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UPDATED "Sex & Death in the Afternoon – An Oral History of the American Soap Opera" featuring many Daytime notables!

Sex and Death in the Afternoon – An Oral History of the American Soap Opera is an uncensored history of the rise and fall of the soaps from some very unique perspectives that is out on newsstands now in the Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Mental Floss Magazine. Written by Los Angeles Times journalist, Lisa Rosen, this piece takes a chronological look at the origin of the soaps through its glory years and heyday, all the way to modern times where each year we have been saying farewell to legacy daytime dramas.  Many issues are raised including: who caused the downfall, how soaps affected the culture, and can they bounce back!

And what a cast of characters that participated in interviews for the Mental Floss feature in which some amazing, zany, humorous, shocking and heart-tugging quotes are culled from that take the readers on the journey of all the decades of the soap genre. They include: Days of our Lives, executive producer, Ken Corday, and co-executive producer, Greg Meng,  Wendy Riche, (former EP of General Hospital),  Don Hastings (Ex- Bob Hughes, ATWT), Chris Goutman (Ex-EP, ATWT), William Reynolds, writer and Edge of Night Superfan , Kimberly McCullough (Robin, GH), Jackie Zeman (Bobbie, GH) , Erika Slezak (Viki, OLTL), Kay Alden (former head writer Y&R, now with B&B), Tina Sloan (Ex-Lillian, GL) Eden Riegel, (Ex-Bianca, AMC, now Heather, Y&R) Julie Hanan Carruthers (EP, AMC), Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Doug and Julie, DAYS), Sam Ford  (Co-editor, The Survival of Soap Opera), Roger Newcomb, (WeLoveSoaps.net), Stephanie Sloane (Editorial Director, Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly) Tristan Rogers (Ex-Scorpio, GH, now, Colin, Y&R), Genie Francis (Ex- Laura, GH, now Genevieve, Y&R), Suzanne Rogers (Maggie, DAYS), Barbara Bloom (Former CBS Senior Vice President), Frank Valentini (EP, OLTL), and On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman.

There are so many delicious quotes from everyone in the soap biz, that you should get your copy of the magazine and/or go to the Mental Floss website for more info. Below are just a few excerpts included in the article to give you a sense of the piece.  We will to post more quotes for you in the coming days.  But for now you can also take an exclusive look at the first part of the feature “The Addiction Years” by clicking here!

Part 1- The Addiction Years (1932-1963)

Wendy Riche: – “Soaps first came into my consciousness when I moved back in with my parents – pregnant and not married.   My mother was watching Days of our Lives, and she said, “Ooh, look Wendy, they’ve got a story on that’s just like you!”

Part II – Leave No Taboo Unbroken (1962-1972)

Michael Fairman – “Erica Kane had daytime TV’s first legal abortion on All My Children (1973).  It was like, they’re going to tell an abortion story? And use Erica Kane? But they botched it years later – the storyline, not the abortion – by negating that it was an abortion. Instead it turned out she’d had a demon seed child.”

Kimberly McCullough – (Regarding the ABC Afterschool Spin-off with her and Michael Stone during the GH AIDS storyline called, “Positive: A Journey into AIDS” where in it they visited a hospice) “There was this guy there, Lewis, who I connected with right away.  He was going blind, so I was reading to him. I went back for the taping and I found out he had died a few days before.  They hadn’t told me because they wanted to get my reaction on camera. I was so pissed off at the producers for putting me in that position that I almost didn’t finish the special.  I didn’t want to be used as an actor playing a character to represent something. It became about me at that moment.”

Part III – The Go-Go Glory Years (1973-1999)

Erika Slezak – “I think the writers got bored and they thought, oh Christ, what can we do now? They came up with ridiculous stories.  There was one called “Eterna” where we found an underground city, and nine of us fell through a rabbit hole and spent months there.  They had a story where I was hypnotized to kill my son.  I went to them and said, “This is horrible.

Chris Goutman – “I think Luke and Laura’s wedding was when soap opera took a wrong turn. We started chasing this chimera, instead of trying to be true to our roots.”

Tristan Rogers: “When Elizabeth Taylor came on the show (GH), I had a one-on-one scene with her.  She had all the dialogue down. a total pro.  She walks on with a drink in her hand, and I’ve got my prop drink.  I said, “What did they give you to drink?”  She said, “Some of that stuff there.”  Piled against one wall was this pink Dom Perignon. She said, “You Want a hit? Drain it!”  I drained it, thanks.  So we’re having our little fun.  Gloria Monty comes out onto the set.  Of course, she wasn’t going to chew Elizabeth out, so she said to me, “Tristan, this is a professional show, you’re wasting our time.”  And Liz turned to her and said, “Who do you think you’re talking to?” I had close-ups of the back of my shoes for about a month.

PART IV – Daytime Turns to Twilight (2000-Present)

Don Hastings – “CBS didn’t even say goodbye to us after 50 years.  There was nothing to anybody on the show who had served on it, any kind of official, “Gee, we’re sorry, and good luck.” The show itself gave the cheapest party I’ve ever been to. Just a very sad end.  That’s the part I don’t miss.”

Julie Hanan Carruthers – “I’m a little shell-shocked. I feel part of the cultural fabric of what I’ve grown up with is disintergrating and changing.”

Erika Slezak: “I think that Brian Frons, the head of ABC Daytime, doesn’t believe in the genre.  He never believed they could last. My biggest objection is ABC saying people don’t want entertainment anymore, they want information. That’s ridiculous. People always want entertainment.”

Chris Goutman: “We knew that when Guiding Light went off, our days (on As the World Turns) were numbered.  I was bawling like a baby when they announced it.”

Soap Opera Moving to the Web

Frank Valentini –  “Our Society underestimates the attention span of people on the Internet.  It’s a different platform, but it’s still entertainment.  I think a longer form will work.  It’s obvious where the technology is going, and people aren’t getting tired of looking at nice, large, beautiful screens.”

So as Prospect Park enters the soap arena on the web, and we are left with four network soaps, where do you stand on the future of the American soap opera? Let us know! And make sure to pick up your copy of Mental Floss!

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ethel
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ethel

i agree with all the listed quotes and all i can say at this point is WOW!!!

kay killgore
Guest
kay killgore

May I add my own they refuse to work out contracts with characters we love and then bring on six new ones why ! Let’s be honest who gives a flying whoop about the Ford brothers Cutter Aubrey etc no wonder OLTL got canceled! Then they insult an actor that made Todd his own by bringing back the original who left of his own accord and rewrite history! Stupid! And MAB is ruining Y&R and they are allowing her to do it I’m sorry I could care less about talk shows or cooking shows how many ways can you cook… Read more »

LUMI
Guest
LUMI

well we just have to face it fans,day time soaps will be all gone in afew….
when I frist started watching soaps in the 60’s they were on every ch: from 10am to 4pm

Blake
Guest
Blake

There is so much disrespect from the producers and suits at all the networks. I hate hearing that quote from Don about ATWT’s goodbye party. There was a long time where daytime shows paid for the nighttime show’s budgets. But when they aren’t bringing in the money it’s like “we are done with you, we are going to make sure your show gets cancelled, get out!”
One day when all these other show’s tank there will be a demand for daytime soaps again. At least I hope so!

david
Guest
david

You quote Erika Slezak: “My biggest objection is ABC saying people don’t want entertainment anymore, they want information. That’s ridiculous. People always want entertainment.”

EXACTLY. Television would be better if Erika were in charge of programming.

Lawrence
Guest
Lawrence

It’s all in the numbers and they are dictating the end of the genre, at least as we have known it.

All My Children

Kelly Ripa Talks On Her New Memoir ‘Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories’

Talk show host and All My Children alum, Kelly Ripa (ex-Hayley) is opening up about her life and times in her highly-anticipated memoir available now, Live Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories.

Ripa chatted exclusively with PEOPLE who got some of intel and dish on what’s included in the book.

Kelly told PEOPLE, when she landed the gig as the new co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly, with the late Regis Philbin back in 2001, she felt like she was “getting shot out of a cannon.”  Ripa was also appearing on All My Children at the same time.

She tells the story of when her agent called with the offer, Ripa was told: “They want you to know who your boss is. It was very ominous, and it did not feel good.”  Her agent also said the show didn’t want her, “bringing an entourage.” She brought two people. “I came with hair and makeup,” Kelly says. “It was not an unusual thing for people on a television show to show up with.”

She added that Regis greeted her with executive producer, Michael Gelman, saying: “Uh-oh, Gelman, it’s got an entourage.” It?!  Kelly expressed that she “felt horrible.  He was probably trying to be funny, but at the same time it felt like a pile-on.”

As for Philbin’s attitude at the time, Kelly shared, “I understand that probably he didn’t want a co-host, but the network wanted me to be the co-host and I didn’t think I should pass up that opportunity. I don’t think it was fair to him. But it was also not fair to me.”

Photo: JPI

The actress-talk show host-producer also talked on her marriage to Mark Consuelos (ex-Mateo), whom she met while both were on All My Children, sharing that they were, “too young to get married! On paper it should not have worked and when it didn’t work, we really worked at it. We fought for our marriage when it would have been easier to quit and throw in the towel.”

According to the book publisher, HarperCollins:  “In ‘Live Wire’, her first book, Kelly shows what really makes her tick. Whether recounting how she and Mark (Consuelos) really met, the level of chauvinism she experienced on set, how Jersey Pride follows her wherever she goes, and many, many moments of utter mortification (whence she proves that you cannot, in fact, die of embarrassment) Kelly always tells it like it is. Ms. Ripa takes no prisoners.”

So, will you be ordering your copy of Kelly’s memoir? Let us know in the comment section below.

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All My Children

Eva LaRue’s Stalker Sentenced to 40 Months in Prison

In a harrowing situation spanning 12 years, a man who threatened former All My Children, Santa Barbara, and Y&R favorite, Eva LaRue (ex-Maria, ex- Margot, ex-Celeste) and her daughter, Kaya was sentenced to 40 months in prison.

James David Rogers, 58, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt for over a decade of threatening letters and phone calls about torture, rape and death to LaRue and her daughter.

Rogers had pleaded guilty in April to two counts of mailing threatening communications, one count of threats by interstate communications and two counts of stalking.  According to court documents, all of this began in March 2007 until Rogers eventually was arrested in November 2019.  At the beginning of his stalking spree, LaRue’s daughter, Kaya was only five-years-old.

According to Deadline, Eva gave a “tearful victim impact statement, telling the judge in L.A. federal court that she has undergone therapy since the harassment began in order to deal with feelings of fear and paranoia.”  She added, “We didn’t know if he would show up on our doorstep. We will think about him for a lifetime. The fear is with me forever.”

Photo: JPI

The judge has ordered Rogers to self surrender on October 12th to begin his sentence at a federal prison in Ohio.

Eva won a Daytime Emmy back in 2020 for her guest star turn on The Young and the Restless, and is best-known to primetime viewers for her role in CSI: Miami.

Share your thoughts on Eva and Kaya’s heartbreaking real-life experience via the comment section below.

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All My Children

Soap Vet, Broadway Star and Artistic Director, Robert Lupone Passes Away at 76

Bob Lupone, the brother of Broadway Icon, Patti Lupone, and who is best-known to soap opera fans as con artist Zach Grayson on All My Children (1984-1985) has died at the age of 76.

The actor, and artistic director of Off-Broadway’s acclaimed MCC Theatre for over 40 years, passed away Saturday, due to complications from his three year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Photo: MCC Theatre

Ironically, Bob was best known on Broadway as Zach in A Chorus Line which landed him a Tony Award nomination in 1976, and he also received a Daytime Emmy nomination for his other role of Zach on All My Children in 1985.  The murder of Zach Grayson was quite the murder mystery and trial; bringing in many suspects to the story.

In addition to All My Children, throughout his soap career, Lupone held roles on: Search for Tomorrow as Tom Bergman, Ryan’s Hope as Chester Wallace, Another World as Neal Cory, Loving as Leonard Brill/Charley Nichols, and Guiding Light as Leo Flynn.  He also appeared in primetime TV roles including: The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and several roles in the Law and Order franchise.

Lupone made his feature film debut in the 1973 musical adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar playing the Apostle James, and two years later got the Broadway role of his lifetime playing Zach in A Chorus Line after convincing creator and director Michael Bennett to let him play the part after the original actor departed the show.

A decade later, LuPone would co-found the Off-Broadway theatre company, MCC Theater, with Bernard Telsey and William Cantler.  MCC was founded as an artists collective designed to offer peer based classes and playwright development and has launched several successful shows that went on to great success.

LuPone is survived by his wife, Virginia; his son, Orlando; sister, Patti; and brother, William.

Below, take a look at the suspects in the Zach Grayson murder case on All My Children, followed by the 1976 performance by Robert and the cast of A Chorus Line on The Tony Awards, and last, a scene as AMC’s Zach around the 6 minute mark in the video.

Now, share your condolences to the Lupone family on Bob’s passing, and your remembrances in the comment section.

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GH’s Nicholas Alexander Chavez (Spencer) talks with Michael Fairman immediately following his Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Younger Performer in Drama Series. Leave A Comment
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