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Ryan Phillippe On His Groundbreaking Role As OLTL’s Billy Douglas 25 Years Later: "I’m Proud That That’s Something I Can Say Was A Part Of My Career."

Photo Credit: HutchinsPhoto.com

One of the most memorable social issue storylines in the history of One Life to Live and daytime television occurred in 1992-1993 when the show brought in the teen-aged character of Billy Douglas, who turned out to be gay.  The actor who portrayed Billy was none other than motion picture star Ryan Phillippe in his then first professional acting role.

The tapestry of the gay storyline on OLTL also featured Billy’s relationship with a priest which was put into question, and that dove-tailed into the AIDS quilt appearing on the series, when it became part of a heart-wrenching storyline.

Promoting his new film, “Wish Upon”, Ryan chatted with TooFab,  where he discussed his role in Llanview some 25 years ago: “I remember the fan mail that we would get, my mother and I would get, from gay teenagers or from parents of gay teenagers who found a way in to relate to or talk to their child through the show.”

Ryan spoke to the power of the TV medium and how can impact people’s lives: “It can make people think differently or see a different side of something and I do remember and appreciating that — even back then when I was only a teenager myself.”

The talented star admits that at the time he did not have a full understanding of what playing Billy Douglas meant at the time, but he does so now: “In terms of like the larger view, I didn’t have a full understanding of how important it could have been. But I’m proud to have done it, I’m proud that that’s something I can say was a part of my career.”

Watch Ryan talk OLTL and the Billy Douglas storyline after the jump. Then let us know if it was one of the best social issues stories ever told on soaps in the comment section below!

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I have very fond memories of the Billy Douglas story. The story was told very sensitively and courageously. Ryan and the entire cast did a terrific job. As always, our beloved One Life to Live informed and generated thought while keeping us entertained. I miss One Life to Live every day.

OH, I miss OLTL too, especially when the series delved into social issue stories. Agnes Nixon created such wonderful programs that served as platforms for entertainment and discussion. They say this is a golden age of television but it seems daytime drama is being left out. Only four soaps left on the air. Shouldn’t the genre be enjoying a revival with all this opportunity for original programming on broadcast, cavle, and streaming services?

So happy that this snippet of the interview has been posted here!

My admiration for Ryan Phillippe has been further cemented… The gay teen storyline was a major groundbreaking, influential effort; it was an incredible experience. Over the years, OLTL broke ground on occasion and, needless to say, had some terrific storylines and characters. This was one of the show’s finest hours. I am so thrilled I was exposed to, and affected by, it…

As a gay man in his 20s at the time, I was proud that OLTL had the storyline.

I seem to recall the original idea was for Joey Bucanhan to be gay. The writers got Agnes’ blessing, but the network wasn’t ready for a legacy character to be gay. The compromise was the introduction of Billy.

Other than the dull theme song, the Linda Gottleib years on OLTL were darn good.

You are so right. That theme song was a tremendous let down after the wonderful Tour of Llanview.
“Here’s what to do when you don’t find the rainbow’s end, this time……”

The Linda Gottlieb/Michael Malone/Josh Griffith years of OLTL (1991-1995?) were truly some of THE best years of soap storytelling. I was just remarking on Daytime Confidential site how engrossing, engaging, and energizing was the writing during that era, from the Billy Douglas coming out to priest Andrew Carpenter story to Viki’s growing attraction to Andrew’s father General Carpenter and the break-up of her marriage to Clint (who became a bigot at the time in response to Billy) to the introduction of Marty Saybrooke and her eventual gangrape at the hands of Todd Manning, who only later was revealed to be Viki’s half-brother and child of Victor to the ensuing trial with Nora Gannon, who was terrorized by Todd later. Wow! Even up to 1995, when Viki split again, this time into Niki, Jean, and Tommy, all of whom terrorized Dorian down in that basement of the Lord mansion! Such entertaining years, rather like that golden age of storytelling on AMC in the late 80s with the Palmer/Natalie/Ross/Ellen/Mark/Elizabeth/Julie/Nico saga that was storyline gold for about a year and a half. … I too found the OLTL opening during that time to LOOK generic, but never SOUNDED generic! The music that Gottlieb and her music directors used during those years was elegant and riveting and beautiful and really enhanced the drama unfolding onscreen (i.e., the beautiful Pavane for a Princess that played during Megan’s hospital death scenes — how appropriate! That chilling music that would spill out when Alex Olenov would slink down her penthouse steps or appear sinisterly in any scene; the Debussy piano pieces that played in the background as Max and Blair fell in love, Blair first played by an Asian actress before Kassie DePaiva; the theme music for Todd Manning when he was evil) — I still remember it all! Why can’t soaps write and produce like that anymore? I know they don’t have the budgets they used to, but has creativity and engaging storytelling been hijacked as well? #missingmyoldoltl!

Not really a fan of the storyline but then I wasn’t a fan of either of Michael Malone’s stints as headwriter.

I preferred the coming out stories of AMC’s Bianca, DOOL’s Will, ATWT’s Luke, and OLTL’s Oliver.

The best social issue storylines in my opinion are: GL’s Roger/Holly marital rape trial; GH’s Stone dies from AIDS; ATWT’s Margo pulls the plug on Casey; GH’s Monica’s breast cancer; AMC’s Cindy contracts AIDS; OLTL’s Shane is bullied; AMC’s Mark’s drug intervention; AMC’s Michael Delaney reveals he is gay to his students and nearly loses his job; GL’s Holly learns her baby has Down Syndrome; AMC’s Donna is a teenage hooker; Y&R’s Phillip’s teenage alcoholism; AMC’s Daisy deals with the death of Bonkers; KNOTS LANDINGS’ Olivia’s drug addiction.

Alan, all of those storylines you mentioned were executed with heart and soul. They were told with such love and sensitivity. They were not rushed, and they were topics that so many of us could relate to, even if they did not hit our homes, per say. They were real, adult topics that we could relate to because perhaps our friends, family, neighbors, dealt with these issues, and because they were the focus on news programs and in society. I miss the days when daytime television focused on real, human element storylines. Both AMC and GH did an astounding portrayal of the AIDS epidemic. I remember crying and crying during those scenes with both Cindy and Stone. WOW.

Alan and dmr, oh how I so agree with both of you and I so miss those days…That is what great soaps/daytime & night time drama’s are all about.

What a great memory you have Al! I do remember many of those stories and yes they were groudbreaking!

Nice! Ryan Phillippe went on to have a great career and it is great that he remembers his start. He is sooooo good looking! OLTL had many new young actors as well as provocative and educational storylines. GH is no where near as good, although they have double the cast. If I remember correctly, when Billy Douglas came out his father was terrible to him (RP did an amazing job in this role too). Marty Saybrooke then started a rumor about Andrew, the priest, because she had a crush on him, and that almost got Andrew thrown in jail. Queer as Folk kinda copied the BD storyline, although it was different and also very well done. I hope ABC brings back OLTL now that it has been proven by PP that the show could be streamlined without losing substance or interest.

General Hospital

General Hospital Preemptions This Week for MLB Wild Card Playoff Games

This week, General Hospital will be preempted on Tuesday, October 4 and Wednesday, October 5, and potentially again on Thursday October 6, due to Major League Baseball’s wild card playoff games airing on ABC.

In the best of 3 games, the Texas Rangers face the Tampa Bay Rays in an American League wild card series, starting on Tuesday with a 3:08PM EST start time. If the series goes a full three games, then Thursday’s GH will also be preempted.

Encore episodes of GH will be seen on the east coast on Tuesday and Wednesday, while all other time zones will be preempted for the game.

Photo: MLB

In addition, GH will not be streaming the episodes on Hulu or ABC.com as is it a nationwide preemption.  That way, everyone will begin to see the all-new episodes on the same day when they resume.

Photo: ABC

Hopefully, Thursday, GH will resume with an episode that teases: Spencer and Trina affirm their feelings, Tracy has a slip of the tongue, Valentin surprises Anna, and Sasha is in danger.

So, going to miss GH for the next few days? Comment below.

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General Hospital

Gregory Harrison Talks His General Hospital ALS Storyline, Battling Addiction, ‘Falcon Crest’ on Maurice Benard’s ‘State of Mind’

Film and TV star,  Gregory Harrison is currently appearing on ABC’s General Hospital in the role of Gregory Chase.  In story, Gregory is trying to come to the terms with the fact he has ALS and is now displaying symptoms of the disease that will ultimately claim his life.

On the latest episode of Maurice Benard’s (Sonny, General Hospital) You Tube series State of Mind, the actor opens up about the challenges of playing a character with ALS, how he has battled addiction, his prime role on Trapper John M.D and Falcon Crest and much more.

In fact, it’s actually the the 40th anniversary of Harrison’s solo TV Guide cover as Dr. George Alonzo “Gonzo” Gates on Trapper John, M.D.

Photo: ABC

Speaking on his General Hospital storyline, and Gregory Chase’s battle with ALS, Harrison detailed: “He’s a complicated character any way, but we’ve added now ALS into the equation and that’s a really fun technical calibration for me. It’s a relatively quick demise – three to five years, generally for ALS, and it moves along pretty quickly. The body deteriorates pretty quickly and things happen, and there is an emotional kind of reaction to those that my character has. My character reacts to the loss of things and that’s what I am starting to be able to play.”

Harrison added, on how he is playing the nuances of ALS in the scripts he is given, “Where am I going to put in that slip and fall? Where am I going to put in that tremor in my hand? Where I am going to put in  the stumble, or the slur of this word or that word? That’s real technical stuff, but I have to layer that on top of emotional honesty of what’s going on. So, for me, it’s a buffet and I love that.”

Benard and Harrison also delved into the fact that Gregory he has been sober for 36 years. Harrison opened about how addiction changed his personality at a time when his career was riding high: “If I was the kind of person who would be regretful, then I would say that during my prime, I was busy using all my acting skills to disguise my addiction instead of building my career. ”

Photo: ABC

As his fame rose, Harrison also started his own production company. He admitted to Benard, that at the time, he was barely getting through jobs and projects: “I could act, but I wasn’t doing as good as I should have been doing. I was just persevering … pouring massive amounts of energy into enduring my addiction … not into the creative artist that I was inspired to be. And then I found my way back.” At one point, Harrison sought help at the renowned Betty Ford Center. Gregory shared that he had to hit rock bottom, in order to build himself back up again.

At the conclusion of the episode, Maurice asked Gregory how he enjoyed being part of the cast of the defunct CBS primetime soap, Falcon Crest, to which Harrison said he loved playing the role of Michael Sharp back in 1990. He compared that character to the likes of Port Charles’ Sonny Corinthos.

Check out Maurice and Gregory’s conversation below.

Let us know, are you emotional invested and enjoying Gregory Harrison’s portrayal of the ALS storyline on General Hospital? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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AEW

Adam Copeland, Former WWE Superstar, Joins AEW in Climatic Moment at ‘WrestleDream’

In what was a stunning moment, but one that was highly-talked about since Adam Copeland did not resign his contract with the WWE, the Hall of Famer formerly known as “Edge”, jumped to the competition and AEW!

Copeland’s debut happened in dramatic fashion during the closing moment of AEW’s WrestleDream pay-per-view on Sunday; emanating from Seattle, Washington’s Climate Pledge Arena.

In the main event, Christian Cage and hometown favorite, Darby Allin, fought two out of three falls for the AEW TNT Championship. In the end, and after a brutal match which also featured a shocking heel turn by Nick Wayne, Cage retained his title.

Courtesy/AEW

Wayne, who was Allin’s protégé and at ringside, double-crossed his friend and aligned with Cage. At this point, Cage, Wayne and Luchasaurus beat down Allin post-match.

When Sting arrived on the scene to help Allin, Cage was going to deliver a con-chair-to to the living legend.  However, the arena went dark, a video played and Copeland’s iconic theme music hit. The crowd went nuts as Copeland headed to the ring and confronted his former WWE tag partner and friend Christian Cage. While Cage and Copeland did not come to blows, Adam made the save and delivered chair shots and spears to Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne, before clearing the ring.

After his arrival, Copeland took to social media to clarify his move to AEW and his exit from WWE.  The Rated-R Superstar expressed: “As some of you may now know, I’m no longer with WWE. My new home is AEW. I’m excited. Whole new roster. Some familiar faces that I wanted to work with again and a whole set of first ever matches. New challenges, and if you’ve followed my career, you know that’s what I’ve always been driven by. But first and foremost I want to address my 25 years with WWE. I love WWE and appreciate everything the company did for me. Always have, always will. They put me on the map, gave me amazing opportunities and through hard work on both ends, I’ve been supplied with a wonderful life. Hell, WWE helped me meet the woman I’d start my family with. Sometimes relationships just grow apart and I feel the WWE and I have just outgrown each other. I wanted to do more. They didn’t have much more for me to do. Simple as that. And that’s ok. I’ll still be watching and still be supporting all of my friends there. ”

Continuing his statement, Copeland added, “I don’t buy into this odd mentality of one company or the other. It’s weird. If you took offense to that, take a walk, get some fresh air and soak up some sunshine. It’s wrestling. An amazing gig. But still, it’s wrestling. Relax. It’s supposed to be fun. And it’s just a segment of the fans, not most fans, and definitely not the performers. Within the industry we all know that more choices is better for everyone and pushes us all to be better. As a wrestling fan, which I still am, it’s exciting that there’s viable companies providing wrestling on national and worldwide platforms. If you’re actually a fan of wrestling, and not acronyms, that should make you happy too. I guess what I’m trying to say is this, if you’ve appreciated my work, you still can, no matter what the initials are. Because I’ll still be bustin my ass everytime I’m out there. This ride isn’t over just yet. Just try to have fun, like it should be. Because trust me I’ll be having fun everytime I’m out there in an AEW ring. Let’s go!”

After WrestleDream, Copeland led off the AEW post-show media scrum where he fielded some questions from the press and the plans for his arrival in the organization. According to AEW Owner, Tony Khan, Adam is on board to wrestle weekly on AEW programming starting with Wednesday night’s AEW Dynamite fourth anniversary show. The Rated-R Superstar will face Luchasaurus.

Courtesy/AEW

Adam shared in the press scrum what led to his decision to sign with AEW: “Part of coming here is that I wanted to contribute. I wanted to help, and I just felt like here, I’d really be able to do that and have the opportunity to do that. I look at an entire fresh roster of faces and so many talent that I’ve never laid hands on before. That to me, as a person who’s driven by challenges, that for me was the biggest thing.”

So, what do you think of Edge aka Adam Copeland coming to AEW and joining their roster? What did you think of the end of Sunday’s WrestleDream PPV? Comment below.

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