Sunday Reflections 4: The Young and the Restless’ Jeanne Cooper Book Reviewed; General Hospital

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

The Young and the Restless:  Like gossip on old movies and TV and the soap opera world? Like to laugh?  Wanna get all the inside whispered into your ear by a great soap opera icon?  Then get yourself a copy of Not Young, Still Restless (HarperCollins) the very frank and entertaining autobiography of 83-year-old Jeanne Cooper, who has starred as Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless since 1973.

Cooper, who was brought up in a modest household in Taft, California, fell in love with theater and became a Hollywood contract player (and later television freelancer) during the 50s, all before she came to Y&R.  She appeared in such movies as The Girl From Wyoming with Maureen O’ Hara (who initially tried to push younger actress Cooper into the background) and Let No Man Be My Epitaph (where she became friends with Shelley Winters.)   For more than  two decades she was a most prolific guest star on primetime shows (from Wagon Train and Perry Mason to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Bracken’s World) getting to really know such stars as Barbara Stanwyck, Raymond Burr and her dear longtime friend, Barbara Hale.

And right off the bat, Cooper tells you who she slept with in those glory days — David Janssen and Robert Taylor (!) were just two. Very quickly you see that the strong woman who survived and thrived in the difficult word of Hollywood had tremendous vulnerabilities, revealed through her running painful description of her love/ hate relationship with her husband, agent and producer Harry Bernsen.  He was a handsome, cheating money moocher, and she eventually divorced him. But their three children (actor Corbin, Collin and Caren) became and remain the lights of her life. What a proud, deeply loving mother she appears to be!  (She now has eight grandchildren in a tight knit family.)

Cooper confesses that The Young and the Restless saved her life.  After her bout with alcoholism, Bill Bell personally sent her to rehab.  Cooper delightfully details all the leading names of the actors and backstagers she’s known through [Read more...]

What’s to Watch Now?

By Marlena De Lacroix

As the World Turns was over on Friday and at least two dozen of my old soap pals all called or wrote. But what to watch now? If you are still around to watch afternoons, it’s slim pickings.ATWT Days is way too juvenile even to contemplate. Young and Restless is very competent soap opera. But someone help! We’re left with the ABC Daytime line up. Admiring my dog Nigel sleeping on the couch seems to look like better entertainment after a while.

All My Children is boring. Who ever heard of a soap opera without a villain? What happened to Vincent Irizarry (David, who is now really, truly dead). Did he want too

Goodbye, As the Word Turns. But … One Life to Live is boring … General Hospital is boring … All My Children is boring … So what’s to watch now?

much money? No Adam, no David, and JR does not cut it as a first class villain. I could care less about Rebecca Budig. What puzzles me is that a network that is obsessed with shirtless boys (like the indistinguishable Ford boys on One Life to Live) should foist such a middle age frump as Caleb Cooney (the I’m-so-bored-please-pay-me Michael Nouri) on me. Why, Lord, why? By the time Susan Lucci arrives back in town as [Read more...]

As The World Turns: Love and Family in the Heart of America

newMy friend Ed Martin weighs in, too,  on the loss of As the World Turns in a new post immediately following this one.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

I broke into tears when I heard that As the World Turns was canceled yesterday. I’m sure many of you did, too.  ATWT has been a part of all our lives for so long.   ATWT logoI learned so much from it over the years about universal values of love and family.  Since its 1956 premiere, it has so reflected the true heart of all Americans.    

When I first started watching as a young teen in 1969,  I was growing up in Queens, where everyone in my neighborhood  was either Jewish or Italian (I was both!). My Italian immigrant grandparents, who loving fed me lasagna on holidays, knew little English.  My Jewish immigrant 

CBS President Les Moonves apparently doesn’t think TV is about the hearts and minds of Americans anymore.  Yesterday he had the gall to say that the day of daytime soap operas like ATWT is over. Well, to hell with you, Les Moonves.  Love, family and soaps will outlast you and your insults to those who have supported CBS for more than 60 years.  ATWT lives!

side all worked in a family movie theater chain and absolutely  lived for latest happenings in the entertainment world.   My own parents constantly [Read more...]

Guiding Light: What Happened? Start Your THINKING Long Ago

Thinking Fans savor vintage Guiding Light: Mike Goldberg says, “It seems to me that Guiding Light has had so many magical periods and then so many dreadful periods. The era you describe was magnificent” … while from Italy, Giada declares, “I don’t want to be a ‘laudator temporis acti,’ someone who praises the past for its own sake, but I do believe we’re not seeing in the present moment soaps as good as we used to” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

It’s been so difficult to write since last week’s  cancellation of Guiding Light.  So painful to see it go, so awful to lose a show that is literally the cradle of all soap operas.Guiding Light 1

I only stopped feeling bad when I realized that the cancellation freed me from ruminating about the disasters of the past year (the “new” production model!). Instead, I could reflect on and savor memories of the remarkable and glorious 72-year history of GL. Not just to reminisce, but to think about why GL was an excellent and superbly crafted classic soap for so long, and how over the years so many of the elements that made it so popular and compelling were carelessly discarded.  I decided to pick one era –1980-82, the first years I watched — and examine it through the eyes of someone who’s watched thirty years of subsequent soap opera history.  Some might call what happened during those years modernization.  Others might call it slow destruction …

You have to remember that GL in1980-82 stood in a shadow. In those days everyone, especially the young and hip, were swooning over the magical Luke and Laura story on General Hospital, which had hit all of daytime with a tidal wave of

GL was truly an ensemble effort.  As a viewer, you felt very much an integral part of Springfield, too!  It was like a real place, a real home.  Which once upon a time is what all soaps were.   

popularity in the summer of 1980, the summer on the run.  I was the new editor of a magazine called Afternoon TV, and was responsible for [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: A Week-long Celebration

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

By Marlena De Lacroix

Can it really be 15 years since the light was turned off? 
 
Those were the words of my friend, soap historian Leona Barad when I wrote to her  telling her we were planning a special week of articles here at marlenadelacroix.com to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Douglas Marland’s death on March 6, 1993, at age 58.

Because Doug was a light not just in the lives of people he worked with on soaps, but also to the millions of viewers who loved the shows he served as headwriter over the years, we celebrate his life and work this week with a series of special articles, reminiscences and critical analyses of his soaps.

We start  today with a series of interviews with a group of the actors on his shows, some of the many he especially enjoyed writing for and who [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...]