By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
I can barely remember a daytime soap week that had as much breaking news as this one. Here’s a peek into Marlena’s reporting notebook:
I am stunned that General Hospital (Frank Valentini, executive producer; Ron Carlivati, headwriter) has fired Ian Buchanan (Duke Lavery). It is just so wrong! Ian is … Ian! What a magnificent actor he is, not to mention that he is a soap icon. He and the equally magnificent Finola Hughes (Anna Devane) comprise one of the greatest soap couples of all time. Their story of conflicted love has always been a total winner. The role of Duke was briefly played by a badly miscast Greg Beecroft (Guiding Light, One Life to Live) during a 23-year break Ian took from the show when Duke was believed dead. I .sincerely hope they don’t kill Duke off for good this time! Ian is so valuable to GH and so beloved by the fans.
Today I learned the news that Wally Kurth, who has done double duty recurring on both General Hospital as Ned Ashton and Days of Our Lives as Justin Kiriakis, has been given a contract on Days. (Justin left Salem again just a month ago.) I love Wally the Great and will miss him terribly on GH. Days is very smart to snap up Kurth.
It’s Daytime Emmy time again. Oy! The nominees were announced today. The awards will be presented April 26th on POP. That it’s back on TV after last year’s online debacle is great!
The nominations were announced on CBS’ The Talk (I’m a View girl myself ). They devoted only the first twenty minutes of the show to rattling off the noms, and it was done in the studio. Couldn’t they at least have done a remote to the announcement ceremonies themselves? Remember the days when all three major networks covered the announcement ceremony live? Doesn’t daytime deserve better?
As you know, Emmy judgment isn’t based on an actor’s overall work, but rather on a reel of scenes from the last year that each actor and show submit to a panel of judges at ATAS, the organization that administers the Daytime Emmys. Great care goes into selecting these scenes; they are chosen by the actors themselves, and naturally they are the best scenes of the year.
So far I have only seen one reel for Best Actress and it left me totally exasperated. It’s well known that the Emmy judges usually select a winner who cries and carries on in the scenes on their reel. On the reel I saw, the actress certainly did cry and carry on from start to finish. We all know hysterics aren’t all there is to soap acting, and not always soap acting at its best. The great weeping and gnashing of teeth scenes alone are not representative of the varied and truly excellent work we see on our screen five days a week.
Much more on the nominations themselves and the Daytime Emmys in this column as Emmy day approaches.
I cried and screamed and carried on myself today during GH’s gala 52nd anniversary show. Incroyable! What a shocker or should I say a roller coaster ride of shocks this episode was. During today’s episode, it was revealed that as a teenager, Luke murdered both his mother and super abusive father. The story was told in Luke’s flashbacks and through sister Pat’s (Dee Wallace) narration. The flashbacks were wonderfully rendered in silvery black and white (the way TV was back then). The day the murders happened in Port Charles coincides with the date of the GH’s premiere, April 1, 1963. The details in the early Spencer story were accurate to 1963 in the most minute ways — sets, costumes, hairdos, even the attitudes of men toward women.
In a sublime touch, all the main characters were played by current GH current cast members amongst those Jason Thompson (Patrick) as Dr. Steve Hardy, originally played by John Beradino, and Rebecca Herbst (Elizabeth) as Nurse Jessie Brewer, the role played by Emily McLaughlin. What wonderful performances all gave! I hardly recognized Laura Wright (Carly) as Luke, Bobbie and Pat’s mother Lena. She was just amazing in this episode.
Speaking of amazing, there is only one word for our medium right now, and that is “Tony,” as in Tony Geary. He was genius in this episode, but when isn’t he?
Two Tony scenes that stand out this week literally broke my heart. The first one was set in the hospital room of Luke’s long lost sister Patricia. Luke hadn’t seen her in decades. In this scene he saw her for the first time. The look on Luke’s face at that moment was such a mix of wonder, incredulity and love! Geary embodies natural acting.
In the second, Fluke was holding Luke’s wife Tracy (the always brilliant Jane Elliot) his daughter Lulu (Emme Rylan) and sister Patricia hostage in Pat’s hospital room, pointing a gun at the three. To save their lives Tracy slowly talked Fluke down, reminding him how much he loves his family. The strategy worked: Fluke turned back into Luke in mid conversation. What a relief when he dropped the gun! How harrowing Geary made Luke here! From menace to angel in a few seconds!
As illustrated in this scene, Geary and Elliot continue to be the best acting duo on daytime television today after so many years on the show together.
Many fans are saying this is the best soap episode they’ve ever seen. I think it it’s one of many in our long and distinguished daytime drama history. What do you think? The comments section below awaits.