Days of Our Lives’ Robert Clary and John Aniston: Warmly Remembered

Days of Our Lives’ Robert Clary and John Aniston: Warmly Remembered By Patrick Erwin, a contributor to this column for many years on As the World Turns and Guiding Light (Patrick says: I’m honored to be a contributor to Marlena’s column once again.) It’s a bittersweet memory for today’s visit. We’re remembering the sad recent passing of … [Read more...]

All My Children’s Kelly Ripa — She Won the Lottery

This is a review of Kelly Ripa’s autobiography, Live Wire:  Long-Winded Short Stories, published by HarperCollins: In 1990, a fresh, exciting character played by a phenomenal new 20-year-old talent named Kelly Ripa debuted on All My Children. The character was Hayley Vaughan, the illegitimate teenage daughter of Arlene Vaughan (played by Olivia … [Read more...]

Suicide Is Not Painless, Part Two: Y&R’s Chelsea Tries to Kill Herself

Last Friday on Young and the Restless, Chelsea Lawson (Melissa Claire Egan, in an excellent performance) heard voices in her head (a la a bad 50’s movie), went onto the balcony her apartment and looked down at the traffic way below on the street—contemplating committing suicide.  Thankfully Billy Abbott (Jason Thompson) arrived in time and talked … [Read more...]

In Memorium: David Johnson, Distinguished and Beloved Soap Journalist

As I write this, my heart is breaking.  David Johnson, my closest colleague and ally in the soap opera journalism business for 40 years, passed away Saturday, Oct. 29, in Los Angeles, following a long battle with cancer. He was 87. David was born in Manhattan in 1935, the child of a single mother, his father having returned to England.  At an … [Read more...]

Days’ Despicable (and Desperate) Storyline Move

There I was last week, reading Kelly Ripa’s new autobiography, Live Wire, which I plan to review, and a scene aired on Days of Our Lives that truly shocked me. Two women — Allie Horton (played by Lindsay Arnold) and Chanel Dupree (played by Raven Bowens) were having sex with Alex Kiriakis (played by Robert Scott Wilson). A threesome on daytime! … [Read more...]

Do You Still Watch Soaps?

Since I began to post here again, it has been my pleasure to reunite with so many long-time Marlena fans. You’re still watching — and so am I. I’m shocked, however, that so many of my soap press colleagues — who are or were in the business for decades —just don’t watch soaps anymore. And they’re not alone. A lot of fans have quit, too. Of … [Read more...]

An Eyewitness History of the Soap Press

When people meet me for the first time, they invariably ask me two questions: 1) You have an unusual last name. How do you pronounce it?  (I say, “Pass-a-lac-qua. Yes, it’s Italian, and it means “over the water.”) 2) You do WHAT for a living??? Yes, I am proud I have been a soap opera journalist for … oh my, 40 years now. Like many of my … [Read more...]

Soaps Need Comic Relief Now More Than Ever

As I write this, I am feeling very gloomy. NBC’s Days of Our Lives — a soap I have watched since I was a teenager — has left network television and moved to Peacock, a streaming service. Of course, I and, I trust, all the show’s fans will follow it. And I’m hoping that Days will be just as engaging, maybe even more so, than it was at its old … [Read more...]

Soap Opera Legend #1: Genie Francis

Many years ago, Blackgama, an association of mink ranchers, started a print advertising campaign that became a cultural touchstone: “What becomes a legend most?” The answer: featuring a star like Lauren Bacall or Barbra Streisand modeling one of its coats. In our daytime soap world, there are numerous legendary performers — both alive and dead. I … [Read more...]

Marlena Says: “Save General Hospital”

Over the last four decades, Marlena has written many, many stories on “General Hospital” (which premiered in 1963). Now that NBC is moving “Days of Our Lives” to its streaming service, Peacock, as of next month an alarming question arises: Will ABC send its soap standard bearer “GH” to streaming as well? Marlena certainly hopes not! So perhaps … [Read more...]