Sunday, April 19, 2009

She-Ra: 1980's cartoon craze.

In a previous blog entry I wrote some about the TV series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The series was a major success, both commercially and in the ratings. He-Man/Masters of the Universe action figures, plus a big replica of Castle Grayskull, were among the top selling items around Christmas time in the early to mid 1980's. The companion series, She-Ra, also used action figures, comic books, and other gimmicks to tie in with the series. The She-Ra program ran fewer programs than He-Man and a lot of that had to do with less than expected commercial success with the action figures. The cartoon series itself was basically He-Man with a different focus and more exotic and strange looking villains. Some of the villains in Hordak's inner circle are Mantenna, Shadow Weaver, Leech, Grizzlor, Scorpia, and Catra. Mantenna's eyes popped out of his head and he could shoot stun rays out of them. He spoke in a nervous jittery voice...usually falling through a trap door that Hordak often sent his underlings falling into if they displeased him. Mantenna;s voice is close to Orko, from the He-Man series. Shadow Weaver was Hordak's top underling...she could cast spells and transform herself into anything by casting spells. Leech was a big green weird looking villain with big suction cup hands...he would drain the life out of his victim's. Catra was the purring feline, almost Catwoman like...Catra kept a red mask on top of her head and she could turn into a panther if she slid the mask down in front of her face. Scorpia had claws and pinchers and a long tail. She had a husky voice, too. Grizzlor, part man/part bear, was a buffoonish villain of sorts...often attempting to joke around with Hordak, who had little sense of humor.

It was a tale of two cartoons. As I pointed out in the earlier blog, He-Man and his friends helped protect Eternia and Castle Grayskull from Skeletor and his crew of villains. Eternia was ruled by King Randor and Queen Marlena. She-Ra, however, dealt with the problem of dictators. Hordak was appointed, I assume, acting ruler of Etheria with a crew of villains...those who opposed the Horde's influence were all banded together in Whispering Woods, part of the kingdom of Bright Moon, that Hordak hadn't yet conquered...and this became the premise of the series. The defector's proudly called themselves The Great Rebellion. The episodes of She-Ra centered around the Rebels stopping whatever scheme Hordak was planning. Since Etheria was ruled by Horde Prime, the seldom scene "boss" of Hordak, there were no higher power to over-rule the tyrannical ways of the Horde. So, members of the Great Rebellion fought Hordak constantly to keep Bright Moon from falling into slavery.

The leader of the Rebellion was Princess Adora, the twin sister of Prince Adam {He-Man}. Adora was raised by Hordak and grew up in a world of crime, although she didn't realize it. She was brainwashed by both Hordak and Shadow Weaver and raised in the Horde...raised to believe the Horde was protecting their planet from "vandals, crooks, and rebels" out to do harm to the Horde when in fact it was the Horde spreading it's terror all over the planet.

The movie, The Secret of the Sword, served as the pilot for the She-Ra program. In it, He-Man travels to Etheria to find the person the Sorceress sent him to find. He has a second sword with him...this one has a jewel in the center...he must give it to this mystery person in Etheria...soon he finds himself meeting up with Bow and Kowl, members of the Rebellion.

They tell He-Man they're engaged in an on-going battle with the Horde who has a vicious captain named Adora. When He-Man draws the sword the Sorceress gave him, it reacts in a bizarre way...leading He-Man to feel the sword is meant for Adora. A series of misunderstandings and mix-up's follow...Adora, through the telepathy of the Sorceress, learns that He-Man/Prince Adam is her brother and she learns the truth of her hidden origins. Adora uses the power sword to change into She-Ra for the first time. I won't give an entire review but that's a small sampling. As the series goes on, several people learn of Adora's secret of being She-Ra. As on the He-Man series, Prince Adam's secret identity was shared with Man-At-Arms, Orko, and the Sorceress. On She-Ra, Princess Adora's secret was shared with Light Hope, Madam Razz, and Kowl. Light Hope was the mystical spectrum residing inside the Crystal Castle, the equivalent to Castle Grayskull. Madam Razz was the scatterbrained witch and Kowl was a strange creature that was part owl and part koala...he had the face and body of an owl and had a furry appearance to match a koala. He used his big multicolored ears to fly.

The movie is on DVD #1 in that collection I'm holding up in the picture. On DVD #2 there's five episodes picked as favorites from the fan's of the show. The collection I'm holding up is The Best of She-Ra and so it isn't an episode-by-episode collection.

Friday, April 17, 2009

He-Man: 1980's cartoon craze...

I was one of the millions of boys who watched He-Man, formally known as He-Man And the Masters of the Universe. Everyday at 4pm after Guiding Light I would patiently await the start of He-Man. I once pretended I was the character...I used a sweeper nozzle for a sword one time. Sometimes I'd use the cardboard tube that was left over after the paper towel's had been all used up...a toilet paper tube was too had to be a paper towel tube. I had the opening theme memorized within days...and knew the movements of each character in the opening sequence. I could mute the opening and speak the narration myself if I wanted to but I didn't.

I HAVE THE POWER!!! Who didn't run around saying that phrase at some point after watching the cartoon? It was part of Adam's narrative in his transformation into He-Man. I don't profess to be a hardcore fan of the cartoon so I do not know all of the in's and out's and character bio's but I do enjoy the cartoon even to this day. I have one of the DVD collections and others are on the way. I hadn't seen episodes of the show since the early 1990's when they were being re-ran on the USA Network...but the overall plot of the show and several of the characters never left my memory.

The series centered around Adam, the Prince of Eternia. He had in his possession a power sword. He'd use this sword and recite a kind of magic incantation and transform into He-Man...while Adam's pet tiger, Cringer, would transform into the mighty Battle-Cat. Adam's parent's were King Randor and Queen Marlena. The top officer in the royal guard was a man named Duncan, who also went by the title of Man At Arms. He was also part scientist, part mechanic and inventor, in addition to his security skills. His step-daughter, Teela, provided a feminine viewpoint on the cartoon as she was a very serious character in sharp contrast to the easy-going Prince Adam whom she was hoping to turn into a fierce warrior someday. She'd consistently be on his case over something...not knowing that Adam's secret role as He-Man.

Rounding out the main cast of good guys was the alien, Orko, from the planet, Trolla. Orko was the comic relief...usually causing more harm than help. Adam's secret of being He-Man, excluding Cringer, was shared with Orko, Man At Arms, and the Sorceress. A series of supporting players appeared off and on, aiding He-Man and company. The help often included the likes of Ram-Man, Man-E-Faces, Stratos, Buzz Off, Fisto, Moss Man, and several others.

In his transformation to He-Man, Adam would shout out a phrase...calling upon the power from Grayskull. Upon each transformation, no matter where Adam happened to be, the transformation scenes would always feature a back-drop of Castle Grayskull and we'd see the energy and power rising up from the Abyss, underneath the castle, and charging itself into Adam...causing him to change into He-Man.

This "power" that He-Man possessed came from what was known as the Abyss, which lies beneath Castle Grayskull. The mysterious castle was home to a virtual unlimited supply of power and portal gates into other dimensions. It was protected from evil and taken care of by a character known as The Sorceress. This character, a female, could turn herself into a falcon if she chose. She spoke telepathically to He-Man in almost every episode...warning him of some upcoming event or disaster he must prepare himself for.

The villains of the series were many, just like the heroes...but the core group of villains on Eternia were Beast Man, Mer-Man, Kobra Khan, Evil Lynn, Tri-Klops, Whiplash, Webstor, Trap Jaw, and the leader of the pack, Skeletor.

As the intro to the show informs the viewer, He-Man and his associates protect Castle Grayskull from Skeletor and his army of villains. Skeletor wants to conquer Eternia...he resides inside Snake Mountain and concocts all of his schemes usually gazing through a crystal ball on his desk. His main underlings are Trap Jaw and Beast Man. Evil Lynn is the third primary villain...followed by Mer-Man.

The series ran two seasons, 1983-1984 and 1984-1985. There were 130 episodes produced. One of the unique things about the program was it's soap-opera feel. There were several episodes where events from the past were that took place in earlier episodes. Then there was the truth about Teela's origin. She was really the daughter of the Sorceress but Duncan adopted her. There are several scenes where Teela comes close to finding out who her biological mother one episode she learns it's the Sorceress but later on in the episode the Sorceress uses her magic powers to erase the revelation from Teela. There are other episodes where Teela openly talks about her wishes to find her mother one of these days...only to have an emotional Sorceress appear as a hologram listening in on the proceedings from above.

He-Man had a companion series that was almost as was called She-Ra, which followed the adventures of He-Man's twin sister. The story went that when Prince Adam was a baby, the palace was attacked by the Horde, a group of sinister villains attempting to take over Eternia. Their ground leader, Hordak, stole Adam's sister, Adora, from the royal family. Skeletor was preparing to steal Adam but Man At Arm's and other guards captured him. Hordak escaped using a dimension gate and Skeletor never forgave his "teacher" for deserting him. Hordak soon settled on Etheria and he was able to take over the planet. Skeletor in the meantime was not able to take control of Eternia. On Etheria, Hordak and his crew ruled the planet and the goal of She-Ra and her friends was to over-throw Hordak so that the people could be free from the Horde's dictatorship. The good guys were under the umbrella of "The Great Rebellion". The situation was reversed on we had Skeletor trying to conquer Eternia but never succeeding. She-Ra was never really able to defeat Hordak although in each episode he was defeated but remained in power because he'd use his various escape plans.

The series of both He-Man and She-Ra are available on DVD.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

John Madden's retirement...

Photobucket When I first heard the news I couldn't believe it...

Madden spent nine years as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, 1969-1978, where he finished his coaching career with a 103-32-7 record. 103 wins, 32 losses, and 7 ties which is incredible during a 9 year span. His coaching numbers were often over-looked after he got into broadcasting because he excelled in his profession to the point that it overshadowed his career as a coach.

His career in the booth began on CBS in 1979. He teamed up with Pat Summerall in 1981 and the two of them would broadcast NFL games together for the next 21 years. The pair moved from CBS to FOX in 1994. After the 2002 Super Bowl, Madden and Summerall split up. Summerall went into semi-retirement. Madden went over to ABC to co-headline "Monday Night Football" starting in the fall of 2002. The run ended in January 2005 when it was later announced that ESPN would take over broadcasting the Monday night game the following fall. Al Michaels was still signed with ABC but I believe Madden's contract was up and he decided not to stay around. NBC quickly picked up Madden and then through legal acrobatics with ABC and ESPN, NBC acquired Al Michaels. So, by the fall of 2005, Madden and Michaels were still a pair, this time around broadcasting "Sunday Night Football".


It seemed like the team-up would last at least 10 years or more...the Super Bowl earlier this year marked Madden's 7th year paired with Al Michaels but then the announcement was made today about John Madden retiring after 30 years in the NFL booth, 1979-2009.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Guiding Light: 1937-2009???? Part Seven!!

A truly wonderful, but brief clip...the video comes from You Tube and it's a scene from 1970 where Sara McIntyre's been knocked out cold on the attic floor and Joe Werner is in a battle with Sara's lethal husband, Lee Gantry...who shall we say said his farewell in this scene...

I made a comment asking if the video up-loader had more clips...preferably longer clips of GL from that time period.

I found some more pictures on-line and I scanned some pictures from my collection earlier today. All Guiding Light related, of course.


Alan Spaulding and Hope Bauer...considered daytime's most passionate couple according to the article contained within the issue. I wish I had this issue...I went to eBay and looked up Soap Opera Digest in the "eBay Stores" section and found that there are sellers asking anywhere from $15.00 to $35.00 for issue's from the early to the mid 1980's. There are several issues being sold on that site that I have in my collection. When I was buying back issues directly from Soap Opera Digest, they cost $5.00 per issue...regardless of how out of print the issue happened to be or who appeared on the cover. When I looked at eBay and saw quite a few issue's going for $25.00 from the mid 1980's I was amazed. It appears Soap Opera Digest has a cult collector's following the way TV Guide does.

This little morsel of a picture is something I's Alan fighting with a one-eyed stalker when Alan was on the run from Mike and the police. Alan and Hope fled to the island of Tenerife, Alan's idea of getting away from their troubles, and soon they were being watched by the one-eyed man...who turned out to be Lucien Goff, a disgruntled former employee. The story took place in late 1981 and reached a climax in early 1982. Hope went back to Springfield alone while Alan remained on the run. Alan and Goff soon encountered one another and they got into a violent the image below...the scan wasn't the best in the world, though, but it's okay...


After Alan and Goff fought, Goff vanished...Mike had been closely keeping a track of Alan and he, too, ended up in Tenerife...and eventually Alan and Mike caught up with each other and they got into a fight. Mike was injured and Alan fled to his helicopter and was about to flee for Springfield when he had a change of heart and had his pilot go back and get Mike. Upon their return, Alan confessed to his previous crimes which included aiding a fugitive, Roger Thorpe, in 1979 and 1980. Mike put Alan on trial and the resulting sentence was a little over a year in things are likely to happen in a soap opera, Alan didn't vanish for that many months. He did go to prison...but he was granted a release due to a Spaulding Enterprises gala and in spite of heavy security he was abducted by none other than Lucien Goff. Alan's helicopter pilot was revealed to be a partner with Goff...and soon Mike was on the trail...he tracked Alan down with the help of a newcomer, Ivy Pierce. Mike and Goff got into a fight on a tramway...Goff fell off the tramway to his death and everyone returned to Springfield. The pilot was sent to prison where he later died. Ivy discovered that Goff and the Spaulding pilot weren't alone in their vendetta at Alan and soon it was revealed that Amanda's lover, Mark Evans, was part of the scheme. Mark wanted to kill Alan and Amanda and take over Spaulding Enterprises...that's a story for another day.

Here's a picture of Ed Bryce...full of beard...during his 1977 appearance on the show. Ed Bryce had played Bill Bauer off and on since 1959...he portrayed the role on a consistent manner throughout the 1960's. His character was often being written off the show...usually the result of plane crashes. I can think of three times he'd been presumed dead but returned.'s Bill Bauer looking at his family from a distance...he hadn't made his presence known yet...



Here's a younger Bill Bauer with Maggie Scott...there was a time in the mid 1960's where Bill began an affair with his secretary, Maggie. This was also during a time when Bill was dealing with his alcoholism...on top of that he had to endure the over-protective nature of his father, Papa Bauer. Maggie was the estranged wife of super obsessive Ben Scott who indirectly led Maggie into having an affair with Bill in the first place. Bill was so different than the strict and possessive Ben and the couple always fought. Ben and Maggie's daughter, Peggy, was in a relationship with Johnny Fletcher and it drove her father absolutely crazy...driving a wedge in his relationship with Maggie in the process. It was Peggy, ironically, that heard about the affair first-hand. Bill had been drinking and he attempted to confront Maggie and in his sorrow he continued spilling out his thoughts of regret about the affair...but in reality he wasn't talking to Maggie...he was talking to Peggy, who was horrified and shocked. Ed later discovered the truth about the affair. Ben eventually worked himself up so much that he assaulted Johnny and Ben later died of a heart attack due to all of the stress. Maggie, too, died not long afterward under Ed's knife. Maggie had started to have intestinal ailments and died on the operating table. Peggy, in the 1970's, would become involved with Roger Thorpe.

Photobucket A small sampling of the Bauer family. Here we have Ed Bryce as Bill Bauer, Ellen Demming as Meta Bauer, and at bottom we have Charita Bauer as Bert, and Theo Goetz as Papa Bauer. Meta's action was confined mostly to the radio episodes and early television broadcasts when Lyle Sudrow was playing Bill Bauer. Papa was never in a front burner story...he was usually just there...commenting and reacting to the goings-on in his family's day to day life. Bill and Bert, along side the Fletcher family, and the Grant's, were who got the lion's share of storyline's in the 1950's.

Guiding Light once had a reputation for keeping a hold of their actor's and actresses. This is why popular characters typically had two, usually no more than four, actors/actresses playing the same role throughout the character's tenure on the show. For example, there were only three actors to play Bill Bauer. Lyle Sudrow originated the role on radio and played it on radio and later on TV from 1948 through 1959. Ed Bryce took over the role and played it until 1963 before being written off on a business actor by the name of Eugene Smith took over the role in 1964. Ed Bryce returned in 1965 and stayed with the role until 1969...killed off in a plane crash. Bryce returned in 1977 and stayed around for about a year, where his complicated double life was revealed and he admitted switching flights at the last minute and he admitted he wasn't in the plane his family thought he was at the time of the crash. He revealed that he'd been married to a woman named Simone Kincaid and they had two children, a son named Paul, and a daughter everyone in town was getting to know, Hillary! Bill would later return to Canada...later moving to Chicago after Simone divorced him. It was in Chicago where Bill was last seen in 1983...hitting the bottle and worried about a fishing incident twenty years earlier that came back to haunt him. Bill was murdered in the fall of 1983 by Eli Sims, a central figure in the fishing trip secret.

There is also the scenario where an actor or an actress will take on a role that's been played by a long list of others and through longevity or character impact will become the definitive face of the character. The character of Hope Bauer had a series of actresses playing the role until Elvera Roussel took over in 1979. She appears with Chris Bernau on the Soap Opera Digest I wrote about earlier. This period in Hope's life, 1979-1983, provided the character with the most impact and so she is noted as the definitive Hope Bauer...although others have played the role longer.

Guiding Light: 1937-2009???? Part Six!

Considered to be the heart and soul of Guiding Light were the Bauer family. The show, having been around for 72 years, is bound to create a lot of discussion and argument about who are the core families. The GL viewer of today that perhaps remembers watching the show in the 1960's are usually more quick to cite the Bauer family as the show's core...even though through the last two decades it's become much more of a Spaulding, Lewis, and Cooper dominated show. There has never been a time since 1948 when there hasn't been a Bauer family member on the scene...and while the show was consumed with Bauer's in the 1950's through the mid 1980's, the Bauer family lost that family feeling when they were written or killed off that by the late 1980's Ed Bauer and his children, Rick and Michelle, were the only ones on the show. Ed's wife at the time, Maureen, was a Bauer by marriage; her maiden name being Reardon. The other Bauer was part Bauer-part Spaulding in the form of Alan-Michael Spaulding...the son of Alan Spaulding and Hope Bauer. Mike Bauer had been written off the show in 1984...a few months after his daughter, Hope, was written off. She left town with Alan-Michael.

Bill Bauer, the alcoholic and often missing father of Mike, Ed, and Hillary, was murdered in 1983. Hillary Bauer, Bill's illegitimate daughter who came to town in 1977 with no knowledge of her father's connection to Springfield, was killed in 1984. She was the victim of a bomb that was planted inside a music box during the Susan Piper/Barbados storyline. I have an issue of Soap Opera Digest, October 23, 1984 to be specific, with the re-cap of the murder.

Bert Bauer, who you see in the picture along side her TV sons, Ed and Mike, left town in late 1984 to live with Meta, her sister-in-law. So, by 1985, the Bauer family had been dwindled down to Ed, his wife Maureen, and his son, Michelle hadn't been born yet.

Michelle Bauer became somewhat of a soap heroine in the late 1990's and into the next millennium. Ed had gone off to Africa by then and Rick was playing the part of big brother and father figure to Michelle. In late 1996 Meta Bauer arrived in town. She had last been seen in 1974...but she arrived in town to serve as the show's matriarch and fill a void that was left in the show after the death of Bert Bauer's portray-er, Charita Bauer, in 1985. Meta, throughout 1996 and into 2002, was played on and off by daytime TV veteran Mary Stuart who had played the role of Jo on Search For Tomorrow for 35 years, 1951-1986, as I touched upon in a previous blog entry. Mary's death on February 28, 2002 came weeks after the death of Ellen Demming on February 7th, the actress who had played Meta Bauer for over 20 years, 1953-1974.

I don't have this issue of Soap Opera Digest but I wish I features a similar picture of Bert, Ed, and's from 1977...a few months before Alan Spaulding and his family came to town...

Photobucket The issue was celebrating the show's overall 40th Anniversary at that time {1937-1977}. June was the month GL began on television in 1952 and so during that issue they were also celebrating it's Silver Anniversary, 25 years on television {1952-1977}.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Guiding Light: 1937-2009, Part Five!!!

I went rummaging through my small collection of Soap Opera Digest and decided to take a picture of this back-issue. This issue hit the stands in December 1977. The magazine was published monthly at the the soap sections were crammed with information. On the cover, and the main reason I took a picture of it with my web-camera, is Beverly McKinsey who had a successful run as Iris Carrington on "Another World" and it's spin-off, "Texas". GL fans are more familiar with her as Alexandra Spaulding, a role McKinsey played for eight years, 1984-1992. She passed away not too long ago. Beverly appeared on the cover due to her winning an award as "Best Villainess" during the 1977 SOAPY awards, it's first year in existence. She would repeat the win in 1978.

The SOAPY award would be a low-key affair throughout it's life span...1977 through 1983. Afterwords the award was re-named The Soap Opera Digest Awards. Incidentally, GL never won a SOAPY award...the biggest recipients of this award were the stars and writers of "General Hospital" because the late 1970's through the early 1980's that particular soap opera was universally popular.

Bill Hayes and his wife, Susan, are featured throughout the a lot of my collection the two of them seemed to appear the most out of all the players in soap opera's at that point in time.

I have several issues of the magazine...the one you see with Beverly on the cover is the "oldest" issue, from December 1977. I have some from 1980 and 1981...and I believe 1982 and 1983...I pick and chose at random which issues I wanted. The magazine offers back issue's for sale...even the most recent issue there's an ad promoting this offer, page 59. So, what I did in the mid 1990's was buy a lot of older issues that had GL people on the cover or issue's that featured specific storyline re-caps on GL...being a nostalgia nut it was a match made in heaven. I stopped buying older issues after awhile, though. I doubt they still have an inventory of 1980's issue's still available, but you can check and see. Their web-site tells you how to contact them...they even offer a phone number.

Photobucket Click the thumbnail image for a bigger picture. Appearing on the cover are Vincent Irizarry and Judi Evans, known to GL fans as Lujack and Beth. The bizarre story of Lujack was his parentage. His mother was none other than Alexandra Spaulding...his father Eric Luvonaczech. Alexandra never called her son by the name he chose, she'd call him his birth name, Brandon. Beth was Phillip's on-again/off-again girlfriend and she found her way into Lujack's arms and genuinely fell in love with him while Phillip had to endure Mindy Lewis and then the schemes of India von Halkein, Alexandra's former step-daughter.

It's an issue of the magazine from December 4, 1984...a few days after I turned 8 years old and I can recall these storylines as if they happened last week. The bulk of the show centered around the mystery of the Spaulding family in Barbados. Jim Reardon and company were caught up in the mystery which involved a whole lot of intrigue and a a mysterious doll baby...quicksand...and Carrie Nye. This was the story that involved Mrs Piper {Carrie Nye} haunting and tormenting everyone investigating the goings-on in Barbados, in the meantime, a cottage that Tony and Annabelle were living in that Annabelle felt was haunted became a critical piece of the story as it was revealed to have connections to the Spauldings.

A conflict arose when her husband, Tony, didn't believe in all of that supernatural stuff she'd been telling him but his brother, Jim, was interested...which sent Tony into a jealous streak seeing the two so close. Fletcher, being a reporter, was naturally interested since he smelled a story. The story was controversial, though.

Let me the top of my head I believe these characters were all caught up in the mystery: Jim Reardon, Hillary Bauer, Fletcher Reade, Claire Ramsey, Tony Reardon, Annabelle Sims, Alexandra Spaulding...did I forget anyone else? Quint and Nola provided news and information from the home-front to the characters abroad, like learning that Brandon Spaulding once had a shipping business in Barbados 40 years earlier.

The main reason the story was controversial is because it featured intrigue and high drama...something GL typically shied away from, with a majority of the viewers preferring everyday situations between average people without all of the thrills and spills a story like this provided. Another reason for it's controversy came about when the character of Hillary Bauer was killed, without much the story she was figuring out the riddle that had been circulating around and she came to the conclusion that the solution to the riddle was tied to the Spaulding's when a music box blew up and she died instantly. Mrs Piper had been the one who sent the music box, by the way.

Another reason that story was controversial to some was how they brought Brandon Spaulding back to life...and not only that, wrote him having a double life with an African-American family. Alexandra came face to face with her long believed dead father and he confessed faking his death after his argument with Lucille Wexler and slipping out of the country to be with Sharina, his wife. The two had a daughter together, Victoria. Brandon's back-story was revealed in this story as seems that Brandon and Sharina had been having an affair and it was discovered by Brandon's wife, Penelope, who was pregnant with Alan at the time. She attempted to murder Sharina but Conrad, Sharina's brother, jumped into the line of fire...and it was his skeleton that was clinging to the mysterious doll. Penelope died giving birth to Alan. Inside the doll were the papers granting Victoria a part of Spaulding's empire...and Victoria signed her shares of the company over to Alexandra, wanting no part in any of it...insisting on remaining in Barbados.

Why exactly was Mrs. Piper so awful and ruthless in her quest for the cottage? Well, Mrs. Piper was in real estate...and being ruthless and amoral as she was, she knew the cottage had connections to Spaulding secrets and she was hoping to sell it to the Spaulding's for millions given what she knew about the cottage.

In the image below, which you should click for a bigger look, you'll see Annabelle and Jim at their wit's end at a Spaulding crypt.

Photobucket The storyline came to a somewhat happy ending...Mrs Piper met her doom in the sand pits while Alexandra became even more powerful with Victoria's share of the family's company. Alan, remember, was presumed he was not a factor in any of the proceedings.

In 1983, prior to the Barbados storyline, several of the GL characters appeared in a made-for-TV movie called The Cradle Will Fall based upon a book of the same name by Mary Higgins the pictures below I pretend to be in horror...the movie was basically a soap opera with an ending. There was another movie based upon the book...that movie, called the same thing, was released in 2004. The 1983 version is what I recommend simply for it's use of GL character's.

A lot of the action in the second half of the movie took place at Cedars Hospital, the working place of Ed Bauer as well as his mother, Bert, who had become a patient advocate. Lesley Ann, the token wife of Warren Andrews in 1984, appeared in the film as did Hope Bauer, for a few cameo shots. Detective Larry Wyatt and Ross Marler had more screen time by comparison. The video that I have was released in 1986 by Karl-Lorimar Home Video. P&G produced the movie. It isn't rated but I'd give it an R rating...or a isn't scary, but it does have those soap opera elements during intense scenes. The stars of the movie were Lauren Hutton as Kathy DeMaio, which sounds like the name of a soap heroine doesn't it? Ben Murphy also starred as Dr. Carroll. James Farentino also starred as the villainous Dr. Highley. The plot of the movie centered around a woman who witnessed a murder from a distance during a thunderstorm...unable to really identify the killer.

Photobucket Beware of several typo's on the 1986 VHS release if anyone should ever come across a copy at a flea market or on eBay. There is a typo on the back of the VHS box spelling the author of the book's name as Mary Higgens Clark instead of Mary Higgins Clark. Jerry verDorn's character, Ross Marler, is written's written as Marker instead. Amazingly, though, they were able to spell the actor who played Larry Wyatt correctly...Joe about that!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Guiding Light: Beirut story, 1985

I found this clip while browsing through the Guiding Light video's that are up on You Tube. You'll have to highlight the URL and open it in another window in order for it to work. This particular video is near the beginning of the 1985 Beirut story which featured Ed, Maureen, Claire, and Fletcher. I wrote at length about the storyline but this episode, which is part 3 of 6, aired on January 29, 1985 and it puts a visual to the storyline I had written about.

I have watched part 1 and 2 but I had not yet watched part 4, 5, and 6 so I do not know if Ed and company appear only in this video installment or not but I thought it would be a great addition to this blog entry. The video uploader has the video available for embedding on sites outside of You Tube and so I assume he or she wouldn't mind the video being lifted from there and placed here. Once the clip is over with, off to the right hand side of the page you will see additional videos. There will be one marked 1/29/85, Part Four which you'll click. I hadn't seen these scenes since they were first aired...the Beirut story isn't your typical "soap opera" story but I loved the adventure and mayhem. Richard Van Vleet plays Ed Bauer and Ellen Dolan plays Maureen. Fletcher is played by Jay Hammer and Susan Pratt plays Claire. Enjoy...and if you all hadn't tried it by now, look up the show on You Tube and watch older episodes...some are in bad shape, though...but these 1985 episodes by comparison are in better shape. You will also be regaled by the characters of Alexandra Spaulding, Warren Andrews, Beth and Lujack, and others in the series of 1985 video's.

Guiding Light: 1937-2009???? Part Four

This is the April 21st issue of Soap Opera Weekly with the news of Guiding Light's cancellation splashed across the cover. I bought my copy at the local grocery store. I predict that there will be other such stories published by the other soap opera publications as well. I really wasn't expecting there to be any front page news this soon...since CBS gave a deadline of September 18th...and this is the first few days of April and anything can happen, hopefully for the good, between now and then if you're remaining optimistic. It's been noted by several insiders that they do not feel that another broadcast network will take on the show...but they hadn't lost out hope with cable networks. Now, wouldn't this be ironic if GL increases it's viewership by a significant margin during the next several days/weeks/months as the show comes to it's end?? You know, I wouldn't be surprised if viewers who'd never watched GL before would suddenly start watching on a whim to experience the feeling of watching the final episodes of a landmark daytime drama.

The thing that should still be kept in mind is P&G isn't the one that's canceling the program, it's CBS; given the sheer longevity of the program, I've said it once and i'll continue to say it from now until September, but given the sheer longevity of the program I don't feel that it's going to just go off the air without someone at the last minute stepping up and making an effort to keep the show going. Some may feel that's daydreaming or wishful thinking...but I'm leaning toward something coming up in the next several weeks...maybe next month...but I don't feel the show or P&G is going to keep the audience hanging and hanging with the promise of doing everything they can to continue the show but then come the first week of September and there's still no definite plans being made...I don't think they will do that sort of thing. If anything, P&G should strike a deal with another network well before the final air-date on CBS hits and I'm hoping that's what the people behind the scenes have been attempting to do ever since the news broke on April 1st. There's a part of me that thinks P&G is hoping CBS will change it's mind but I don't believe they will...given how far in advance they've issued the cancellation.

The three faces of Alan Spaulding row: current player Ron Raines, who began playing the role in 1994 and has played the role to perfection; in black and white we have Daniel Pilon who played the role during 1988-1989, it was Daniel Pilon's portrayal of Alan that clued Phillip in that Beth was still alive...this was also the era in which Alan and Nadine as well as Alan and Blake became lovers. In the picture below the top two we have Chris Bernau, the actor who originated the role of Alan in 1977. Chris would play the role for seven years, 1977-1984...but then return in 1986 and stay with the show until 1988...he became ill and Daniel Pilon was cast as Bernau's successor. The writers wrote the character off in 1989...having him sent to prison for five years...returning in 1994 in the body of Ron Raines.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Guiding Light: 1937-2009, Part Three

Photobucket When you click the image, you'll see a 1956 TV Guide listing...I took a picture of the inside of one of my TV Guide's. It's the only issue I have from the 1950's and I figured I'd share a piece of the daytime line-up back then. As most soap fans know, many soap opera's ran just 15 minutes back then. This will also serve as a visual lesson in simplicity...notice how few channels there were. The fewer the channels the lesser the competition. "Guiding Light" aired from 9:45 until 10am. Looking on, "Search For Tomorrow" aired before GL and Walter Cronkite's news report aired after GL. At 10:30am, as you'll see in the second picture, "As The World Turns" was on. It ran during the 10:30-11am slot, a 30 minute serial, uncommon in those days. This being from a 1956 issue of TV Guide, it's interesting to note that the soap debuted that very same year...along with another 30 minute soap, "The Edge of Night". These two soaps were both 30 minutes in length.

Incidentally, "Guiding Light" would not expand from 15 to 30 minutes until twelve years later, 1968.

Photobucket In this particular picture, it's the same daytime schedule but it offers a bit more of the bottom part of the's image is a bit grainy/blurry compared to the other picture. I wanted to give an over-view of a typical daytime schedule in 1956. Again, that's my only issue of TV Guide from the 1950's.

The soaps took a little break and picked back up in the 1pm. "A Brighter Day", "Secret Storm", and "The Edge of Night" aired back to back to back during the 1pm-2pm hour.

I did some research on "The Edge of Night" and learned that it is one of the examples of a soap that had a long run on one network, was canceled, and then was picked up by another major network and ran for an additional nine it isn't unheard of for soaps to hop to another network after cancellation. It isn't the normal kind of thing...but it isn't unprecedented, either. "Edge of Night" ran on CBS of all networks from 1956 to 1975 and then moved to ABC and it aired from 1975 until 1984...bringing the soap's over-all total to 28 years. One of the alumni from "Edge of Night" in it's ABC years was Larkin Malloy, who would become famous among "Guiding Light" fans as Kyle Sampson during the mid 1980's. Several others with a connection to "Edge of Night" have ties with "Guiding Light" too. Barbara Berjer, the actress who portrayed Barbara Norris on GL for 10 years had ties to "Edge of Night". Millette Alexander, GL's long-running actress in the role of Sara McIntyre, appeared on "Edge of Night" as well. Barbara and Millette both had lengthy stays on "As The World Turns" as well prior to their GL roles.

Photobucket This issue of Soap Opera Digest hit the shelves in 1997 when GL turned 60. On the cover were the characters of Roger, Dinah, Phillip, Josh, and Reva. Phillip had just recently returned to town after spending several years in prison for a crime he was set up for. Dinah became one of Roger's love interests and eventual wife but she soon left him for his son, Hart. Josh and Reva are the show's and out of love since her arrival in town in 1983. There were other magazines published that week celebrating the show's anniversary. Soap Opera Weekly had a multi-page write-up, including a time-line and other information. There was also publicity in a few lesser-known soap publications...and a hard-cover coffee table book detailing the show's 60 year run in exhaustive detail. The 50th Anniversary book from 1987 is a great read and can carry it around and read it on the go or wherever you'd like but the 60th Anniversary book has much more detail...lots and lots of pictures...complete sections devoted to the core families of the show in 1997: Bauer, Spaulding, Lewis, and Cooper families.

As for the future of "Guiding Light", there's still hope that another network will become the show's savior once CBS removes it from their line-up. "Edge of Night" was the only long success for a soap that switched networks, racking up nine more years on ABC after being canceled by CBS. "Search For Tomorrow" went through a similar crisis but it didn't have quite that long of a second life when it switched networks. "Search for Tomorrow" ran 35 years, 1951-1986. It was never expanded to an was a 15 minute soap from 1951 through 1968. Afterward it expanded to half an hour and stayed a 30 minute soap for the rest of it's run. CBS aired the show for 31 years, 1951-1982...the rest of it's life was on NBC...airing it's final episode the day after Christmas in 1986. Mary Stuart and Larry Haines were the central figures...they were on the show for it's entire run playing the roles of Joanne Gardner and Stu Bergman. A third cast-member, Melba Rae, played the role of Stu's wife, Marge, for the show's first 20 years before passing away unexpectedly in 1971.

Photobucket Mary Stuart would appear on GL in 1996 playing the part of Meta Bauer...a character that had last been seen in 1974. She was on the program in a recurring basis...appearing off and on for six years. She taped her last scenes in February 2002, a few days before her death.

In another entry into the GL Hall of Longevity we have Jay Hammer. He played the Springfield Journal reporter, Fletcher Reade, for 14 years: 1984-1998. His earlier time on the show centered around his love-life...a triangle of sorts. He fell in love with Hillary Bauer but she was in love with Jim Reardon. Claire Ramsey, one of the nurses at Cedars, became Fletcher's love interest in spite of her rough exterior. Claire also had eyes for Jim Reardon but his eyes were drawn toward Hillary. Fletcher was introduced as a reporter investigating a plague-like disease known as the Dreaming Death in San Rios. Coincidentally he worked for the Springfield Journal and so when they wrapped up their San Rios work, he accompanied everyone back home. Later, he became wrapped up in the Barbados story which introduced Brandon Spaulding's secret life and second family. In 1985 Fletcher flew off to Beirut and Claire followed him. Ed and Maureen soon followed the pair after Claire made a phone call asking for help in finding Fletcher. Ed and Claire went on a search for Fletcher as Maureen stayed behind in a hotel while a reporter, mistaking Maureen for Claire, led her to Fletcher.

During a bombing raid, each couple thought the other were killed...Fletcher and Maureen mourned over Ed and Claire, while in another part of the country, Ed and Claire turned to each other...things became passionate when a dazed and confused Ed mistook Claire for Maureen in the darkness and one thing led to another. Claire never fought it...enjoying every second of the daylight Ed realized what he had done and several hours later they were reunited with Maureen and Fletcher. Claire became pregnant...and Ed was revealed to be the father. This bit of news, along with his separation with Maureen, sent Ed into a drinking binge...alcohol hadn't been in Ed's life for a number of years...almost ten...he eventually stopped his drinking right around the time Claire was due to give birth. The baby arrived months later and she was named Michelle.

Meanwhile, Fletcher and Claire drifted apart not long afterward. He became instrumental in helping Ed clear his name later in 1985. A murder had happened at Cedars Hospital and Ed became a suspect in the death of Charlotte Wheaton. In reality, Ed was framed because the real culprit was Alicia Rhomer, who turned out to be Charlotte's own sister. Fletcher investigated Charlotte's past and put the pieces together and helped clear Ed and Claire from suspicion. Afterward, he became close to Maeve Stoddard. She had a secret...she once had a baby with Kyle Sampson and the baby's name was Ben. Fletcher and Maeve began to date and they got engaged. The two married in 1988 but she died in a helicopter crash soon afterward and he wanted custody of her son, Ben. Maeve's mother, Julia, had other plans and the two fought a custody battle...eventually Fletcher was able to adopt Ben, and the character faded from the front-burner...appearing every so often during holiday get together's.

Fletcher found himself falling for Alexandra Spaulding of all people around this time. He was part of the rescue team that shown up in Venezuela to save Alan, Josh, and Reva from the murderous Will Jeffries. Fletcher and Alex flew off together once the story wrapped up and they crashed onto a remote island...they were stranded for a period of days until a wind storm separated the two. A masked man lurking on the island made it possible for Fletcher to leave...convincing him the woman he was with was dead. After Fletcher made his way back to Springfield it was months before Alexandra was rescued. Her masked friend, Adam Malik, turned out to be Roger Thorpe. Alexandra had fell in love with Adam/Roger after spending all of those months with him on the island and they eventually married after she arrived back in Springfield.

Fletcher eventually became close to Vanessa Chamberlain and he helped her fight Jack Kiley, a businessman who attempted to rape her. Billy Lewis, her ex-husband, hatched a plan to trick Jack into confessing by staging a party in his honor. While there, the tables were turned and Jack was taken into custody and Vanessa began to grow close to Billy again, which Fletcher could sense. Next, he grew close to Holly. Her life was almost always tangled up with Roger Thorpe...but Fletcher was persistent and the two of them were married, infuriating Roger in the process, he had felt that he and Holly were close to getting re-married when she all of the sudden turned to Fletcher. Holly and Fletcher had a daughter together, Meg, who was born with Down's Syndrome. After a few months of bliss, the marriage crumbled mainly due to Fletcher's insecurities and all out bitterness and anger over Roger's involvement in Holly's life. Due to her consistent argument that Roger will always be a part of her life because they share a daughter together, Fletcher had had enough. He took her behavior toward Roger as a sign that she was still obsessed and in love with him, something she constantly denied. Nevertheless, Fletcher emotionally flipped out while Holly was in a different part of the house and he gathered up Meg one day and fled the country...telling nobody of his whereabouts.

Fletcher made a brief return in 1999 to tie up loose ends. It looked like he and Holly were going to pair-up again but revelations and secrets drove the two apart for good and he took Meg with him, at Holly's insistence, and hadn't been seen since.

His adopted son, Ben, became a focal point of the program during the middle part of this decade...turning out to be a complete opposite of his respected adoptive father. Ben was soon linked to a series of teenage murders...his affections were often directed at Marah Lewis, or, Marina Cooper. After a period of years attempting to win the affections of whatever woman he had his eye's on, he flipped out and abducted Marina and held her hostage. Her father, Frank, was on hand helping to rescue her. Ben committed suicide after attempting to murder Shayne Lewis. This concludes part three of my GL blog entries.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday morning commercials...from my era...

I have touched upon this topic in the past...wrote about how I think and feel about modern-day cartoons verses the ones I grew up watching. I also gave my thoughts about the style of commercials that aired on Saturday morning TV...a kind of commercial that would make any dentist howl in disgust. At my house, I can pretend it's Saturday morning everyday if I wanted to...and the kind of Saturday morning from my era. I'm not incredibly old...I'm my "era" is pretty much the 1980's into the early 1990's. I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons...and those endless cereal commercials...I liked seeing the commercials with the animated mascot's: Lucky Charms, Cap'n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Crisp, Cookie Crisp, Crispy Critters, Rice Krispies, Froot Loops, Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, the Monster cereals: Boo-Berry, Count Chocula, and Frankenberry.

In the picture above I'm showing off a box of cereal called Smorz. It's a combination of tasty, sugary squares and small white marshmallow's with a chocolate swirl effect blended in to create the S'mores taste in the cereal.

The milk in my bowl is turning chocolate as of this writing...I always prefer cereal to turn the white milk to chocolate because it gives it a better flavor, I think.

Can anyone think of anymore cereal brands that paraded around on Saturday morning TV before the activists took over and ruined it all? I was a bit too young to remember Quisp and Quake but I know of those commercials being a student of nostalgia. How about the frog, Dig 'Em, in the cereal commercials for Smacks. Oh, and then there's all of those Frosted Flakes commercials with Tony the Tiger.

Saturday morning commercials from my era...they're all grr-rea-a-a-a-t!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Guiding Light...1937-2009, Part Two

Naturally, the news is still quite fresh on the minds of GL fans and cast-members that CBS has announced the show's cancellation this coming September. Some cast-members have made statements either on camera in interviews or in writing that have made their way into the public domain. There is still an underlying sense of optimism that Proctor and Gamble, the owners of GL, can find a new home for the show since CBS has obviously decided September 18th is the last day the show will be aired on their network...and from the way it's playing out the network doesn't seem too interested in changing their mind, well, what with news surfacing during the last several hours that the game show, Pyramid, is soon to make a return to the CBS daytime line-up and curiously, GL was announced it'll be canceled in September...hmmm, I wonder...could CBS have planned to use GL's air-time for this up-coming game show and held off making an announcement until it was for certain the network had an available time-slot? We all could debate that potential conspiracy for weeks and months...without any real proof coming out to support it...

But, going back to the optimism road...I gave my thoughts about the show and CBS and other things surrounding the news over on TV Guide's web-site. They have a section about GL's cancellation and sure enough there are plenty of comments from fans and I couldn't resist adding my commentary. I made the suggestion that ABC or NBC should pick the show up immediately so either network can have the honor of being home to the longest running daytime drama. It's not only the longest running daytime program but it's also the longest running daily program...airing Monday through Friday...whereas shows like "Meet The Press" and "60 Minutes" air weekly.

"Guiding Light" has aired daily since January 1937...first on NBC radio and then switching over to CBS and running non-stop Monday through Friday for the last 72 years. The life-span for the radio program was impressive: 19 years, 1937-1956. The program had debuted on TV four years prior to it leaving radio, in June of 1952. The radio cast would perform the show and then later in the day perform the same episode for TV and it was like this for four years...and the reason for this is simple. Television was considered a fad and a toy by millions who were raised listening to the various radio programs on the air and the movies playing at the theatre. So, a lot of radio shows that made a switch to television would do both medium's for a trial run and if the TV counterpart caught on, then the radio program would end as a result.

So, "Guiding Light" ended as a radio drama in 1956. The TV version would continue on for the next five and a half decades on CBS, 1952-2009. So, as of this writing, given CBS's decision to remove the show from their network on September 18, 2009 and given that it's highly unlikely they'll change their minds in the meantime, after 57 years as a daily soap opera I can't picture the show just ceasing to exist just like that...without much of a fight to keep it going somehow. P&G rarely comes forward and states that they're going to try and continue the show after a network announces the show's this isn't your typical "demise of a soap"...P&G is actually making it sound like they're going to attempt to keep the show on the air somehow via a different network or on things are still very much up in the air about the show's future and whether September 18, 2009 proves to be the final GL episode...ever...

Meta, Papa, and Bert Bauer. Meta was the show's heroine in the radio episodes of the late 1940's through the mid 1950's and in the early TV episodes as well. During Meta's biggest years she was married to a man named Joe Roberts...then she married a man named Ted White...and then remained single for awhile before marrying Bruce Banning. In fact, the actor playing Bruce Banning at the time was William actor who would become way more popular on the show as Henry Chamberlain off and on during 1980-1995. Meta and Bruce left town in 1974. Bert, on the other hand, was married to Bill Bauer and she went through a period of character shifts. She was at first a social-climber...typically wanting to compete with other women her age and her behavior caused Bill much stress leading him to seek comfort with alcohol...and at times other women. Bert eventually became the character for which she is more widely known and embraced...that of the strong-willed woman with a soft heart.

Photobucket Charita Bauer in a widely circulated publicity picture from the early 1980's. Bert's battle with uterine cancer in the early 1960's was considered a landmark event...such social issues were rarely dealt with on daytime television. Several decades later the character had a leg amputated due to cancer, mirroring the same event that Charita went through in real-life. She was able to get around using a prosthetic leg. Charita was a constant presence on the show until 1984 when the Lewis and Spaulding families started to dominate most of the storyline's. In that year both Bert and Mike were written off the show...Mike's daughter, Hope, had been written off in 1983. Charita passed away in 1985 and her character, Bert, was written off in 1986 as having died while spending time with Meta. Charita played the character of Bert Bauer from 1950 until December 1984, a couple months shy of 35 years.

Photobucket Michael Zaslow portrayed the super popular villain, Roger Thorpe, during two separate occasions. The first portrayal lasted nine years, 1971-1980. The second portrayal lasted nearly as long, 1989-1997. Roger was one of the most hated men in Springfield and also the most violent. Although the character was rarely violent for violent's sake, the character was written to be a character study of paranoia and megalomania all rolled into one. Roger, if he was feeling exceptionally good about himself, could become over-bearing and rather cocky...leading his critics, mostly girlfriend-turned-wife-turned ex-wife, Holly, to deflate his ego. Paranoid to the core, Holly's taunts and teases would prey upon Roger's mind a lot...causing further complexity in a character filled with unpredictability. His paranoid belief that everyone is out to get him usually caused him to react violently or outrageously in any situation. His consistent desire for Holly, his desire to be viewed as a father to his daughter, and his consistent desire for Spaulding Enterprises, were always hand-in-hand. Roger and Holly's daughter, Christina, spent most of her life believing Ed Bauer was her father and that Roger was an enemy of the family. Christina returned to the show a grown-up woman going by name of Blake in 1988, soon followed by Holly herself. Roger had long been "dead" only to return in 1989...and a new chapter of Roger and Holly played out for the next seven and a half years, with a new twist being a grown-up daughter added to the mix. The character was written off the show in 1998 amidst a controversy surrounding a re-cast of the role when Zaslow was in the early stages of ALS and a year later, 1999, he passed away. The character of Roger had been written off with Amanda Spaulding in 1998...and in 2004, the character died off-screen, with the news being sprung onto the town by a man named Sebastian, who went on somewhat of a terror spree for revenge on the people his father disliked so much...yes, it turns out Roger had a child come out of hiding.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Guiding Light: 1937-2009???

Yes, friends, that is me doing my Alan Spaulding impression, a character portrayed by Ron Raines on the soap opera, "Guiding Light". I found out a few hours ago that CBS is canceling this soap opera. Now, today being April fool's day, I wasn't certain if it was a true story or a rumor that was generated. I've searched all over the internet and all of the news items appear to be reporting the same story that this coming September 2009, CBS will no longer air "Guiding Light". There are a few unanswered questions surrounding the news. There was no indication that the show was "done, finished, over" because there were several idea's that it would go on as a cyber-soap or it would move to another network. I'd be curious to know what network?

So, because the news stories do not give any specifics about the aftermath, I have labeled this blog entry with a series of question marks because it's hard to tell if the show will in fact be over with come September. P&G associates say that they plan on continuing the it leaves a lot of questions as to how...and of course it leaves uncertainty. You don't want to keep the fans on a leash and have them filled with optimism about the show possibly continuing on at another network and then once September rolls around the show actually leaves the air for good...never to return...on any network.

Is this a done deal? Apparently so...CBS has made the decision that it plans to cancel the show in September and that's the month it's contract is up. You can look up all of the news about this story on-line and get the information. Could we all wake up on April 2 and see CBS release a statement saying "April fool's!!" and this all be a sick joke? It's hard to tell. I was thinking about the reasons for CBS to pull a joke like this and the thought crossed my mind that CBS may have intentionally released this story just to get attention aimed at the show and see just how well-liked the soap truly is. I also feel that should this be a joke, CBS would then counter with: "if so many people hate to see the show go away, why doesn't the ratings reflect this?". Anyway, we shall see on April 2 and the days afterward if this is one big joke for media attention. Given that the contract for the show is up this September I don't count on this being a joke.

And so...with the news almost unanimous that the program will end in September...a little bit of character history is in a few more pictures of me. I went through some of my Soap Opera Digest's and I pulled out several from the 1980's that promoted the show. I couldn't find the issue from 1997 when the show was celebrating it's 60th year in broadcasting. I'll be posting pictures of myself showing off some of my "Guiding Light" related items in my collection...but first...

April Fool's Day 1971 holds a distinct memory for fans of the show. This was the day a certain character by the name of Roger Thorpe was introduced...played by Michael Zaslow. The character would eventually become one of the biggest draws of daytime television. In fact, it was the story line involving the characters of Roger, Holly and Ed that many fans and critics say helped the show win the Daytime Emmy as Best Soap in 1980. Ironically, it was April Fools Day 1980 that the Roger character was written off the show...falling off a cliff in Santo Domingo after the classic chase scene involving Roger, Holly, Ed, and Mike. Roger was brought back to life in 1989 and would remain a part of the show until 1998. Michael Zaslow defined the Roger character so well that nobody could play the role in the eye's of millions of fans. When Michael became ill and was eventually diagnosed with ALS, he was unable to perform the character the way that the writers felt it should be played and so he was replaced by Dennis Parlato, a soap veteran. It is also important to note that Zaslow had a distinct voice and a lot of the story lines made good use of his speaking voice...the rage and anger that filled a lot of Roger's memorable stories could have only been portrayed in the eye's of the fans by Zaslow. Dennis Parlato didn't have that unique/distinct that was one difference. Also, no other actor had ever played Roger except Zaslow...and he had played the role since 1971 and for several generations of fans, Zaslow WAS Roger. So, Parlato had a steep mountain to climb stepping into that role...and he didn't reach that peak...the character was written off the show, along with Amanda Spaulding soon after, amidst thousands of complaints from fans not wanting to see anyone but Michael Zaslow in the role.

Did you know that Joan Collins was a member of the show for awhile? She played the role of Alexandra Spaulding for a short period of time in the early part of this decade...2002 to be exact. She was in the role between Marj Dussay's on-again/off-again portrayals. Marj played the role during 1993-1997 and she returned to the program briefly in 1998-1999 and then made another return in 2002 replacing Joan Collins...remaining with the show until 2005...afterward she appeared sporadically.

James Lipton was a cast-member of the show in the 1960's. Kevin Bacon was a cast-member in the early 1980's.

Jerry verDorn was introduced on the soap in 1979 as lawyer, Ross Marler. There are only a few performers on the soap to boast considerable longevity...consecutive longevity even a more rare accomplishment. Jerry verDorn goes down in GL history for logging 26 years on the show, 1979-2005. He immediately was picked up for another soap opera, "One Life to Live", playing the role of Clint Buchanan, which he still portrays. The Ross character was evil at first...playing a lawyer for criminals, notably Roger Thorpe. Ross' brother, Justin Marler, had been a fixture on the program for several years prior to Ross' arrival. Over the course of time Ross had become a nice guy and eventually took on the role of father-figure to nearly every younger character on the show. Well, uncle-figure, to be interviews verDorn often remarked at how his role had gone from "bad guy to recovering bad guy to nice guy to Uncle Ross, helping other character's out of jams using legal knowledge". Toward the end of Ross' tenure on the program the character shown some signs of evil Ross emerging, due to the arrival of his half-brother, Ben Warren. It seems that Ben brought out the evil in Ross...showing many younger fans a side of "lovable Uncle Ross" that they weren't used to. It was also in this era that Ross did the unthinkable in the eye's of fans...he had an affair with a much younger woman named Tory Grainger. Although these kinds of stories gave the character a lot of mileage they weren't necessarily in-step with the image that the character had become written into being. Amidst budget cuts, Jerry verDorn was let go and his character was written off the show having died in an accident while away on a trip.

Longevity...consecutive or otherwise...
Charita Bauer holds the record for consecutive years on contract with the show. Her association goes back to network radio when she stepped into the role of Bertha Bauer. Her real last name, Bauer, was only a coincidence, since the Bauer family had been a feature on the program for about two years prior to Charita joining the show. She played the matriarch of the Bauer family...she was rarely called Bertha on the show...friends and family choosing to shorten it to Bert instead. Charita portrayed the role of Bert Bauer for 35 consecutive years, 1949-1984. She is the actress with the most longevity, obviously, on the show. Jerry verDorn's 26 consecutive years as Ross Marler comes in second. Following verDorn is Tina Sloan. She has played the role of Lillian Raines since 1983...2009 marking the 26th year of the character's association with the program. However, her appearances and lack of major storyline's for a period of years ranks her at #3. She is typically in group scenes that take place at parties...or behind the counter at Cedars Hospital...her character, when given some dialogue, is usually depressed or on the brink of some kind of crisis due to her never really having a stable domestic life. Her worries and concerns over her daughter, Beth, and grand-children typically cause her to have bittersweet scenes with the rest of the characters. If the character had been more of a major presence during the 1990's she would certainly out-rank Jerry verDorn but because the Ross character had way more possibilities he comes in at #2 for consecutive longevity. Theo Goetz played the role of German immigrant, Frederich Bauer. He was known as Papa Bauer...rarely called by his name. Papa is the father of Bill, Meta, and Trudy...and the Papa character never had any major stories...but like Lillian, Papa became a fixture on the show through association with the front-burner characters. Goetz portrayed the role of Papa for 23 years, 1949-1972.

The only other actor associated with the show to approach those kinds of longevity numbers is Robert Newman...he's portrayed the character of Josh Lewis on and off since 1981. He took a few breaks from the show, though...a couple of times in the early 1980's, then he returned in 1986 and remained a part of the show until 1991. The character was written off in search of Reva and returned in 1993 and has been a part of the show since then. Anyway, it isn't a consecutive run...unless you count the last 16 years, 1993-2009...but as far as character portrayal, Robert Newman comes in third...and like the Ross character, no other actor has ever portrayed Josh Lewis. So, if you were to count the years since his character's debut, Robert's portrayal of Josh has been a part of this program off and on for 28 years, 1981-2009, more than Ross and Lillian...but it's not a consecutive 28 years...if it were, he'd rate #2 behind Charita Bauer, and Jerry verDorn would rank #3.

Kim Zimmer came aboard the show in 1983 playing the role of Reva Shayne. Her character became a thorn in the side of the Lewis she had been the former wife of Billy Lewis and former lover of his brother, Josh Lewis. Trish Lewis had been a character on the show for a certain period of time. Alan brought Reva to town in the attempt of using her to come between Billy and Vanessa. Alan wanted Vanessa and her family fortune for himself but she wanted Billy instead. Lewis Oil became a fixture on the show around this same time and soon the Lewis patriarch, H.B, arrived in town. Reva and Billy, as well as Reva and Josh, became popular entertainment for fans during the mid 1980's. Reva and Josh are written as soul-mates...and love each other so much that they can't stand being together because their ego's get in the way of their happiness. In my opinion, based on the various stories I've seen, Josh prefers Reva to be a stay-at-home type of woman while Reva wishes that Josh would be as wild and carefree as Billy. Josh, also, becomes annoyed and rather angry if he feels that Reva creates drama...for he feels it's some sort of signal from her telling him that she thinks he's boring. So, a lot of the time when the two got together they'd end up breaking apart...but they always find their way back...until something else comes along to keep them separated. Reva, in addition to Billy and Josh, became involved with H.B Lewis and then Kyle Sampson, who turned out to be Billy's half-brother. Reva re-united with Josh but then he left her and she fell for Alan Spaulding...and he married her while she was in a coma...only for Josh to return and become a monkey wrench in Alan's schemes as Josh found his way back to Reva once again...only for Josh's presumed dead wife, Sonny, to show up in town and given that Josh was still legally married to her he couldn't hook up with Reva...yet again...driving the two apart. Throughout the 1980's, Reva was the quintessential "soap heroine", going through a plate of emotional and physical stress, but never reaching the overly exaggerated story lines that a lot of GL's competition was churning out in that era. Kim originally portrayed the Reva character for seven years, 1983-1990. She returned to the show in 1995 and has never left the her a total of 14 additional years in the role.

Don Stewart...I know some will ask about him...he was part of the show for quite a long time as well. He portrayed Mike Bauer, a lawyer, son of Bert and Bill. Mike had been portrayed as a kid and a teenager throughout the late '50s and early '60s but by the late '60s he was aged into early adult-hood. Don Stewart is the only actor to play the role as an adult. He joined the show in 1968 and remained a part of the show in a myriad of stories from front-burner to back-burner and all points in between until 1984. His stay on the show was 16 consecutive years...tied with Robert Newman. Stefan Schnabel is also on the longevity list...he portrayed Stephen Jackson for 16 years, 1965-1981. Stephen was a doctor and the father of Leslie, a woman who became involved with both Ed and Mike Bauer. Leslie is the mother of Rick Bauer. Fran Myers, an actress who became a writer for the show, appeared on the program for 15 years, 1964-1979, as Peggy Scott. Peggy would become the wife of Roger Thorpe in the early 1970's...a lot of her earlier roles were centered around her relationship with her parent's, Ben and Maggie Scott, who were tangled up in a not so happy marriage with Bill Bauer being the other man in Maggie's life. Mike in later years was written as a fatherly type...given that he had a daughter, Hope, who would end up marrying Alan Spaulding. Mike joined the ranks of Adam Thorpe and Sara McIntyre in the early 1980's. These characters were no longer in major storyline's but their characters remained focal points on the show. Mike was eventually written as an amateur detective by the time he left the show...teaming up with Ross and various legal figures in bringing down crime. The character, played again by Don Stewart, made one last appearance in 1997 during the show's 60th anniversary in a few episodes that took place at the Cedars Hospital celebration which doubled as the on-air celebration of the soap opera itself. Don Stewart passed away in January 2006, the month GL celebrated it's 69th year in broadcasting, 1937-2006.

The character of Ed Bauer came into major prominence in the mid 1960's. Robert Gentry portrayed the character as a young adult, 1966-1969. Ed's mentor was Stephen Jackson...and it was through Stephen that Ed found a wife, Leslie. Their marriage produced a child, Frederick, later called Rick. Ed and Leslie were a doomed couple and the marriage didn't last long. She fell for his brother, Mike. Martin Hulswit took over the role of Ed in 1969 and he remained with the show for 12 years...vacating the role in 1981. Hulswit's portrayal of Ed is noted for the character being one part up-standing citizen and doctor and one part self-loathing alcoholic. Hulswit played the role during the character's more adventurous times...playing an alcoholic and being one of the pillars of society at the same time. Ed's father, Bill Bauer, was an alcoholic too. Hulswit was replaced by Peter Simon. This actor would become the definitive Ed Bauer to many millions of fans who discovered the show in the 1980' spite of Hulswit's 12 years of service. In Peter Simon's hands, the character was toned down considerably. He was rarely intoxicated or seen under the influence...and he met and married a character named Maureen Reardon shortly afterward. Simon left the show in 1984...replaced by Richard Van Vleet. During the years Van Vleet portrayed the character, Ed started drinking again. A lot of this stemmed from the aftermath of the Beirut story that took place during much of 1985 which featured Ed, Maureen, Fletcher, and Claire surrounded by intrigue and adventure at every turn. Ed also had to deal with a gossipy nurse who eventually turned up dead, making him one of the suspects in her murder...on top of all of this, Claire became pregnant and the baby was revealed to belong to Ed. Peter Simon returned to the character in the latter part of 1986 and remained in the role for ten more years. Ed was written off...joining a medical staff in Africa. Robert Gentry returned to the role in 1997 and remained on the program until 1998. Ed was then talked into returning to Africa to continue his work and he was written off the show once more. Several years later, Rick was engaged to a woman named Melanie Beaudreux and then he started having heart problems. He began to wonder why his father, Ed, had virtually dropped out of sight when he went to Africa for the second time and had made no attempt to contact the family. As Rick and Mel's wedding day approached, Rick was becoming more and more ill with his heart ailment. Michelle's husband, Danny Santos, had been on a secret mission: He was in Africa searching for Ed! On the day of the wedding, as the preacher announced the familiar phrase: "does anyone object these two people joining in marriage...speak now..." and just at that instant Ed walked in and said: "I object!" and everyone the role of Ed was none other than Peter Simon...back after a 6 year hiatus. Rick and Mel and just about everyone didn't know what to think until Ed calmed the nerves of all involved by explaining that he objected simply because he hadn't had a chance to say hello to Rick's bride. Afterward, Rick and Mel were married and later Ed was mysterious about his long-hidden absence until he explained that he had been taken prisoner and forced to live a life without TV, radio, telephones, running water, and other necessities of everyday life in America...and if it hadn't been for Danny rescuing him, he never thought he'd ever see his family again. Ed remained in town for period of years but after Peter Simon's contract was up, he left the show once more...upset at the direction the show/his character was being written...since then, Ed hadn't been a part of the landscape in town. He is scheduled to make an appearance in the coming months as the show nears it's final episode...played by Peter Simon once again.

Frank Dicopoulos arrived on the show in 1987 playing the role of Frank Cooper. He and his sister, Harley, were the first of the Cooper family to arrive in town. Harley became tied up with Alan-Michael Spaulding as well as Dylan Lewis...while Frank became occupied with a succession of women. Eleni, a newcomer to the scene, became tangled up with Frank and Alan-Michael...she marrying Alan-Michael but would eventually marry Frank. Frank's consistent portrayal of Frank Cooper, since 1987, ranks him with 22 consecutive years associated with the series, 1987-2009, ranking below Jerry verDorn in terms of consecutive longevity. Frank's front-burner storylines began to erode in the mid 1990's when the story began to focus more on the return of Alan, then Reva, and the emergence of Annie Dutton's schemes when it was clear Josh and Reva were finding their way back together. Frank was often on hand as the policeman investigating whatever criminal activity was going on. In a lot of ways, in later years, Frank became similar to Larry Wyatt, a detective who was often paired with Mike Bauer in the late '70s and early '80s during stake-outs. Frank would not be seen for weeks on end but then suddenly show up if there was a mystery or murder that needed solved...he'd be on the case. His role in the Springfield police department ensured him that he'd be featured in any story that required prolonged police work.

Alan of my favorites...
Alan Spaulding and his family were introduced in 1977 and have been a presence on the show ever since, via various family members. The main character, Alan, was portrayed originally by Chris Bernau. The actor was no stranger to soap opera's when he joined the show but it was this character and the way he portrayed the role that connected with fans. The character was written off the show in 1984 and thousands complained. In the character's absence the family was represented by his adopted son, Phillip, and Alan's sister, Alexandra. The out-pouring of complaints never let-up over Bernau's disappearance from the show and someone behind the scenes finally dreamed up a story that would ultimately lead to Alan's return in 1986. Back in 1984, in San Rios, there was a rescue mission at play involving Fletcher Reader, Jim Reardon, and Alan...they were trying to find Hillary Bauer. The FBI tracked Alan and company to San Rios and as they were preparing to arrest Alan, he distracted them as Jim, Hillary, and Fletcher boarded the plane...taking off...leaving Alan behind. As the plane flew away, amidst the commotion, Alan ran from the FBI agents and disappeared into the jungle...with gun shots being fired in the background. The last anyone knew of Alan, he had been shot by the FBI...but two years later Alan, via a flashback, thought back on the day in San Rios and how he managed to escape and survive the gun shot wounds in his leg.

Alan made his return to the town of Springfield with the help of India von Halkein, the woman who married Phillip, although he really didn't love her. Alan had been living in the von Halkein castle, secretly plotting his return, and using India as his spy. Alan's early appearance after his return shown him walking with a cane, a reference to having been shot in the leg by the FBI. After Bernau returned to the show as Alan he remained a constant presence, including playing a part in the disappearance of Beth Raines...and the subsequent cover-up and falsehood of her death. He also dabbled in art smuggling with the Valere couple and using Johnny Bauer as his pilot to fly the stolen paintings. Johnny was clueless about the merchandise he was flying for Alan. Other dastardly deeds after his return included taunting a host of women, which included Vanessa, who he had always had a fantasy of marrying her and merging his company with her father's wealth. Alan also tried to throw Ed and Maureen Bauer out of Cedars Hospital, just for spite. Bernau became too ill to work barely two years later, 1988. Daniel Pilon was called in to take over the role.

Did you know that when Chris Bernau became ill in 1988, the producers contacted Michael Zaslow and asked if he'd want to come on and replace Bernau? Michael declined because his portrayal of Roger and Bernau's portrayal of Alan were too identified with the fans for such a thing to be accepted...and it was during these talks that they dreamed up the story that brought Roger back from the dead, for what could have been the hundredth time or more, given the character's history.

Alan was written off the show in 1989...being sent to prison for the shooting of Roger Thorpe, who had returned from the dead, and for accidentally shooting Phillip minutes earlier while aiming at Thorpe. When Alan returned in 1994 he was portrayed by Ron Raines...who continues in the role 15 years later...and he, too, is among the consecutive longevity elite.

Okay...I know i've skipped over a TON of things but when you have a program that's been on the air 72 years it's impossible to touch everything. Here are the pictures I was making reference to many paragraphs ago...

This issue features the characters of Claire Ramsey and Fletcher Reade on the cover. Susan Pratt and Charles Jay Hammer. The issue is from 1985. I bought a lot of 1980's issues of Soap Opera Digest during the late 1990's when they had them for sale...they still might have back-issue's for sale still? I hadn't bought any for years. The major storyline that was taking place on the show at the time of this issue was the Beirut story. Fletcher and Claire had both gone off to Beirut, a war-torn country filled with terrorists. Ed and Maureen followed them over. As the story went on, a bombing raid soon separated the four friends. Ed and Claire were separated from Fletcher and Maureen. Each couple feared the other had died. Fletcher and Maureen remained platonic toward each other but the same couldn't be said for Ed and Claire...Ed became delirious and feverish and envisioned Maureen. Actually it was Claire but Ed mistook her for Maureen during his dazed condition and he slept with her...days later they became reunited with Fletcher and Maureen...and soon Claire became pregnant and the truth was revealed. Claire and Ed's daughter, Michelle, eventually became one of the top characters of the show in the late 1990's and into the next millennium.

This issue was on the shelves in 2002, the year the show celebrated it's 50th year as a TV soap and it's 65th year on the air. The show moved to TV in June 1952. The show itself debuted on radio in January 1937. Interestingly, the cast of "Young and the Restless" appeared on the cover. Inside the issue there's a generic time-line depicting the action and pictures of cast-members past and present. There's a section called "In Memoriam" where it lists several cast-members who had passed away.

This particular issue features Chris Bernau and Mary Kay Adams on the cover as Alan Spaulding and India von Halkein. This issue was in the stores in July 1986 right around the time of the character's return to Springfield. India was revealed to have been a spy for Alan...she and Alan, along with her Baron father, were in cahoots. Alexandra, Alan's sister, had been married to India's father at one time...and so Alan was using the von Halkein's in his bizarre scheme to gain control of his company from Phillip.

I have the 60th anniversary book that was released in 1997. It's a hardcover book filled with a year by year synopsis and several the back there's family albums chronicling the various families of the show. There's a cast-list showing all cast-members of the radio and TV versions. Jerry verDorn wrote the forward. I also have the softcover 50th anniversary book from 1987...and here it is...

There was also a Soap Opera Digest issue promoting the show's 50th year in broadcasting in 1987...on the cover of that issue were the two popular characters at the time, Johnny Bauer and Roxie Shayne. Johnny had been introduced as a Bauer cousin but his side of the family was never explored. Jack and Laine Bauer were said to be the character's parent's and so Jack must be the son of another branch of Bauer's since he was never part of the core Bauer family. Roxie was brought on as Reva's sister. The two performers were Kristi Ferrell and James Goodwin. Reva and Roxie's brother, Rusty, as well as their mother and father, Sarah and Hawk, were major players on the show in the mid to late '80s. Hawk became the bartender of the Reardon establishment, known simply as "Company". Rusty became wrapped up with a woman named Rose and later became embroiled in the Will Jeffries storyline in addition to becoming romantically linked to Mindy Lewis.