined what used to be a very powerful line up of shows. If only they would replace him and the cast of screwballs he has recruited to write and produce these prigrams, I think ABC Daytime could be saved. AMC would not be the shell of itself of they would bring back someone like Felicia Minei Behr. GH could be salvaged by replacing Jill Farren Phelps and Robert Guza. They’ve done significant damage to the characters and integrity of this program, but if someone like Claire Labine or Wendy Riche were brought back, I think that over time, they could undo the damage that the current regime has done.

    Just wondering and my thoughts.

  2. Raye says:

    Dear Marlena,

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful letter from Thom Shepard. So eloquent (and passionate) in his writing, he, like you very often do, reminded why I have been a fan of this genre for 30+ years. And why I will continue to be an optimistic fan of the genre for as long as I am allowed.

    So, do not be weary of the fight. Just remember that you have many Thinking Fans who are in the fight with you. :-)

    And thank you for continuing to be Marlena De Lacroix. Your musings are always a bright spot of my month.

    Marlena says: Thank you for writing in about Thom’s letter. I love my readers very much!

  3. DS0816 says:

    This is a thoughtful — and observant — letter. Many points speak to what I’ve been experiencing.

    It doesn’t give me any pleasure in conveying negativity in any of my postings in previous responses. I, too, would like to see the daytime drama genre saved.

    I really feel the effect of “Guiding Light” no longer in first-run broadcast — this past September on CBS — and there’s no better example of a flagship serial, having gone down, that speaks to the plight of today’s American, network daytime dramas.

  4. Gene says:

    Thanks Thom for writing this letter and giving your thoughts about the state of daytime dramas. I with you that it is just too much to time and energy to fight with tiic and everyone else to save this industry, but I hope that Marlena keep doing the good job telling it like it is and demanding that someone will be done or they won’t be a soap to watch.

  5. Melanie S says:

    What a wonderful letter! I couldn’t agree more with what Thom has written – particularly his frustration in regards to people saying they’d rather see their shows cancelled than continue as they are. I feel that as bad as a show is, there’s always hope. A new head writer for instance can make a world of difference (as I’m hoping will be the case with AMC.)

  6. Thom says:

    And now it’s being reported that As the World Turns has been cancelled. It’s just terrible…here we go again. All those people who have worked so hard over the years to make that show…

    A sad day indeed.

  7. Preacher'swife says:

    Be not weary in well doing (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

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