Soap Divas Keepin’ It Real!

We all love our soap divas, dondivas pic’t we? From their larger than life romances to their ability to get anything they want by any means necessary, we simply love, and in some cases love to hate, our soap divas. One of the reasons we love these divas so much is because they always keep it 100% real. Over the years, countless actresses have mentioned how they love playing a diva role because they are able to do and say the things that in real life you simply can do and say. Some divas, however, transcend the TV screen and when they feel passionate about an issue, their inner divas follows them into the real world and they tell it like it is and speak truth to power. This has been especially true in the past few years as soap after soap has faced financial struggles, internal strife, attack from network executives, and sometimes from within the writing and production staff, and eventually cancellation. When their soaps were threatened, our favorite divas did what we expect them to do, they spoke out and revealed the truth about what was going on behind the scenes. This made us love them even more.

Two divas took the lead. Susan Lucci, Erica Kane of “All My Children,” and Kim Zimmer, Reva Shayne of “Guiding Light” both felt compelled to speak out and in their own special way, and they put the TV executives, writers and producers on blast! These brave women are the only reason we, the viewers, know what is really happening to our beloved soaps. By blowing the lid off of the inner workings of soap production, these divas have educated us, enlightened us and guided us. Because of them, we now understand what we are up against when it comes to saving the soaps, and we can draw strength and inspiration from them and channel our own inner diva so we too can keep it 100% real about how we feel about the soaps and those who seem determined to destroy them.

Susan Lucci book picSusan Lucci was an icon in the soap world and portrayed Erica Kane for 40 years on the popular soap “All My Children.” During her tenure she was diplomatic when it came to discussing the issues that were negatively affecting her soap. When her biography “All My Life” was published before “All My Children’s” cancellation, Lucci briefly mentioned the struggle to save the show and the measures executives were taking to keep the show on the air like moving the production from New York City to Los Angeles. Lucci also alluded to taking a pay cut in order to save the jobs of production staff and keep the show on the air when she would sit for interviews. Understanding that it would be better to measure her comments while the show was still airing, Lucci was demur and optimistic. When it was announced that the show was being cancelled, however, Lucci unleashed the inner Erica Kane and blasted ABC’s daytime chief Brain Frons in an epilogue she wrote for her book’s paperback edition. In the epilogue, Lucci called out Frons directly and blamed the condition of the struggling soap on poor decisions that he made. Lucci accused Frons of hiring writers who drove fans away with their subpar writing, and she accused him of pushing out “All My Children’s” creator and guiding force Agnes Nixon. Perhaps the most important part of the epilogue is the part where Lucci pulls back the curtain on the real reason that soaps are dying…greed! She states clearly, “An iconic show was losing out to greed. If Brian Frons could show his bosses that he could save the network 40 percent he could keep his job even if the rest of us lost ours.” Lucci has been an advocate for the show and its creator Agnes Nixon. She even voluntarily took a pay cut to help save the show. She soon discovered, however, that saving the show and respecting the audience was not part of the ABC/Disney plan. As Lucci tells her fans, Frons pushed aside Nixon and installed a writer that paid little attention to the history of “All My Children.” In a revealing and stinging quote, Lucci said, “I’d click the television to ABC and not realize I was watching `All My Children.’ If the show was unrecognizable to me, I can only imagine how our viewers felt.” Lucci lost the battle to save “All My Children” but in true Diva fashion she let everyone know who was to blame for its demise and why.

Kim Zimmer book picEven more outspoken was CBS diva Kim Zimmer, who originated the role of Reva Shayne in the early 1980’s on “Guiding Light.” Fans of that show remember Reva as an outspoken, fearless, loyal and in-your-face character who would fight for her friends and family and for what she believed in even if it meant putting herself in harm’s way. What was not apparent to fans and casual observers alike was that Kim Zimmer was EXACTLY like Reva. This diva was quick to express her anger and frustration when her show started its long, slow decline and she never hesitated to speak up and put the spotlight on whomever was to blame, even the highest executives at Procter & Gamble. Zimmer’s book, “I’m Just Sayin’” goes into detail about how “Guiding Light” changed and how its owner, Procter & Gamble really felt about the show the last few years. Zimmer is blunt and says clearly that she believes Procter & Gamble was tired of being in the soap business and simply washed their hands of all their soaps and hired executive producers and let them do whatever they wanted, even if their actions damaged the soaps. Procter & Gamble simply had no interest in keeping a watchful eye over their soaps in order to save them, according to Zimmer, and for her that is the infuriating.

Without guidance and a clear purpose to see the show thrive, “Guiding Light” was left at the mercy of writers and producers who experimented and tinkered until the show just died. Up until the very end, though, Zimmer fought to save the show. Zimmer had joined “Guiding Light” in 1983 when she created the role of Reva Shayne. Reva was an instant fan favorite and for the next seven years, Zimmer was the face of the show. Zimmer left the show in 1990, only to return in 1995 and she was with the show from that point until its last show in 2009. In fact, she and co-star Robert Newman, who played Reva’s soul mate Josh Lewis, were the last two actors seen at the end of the last episode.

For soap fans, Zimmer’s book is hard to read because she details specific decisions taken that made the show almost unwatchable. Her harshest criticism is reserved for Executive Producer Ellen Wheeler. Wheeler had been part of soaps for decades, playing Marly/Victoria on “Another World” and Cindy on “All My Children.” As Executive Producer of “Guiding Light” Wheeler was given a free hand, again because Procter & Gamble no longer cared what happened. With her free hand she made radical changes to the show. As Zimmer makes clear, she thinks Wheeler had good intentions, and believed if her ideas worked it would save the soaps. Unfortunately, her changes doomed “Guiding Light.” With every decision she made. Zimmer was there to raise her hand, yell, cry, and generally advocate for the show. Zimmer tells how Wheeler moved production from the long-time Manhattan studio to the town of Teaneck, New Jersey. Filming was done on the fly, in rooms barely big enough for two people and that were hot as hell with the production lights and outside temperature. There were no dressing rooms, and rushed production. Zimmer tells the story of one scene where she and her lover were having a dramatic moment that was pivotal to the storyline. The scene was filmed outside, with the wind blowing and the camera was across a river. When the scene aired, viewers could barely see the pair and they could hear nothing. Zimmer was livid and most of all embarrassed. This incident, as well as many others led Zimmer to the breaking point and she tells of the day she stormed into Wheeler’s office and they had an epic shouting match worthy of any soap. The final insult came when Zimmer learned that “Guiding Light” had been cancelled from the radio in her car while she was preparing to drive to work. The powers-that-be didn’t even have enough respect for the actors and production staff to let them know in advance.

Both Lucci and Zimmer fulfilled their contract duties until the last scene because they are professionals, and both have moved on. Both women are proud of the stand they took to try to save their soaps and to maintain, against all odds and powerful forces, the dignity of their soaps and their history. Above all, both tapped their inner divas to stand up for the fans, who never knew what was going on behind the screens, but who could see that the soaps were being destroyed. Because of these women, the powers-that-be were not able to destroy the soaps without challenge, and because of them, the fans had a voice until the very end. Even more important, because of them, the fans now know about the lengths soap owners and producers will go to get rid of the soaps and we can mobilize to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to the remaining soaps. God bless our soap divas!

David Arwood

David Arwood

 By David Arwood,

GENOA CITY IS UNDER ATTACK! The Downfall Of Phratt!

Genoa the_downfall_of_phratt bookCity, Wisconsin is under attack and troops are needed now to save it! Not the real Genoa City, of course, but the Genoa City that is located on a sound stage at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California. Saving Genoa City is a job that not even our wonderful military can accomplish. No, only loyal and devoted soap fans can save Genoa City and the soap that is based there, “Young & the Restless.”

This petition will go directly to the executives at Sony and CBS, the companies that own “Y&R.” Even if you are not a fan of “Y&R” and have no history watching it, please sign this petition! When you do, you are not just working to save this one soap, you are working to save all the remaining soaps!

Just take a moment and think about this: There are now only FOUR soaps on the air!

Over the past 15 year, television executives have been cancelling our beloved soaps, one by one. To them, they are just profit and loss centers and when the ratings fell and profits declined, they were no longer viable. To us they are parts of our history. They have offered comfort when times were bad and validated our lives when nothing else could. Their characters were our families and now we are left to wonder, what would Erica think of this, or how would Reva react to that, what you think Katherine Chancellor would say? Below is the sad list of what we have lost:

  • Another World – Disney – 1999
  • Guiding Light – Procter & Gamble – 2009
  • As The World Turns – Procter & Gamble – 2010
  • All My Children – Disney – 2011
  • One Life To Live – Disney – 2013

If you have ever loved any of these soaps, please sign this petition now! The fate of “Young & the Restless” depends on it. As the number one soap in America since 1987, one would think it is in no danger, but storm clouds are gathering. First, CBS and Sony executives hired Jill Farren Phelps as Executive Producer. Phelps has been in the soap business for decades and has worked on the following soaps:

  • Another World
  • Guiding Light
  • One Life to Live
  • Santa Barbara

Does this list look familiar? It should because it is almost an exact copy of the list showing the soaps that have died! This is not a coincidence! Jill Farren Phelps kills soaps! Now, she is in charge of “Young & the Restless.” Worse, she has hired her longtime friend and accomplice Charles Pratt as co-Executive Producer and Head Writer. Pratt is widely believed to have destroyed “All My Children.” He is known for ignoring long time soap history and writing outrageous storylines that involve murder, explosions and any other number of silly and stupid plots that drive long term fans away in droves. Has anyone watched “Young & the Restless” lately? In just the past two months there has been three explosions, four murders and character acting in ways they never would have before. Sound familiar? Friends, we are walking down the same path, and it’s a path to death. “Young and the Restless” is dead man walking and only we can issue the pardon!

How sad this is. “Y&R” was created by the amazing Bill Bell, who was a master soap story teller. He learned his craft under the guidance of the inventor of soaps Erna Phillips. Together they created the soaps we all loved so much. “Young & the Restless” was a labor of love for Bell. He set the soap in the small town of Genoa City, Wisconsin, since he drove through there on his many trips to his summer home on Lake Geneva. From 1973 until 1998 he was Head Writer and he remained active with the show until just before his death in 2005. Over that time he made “Y&R” the standard in soaps. His characters were fully developed and his storylines were steeped in “Y&R” history and tradition. He is rolling over in his grave at the current state of his masterpiece.

By signing this petition you will be joining he fight to save all the remaining soaps and helping us bring soaps back to their glory days. In 2009, CBS and Procter & Gamble decided that if they could get rid of “Guiding Light” which had been on the air for 75 years(!) they could easily cancel all the rest. Now, CBS and Sony are making a similar calculation. If they can kill the top rated soap, the others will be easy to kill. WE CAN’T LET THAT HAPPEN!!!

This petition makes the following demands:

  • We demand that CBS and Sony immediately fire Jill Farren Phelps and Chares Pratt JR!
  • We demand that CBS and Sony hire an Executive Producer and Head Writer who understands “Y&R” and who will respect this history of the show and respect the soap genre.
  • We demand that CBS and Sony allow those who love soaps to make the decisions at “Y&R” and make sure that the input from fans is respected and listened to!
  • We demand the return of soap opera production to New York City. Bringing the soaps back

Please sign this petition:

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/93695-the-downfall-of-phratt

Thank you for your support! Together we can save our soaps and make sure they are around for generations to come!

David Arwood

David Arwood

 

David Arwood,

 

 

 

A special thanks goes to Nishadat for the wonderful logo she created for us! You can avail yourself of her services by contacting her at www.fiverr.com/nishadat!

Soap Industries. A Call To Action!

petition logo 2SOAP FANS UNITE, AND STRIKE BACK!

A CALL TO ACTIONS FOR DALLAS, ABC, CBS, SOAP FANS! THREE STEPS: SIGN THE PETITION, COMMENT ON PETITION (WHY ARE YOU SIGNING?), AND SHARE PETITION WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES, AND ON ALL YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS.

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92470-to-save-specific-soap-operas-and-the-soap-genre

Calling all Soap fans…we need your help! We at SOS have spent years writing, calling, agitating and protesting to get our Soaps back on the air. We admit that our focus initially was on the ABC soaps that we grew up with and loved so much, but over time we came to realize that all Soap fans had a personal, and emotional connection to their favorite Soaps no matter what network they were aired on. So we are now demanding that all cancelled Soaps return! That’s why we need your help. Our power is in our numbers. Not just ABC fans or NBC fans or CBS fans, but SOAP FANS. Together we cannot be defeated!

We have developed a petition that we plan to present to the networks that did or do carry soaps, and we need you to support us by signing that petition. Will you? Will you step up to help us return the Soaps to their heyday? You may be thinking, why should I? What are the chances of success? Well, without your help those chances are zero. With you, they are good…even great. Our petition is a call to action certain to get the attention of networks, because we understand what motivates them and we are prepared to hit them where it hurt–their bottom line. Will you help?

Just take a moment and think about this: There are now only FOUR soaps on the air!

This is an amazing thing to contemplate because at one time there were well over 10 and tens of millions of Americans tuned in each day to follow their “stories.” What happened?  Corporate America happened, the VCR happened, talk shows and cheap reality programs happened. All of these conspired to take our Soaps away. When viewers could fast forward through advertising and when networks became obsessed with cheaper programming, companies started thinking of ways to get rid of our beloved Soaps–companies you know well, like Disney, which owns ABC, and Procter & Gamble actively worked to undermine and kill the Soaps they owned. Here is the Casualty list:

  • Another World – Disney – 1999
  • Guiding Light – Procter & Gamble – 2009
  • As The World Turns – Procter & Gamble – 2010
  • All My Children – Disney – 2011
  • One Life To Live – Disney – 2013

How many of you memories are tied to these Soaps? How much would you love to have them back? Now think about how many Disney movies you own or how many Procter & Gamble products you have in your home. Those movies and those products are power because if you stopped buying them those companies would pay attention. That is our goal, to have a big enough financial impact on these companies to make them bring our soaps back. By signing our petition you will be joining us in making the following demands:

  • We demand the return of Dallas, All My Children, One Life to Live, Guiding Light, and As the World Turns, to their original networks and time slots. If this demand is not met, we will boycott ABC/Disney, refusing to watch its network programming or purchase its sponsors’ products.
  • We demand Proctor & Gamble’s resurrection of Guiding Light and As the World Turns. If this demand is not met, we will boycott Proctor & Gamble’s products.
  • We thank Warner Bros for having picked up Dallas, but caution that the show must still be returned to CBS. When and if this is done, we will gladly watch your movies and patronize your products, while avoiding those of your competitors.
  • We demand the return of soap opera production to New York City. Bringing the soaps back to NYC could result in up to 40,000 new jobs and $4 billion in revenue for that economy.

Now is the time! Join us in taking the steps necessary to get our Soaps back. Together we are unstoppable!

rp_Bio-Pic-267x300.jpgDavid Arwood,

 

 

Soaps Are Family, Especially At Christmas Time

jack and erica wedding picOLTL Christmas pic

It’s that time of year again when I miss the soaps that are no longer with us the most. As I decorate and wait for my family to arrive for our annual visit, I think back to many Christmases when I found comforts in soaps and when the soaps were very much a part of the family celebrations.

I’ve watched just about every soaps over the years and I always loved Christmas on the soaps. When I think of Christmas and the soaps I think of Days of Our Lives, Another World, General Hospital, All My Children, Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Young & The Restless, and more. These soaps played an important role in my life and each of them gave me special Christmas memories and in many respects, each gave me a tradition that I carry with me even today.

day christmasOne of my earliest memories of soaps at Christmas time was watching Days of Our Lives with my grandmother in the 1970’s. Each year, we would bake cooking and decorate the house, all while watching the Horton family prepare for their Christmas activities. I remember the Horton tradition of decorating their tree with bulbs that had the names of each family member. This tradition is one that carries forward to today, and it is one that stays with me. As Alice Horton always explained, the bulbs were a way to have the entire family present, even if the actual person could not be in Salem, or if they had passed and were no longer with us. As I grew into adulthood, I borrowed a variation of this tradition for my own tree. I don’t have bulbs with the names of family members, but I make sure to buy dated ornaments each year as a reminder of what that particular Christmas meant to me and my parents. Each year, as I decorate the tree, every ornament has a memory and a meaning attached to it, and each time I view them, I am transported back to a special time, and I always think of Alice Horton and the tradition she started.

As I entered my teenage years I quickly discovered that time honored soap Christmas tradition of bringing hope when things seemed most hopeless. This was always the case with lovers who had been torn apart for whatever reason, somehow, they always found themselves in the same place at the same time to remember what they mean to each other and to give hope to the viewer and signal that they would soon find their way back to each other. One my of favorite Christmas soap moments was JennyandGreg amcwatching Jenny and Greg on “All My Children” in the early 1980’s. The pair had overcome their different socio-economic backgrounds to find love, only to be broken up by the meddling of others. Somehow, though, at Christmas, they found themselves in the same place and the magic of Christmas let them, and the viewers, know that they needed to be back together, and soon! I had the same a feeling almost a decade later when “Guiding Light” reunited Phillip Spaulding with his long lost and believed dead love, Beth Raines. With the help of Phillip’s guardian “Nick” who somehow only showed up at Christmas time, the two lovers found each other again and celebrated their very own Christmas miracle.

I’ve written before of how I always had the soaps on in the background while I was decorating our family tree and I thought of that this week as I prepared my tree for the arrival of my parents for Christmas. As I hung the lights and ornaments, my mind immediately went back to those many Christmases when I would start decorating around noon and continue on through the afternoon as “Young & The Restless,” “Bold & The Beautiful,” “As The World Turns” and finally “Guiding Light” played on the television. By 4:00 PM, the tree would be finished, the house decorated, and another soap-inspired Christmas in my memory.

Christmas, sadly, can also be a time of stress and sadness, if you are thinking of lost love or family that is no longer with us. In those situations, there is nothing better than curling up with a warm cup of hot chocolate, some comfort food and the soaps. Many sop writers realize that there are viewers struggle through adversity and they always craft storylines around the holidays that center on finding hope in hopeless situations. No soap does this better than “Young & The Restless.” Each holiday season for the past several years, that soap has presented an episode that focuses on one character and the struggles they face. Over the hour, that character hits rock bottom and with the guidance of a stranger, they reach the end of the episode, not with their problems solved, but with hope that everything will work out over time. That theme speaks to so many during the holidays and it has spoken to me many nicki drinkingtimes. The episode that stays with me most is the one that centered on heroine Nicki Newman. Nicki has battled alcoholism for years and as she found herself alone at Christmas and involved in an alcohol fueled car accident on her way to her daughter’s wedding, she encountered a stranger who explained what life would be like for her loved ones without her in their lives. In the end, she discovered that the stranger was her long dead mother, manifested as her guardian angel.

Many dismiss the soap opera genre, but when done well, the soaps are inspirational, and I for one have been inspired, comforted and uplifted by the soaps year after year. I can’t imagine a Christmas without the soaps and I hope there will never be a holiday season when I can’t turn the television on and share my Christmas with my soap families. That is why we must work hard to keep our soaps on the air, and fight to get our old soaps back.

Share some of your favorite soap Christmas memories, I know you have some.

David Arwood

David Arwood

We Need Alexis Carrington Colby!

IDynasty’ve been watching the new “Dallas” on TNT, and I’ve seen how or favorite Southfork family has been brilliantly and successfully resurrected as a prime time soap. The new Dallas combines the best of the past with engaging new stories for the next generation of Ewing’s, Barnes’ and their associates. As I’ve watched how easy it was to become reengaged with the Ewing’s of Dallas one thought keeps coming into my mind: We need Alexis Carrington Colby back!

Yes, it is time for the powers that be to realize that Americans are eager to catch up with their favorite night time soap families from the 1980’s and it is time for them to bring Dynasty back! Dynasty was a unique soap because the writers were not afraid to tackle the most controversial issues of the day. At least they did at first, until circumstances of the day caused the producers and writers to pull back and be more cautious. With society at a much different place now, imagine the ground breaking and dramatic storylines a new generation of Carrington’s and Colby’s cold bring to life on the television screen.

Dynasty premiered in 1981, and it was far ahead of its time. Think back to that year. 1981 was the year that Ronald Reagan moved into the White House ushering in an age of business, riches, greed, opulence and entrepreneurship. It was the perfect time for a show like Dynasty. Americans loved to watch the Carrington’s live large and they came to represent the 1980’s in the most perfect way.

 Still, 1981 ushered in a conservative era when women still had subordinate roles in the workplace, for the most part, and 1981 was the year that AIDS burst onto the scene, setting back the gay rights movement for another two decades. Dynasty’s writers and creators pushed the envelope with topics like women in positions of corporate power and a gay character in a relationship with another man. Americans had not seen anything like it, even on the powerhouse Dallas, which had more traditional storylines. The Dynasty writers had to constantly calibrate just how far they could go to tell the stories the wanted to tell.

 Two characters were central to these ground breaking stories. There was Steven Carrington, the family son and heir to the empire. Steven was handsome and smart, and he was rebellious and independent. Steven was also gay, and in a relationship with another man. The very first season was crafted around the trial of Steven’s father and family patriarch Blake Carrington for killing Steven’s gay lover when he found them in a compromising position. Americans were riveted to their televisions when Steven testified in great detail about his relationship with another man and when Blake was cross examined and angrily revealed his feelings towards gay men. Topics like this simply were not discussed on American TV in 1981, not until Dynasty came along, that is. Sadly, when the AIDS epidemic burst onto the scene, the topic became taboo and the Dynasty writers had to scale back their provocative story, even making Steven straight and pairing him with Heather Locklear’s Sami Jo.

 The second character to break through with amazing stories was the one and only Alexis Carrington Colby, played to perfection by Joan Collins. I have to say that one of the television moments that I will never forget was the last few minutes of that first season when the prosecution in Blake’s trial called their surprise witness, his ex-wife Alexis! It immediately became television history. The producers had not yet cast Alexis, so they had to have the actress wear a hat with a black veil to cover her face. When the show returned in the fall of 1981, Joan Collins was under the veil, but in that episode in the spring, it was just a woman and a veil, and the audience immediately knew that this woman meant business!

 Alexis is what set Dynasty apart from its main rival Dallas. That show of course had its ruthless corporate villain, JR, but Americans were used to men playing the role of greedy vicious businessmen. 1981 was only one year after the movie “9 to 5” which shined the spotlight on the plight of American women in the work place. In 1981, most women who worked outside the home worked in the hospitality industry, were teacher or nurses or worked retail. Those who were in the corporate world were most likely part of the secretarial pool. No one had seen an ambitious woman charge the corporate board room and do whatever it took to reach the top. Not until Alexis did it!

 Alexis was ambitious and determined to get what she felt was rightfully hers. When she didn’t get it from her ex-husband Blake, she chose to get it by any means necessary. She would use her children, her knowledge of people’s past for blackmail purposes, and most of all she would use her sexuality. Who can ever forget how she went after Cecil Colby, convinced him to marry him and then watched as he had a heart attack during their passionate night of sex? For 1982 this was shocking, but Americans loved it! Unlike the storyline of a gay man dealing with his sexuality in a time of AIDS, America was ready for a strong woman to enter the corporate arena with a men and beat them at their own game, so the writers made Alexis bigger than life and were not even afraid to have her roll around in the mud fighting with her arch nemesis, and Blake’s wife Krystal.

 Dynasty ended in 1989, and like all series, sputtered to an end, suffering from storylines that were no longer fresh and cutting edge. There was a two part mini-series a few years later to wrap up loose ends and it seemed like the end of Dynasty for good. Today, however, we have seen the rebirth of Dallas, and it works! The new Dallas is riveting and most important it is fresh, focusing on modern and contemporary issues like alternative energies and the tension in Texas between the law enforcement authorities and the Mexican drug cartels. The characters are familiar, but they are modern. The older Ewings have one foot in the past and the other in the present and the younger generation is fully engaged in the issues that contemporary 20-somethings face every day. There was even a three-way sex scene!

 Imagine what Dynasty could be today if it was reborn. Its not 1981 anymore and there are no boundaries. Americans have come to accept the most controversial subjects and there would be no limit to what the writers could do. Steven could be out and would probably be married to his lover. Younger Carringtons could be involved in any number of situations and there would really be no limit.

 Best of all, Alexis could be unleased and watching Joan Collins reprieve her iconic role would be incredibly entertaining. With the children of the ‘80’s now the adult and parents of the new millennium, there is a craving for the icons of that incredible decade; Dallas has proved that.

So now, with one voice, the fans of Dynasty are proclaiming – BRING BACK DYNASTY AND BRING BACK ALEXIS CARRINGTON COLBY!

David Arwood

David Arwood

Written by David Arwood.

 

 

 

 

And thank you, soap fans, for reading. Remember to comment, subscribe (in the upper left-hand corner), and most of all,

STAY SOAPY!

Remembering America’s Longest Running Soap: “Guiding Light”

David Arwood

David Arwood

June 30, 2014 mark 62 years since America’s longest running soap opera began its run on American television. That soap opera was “Guiding Light” and for the next 57 years, the Bauers, the Spauldings, the Reardons, the Coopers and many more came into homes each day to entertain, to teach and to offer comfort and support.

 “Guiding Light” was one of the first programs to air on the new invention of television, but it actually pre-dates television. “Guiding Light” began as a radio serial on January 25, 1937 on NBC Radio and was transferred to CBS Radio on June 2, 1947 before making the leap to CBS television on June 20, 1952. That’s where it remained until September 18, 2009. For that 57 years, millions of Americans tuned in each day to follow the trials and tribulations of their “Guiding Light” family. Over the years, -those viewers were taken on a ride through the history of soap operas.

By the time of its last broadcast “Guiding Light” was the longest running soap opera ever aired in America and the fourth longest running television show in American broadcast history. With the demise of many of the soaps that arrived on the scene shortly after “Guiding Light” and with the constant threat hanging over the remaining soaps, it is no stretch of the imagination to think that “Guiding Light” will forever be the longest running soap in history.

 “Guiding Light” is soap history. It was created by the legendary mother of soap operas, Irna Phillips. It was Phillips who single handedly created the soap opera genre and sold that concept to international power house Procter & Gamble, who eagerly promoted the genre in order to have a captive audience to advertise their products to, especially the flag ship product, Ivory Soap. This is where the soaps get their name, and “Guiding Light” was a mainstay of Procter & Gamble productions until its final air date.

 Phillips ruled “Guiding Light” with an iron fist until she left to work on her next creation “As the World Turns” at which point her protégé, Agnes Nixon took over as head writer. Readers of this blog will know that Nixon went on to create “All My Children” and “Another World” and “One Life to Live.” Phillips also served as mentor to another soap giant, Bill Bell, who created “Young & the Restless” and “Bold & the Beautiful.” With its rich history and role as incubator to the soap greats, “Guiding Light” is responsible for all soaps that came after, and all soap fans owe a debt of gratitude to “Guiding Light” whether they ever watched it or not.

 “Guiding Light” not only represented the rise and fall of soaps, but it also tracked the changing landscape of America over the years. When viewers tuned into “Guiding Light” in 1952 they had faces to put with the character voices they had become accustomed to on radio and they followed the lives and challenged faced by middle class immigrant families similar to their own. The Bauers, led by German immigrant Papa Bauer, quickly became household names, at least in households headed by women who would not miss their favorite soap. “Guiding Light” quickly became number one in the ratings, in large part because Phillips. CBS and Procter & Gamble never shied away from topics that were viewed as controversial for their time. Alcoholism, neglect, the pressures faced by women in the 1950’s who yearned for more opportunities, and those faced by men who were expected to provide for family and be “Father Knows Best” were all on display on the little black and white TV screens in homes from Maine to California.

 “Guiding Light” kept up the intensity through the 1960’s when the writers introduced the first African-American characters to reflect the changes in an American society that was grappling with the issue of Civil Rights. It was also in the 1960’s that “Guiding Light” first aired in color and expanded from 15 minutes per day to 30 minutes each afternoon. In the 1970’s, “Guiding Light” once again changed with the times and introduced many younger characters to capture the youth audience that other and newer soaps were going after.”Guiding Light” also expanded to an hour.

 “Guiding Light” also challenged that stereotypical notion that soaps were death for actors who wanted a career in nighttime TV or movies. In fact, “Guiding Light” can claim to have launched the careers of actors and actresses who went on to lucrative and long lasting careers beyond soaps. Perhaps best known among these was Kevin Bacon, who appeared on the show in the early 1980’s. The show was also home to Ian Ziering who went on to “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Sharknado,” Calista Flockheart, TV’s Ally McBeal, Francis Fisher and Jo Beth Williams. Notables like Billy Dee Williams and Cicely Tyson were also captivated by the Light!

 I came to watch “Guiding Light” in 1984, and stayed with it at various levels of interest until the end came on September 18, 2009. For me, “Guiding Light” was a home and a comfort. I could identify with many of its characters and felt at home in “Springfield.” The storylines were often solid and sometimes outrageous. No character held my attention more than Reva Shayne, who like me was often on the outside looking in and doing whatever it took to get attention. Reva, played brilliantly by Kim Zimmer, was always a scene stealer and I couldn’t wait to catch up on her latest exploits.

 The final epitaph on “Guiding Light” actually came in Zimmer’s autobiography “I’m Just Sayin’.” In that book, Zimmer painfully describes the death of “Guiding Light” and often alludes to her suspicions that it was allowed to die. As the oldest soap, it would be easier to cancel others if the longest running soap could be killed. New modes of filming, and taking the sets outside, which were sold as innovative ways to attract new audiences, in fact drove old audiences away and made the once proud soap look like a high school TV class assignment. Zimmer also speaks of how Procter & Gamble lost interest and hired Executive Producers who would oversee the soaps demise from a business perspective.

 The end was announced on April 1, 2009, and was so shocking many thought it an April Fool’s joke. Alas it was not, and on September 18, 2009, the last episode of “Guiding Light” aired with Zimmer given the last word…”Always” as she and her soul mate Joshua Lewis drove off into history.

 The story of “Guiding Light” is the story of soap operas. Its beginning was their beginning, its social significance was their social significance, its rise was their rise and its fall and demise is a cautionary note for the remaining soaps. In the end, if we understand why and how “Guiding Light” ended, we can work to prevent other soaps from meeting the same fate.

 

Comment, subscribe (upper right-hand corner), and let’s dish, discuss, and commiserate!

As we LOVE hearing what you have to say, so please comment! Let’s get a discussion going!

 

Stay Soapy,

 

 

Standing Up For Soaps!

David Arwood

David Arwood

 

Every soap fans feels battered by the many cancellations and loss of our favorite shows and beloved stars, but there is one thing soap fans should not feel and that is defeated! We have the power to bring our soaps back, but it will require thinking outside the box and taking our case to the political and economic leaders who can make a difference. The most successful movements have been those that combined passion with practicality and the movement to bring back the soaps is on the cusp of that magical partnership. Now it’s up to us!

So what can soap fans do to breathe life into the genre and bring back our soaps? The answer lies both within and without. First, we must get organized and put pressure on those decision makers who can make a difference. These decision makers sit in the executive offices of broadcast networks as well as in governmental offices. We must make our voices heard in every possible way to make sure decision makers know that we love our soaps and want them back. We must also let them know that if we get them back we will support them by watching and remaining as loyal as we ever have. We must be willing to up our game and withhold our support from networks that dismiss soap operas as a genre. As they say, money talks and in the world of television ratings equals money. We are the most loyal fans on Earth and we love to watch television in the daytime. Without us, there are no ratings and so there is no money. That message above all else needs to be presented forcefully and in all activities, we must be smart, direct and effective!

They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease so let’s squeak! This blog is called “Let’s Talk About Soaps” so let’s talk about soaps and let’s talk about them a lot! Let’s tell everyone who matters and can make a difference about the magic of soaps. Let’s tell them that soaps aren’t just some television genre where shows come and go. Let’s tell them that soaps are part of American history! In fact, soaps are part of US social, economic and political history. The first soap went on the air, not on television, but on radio in the 1930’s when Americans suffering through the Depression needed the escape soaps offered to making it through the tough times. Soaps have been offering this therapeutic device ever since and the soaps that remain on the air still do.

Soaps also moved America in new directions. How many viewers were moved to speak about adultery, abuse and alcoholism because they saw their soap families confront these issues? How many women were empowered to pursue a career or fight for their rights because of what they saw on the soaps? How many people came to accept the once thought of unacceptable like mixed-race love or gay rights because the soaps made it acceptable? Soap Operas have changed America and should not be discarded so easily. When we lose a soap we lose a piece of America!

Soaps are also an integral part of the economic history of America. They are not best known by their industry moniker “Daytime Dramas.” They are best known as “Soap Operas” and that is because Procter & Gamble created the genre to sell Ivory Soap! It was a historic achievement for a major American company to partner with the entertainment industry to create a sales vehicle. With a captive audience of mostly women, Procter & Gamble had its own platform to advertise all of their products and it worked beyond the company’s wildest dreams, bringing them fame and riches. When the soaps no longer offered that platform because of VCR’s, cable TV options, etc. the company turned its back on the soaps and left fans high and dry. Do you feel like buying Ivory Soap or Tide after what Procter & Gamble did to “Another World,” “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns?” I don’t!

Soaps don’t belong in some forgotten history book, they belong in the Smithsonian! Soaps don’t belong in a list of cancelled TV shows, they belong on the air so we fans can enjoy them

That first Procter & Gamble soap hit the airwaves in the 1930’s and the studio was in New York City. Today there are no soaps in New York City and that must change. We need to take the message to city leaders that they are missing out on billions in revenue from this lost production. A recent study showed the cost of lost production. When movies and television leave an area like New York or Los Angeles they take with them tens of thousands of jobs and billions in economic revenue. Bringing the soaps back to NYC could result in up to 40,000 new jobs and $4 billion in revenue. DO you think Mayor De Blasio and city leaders would want another $4 billion pumped into the NYC economy? I do!

It’s not just actors, writers, director, producers and camera operators who come to work, its caterers, set designers, costumers and all the small businesses that open to service these people. We must tell the story of soaps to the city leaders. We must write them, email them, attend city meetings and ask them about bringing soap production back to the city. Do they know what they are missing and that there is a loyal fan base waiting for the soaps to return to NYC? Probably not! Let’s tell them!

We can’t stop at New York City Hall though. We must take the movement to Albany and to the steps of the Governor’s Mansion and the state legislature. Governor Cuomo speaks frequently about boosting business in New York and the state has a special movie and television commission that works every day to lure new production from California and away from other states. The state legislature has even passed tax breaks and other incentives to bring production to the state. This is all well and good, but as they say charity begins at home. Why focus all efforts on getting new production or taking it from other states? Why not spend some time simply reinvigorating production that is ready to go now in New York City. The infrastructure and talent remain in the city. Let’s lobby the Governor and the legislature to give incentives and tax breaks to the networks that already have headquarters in NYC and who can get the soaps back on the air.

We have to keep up the economic pressure on the companies that own the current soaps and the rights to the cancelled soaps. The boycott against ABC has been effective and we need to examine the pressure we can bring to bear on Procter & Gamble and Sony. At the same time we must support the networks and companies that still support soaps and soap fans. I know this is hard, but we have to watch the soaps that remain even if we don’t have a history with them. I know many of you are loyal to Erica Kane but she is not with us at the moment, and she would be the first to do whatever it takes to get what she wants! Do you know what is going to make ABC rethink its position and bring back our beloved soaps? When they see CBS and NBC thrive because the ratings for “Days of Our Lives,” “Young & the Restless” and “Bold & the Beautiful” go up they will jump back into soaps big time. They will strengthen their commitment to “General Hospital” and they will bring back “All My Children” and “One Live to Live.” Nothing motivates businesses like competition and when the competition is making money from soaps, ABC will be back in the soap business!

 

Finally, we have to be prepared to not rest on success. When the soaps come back will we watch and support them? We must! If we don’t they will not stay on the air and this time they will never come back. Watcher every soap you can find and be vocal in your support for soaps and soap fans. Don’t take them for granted as in the past and don’t get mesmerized by the latest fad like the “Jerry Springer Show” or the OJ trial, which drew viewers away from soaps and helped get them cancelled.

 

Are we as soap fans willing to stand up for soaps? I say yes!

Soap Villains We Love To Hate: So Bad We Just Can’t Get Enough!

David Arwood Photo

David Arwood

  The successful re-boot of Dallas started me thinking about an aspect of soaps that      I  truly love – the ability to create a villain that fans actually can’t help but love, even though they are evil to the core. Let’s face it, Dallas was JR, and most of us old enough to remember the original series probably didn’t even recognize Dallas as a show until someone shot JR. That’s when we started caring about the TV show and about the character. No matter what JR did, no matter who he hurt or double crossed, we loved him…at the same time we hated him.

 The soaps’ ability to make us love, and in many cases root for the villain is both frustrating and exhilarating. Soaps allow us to tap into our own dark side and let us live vicariously through the villain. After all, who wouldn’t want to be Alexis Colby Carrington walking into the board room announcing to her enemies that she had taken over the company and was now their boss!

The reason soap villains are so attractive to us can be traced directly to the actors and actresses who portray the villains. These stars are so good at what they do that we can’t stop watching and we don’t want them to go anywhere. The producers and casting directors of soaps know this and they eventually write up to the talent and give us some of the most memorable soap villains and soap memories in the history of the genre.

Soap villains tend to fall into two main categories, the main character who just can’t stop messing with people and the character created specifically for a storyline. The former is often redeemed while the latter is written to be pure evil and in most cases slated to last only until the storyline they are part of is over. It’s this last category that can cause trouble for soap producers though, because when excellent writers give amazing actors the right material, it’s lightning in a bottle and ratings gold. Then, it becomes hard to lose the actor and their character but even harder to redeem them!

Both of these villain types are characterized in the form of one of Young & The Restless’ current super couples and fan favorites Lauren and Michael Baldwin. Lauren first appeared as the spoiled, narcissistic, uncaring and vindictive daughter of the Fenmore family, owners of the top retail business in Genoa City. Although a talented singer, Lauren immediately set out to get her way both inside and outside the home. Her relentless bullying of overweight Tracy Abbott was often hard to watch and had fans hating Lauren. There was only one problem: Tracy Bregman. Bregman played the hell out of Lauren and you just couldn’t get enough of her. When writers decided to add depth to Lauren and we learned that she didn’t have the best childhood and that she wasn’t as perfect as she thought we started to see a different side of her. As with many soap villains, all it took was the love of a good man to change everything and for Lauren that was Paul Williams. By the time Lauren was stalked by a “fan” ending with her buried alive and losing Paul’s baby, the fans were on her side. When she finally told Paul what really happened in a tearful scene in her hospital room, we were all Lauren Fenmore fans.

Lauren’s current husband Michael Baldwin is a different story all together. Michael came to Genoa City as an accomplished attorney and quickly became attracted to Christine “Cricket” Romalotti. What started as attraction quickly turned to sexual harassment and then attempted murder. Although brought onto the show to help tell this important sexual harassment story and then exit, fans and producers just couldn’t let actor Christian LeBlanc go. But how do you rehabilitate a sexual predator and psycho bent on murder? Well, it’s a soap and a few years in jail, a heartfelt apology, a religious conversion and pleas for forgiveness can redeem any character even from the most evil of circumstances. Of course the discovery of a “good” twin can do it too and soaps have turned to that trick many times!

Every soap had many characters in both these categories. Who can forget Liza Colby and Kendall Kane on All My Children as hated but misunderstood villains, with Ray Gardner and Billy Clyde Tuggle evil incarnate but played to perfection by actors who just couldn’t disappear forever. There was the evil Roger Thorpe on “Guiding Light” played so magnificently by Michael Zaslow that the show had to bring him back as a less evil but still manipulative character. Often a soap will bring its villain back from the dead because the character and the actor was just too good to lose forever. That’s the case with Days of Our Lives’ Stefano DiMera played to perfection by Joseph Mascolo.

The list is endless and there is no way to list every soap villain here. By I know everyone who read this thought of their favorite soap villain. Tell us who you remember and which soap villains you love to hate! We would love to hear about the best soap villain moments you remember watching and memories of the best storylines that showcased your favorite villain!

 

Love In The Afternoon

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 Every lover of soaps remembers the “Love In The Afternoon” marketing campaign that ABC used to promote its daytime lineup for ten years from 1975 to 1985. While an effective campaign for ABC during the height of its soap’s popularity, the words can be used to describe soap operas in general. For those of us who have watched soaps for most of our lives what attracted us most were the grand love stories that kept us glued to the TV rooting for our favorite couples to overcome the many dramatic twists, turns and tragedies that threatened the happiness we all knew they deserved. No matter if you were rooting for Luke and Laura or Jack and Erica on ABC, Cruz and Eden or Bo and Hope on NBC, or Lily and Holden or Josh and Reva on CBS, all the soaps offered much love in the afternoon, and on this Valentine’s Day, it’s a great time to reflect on what these super couples meant to soaps and the millions of fans who followed their every trial and tribulation.

Soap operas have always been about couples and the troubles they faced in their relationships. Even when the soap characters were only faceless names and voices coming through the radio, storylines centered on the interrelationships between husbands and wives as they dealt with issues of marriage and children or the many things like alcohol and infidelity that were always a threat to a couple’s happiness. These love stories continued when soaps moved to television, but the stories remained more grounded in real life situations that ordinary soap fans could identify with. While interesting, and often riveting, the stories could not be described as enthralling and romantic. That all changed in the late 1970’s and the changes propelled soaps to their most amazing decade ever, the 1980’s.

The 1980’s was the decade when soaps became mainstream and more popular than ever and that can be attributed to one thing, the soap super couple. Love took over the soaps and the soaps took over America and the world. It wasn’t just any love, though. It was star-crossed love. These lovers were meant to be and no one or nothing would keep them apart forever, no matter what obstacles were thrown in their way or how long they might temporarily be separated. In the process, soaps showed fans how to do romance right and for better or worse, millions of viewers wanted what their favorite soap stars had, a grand romance, and set out to find that very type of relationship, minus the tragedy and separation, of course.

The soap super couple followed a tried and true path. First, they came together under the most difficult of circumstances, either because they were from different social walks of life and shouldn’t be together, or they were already in a relationship with a friend/family member and it was taboo to get together, or they simply hated each other, and as we all know, there is a fine line between love and hate. When a soap super couple got togeter it was magic and the fans became loyal boosters for years and even decades.

The first real super couple was General Hospital’s Luke and Laura, and they set the tone for all those who followed. They also took soaps to a level never dreamed of, even making the cover of TIME magazine. She already married and the daughter of successful professionals, he the working class rogue, they simply should not have gotten together, but when they did it was magic! When they ran away to get away from Frank Smith’s organized crime syndicate in the summer of 1980, millions of fans around the world went with them, and when they danced to “Fascination” in the closed department store, women, and some men, knew exactly how they wanted to fall in love and what kind of romance they wanted.

The role model for romance and glamour was All My Children’s Erica Kane. Married many times, and in perpetual love with someone at all times, she seemed unlikely to be in a super couple. Fans knew differently, though, because her one true love was Jackson Montgomery, no matter who else she might find herself with. The couple met in the late 1980’s and there was one problem. Erica was in love with Jackson’s brother Travis! Oh the soaps, how they do tease us. For the next twenty years, this super couple faced tragedy, betrayal and every obstacle in between. Amidst all of that though, there was romantic magic that had fans running to imitate these star crossed lovers.

I have to admit that I often was caught up in the daily roller coaster of my favorite super couple, Josh and Reva from “Guiding Light.” True to form, this couple should never have been together since he was the son of a rich Oklahoma oil baron and she was the daughter of the family maid! Yet, they did find each other, only to have her jealousy and insecurity get the best of her resulting in her marriage to his brother when Josh decided to go away to college and leave her behind! This set the tone for a twenty-five year romance that saw her marry not only his brother but his father as well! Their love/hate relationship also led to one of the most dramatic and memorable soap scenes of all time when Reva baptized herself the “Slut of Springfield” after trying everything possible to accommodate Josh only to have him treat her like dirt at every opportunity. It was soap magic!

Although many of our favorite super couples are no longer with us because their shows have been taken from us, they live in our memories and they live through how we conduct ourselves in our own romances. These super couples taught us that love knows no boundaries and this Valentine’s Day, millions of couples from opposite sides of the socio-economic system, same sex couples, or couples from different races, nationalities, and religions will celebrate their love because they grew up in a culture that taught them that there were no barriers to love; a culture that started with the soaps. Many of these couples will also plan the most romantic evenings filled with good food, dancing, and much love, because that’s what they learned to do watching the soaps!

Please share with us who is your favorite soap couple?

Please, help us support our soaps magic by subscribing to this blog. Thank you and from LTAS we wish you an Happy Valentine.

Viva La Lucci!

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January 16, 2014 marks the 44th anniversary of the first time soap viewers were introduced to Susan Lucci and her character of Erica Kane. When Lucci appeared on television screens as Erica for the first time on January 16, 1970, the world of soaps changed forever. When people think of soaps they think of Susan Lucci. Even the person who has never watched a soap or thinks the genre is beneath them has no doubt heard of Lucci’s and Erica Kane.

Lucci is now known as “Daytime’s Leading Lady” and that is an apt description for the actress who never left the role of Erica Kane until “All My Children” was cancelled and aired for the last time on September 23, 2011 and will retrieved her role as Erica Kane with the reboot of All My Children in 2015. For almost 42 years, Lucci as Erica built a bond with soap viewers that will never be matched. Over those years, Lucci was made “TV Guide’s” list of the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time, coming in 37th, received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She has been one of Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating People and was named one of VH-1’s Top 200 Icons of All Time

Perhaps the most important accolade Lucci and her character of Erica has received is that of an agent of cultural change. When Erica Kane stepped onto the “All My Children” set in late 1969/early 1970, the United States was in the midst of the change brought about by the women’s rights movement, and Erica was the epitome of the modern American young woman of the time who set goals, dreamed dreams and pursued a career outside of the traditional roles women and society at large had been accustomed to.

“All My Children” creator and soap legend Agnes Nixon created the character of Erica Kane to reflect the changes in society for women and commented at the time that characters like Erica were a new breed of woman who wanted love independence and fame. These women felt that is they could attain their dreams they would be satisfied, but often found that dream of satisfaction to be elusive. Susan Lucci took that character treatment and played it to perfection as Erica constantly set new goals and chased new dreams, but never quite found the satisfaction she so desperately desired.

Lucci was cast in the role of Erica as part of Nixon’s attempt to bring younger cast members to the show to attract a younger audience without alienating the older audience. This she hopes would give “All My Children” a contemporary look and feel. Lucci fis auditioned for the role of Tara Martin, but it was quickly apparent that the feisty Italian was not a fit for the young, innocent ingénue. She was a perfect fit for the fiery and goal driven Erica and soap history was born.

Erica Kane was one of the characters that fit into a new soap archetype created by Nixon as well as master soap creators Irna Phillips and Bill Bell. This archetype quickly became known as the “Bitch Goddess” and exhibited traits of materialism and selfishness. Instead of waiting for a man to rescue them, they would go after material things and make it on their own. This was Erica Kane and this was Susan Lucci. As Nixon has said many times, there was never any doubt that Susan Lucci was Erica Kane.

As Erica, Lucci met the issues of the day head on and this in the end may be what Lucci is most known for. From the start, Erica faced the issues modern women were facing and Lucci and the writers at “All My Children” never shied away from even the most controversial topics. In 1973, with the Supreme Court having just issued its landmark “Roe vs. Wade” abortion ruling, Erica Kane had the first legal abortion shown on television. The storyline involved Erica aborting her child with then husband Jeff Martin and in a very controversial decision for the writers the choice for an abortion was made simply because Erica didn’t want to have a child at that time. Lucci moved through the storyline with displaying every emotion possible as Erica made the choice to abort and dealt with the aftermath as her husband found out and she went through the emotional turmoil left in the wake of the decision. The soap writers made sure to portray the choice as the wrong move at the time, but the audience rallied around Erica and Lucci and came to see the character as a champion for free will and choice. The bond between Susan Lucci and her audience was formed here and has never been broken.

Overtime, Lucci successfully navigated each and every storyline given her with her continual zest for life and her desire to make Erica Kane soap’s number one character. Perhaps what Erica is most known for are her numerous marriages and no matter who she was with at the time, Lucci always made sure that audiences believed that Erica had found the love of her life. This is a testament to how well Lucci knew not only her character but her fans as well.

Lucci made sure to work closely with the writers to have Erica face the most current and topical issues. When her beloved daughter Bianca came out as a lesbian, Erica’s first thought was of how the revelation would reflect on her. This was in true Erica fashion, but as she often did, Lucci made her audience identify with Erica’s struggle and brought them along as she slowly accepted this news revealed that she loved her daughter for who she was, no matter what. Lucci always went above and beyond to portray Erica as a woman fiercely loyal to her family, especially her mother and her daughters. Who can forget the Christmas episode when Erica brought her granddaughter and placed her into the arms of a comatose Bianca, only to have Bianca react and awaken just in time for Christmas?

The greatest testament to Lucci’s popularity and legendary status came in May of 1999 when her name was announced as winner of the Emmy for Best Actress. This honor is always something to be celebrated, but for Lucci and her fans it was the moment of a lifetime. In that one moment, years of frustration was swept away and the soap audience and industry was able to recognize Lucci for her contributions to the genre and to their lives. For eighteen years, Lucci had been nominated for best actress only to see another actress take home the statue. As Lucci herself has admitted, she got to the point where she thought she would never actually win. She even started to joke about it and make appearances where the lack of an Emmy became the focus of the skit. Finally, though, in a moment most fans remember very well, Shemar Moore opened the envelope and yelled, “The Streak Is Over!” as he announced that Susan Lucci was the winner. What happened next speaks volumes about the love and respect her fans and her peers have for Susan Lucci. As she rose to take the stage, the audience stood in unison for an ovation that lasted several minutes. Many of her colleagues openly wept and good friends and long time fans like Rosie O’Donnell and Oprah Winfrey yelled encouragement from the sidelines.

No matter what Susan Lucci does from this point on, she will always be Erica Kane and she will always have the distinction of changing American culture for the better. Perhaps there is no greater accomplishment to put on a resume or biography.

 

 

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