Posts Tagged ‘soap opera’

The Fall Of…

September 23, 2011

…2011. As of 5:05 this morning, fall befell us like bowl of pea soup. Ugh, the air is so thick and still it’s just gross. It’s a different kind of humidity than you expect and can almost tolerate during the height of summer. And, from what I hear on the radio, we, at least us here in NJ are in for a lot of rain and more flooding is possible. But remember about what I said the other day, we’ll find out tomorrow if it really rained today or not and how much fell. And of course, in the winter, which this year begins in, as of this writing at 7am, 89 days, 17 hours, 30 minutes, we always hear (the next day), that blizzard took us completely by surprise.

Speaking of predictions, that UARS satellite is predicted to fall sometime today but the location is still yet unknown though prognosticators are saying it won’t hit North America. Well, that’s fine, but what if it does hit some other civilized place? We just have to hope it doesn’t hit NJ because otherwise we’ll probably get taxed for it.

And, sadly, another chapter of television history is coming to a close. After 41 years, All My Children, which debuted on January 5,1970,  is going off the ABC airwaves.

Originally conceived by Agnes Nixon in the 1960’s, All My Children was declined by first NBC, then CBS and once again by NBC when Proctor & Gamble had no available space in the network’s lineup. All My Children was put on hold. Using a few ideas from her AMC ‘bible’, Agnes Nixon created storylines and characters for Another World, on which she served as head writer.

Wanting a show with a more contemporary tone, ABC approached Nixon and she created what came to be known as One Life To Live, which debuted in 1968 (and is also slated to leave the airwaves in 2012). With the success of the Llanview, Pennsylvania based show, ABC asked Nixon for another show and, dusting off the ‘bible’, All My Children and iconic Erica Kane were born.

I won’t waste my time berating ABC/Disney for their decision to cancel these two shows (and most likely General Hospital, which now holds the distinction the longest running soap opera still in production–April 1, 1963) in favor of cheaper, reality-type shows whose hosts have as little regard for the legions of bereft soap fans (‘get over it’ ~Mario Batali)  as the head cheese at the networks (‘the viewers need to be trained like dogs to accept [my] vision of the shows’ ~ Brian Frons)…emphasis on cheese.

But good old fashioned soap opera storytelling is not dead. Just like soaps made the transition from radio to television, now they will make the leap from television to the internet (and with any luck, a cable network) thanks to the folks at Prospect Park, who have leased the shows from ABC, which I’ve mentioned before.

There is no set date for production to restart on All My Children under the helm of Prospect Park, and Susan Lucci’s future with the show is still uncertain, though everything I’m seeing points to an Erica Kane-less resurrection. But remember this, for approximately 6 months between November ‘46 and June ‘47, Guiding Light was in between sponsors on the radio and it came back, went to television and had a total run of 72 years. Time will tell what will become of Pine Valley.

All that can be said is… Tune in tomorrow!

A Brighter Day!

May 2, 2011


Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue!


Never forget. Never let our guard down.




It’s always seems impossible to juggle one more thing into an already hectic schedule without hemming and hawing about it but we were going to see Insidious this weekend. It was going to be Friday night after work, but not knowing what time we’d be able to get out after grocery shopping in preparation for next week we decided it would be Sunday. Melissa and Bob are coming to visit. Yes, we just saw them over Easter, but she had already planned on coming out. So, we needed to stock up on stuff, plus plan for Mother’s Day. So, Saturday, while I put in a full day of work–end of the month crunch–Ariel prepped pretty much all the food we’ll have and then we went into the city to a birthday party at Bowlmor in the city. It was Jamie’s birthday, of Ronny and Jamie who recently got married. Oh, yeah, and they made the announcement that they’re just seven months shy of being parents. Weeeee!

It’s been years since I’ve gone bowling and I must say I didn’t do too badly… 126. We only got in a game and a half. Traffic into the city was a complete mess and we arrived later than we planned. Midway through our second game, our time was up and they shut our lanes down to make way for the next party. I’m sure I was on target for a perfect game in the second round, but now we’ll never know. Might be something to look into, but around here….? Not sure where. Maybe we can install an alley in the basement.  

After the bowling party we went across the street to a club/bar and rather than go a la carte, we opted to pay the open bar fee of $50, get our wristbands so we could imbibe all night long. The way we figured it, it was a savings, especially by the time you buy a round or two. Of course, one also has to drink wisely, like with bottled beer because the liquor pours are nearly non-existent, a meticulously measured thimble-full. We drove Ronny and Jamie home, rather than their having to take the Path and it also afforded me the chance to tell my New York Hotel story yet again. I swear, that just doesn’t get old!

Yesterday, Ariel continued with some food prep and I turned into a white tornado and we headed out to the movies. Of course, even with Ingrid’s help, we still got lost up there, off Rt 3. Anytime we go up there we get lost. It’s got to be one of the most confusing tangle of roads in this entire state. Great suspenseful movie without the usual blood and gore, fires and explosions and car chases that so many movie makers deem necessary elements to a good movie. I had me kind of groaning in a spot or two, like it was taking a cue from so many other spooky movies, but it also had elements that had my hair standing on end. And it begs for a sequel.


Nothing new on the Sony/NBC rumor to buy One Life to Live and All My Children except that one article cited that a particular actor from one of those shows, who hasn’t heard about the rumor has decided it possibly couldn’t be true. Well, how very nice for him. In the meantime, here is a link to quite a bit of information on how you can help Support Our Soaps.  There are phone numbers and addresses for executives and advertisers plus other information.

And for those of you who feel threatened by the so-called soap opera, remember this–to quote a very in depth columnists’ words (I hope he doesn’t mind)–just about every show, be it a cop show, sci-fi (ABC’s “V” is also now rumored it might not return next season), Desperate Housewives, or even your favorite “reality” show follows a similar formula, serialized storytelling, all taking a cue from the much maligned soap.

Jiggity Jig

April 28, 2011

Home again, home again. It’s good to get away but it’s always nice to come home again, be in my comfy red chair, sleep in my own bed, trap and dispose of the stink bugs without their emitting their defensive, well, stink, a skill I’m getting quite adept at and deal with the population of the east coast.

Case in point: I went to pay my property taxes yesterday afternoon and all hopes of returning home within the hour. I still had to go get milk because mine died while I was away. I was fifth in line while ChaCha McHenry was taking her sweet time taking care of each person in line. When it was my turn, I handed her my check and the payment stub, but she alerted me in a frustrated tone she needed the other half still in my hand. Then, horror beyond horror, the check wasn’t signed and I found that out as it came flying back at me with a reprimand and a pen she reluctantly lent me that slammed down on the desk a few beats after the check. Then, as I waited for my receipt, she gave me that side eye and with a huff told me I had my receipt, that it was stamped on the back. I was just waiting for a receipt like she gave everyone else. Meanwhile, while stopping for breakfast on the road during our travels, and seeing that my mother was absent from the table, the waitress took her order back to the oven to keep warm until she returned. Yes, it’s good to be home. Here’s another story, a clear example of culture shock,  from another trip west. Actually, to get the most of it, there are two and they should be read in this order: Endora and Home Sweet Home. It’s a lot of reading, I know. It’s not homework, but there will be a quiz.

So, you know, the day before we were due to leave here, an F3 tornado ripped through my father’s town, a half mile away from his house, in fact. It just missed the only grocery store in the area that serves 3 neighboring towns. On the way from my niece’s to my father’s on Saturday morning, with no one behind us on the road, with random music playing on my Droid, I decided to shoot a little video of the devastation. It wasn’t until the next day, when we watched it on YouTube after I downloaded it, we found a little unintentional humor in the lyrics of the song that also recorded.

We later took a ride through the back roads and it was just so sad to see such damage. A path of snapped trees, debris everywhere, tarps on roofs where shingles had blown off, one house reduced to nothing but the floorboards covering the basement where that family hid out. The fortunate thing is no one died, but a lot of livestock was lost.

And so now I turn this over to Commander for his recap on American Idol.

I told you, I’m done. Haley is still there, I’m done. When she goes, I’ll pick it up again.

I didn’t think you were serious.

As a heart attack! If you want to make the prediction, you can do the honors.

Alright then, if it’s up to me, I’m going to put these three in the bottom for tonight and look who I’m getting rid of, just for you.


 Add this name to your email list: . Email these people and tell them it’s a drastic mistake to kill the soaps.

One Life To Live

April 18, 2011

It’s no surprise I’m angry with Brian Frons and ABC for the decision to cancel One Life To Live, a show I’ve watched for nearly 43 years. Since the news came over the internet, I’ve joined the crusade to help save One Life To Live, All My Children and unfortunately, undoubtedly, all in due time, the remaining ones–General Hospital, Days Of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. Here is the official announcement.

I could spend the entire blog extolling what I believe to be the values of the genre, but I’ve been doing that on every available message board, Facebook link and emails and letters to The Powers that Be at ABC on both coasts.

As someone who loves to write, I can appreciate the work that goes into fabricating these stories at a relentless pace and it’s just disgraceful to think all this hard work, this cultural fold of the fabric of Americana is being dismissed as a passing fancy.  

I can’t help but wonder how long before other favorite shows will fade into the landscape of cheaply produced reality shows and talk shows.

If you watch, or know someone who watches or just want to help save what’s left of daytime TV, here are two names you can contact:

Brian Frons, President, ABC Daytime, 2300 Riverside Dr, Burbank, CA 91506 

Anne Sweeney, President, ABC TV, ABC Studios, 500 S. Buena Vista St, Burbank, CA  91521

Through The Fog

September 17, 2010

Show of hands! How many out there remember those anti-smoking commercials not too long ago where people who no longer smoked found it insanely impossible to do ordinary tasks, like backing the car out of the driveway or eating? I always thought they were so ridiculous. But I think I can say that I get it now. I get the point they were making. Not in such a crucial way, as in being concerned about one’s health, I’m not disputing that, but rather just functioning, or trying to, with a certain stimulus no longer present. Perhaps it’s a silly comparison, but getting through the first days brought those commercials to mind. I have my daily self-imposed cattle herding-like, cookie cutter routine; start work by 7:30 or 8, turn on the NJ news at 9, watch CNN Headline news at 9:30, switch to the Hallmark Channel for The Golden Girls until 11 and then I Love Lucy until 1 when I take my lunch break. Well, thanks to the channel’s new line-up, Martha Stewart is in those time slots. I don’t watch Martha Stewart. I don’t have the desire to learn how to make napkin rings out of hollowed out tree branches. So, I scrambled all week trying to get a new routine, which in essence is like having my own babysitter. It’s Friday and I’m still not sure what I’m doing. But I’m getting better. I’ll muddle through.

News on the house front! The brick is done, as you can see below, but it still has to be grouted and also the ledges for under the front and attic windows have to be put in place. I didn’t think I was going to be able to get this shot because just after they called it a day the skies opened up and it was thundering and lightning and it was so dark. But it blew over and I was able to get my shot. But that’s not the news. The walls will probably be painted today–the ceiling was done yesterday. The floor will be going in, he said, I think, this week, which means either today or tomorrow and by next week he wants to break through the existing walls for the doorways. Oh, and the plans for the patio were discussed, as well as one tiny other project that’s been long in the coming and it’s looking good, according to Lou that it can be all be done by the winter.

Remember how earlier this week we played Bingo for charity? Well, we’ve got one more charity event coming up this weekend, but I don’t want to talk about it just yet so I don’t jinx myself. I’m a little nervous about it, but I made up my mind several weeks ago to do it. Tickets are bought. Our group is gathered. The meeting place and time is all set and I can’t back out now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to blog about it on Monday, since the event is Sunday and will run late into the night, but by Tuesday I will have the story. And more progress pictures of the house, no doubt.

And sadly, after 13,858 episodes, the world will stop turning later this afternoon for the residents of fictional Oakdale, Illinois on As The World Turns, the longest running television-only soap opera that debuted April 2, 1956. It was decided last December to cancel the sudser due to declining viewership and is ranked as the least watched of all the remaining soaps. Coincidentally, a year ago tomorrow marks the first  anniversary of when Guiding Light went off, the 72 year old soap that started on radio, then was broadcast on both radio and television before making the exclusive jump to TV. In ATWT’s place, there will probably be some game show or yet another talk show. This is what you want, dear television viewing public, so have at it! Just leave my story alone! Long live One Life To Live!

On that note, it’s National Apple Dumpling Day. Rejoice!

Whoops, sorry, I just got this in. Herbert and The New Shazzam wanted me to tell you they’re still on the job and  they asked to me quickly tell you the latest out of the American Idol camp and they’re sorry they missed letting you know about J Lo and Steven Tyler being the new judges. To celebrate the 10th season of American Idol, online auditions will be accepted from those who cannot make it to the try-outs. Each hopeful has a 40 second shot with only one entry per person allowed. I would imagine with several different email addresses each would try more than once. They can sing songs only from a select list of approved songs and submit them through “Idol”‘s mini MySpace page until October 6. The ones that make it will move forward to the call back round in Los Angeles.

Sometimes A Nail Is Just A Nail

February 5, 2010

I was planning on blogging about a man on my roof yesterday morning. Then, I thought about the near sentimental loss of a nail. And while I was thinking of just how to bring them into the conversation, I found two things online that I could also mention. So, what does one do in a case like this? One puts to use his long windedness and talks about it all. It’s Friday, it’s supposed to snow like the dickens today, so sit back, relax and read.

Before I go on, I have to mention the passing of legendary actress Frances Reid, who portrayed Grandma Alice Horton on the soap opera Days Of Our Lives, the role she created when the show premiered in 1965 and played until her final screen appearance in 2007, even though her presence was “felt” since, thanks to clever script writing. The official cause of death of the 95 year old actress, which occurred on Wednesday, has not yet been disclosed.

Oh, and how’s this? Because of a mixup with our Unilazies that I was talking about yesterday, the vendor contacted Ariel by email, who in turn replied and mentioned I had blogged about it. The vendor guy, David, then emailed me, because I was copied on the entire transaction and gave me a complimentary compliment on my blog and hoped that after we tried them out I would post a favorable review.

History? Or a despicable attempt to exalt a filthy past? If you haven’t heard, a new popular iPhone app is being removed after legal threats against iMussolini. The app allows users to download speeches and video clips of the former Italian dictator. The legal matter comes from the from the film institute where the images came from, whose representative says the application is an aberration, far removed from the educational purposes for which the clips should be used. Jewish groups and holocaust survivors say it’s offensive that it legitimizes fascism and is the rehabilitation of Mussolini. Well, yes, all the atrocities of WWII are offensive, but to say the educational value is offensive is ridiculous. Education, in no matter what topic, should never be thought of as offensive. Learning is living even if sometimes the lesson is a harsh one. Should history books be rewritten? Should TV’s History Channel never speak of ‘history’ again? Should everyone who has learned about it have a lobotomy to wipe if from their memories? Keeping the past hidden doesn’t mean it never happened. Personally, I think some people just have to much to say. Apps are optional to buy. Don’t buy it if you don’t want it on your own phone. It’s as easy as that, like changing the channel on TV or the radio dial when you’re not enjoying what’s on, like say, for instance The Jersey Shore. That kind of legitimizes people’s eagerness to watch stupid television shows. I don’t like it, so I don’t watch it. Grow up, people…try freedom of choice.  Apple says it will reinstitute the app once the matter is cleared up.

I was working yesterday morning and through the office window I saw a truck backing up at the bottom of my driveway, up against my garage. What the…. I put on my “I’m ready for fight going outside clothes” and by the time I went out to see what the hubbub was, the guy was up on the roof. I couldn’t see him at first but I could hear him. I didn’t want to shout and startle him because then I’d have to deal with “mangled man” after he stumbled and fell. Then I heard a familiar sound, the sound of a Mylar band snapping into its casing. Then I caught sight of the contractor guy who was working next door and it turns out it was his guy taking measurements so he can work up an estimate for a new roof along with the addition we’re hoping to put on the house.

You know I finally filled out my wall calendar–I think I mentioned it a few blogs back–and it hangs on a nail in the kitchen, that doesn’t exactly fit so tightly into the plaster wall like it once did, but we know that and we’re careful. Last night, by accident, the calendar got knocked into, jarring the nail f rom the wall. Couldn’t find it, couldn’t find it. Maybe because I had shoes on, because you know, one barefoot trip through the kitchen and I would have found it. It’s the same principle that makes food container covers fall food encrusted bottom down on the floor. Armed with a flashlight, I lowered myself to the floor to look underneath the hutch and I found the nail, with my knee. That nail was in the wall when we bought the house and it’s been holding my calendars in that spot ever since, now over 11 years. I know, it’s just a nail, but this is the kind of person you’re dealing with.

On that note, let me just say “LET’S GO NEW ORLEANS SAINTS!” 

Tune In Tomorrow…?

January 6, 2010

Now they’re saying the cameras weren’t functioning properly the day of the security breach at Newark airport. Hmm, well, then they should dock the cameras’ pay.  How’s this for an idea?  An in-terminal sequestered hotel, beyond the first set of checkpoints, where passengers are held, say, three days before a flight, to make sure everyone is free of any contaminant; water, baby formula, book, blanket, shoe, underpants…

Well, this might not be a rant, as such, but more of an observation and a disgruntled one at that. I was watching television the other night, in my state of semi-consciousness with my head cold and after all the stuff we had on the DVR was over, I turned on a show called Conveyor Belt of Love. Did any of you see it? The basic premise of this show was that a panel of 5 obnoxious women (overly made up and in most instances under dressed) and either 30 or 35 guys (including one musclebound specimen in a Speedo carrying his Pomeranian dog…I kid you not) who were presented before them, with a chance of impressing each of the women. Some came out with a simple introduction, while others sang, or danced or performed some specialty like a magic act. Each of the women held up a two sided sign (interested/not interested) accordingly. If a guy impressed two or more of the women, it would then be up to him which woman would get him. As each guy was chosen, he’d stand over on a podium at the marker with that woman’s name and would remain there until such a time that woman might be smitten with someone else and he would then bump the previous guy. This took up 3/4 of the one hour show and the remaining 15 minutes (including commercials) was a brief recap of each of the women’s dates with their date choices and whether she would see him again or not. Huh?

By contrast, the soap opera, an grueling imaginative art form is facing imminent demise. Guiding Light, as you know was cancelled after 72 years–an American icon–and now, As The World Turns will be off the air next fall. And One Life To Live, the one I’ve been watching since 1968, is mired in threats of cancellation. Scoff if you will, that the soap opera is the lowest form of acting (as I’ve often read and heard), but as a writer, I can appreciate the intricacies of plot lines that get cranked out on a daily basis. I read an article recently that explains this sudden downturn. They say it’s because audiences today are too busy to take time to sit for an hour to tune into the goings on of their favorite fictional city. Well, that’s a bunch of bull. I make time to watch my story each day. I even bring a VHS tape and extra wires when I go on vacation in the summer. With today’s busy lifestyle and the advent of DVR’s, I wonder how many shows are watched when they are actually aired. So, the making time angle doesn’t cut it with me. What it is actually, is that soap opera audiences are getting older and are less desirable to advertisers and it is not cost-effective to produce them. So, what are we “oldsters” supposed to watch? The Jersey Shore? I think not. Networks just need to have a little more respect for their audiences and put a little bit back into their shows to keep them worth watching. I know it’s a numbers game, but, come on, don’t years of loyalty count for anything?  So now, daytime television will be rife with programs that are easier and more economic to produce, like inferior like more talk shows, more courtroom shows and probably game shows. But, if no one is watching daytime television as it is because of time constraints, what makes anyone think any of this nonsense will change the tide?

Okay, that rant is over for now. You know I’ll be staying on top of this. Meanwhile, here are some Mummers pictures. I hope they’re worth the wait. Hover over each for a description and click on each to open bigger.