Ten Happy Halloween Questions

By Marlena De Lacroix

1.  Isn’t it most curious that two of the most intelligent women characters in daytime — Dr. Marty Saybrooke on One Life to Live and fashion mogul Jackie M on The Bold and the Beautiful — have gone from brunette to blonde in the last few months?  Fashion, or just another attempt by the networks/shows to “dumb down” smart female characters?  Regardless, Susan Haskell and Lesley Ann-Downe continue to look gorgeous and act with integrity!

2.  The great, the one and only Eric Braeden; my revered and beloved Robin Strasser — am I the only one l who feels used and tired out by … Continued below

Halloween Marlena



Continued from above … being drawn into their public contract negotiations?  Sure, they don’t deserve pay cuts!  But can’t they keep the drama and tragedy private?  The press gets (and loves to be) manipulated and we fans get a headache.  As I’ve said in the past, its so tasteless when there are millions of unemployed people in this country!

3.  Am I the only one to be infuriated that One Life to Live made police commissioner Bo and D.A. Nora commit a CRIME by hijacking/kidnapping their paralyzed son, Matthew, to London?  I don’t care what excuse OLTL invented to justify this.  What a dis to the characters, their fans and the actors who have played them magnificently for decades!

4.  As a teacher and a professor, I’ve loved and admired the scenes on OLTL in which high school teacher Nick (the wonderful Nicholas Rodriguez) told his class he is gay! Such honesty and such a great political statement!

5.  Just because SONY and Mr. Corday‘s Days of Our Lives  is getting slightly better ratings by featuring younger actors (and guillotining beloved vets like Drake and Deidre, who built the show in the first place) does that make it “right”?   No respect, no respect for us longtime fans.  Only the unethical survive these soap days, I guess.  

6.  So in the new ABC General Hospital promo, Sonny is going to “decide Claudia’s fate” because after two years he finally learned she was responsible for Michael’s shooting. For first tine in twenty years of soap criticism, Marlena has no words.

7.   Hasn’t  GH‘s Kelly Monaco (Sam) come a long way in her serious acting as evidenced in her recent ultra-serious scenes with the mamma Alexis (Nancy Grahn)?  Thanks to Marlena Thinking Fan Melanie Sardiarikis for pointing out the key scenes and finally making me a Monaco believer!

8.  For thirty years, As the World Turns’ Colleen Zenk Pinter (as well as her husband, multi-soap vet Mark Pinter) has been one of the most solid dramatic soap performers, one of the many veteran rocks upon soaps have been built.   But, as demonstrated in her recent storyline with Lynn Herring and Trent Dawson, who knew Ms. Pinter  was a comic genius as well? Bravo!

9.  ATWT, please bring back Stuart Damon as menacing Uncle Ralphie!  His layered portrayal was so much more than just Soprano-esque!  Daytime fans need the supremely talented and beloved Damon as much as he says he needs us!

10.  So, it’s finally been revealed by All My Bogus Children that Adam murdered his beloved twin Stuart. Quelle nonsense!  For personal testimony of David Canary‘s absolute dedication to his character Stuart, here’s the 5 part (originally 7 hours long)  video interview I (Connie Passalacqua Hayman)  did with master actor Canary in 2004 for the Archive of American Televisions’ prestigious Emmy Legend series.

One of the interesting  things he revealed to me is that he modeled Stuart’s speech and mannerisms on his son, who was a child in the  80s.  The kid’s a college grad now!


  1. Contract-negotiation drama has been so full of fire and smoke that I smell planning and cheap publicity stunts. Maybe I’m just a cynic.

    Marlena says: Eureka, Giada! How do you say that in Italian? Just kidding! Truthfully, I could never see either Strasser or Braeden allowing themselves to be used in something so underhanded! Their complaints about their contracts were legitimate for sure; I’m just sick of reading about soaps actors’ monetary pains repeatedly in the press.

  2. I think B and B not only dumbed down Jackie but also put her in the dumb baby storyline. Why put Steffy in the middle? There is really no payoff in it.

    And Adam shot his brother Stuart. I dont care if he was high on something or not, it still makes no sense. Surely, there is another twist but I doubt it.

    As for Victor, it will be weird not to see him but they wrote his character to hell months ago. The Colleen heart transplant storyline was disgusting to the character and Eric Braeden. As for the contract, you are right especially in the recession.

    Since GL went off, I have skimmed OLTL for the fact of Kyle Fish and Nick. SO much more freedom than Luke and Noah get from Telenext (no comment). So much more realism and progression. If ATWT is on it’s last limbs this year, they need to let Luke and Noah go out in style more so than Otalia got on GL.

    And it seems I glance at soaps now but it feels like Jonathan Jackson has not aged after all this time. Just thought I would put that out there as a side note.

    Happy Halloween!

  3. Eric Braeden just annoyed me so much with his recent actions. No one wants to be told that they have to take a paycut, but he should have seen it coming since Melody Thomas and Jess Walton had gone through this previously. I hate when veteran actors are let go, but I was earnestly hoping that he would not be returning. The whining and moaning to the media was just the last straw for me. My uncle has worked for an engineering company for 20 years, and he was unceremoniously laid off this year. In this current economy when people are being laid off, I think complaining publically when you are still being offered a six figure salary is off putting. Plus, soap operas aren’t making big profits like they used to in the past.

  4. Indydavid says:

    While I agree moaning to the press was kind of childish of Braeden, some people don’t realize that it wasn’t that he was against taking a pay cut – I’ve read interviews with him that he was one of the first people to offer or to agree to take a cut – but he was pissed about the way Sony Television handled it…thru emails. And they weren’t respectful enough to wait until his contract was up next year to negotiate another cut. They wanted it to begin right after the 13 week cycle or however long it is.
    I can’t begin to know how much money he makes or however the process works, but you must admit he is integral to the show. Not THE show, but a good part of it. He, along with all the other actors, deserve some kind of respect in negotiations, etc. Just like we would want to be treated respectfully at our jobs by our managers.

  5. Marlena, how funny that you would bring up Nick coming out to his class on “One Life to Live.” I still vividly remember when Michael Delaney (a moment of silence, please, for the vastly underrated Chris Bruno) outed himself as gay to his high school history class on “All My Children” in December 1995, and how the town-wide uproar it kicked up was so explosive that his sister Laurel ended up getting shot and killed on Liza’s talk show. (I also remember “Gentlemen’s Disagreement,” the brilliant column you penned about that storylne in the spring of 1996, and how refreshing and surprising you thought several of the key players’ — Trevor, Palmer, Adam — reactions were to Michael’s revelation.)

    The Oliver/Kyle/Nick story, to my eye, has been remarkable for a number of reasons — the frankness with which it has been portrayed to here, the three sensational actors they’ve chosen to fill these roles (and, even more importantly, the bold dedication those actors have shown in getting all the nuances exactly right, as opposed to relying on stereotypes and caricatures) — and I pray that it doesn’t just fizzle into obscurity after the inevitable Oliver/Kyle reunion and the heady rush of the imminent gay wedding bonanza.

    I find myself bewitched by Rodriguez’s thoroughly telegenic theatricality, and as there are hundreds of thousands of gay teachers throughout this country — many of whom are no doubt terrified of coming out and risking the wrath of the political machines that America’s school systems have unfortunately become — that’s a fresh story that is begging to be told in a real, powerful, riveting way, and they’ve certainly got an actor, a writer, and a producer talented enough to do it justice.

    Marlena says: Brandon, thanks again for remembering one of my columns. The one on the Michael Delaney story on AMC was very special to me. Isn’t it interesting that so many of society’s truths can be played out and illuminated dramatically in the classroom? 1995, when that story was so wonderfully written by Lorraine Broderick, seems so long ago. (Lorraine was a college teacher before AMC and I have heard has gone back to it.) As I said, Carlivati, Valentini and OLTL made a great political statement by making Nick an out gay teacher! Marlena personally loves being a college teacher because the kids of that age are so honest and so open-minded.

    That aside, I love the well-written and very well acted the Oliver/Kyle/Fish story and share your hopes that these characters don’t getwritten into as you say, obscurity, in the OLTL future. I think all three actors have terrific career futures too!

  6. I don’t think Braeden’s interviews with the press were whining or moaning. They were a business strategy no different than Sony’s leaking Braeden’s salary or writing Victor Newman in to the ground as a means of leverage against Braeden in contract negotiations. Why ignore the blood and dirt on Sony’s hands?

    As for Lesley Anne Down, I take issue with your linking intelligence to hair color. Down looks smashing, especially for a woman who survived a battle with breast cancer. Why speculate about her change in hair color as being a studio decision instead of a personal one or one made as a result of her cancer treatment?

    Shouldn’t part of feminism be putting a kabosh on sexist connotations like blondes being sex objects and good girls and brunettes being brains or less desirable?

    Isn’t true that many people lighten their hair several shapes because a darker hair color might not look real against their aging features?

    Marlena says: JTG, consider that I may very well be older than you. When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, to dye your hair blond or be blond connotated someone who was doing it to play down their intelligence and attract men (a.k.a. movie characters as played by the — IRL — brilliant Marilyn Monroe and the — IRL — very smart Jayne Mansfield.) That’s what I think is happening with these characters, knowing tragically what’s happened to almost all female characters on soaps in the last decade.

  7. Dearest Marlena,

    Yes, Colleen Z-P is a comic genius! While I do miss the days of Barbara being a sympathetic character/damsel in distress somewhat, she’s really been off her rocker for quite some time now. Don’t forget her drugging Emily into zombiedom (shades of Annie Dutton and Josh Lewis on GUIDING LIGHT!) and her infamous leap from a second-story courthouse window: “So long, suckers!” At that point, Barbara entered buffoon territory permanently, but in a good way. While forgotten about for a few years, it’s great to see this comedienne back, and I love having her play opposite Lynn Herring much the same way she squared off against Terri Garber’s Iris a few years back. (What a storyline those three could fire up now…) ATWT should really have given CZP one of those “special” episodes to mark her 30th anniversary on the show last year (?) instead of its regular inane attempts at being “special” (the fairy-tale ep comes to mind). A Barbara retrospective could be one of the best eps of this or any year!

    Marlena says: Oh Ant, a special Barbara episode would be fabulous. I would love to see it! Mr. Goutman, hear our plea!

  8. As usual you’re right on the money! And I’m so glad that you enjoyed the Kelly/Nancy scenes as much as I did. I thought they did an amazing job. It’s great stuff like that, though rare, that keeps me coming back!! As you know, I think Kelly is a wonderful actress, but I just wish the material was worthy of her (that can be said for so many of the GH actors.)

    And can I just say, getting a mention in your column has made my year!!!

  9. Preacher'swife says:

    Luke & Noah & Otalia are among the many reasons thathese two once great soaps have died or should I say they were two of the weapons P&G used to murder them This country as a whole including the soaps need to return to the Judeo-Christian values upon on which they were founded.

Speak Your Mind