The Mega-successful, Classy World of Bill Bell

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

When I was a girl soap reporter, I called him “Mr. Bell” during interviews because of Bill Bell’s exalted status in the soap industry.  And Bill Bell (1927-2005) would just laugh and go ahead to speak about Bill Bellwhat one always talked to him about: the work.  He was the only person I ever interviewed who hardly ever promoted himself personally.  And he was in show business!   Bell, a true gentleman, preferred to have his work speak for itself.

So I’m glad there’s a new biography that both examines Bell’s personal life story and takes a comprehensive look at his always top-rated soaps. The book, published by Sourcebooks, is titled The Young and Restless Life of William J. Bell, Creator of The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful and written by veteran soap journalist Michael Maloney and Lee Phillip Bell, Bell’s wife, who also co-created both soaps.

Bill Bell had a wonderful life, told in this book with same kind of class that helped make him such a remarkable person in life and in television history.

There was never a day in his 40-plus years in the soaps when Bell’s writing wasn’t excellent and his soaps engrossing and entertainingly and intelligently done.. He, his soaps, his family and his organization were  always all about class — and success.  And on top of all this, he was a genuinely nice man.

Bill Bell really was the prototypical American success story of a man who started humbly and worked his way to the top.  He came from a Midwest middle class family, served stateside during World War II, and [Read more...]

As the World Turns Stops: Sobs! All Those Afternoons!

ATWT lgo

By Marlena De Lacroix

When I was in high school I was noted for spending my afternoons watching soap operas and eating cole slaw. Decades later, I am sobbing … and I mean real big salty tears … into my slaw as As the World Turns is drawing to a close, heading to 

With the end of As the World Turns, let’s celebrate soaps. Our memories of As the World Turns will never fade, nor will our belief that the strength of the American family will never end.

its final episode Friday, Sept. 17. Last week, I even lay awake worrying about Chris Hughes and whether Reid’s transplanted heart would save his life. I know ATWT‘s life is over.

Sob! All those afternoons … I remember in 1970 when Irna Phillips punished Jane House by having her Elizabeth Stewart fall up the stairs and die because the actress old ATWT 1was appearing nude in the original production of Lenny on Broadway! Who can remember the afternoon when Iva came after Josh when her daughter Lily found out Lily’s father was really her rapist Josh … How come I sob whenever magnificent Kathy Hays as Kim is in a scene advising a younger Oakdaler or hugs Bob over another tragedy (like Nancy’s sudden death last week and the fittingly modest service that didn’t last for weeks). And the always modest but bravura Don Hastings, too. Were you there last week when Chris told Bob he was the finest man he ever knew? Sob! [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’s Last Fade-out: Only Love Can Save the Soap World

By Marlena De Lacroix

I thought Kim Zimmer looked absolutely gorgeous in her last scene on Guiding Light set a year after the action, when Reva and Josh pledged their love “always.”  Clad in a  emerald gown, the top of her blond hair nicely swept back, she looked truly amazing.  A goddess, indeed.

Surprised I wrote this?  Well, I m going to surprise you even more. I really don’t want to nitpick the details of the last episode of GL.  Bitching and moaning about which characters’ stories were poorly concluded and which other characters’ stories

At least if it had to end, GL was still about love when it went down.  Not misogyny, not hate. And truly, truly, I really do believe that if the soap world is to survive, only love can save it.

surprisingly didn’t get a windup is way too easy.  The ending of a 72-year-old soap  needs deeper examining.  What does it mean to the long history of the show?  What does the end of Guiding Light [Read more...]