As the World Turns: Good-bye to Martha Byrne, The Real Thing

Martha ByrneBy Marlena De Lacroix

It’s hard to watch daytime soaps chip away piece by piece, and of course no one actor is daytime TV.  But watching Martha Byrne leave As the World Turns (because of a contract disagreement  with P&G) is really painful.  If ATWT can be looked at as a truly American, heartland soap (as do my friend Sam Ford and his students do in his soap class at MIT), than Byrne is indeed Mom and Apple Pie.

But not in the goody, goody sense!  For the last twenty-three years (with one hiatus), we’ve watched her Lily grow up from a bubbly, giggly teenager to wise wife and mother.  We love Lily and Martha because they are both always true and real.

Bryne, then a teenager from New Jersey, came to soaps by way of Broadway’s Annie, in which she played one of the orphans.  As Lily, there was no hiding behind tons of make-up, false eyelashes and teen queen phony cleavage.  At age 15, when Byrne made her debut on ATWT, Lily was just [Read more...]

Douglas Marland: A Personal Remembrance

Douglas Marland:  May 5, 1935 – March 6, 1993

Douglas Marland

By Marlena De Lacroix

In 1981 I was the editor of a soap magazine which had a great reputation and no budget.  Every year we gave out awards, but we had to do it in small ceremonies on the set.  My head was whirling from the first one on the set of All My Children.  An actor I had admired who played a nasty character took his statuette, turned to me and said, ” I can’t accept this.  It’s made of plastic.”

We went over to Guiding Light to give Douglas Marland his award for Best Writing. There were perhaps three people on the set.  Tanned, dressed beautifully in a custom-made light blue double breasted blue suit, Doug accepted his statuette with a long, heartfelt speech and tears of gratitude in his eyes.  That is how I met Doug. I was fortunate enough to know him as a journalistic source and friend for the next 13 years.

Doug was a very real, very charming person, full of the gusto of a life he thoroughly enjoyed living, long before he ever became [Read more...]

Remembering Douglas Marland: Timeless Storylines, Timeless Talent

 Douglas Marland:  May 5, 1935 – March 6, 1993

By Patrick Erwin

It’s been fifteen years since Douglas Marland’s death. That seems impossible to me, but then again, maybe that’s because I still see aspects of his work and his characters on screen every day.

Certainly, his body of work has had a big impact on me. I was eagerly watching his work before I even knew who he was. When I watched Another World and The Doctors during those sick days and snow days, Doug was writing those shows. When my sisters became big fans of General Hospital and I watched to see what the fuss [Read more...]

Remembering Douglas Marland: Actors Recall Their Marland Moments, Part 2

Douglas Marland:  May 5, 1935 – March 6, 1993 

By Patrick Erwin

We continue our celebration of the life and work of Douglas Marland with some more memories from the people who performed Doug’s work on a daily basis — the actors. Today we’re featuring comments from two gifted performers who worked with Doug on As The World Turns, Hayley (Barr) Sparks and Tamara Tunie, as well as Michael Tylo, who played Quinton Chamberlain on Guiding Light.

[Read more...]

Remembering Douglas Marland: Highlights of a Great Career

  Douglas MarlandMay 5, 1935 – March 6, 1993Loving

By Patrick Erwin

As an actor:

– Doug appeared in a 1956 episode of Playhouse 90 called Forbidden Area (as Marland Messner, his real name).

– In 1973, he appeared on As The World Turns, playing Lisa’s doctor, Eric Lonsberry, during the infamous “phantom fetus” storyline.

– Doug also appeared [Read more...]

Remembering Douglas Marland: Actors Recall Their Marland Moments, Part 1

Douglas Marland:  May 5, 1935 – March 6, 1993

By Patrick Erwin

As part of our celebration of Douglas Marland’s work, we want to share the thoughts and memories of some of the actors and actresses who performed his work day in and day out. We’re posting these remembrances here to share with you, along with a brief outline of their “Marland Moments” — the stories that Doug wrote for these talented performers to play.

ELLEN DOLAN

MARLAND MOMENT: Dolan played Maureen Reardon when Doug was head writer of Guiding Light, and came to As The World Turns in 1989 to play cop Margo Hughes.  Dolan played two of Doug’s most dramatic storylines — a euthanasia story, in which Margo pulled the plug on her dying father-in-law, and the intense rape storyline, in which  an HIV-positive criminal raped Margo, who had come across a robbery in progress.

DOLAN SAYS: “Doug Marland WAS daytime TV.  He gave us so much.  The Snyder farm, the Reardon clan, and Luke and Laura. Laura’s last moments [Read more...]

The Daring and the Cowardly: Four Sweeps Surprises

By Marlena De Lacroix

With spoilers, there are no storyline surprises on soaps anymore.  That’s not to say that the ways in which storylines are presented can really come as shockers — especially in the February sweeps that just wrapped up, the sweeps in which we expected little to nothing interesting because of the Writers Strike.  So here are four soap stories/sweeps events which really shocked moi this month, either because they were so daring … or so cowardly!Ameera

Daring — As the World Turns Introduces an Iraqi character:  When Ameera, the hijab-wearing newly arrived ward of Colonel Mayer (Noah’s murderer father) turned up at the Snyder farm to get to know Noah and Luke, I was truly shocked.  A Muslim woman on daytime! We’ve never seen that before!  I usually like social issue stories and this could either turn out to be wonderfully humanitarian (demonstrating how hard it is for a Muslim woman to blend in to the U.S. in this time of war) or it could merely be a device to further a writer or producer’s liberal political agenda.  How long will it be until Bill O’Reilly is on to this?

Attaching Ameera into a story with fellow “societal outcasts” Luke and Noah can [Read more...]

As the World Turns’ Men in Love: The Controversy Rages!

By Patrick Erwin

A few months ago, I shared with our “Thinking Soap Fans” my thoughts on the Luke and Noah story on As the World Turns, and  what it meant to me.

In the last few weeks, buzz about the story has erupted into controversy, as many fans are up in arms about the show’s reluctance to show the couple kissing or expressing affection. The story has expanded to mainstream media, and took on new dimensions when the conservative American Family Association jumped into the fray by designating Procter & Gamble — which produces ATWT and supplies much of its advertising — the catalyst for an “action alert” as a result of P&G’s sponsorship of what the AFA termed “pro-homosexual” programming.

To make sense of what’s happened, I asked a few people who are familiar with both the soap world and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) world to give us their perspective. [Read more...]

For Valentine’s Day, 5 Soap Couples Who Were Really Super

By Patrick Erwin

I  want to observe Valentine’s Day by discussing some of my favorite soap couples. I know soaps are famous for their “supercouples,” those pairs that keep coming back to each other through sleet, snow, and psychotic ex-spouses. Most shows have had these grand couples:  Luke and Laura,  Bo and Hope, Josh and Reva, and so on. But I’d like to honor Another Worldfive couples that had the most impact on me — the ones that moved me, made me laugh, made me sigh and made me believe in love — or as Marlena would say, l’amour!

Rachel and Mac, Another World:  Mac and Rachel were one of the most believable stories ever to play out on our screens. A theater director I worked with once said the magic of any performance was when you really believed, and I really believed that Mac [Read more...]

As the World Turns: The Dark Side

By Patrick Erwin

A few weeks back, when I watched the scenes surrounding the death of Dusty Donovan on As the World Turns, I was overwhelmed — not because of Dusty’s death, or because of a performance or a line of dialogue. I was completely overwhelmed at how utterly dark ATWT is — and has been for some time now.

I mean, look around Oakdale. There’s prostitute Emily, former porn actress and drug addict Alison, overdose victim Lily, and a manipulative Chris Hughes. There’s an emotionally desperate mother (Sofie) and an extremely creepy adult (Sam) spending way too much time with Carly and her kids. And that’s before we even begin to contemplate the quadrangle of darkness that is Craig, Meg, Rosanna and Paul (soon to end, with the unfortunate departures of Cady McClain, who plays Rosanna, and Scott Bryce, who plays Craig).

Now, I’m not suggesting that ATWT launch a new storyline arc by having the entire cast gather at Bob and Kim’s, hold hands, and sing “Kumbaya.”  Clearly, exploring [Read more...]