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AMC’s Jill Larson a Daytime Treasure- Palmer's Tribute Episode

Courtesy/ABC

Courtesy/ABC

I know it seems like every blog entry I have written lately has been about a beloved daytime veteran passing on to Soap Heaven, and a subsequent tribute.  I would be remiss, and not a long time follower of All My Children and daytime, not to report back my comments and thoughts on yesterday’s episode.  This show from beginning to end was definitely a labor of love from the production and writing teams, and the actors, who wanted to give a proper goodbye to their long time compatriot, James Mitchell, who for decades played the deliciously devilish Palmer Cortlandt, or as known to Daisy, just simply “P.C.”

Courtesy/ABC

But truly, and without peer, the power performance of this week has to go to daytime stalwart, Jill Larson (Opal).  This goes to show, that give an actress of Larson’s incredible acting prowess and depth material worthy of her magnificent talents, and in return she will deliver a heartfelt performance that transcends the material.  Well, Larson, in every scene she was given, made this reporter grab for the box of Kleenex.  Calling Palmer her “Love Bug” throughout the show brought back so many memories of the Opal/Palmer stormy relationship.  Wasn’t it terrific to see flashbacks of Opal marrying her Palmer? And I’ve got to say, the writing was not half bad either… what irony and what a way to give Palmer’s favorite two wives, Daisy (Gillian Spencer) and Opal a chance to reveal and admit long held secrets.  Daisy secretly had been meeting Palmer for years every September, but Opal knew!  And Daisy came back to town early in April because Palmer was going to call the yearly meeting off and return to Opal.  Hankies!  If any scene also showed that Larson is a cut above, it was her opening scene in the episode sitting in the dark alone, devastated over the news that she will never get a chance to tell Palmer she loves him again.  Tad (Michael E. Knight) finds his mother and is there as a sympathetic ear and support for her, all the while watching her letting out her unbelievable grief.  If any soapers out there got the chance to read my feature titled; Opal’s Opus that I wrote last year for Advocate.com, you got a rare opportunity and glimpse into Larson’s private life and thoughts, and at that time we did not even know if All My Children would put her back on contract and move her to Los Angeles with the show this past January!  But, thank God, someone had the sense to know what a valuable and vital asset she is.  Since then, she is back on contract and back in the opening credits where she belongs.

Courtesy/ABC

The episode was wonderfully supported by subtle performances and remembrances by Susan Lucci (Erica), Debbi Morgan (Angie), a returning and still as beautiful as ever, Taylor Miller (Nina), the before mentioned night Michael Knight, Bobbie Eakes (Krytal), Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake) and Alicia Minshew (Kendall).   I think there was not a dry eye in the house in Pine Valley, or the viewing audience at home, when a DVD was played to the mourners, and we saw Palmer (i.e. James Mitchell) on screen in his last appearance on the show taped during the 40th anniversary episode.  Struggling with his words, looking older than we had seen him before, it was hard to take, but such a nice tribute to the fans of the show, and for his co-stars to be even more emotionally invested into the scenes that they were performing.

Courtesy/ABC

Then we come to David Canary and Julia Barr, whose Adam and Brooke admitted (finally) to each other on this special episode that they do indeed love each other.  It was Barr and Canary’s nicely nuanced performances, and remembrances of Adam’s contentious relationship with Palmer that made this tribute all the more special.  I know many fans were excited about Dixie (Cady McClain) opening the door to Palmer at the end of the episode, as their favorite moment of the tribute.  For me, that felt just a bit too forced.  However, Erica, during the candlelight vigil for Palmer, saying that now Palmer will be with Mona, Myrtle and Phoebe, was another hankie moment that worked.  But, it was Jill Larson, when all was said and done, who got a rare opportunity to say goodbye to her co-star and the love of Opal’s life… and we got to watch, weep and pay our respects.

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Watch the video clips below of the beginning and end of the special tribute episode featuring Larson and cast.

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Doe
Doe

Wow! Michael, thanks for putting that scene up. It was one of the best tribute scenes I have seen, because it was done with so much taste and elegance. There was nothing overdone and it was so sincere and subtle without any pretense. I am impressed. James Mitchell was one classy man. I know he started out as dancer and there are movies where I have seen him dance with the likes of Cyd Charisse, etc. So, rest in peace, James……

Doe
Doe

I do want to mention Jill Larson because she really delivered the sweetest performance. And she has given the role of Opal her personal stamp. A fine actress. I forgot to single her out in my previous comments.

Deebs
Deebs

It was a nice tribute, it reminds me of former character tributes etc. Myrtle, mona, Pheobe, Dr. Charles Tyler, Kate Martin.

William
William

This James Mitchell tribute was first class. I agree with everything you said, except the part about Dixie. I was not expecting that, and I almost lost it when she appeared to welcome him to the afterlife. Cady McLain is a great actress–she broke my heart with one line!

All My Children

Cameron Mathison Reveals Cancer Diagnosis and Shares Heartfelt Message

One of our the best guys we know, Cameron Mathison (co-host, Home & Family and Ex-Ryan Lavery, All My Children), revealed over the last 24 hours that he has been diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma – kidney cancer, but treatment for him will be underway and the prognosis is good.

Cameron first shared the news on Monday’s Home & Family in a special announcement enlightening viewers on his health condition (watch video below) and later took to his Instagram and social media to share more details.   Of note: Mathison’s healthy lifestyle has indeed helped, and shown, that his cancer has not spread.

In addition, Mathison wrote: “About a month ago, I had an MRI for some gut issues I’ve been having, and during that MRI they fd a tumor on my right kidney. It’s consistent with Renal Cell Carcinoma … or kidney cancer. The good news is that it hasn’t spread to any other organs🙏🏼 They say my healthy lifestyle and diet has no doubt helped keep it from growing and spreading to other areas, as doctors think it’s been growing in me for minimum 10 years🙏🏼. I am extremely lucky that we found it early.” He thanked his doctor and his family, saying, “[wife] Vanessa, [kids] Lucas and Leila have been absolutely amazing with their love and support… as have my mom, dad, brother, and everyone at Home and Family, Hallmark, and ET❤️ My surgery is scheduled on September 12th, I was hoping to receive positive thoughts, prayers, or whatever you feel comfortable with, on 9/12 (my surgery is at 1pm PST) 🙏🏼.” He concluded, “Feeling very grateful and optimistic!”

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Send positive vibes Cameron’s way as he goes through his medical procedure this week, share your comments below.

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All My Children

8 Years To The Day Of All My Children & One Life to Live Being Canceled; Still Considered By Many Worst Move For Daytime

It’s hard to believe that 8 years ago today on April 14th, 2011, the soap world, its fans, and the cast members, learned of the heartbreaking news that ABC, in one swift move, decimated its daytime line-up when they announced the cancellations of long running series, All My Children (which would end at its 41st year), and One Life to Live (which would ends its run in its 43rd year).

At the time, ABC announced it would move to more lifestyle/entertainment series to replace these dramas.  In its place came The Chew and The Revolution, neither show is still on the air today.  Executives at that time pointed to research saying that times are changing and that their decision was “guided by extensive research into what today’s daytime viewers want,” and blame, in part, “the changing viewing patterns of the audience” for the axing of AMC and OLTL

Then ABC Daytime President, Brian Frons had joked to Deadline about the big announcement that he: “Pre-entered the witness protection program prior to today’s events.”  He added that “The demise of the two venerable soaps was actually a year in the making.  A year ago, we started to look at our projections where the ratings for the soaps would go.  When those projections came in pretty discouraging, the network began to aggressively develop replacement shows, 15 of them.  Four of the 15 were picked up to pilot: The Chew and The Revolution and two others, a talk show and a dating show. Originally, the idea was to cancel only one daytime drama.  The way the ratings developed and the pilots turned out, the ratings developed negatively and pilots developed positively, so we decided to make a bigger shift.”  Of note is that when it went off the air, One Life to Live was in third place among its competitors in the ratings.

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The press release that came with the cancellations stated: “To honor the core, passionate audience and their rich history both shows will conclude in a manner that respects their legacies and the longstanding hopes of many of their viewers.”

Following the cancellations daytime reeled. The mainstream was sure it meant the endings of the soaps, period.  However, four shows illustrated that is not true at all.  For Days of our Lives, General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless all remain, and still whether they are up or down in their numbers/ratings, they remain relevant and important to the enduring daytime viewing audience.

Sadly, as with any shows, the end of ABC’s AMC and OLTL meant loss of jobs for so many working in front of the camera and behind the scenes. One Life was the last soap opera in production in New York at the time.  AMC was already being shot in LA to cut costs to save it.

Still in 2019, if you venture on to social media, especially Twitter, you see fans constantly missing its stars and the towns of Llanview and Pine Valley, wanting this wrong rectified.  Although Prospect Park tried to revive the show with their online versions, eventually after legal battles that went on for a few years, ABC now retains the right to these properties,

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The good news is that many favorites from AMC and OLTL have found success and been hired on other soap operas, bringing their followings with them, whether it be on-screen, or in the writing, producing, directing or crew departments.

So, do you think the loss of AMC and OLTL consolidated daytime and made the remaining shows stronger so they would not be touched or canceled?  Do you think ABC should try to mount a resurrected AMC and OLTL or an amalgamation of the two?  Do you remember where you were when you learned the two soaps were cancelled? Was this the worst misstep of all-time for daytime? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below.

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All My Children

George R. R. Martin’s “Leak” Of New Hulu Series WILD CARDS Featuring Eden Riegel, Thorsten Kaye. and Greg Rikkart

April Fool’s Day started off with a bang today when Eden Riegel (Ex-Bianca, AMC) posted a photo of herself with Thorsten Kaye (Ridge, B&B) and Greg Rikaart (Ex-Leo, DAYS)  in a very intriguing image.  See above pic!  As it turns out, it’s said to be from behind the scenes from some leaked footage of the upcoming Hulu series, Wild Cards.

The premise of Wild Cards is based on the sci-fi anthology series edited by George R. R, Martin, best known for writing the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels, on which HBO’s Game of Thrones is based.  Riegel’s husband, Andrew Miller is the showrunner attached to the upcoming series.

On Martin’s website he teases the set-up of the “leaked” video clip:  “This was not supposed to go public.. Everybody (Well, everybody that has been paying attention knows that we are developing two Wild Cards as a series for Hulu  Andrew Miller has taken the reins as showrunner, a writing staff has been hired, and they have been hard at work for months.  What was NOT supposed to be known is how far they’ve come.  Not only have some scripts been finished, but the first show has gone into production and has been shooting.  That was supposed to be a deep dark secret, however.   We wanted to surprise the world. It’s hard to keep secrets in Hollyweird, however.  And now it appears that some of the rough footage has been leaked by person or persons unknown”

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Meanwhile, Riegel sent out a series of tweets: “Hooo boy…cat’s out of the bag! Fans, please don’t judge our show based on these leaked videos!! The effects are going to knock your socks off. And my costars, and , are doing the best work of their lives!”  That was followed by, T”hank you for the chance to work with you on your first foray into soaps! I am humbled and honored. We won’t let you down.” And then, “I’m probably not allowed to share this with all the NDAs I signed, but damnit I’m just so proud of the team!  think we are breaking new ground for soaps. So proud to work with you!”

Now below, check out the Wild Cards “leaked footage” and let us know if you think of the …. um … drama! Comment below.  And one more thing … Happy April Fool’s!

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