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The Jeff Giles Interview – Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live

Courtesy/IMDB

Courtesy/JGiles

In a time when fans are awaiting to find out the fate of the beloved One Life to Live once again, writer Jeff Giles just recently released his un-authorized history of the series in the book titled Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live.  The self-published book is available at Amazon.com and via a kindle.

Taking a look back through four decades of the series on ABC and its often quirky, heartbreaking, shocking, dramatic, or even at times, non-sensical storylines, Giles speaks to countless producers, former and current cast members, and behind-the-scenes crew to learn some of the untold story about what went into making the series, the backstage drama, and how the show often times struggled to find its own identity in the early days sandwiched between ABC Daytime heavy weight brands, General Hospital and All My Children.  

On-Air On-Soaps chatted with Giles after reading the book ourselves, where we were stunned at some of the admissions he related that some cast members told him, and never before heard backstage tales.  So if you are a long time fan of the series, buckle up and read below at what Erika Slezak (Viki), Nathan Fillion (Ex-Joey), Hillary B. Smith (Nora), Brandon Buddy (Cole), Anthony Call (Ex-Herb), and many more had to say on a myriad of topics!  Jeff clarifies to us that his intent to write the book was to share his passion and love for the series, and give credit to the hardworking men and women who have worked tirelessly to bring Llanview to life for now 45 years.

MICHAEL:

How long did it to take you to write this oral history of One Life to Live, which seemingly contains quotes taken from many interviews with people in front of the camera, or behind the scenes, during OLTL’s ABC days?

JEFF:

Courtesy/IMDB

It took me a year and half to write it.  I think it helped by the fact that I was talking to people who were not on the show, and had not been on the show for a very long time, and did not have a stake in One Life to Live, or were even acting anymore.  The first person I spoke with was Tony Call (Ex-Herb Callison), and then I went to Marilyn Chris (Ex-Wanda Wolek), and Michael Storm (Ex-Larry Wolek).  I also spoke with Bob Woods (Bo Buchanan), who has still been part of the show, whose phone number I got from Marilyn Chris.  That was another way that it happened.  People would talk to one another and suggest other people for the book, for the most part.  Nobody seemed very concerned that it was un-authorized.

MICHAEL:

When you read the book there are some jaw-dropping moments for One Life to Live fans that they may never have heard about before.  For instance, I have not heard Erika Slezak (Viki) talk this candidly before, either.  So then people call into question the validity of the book.  What would you say to that?

JEFF:

There were people, and she was part of the group, that told me things that were off the record, and it did not make it in.  There were things people told me that did not make it into the book, actually. A lot of the conversations were even more candid then what ended up in the final book, because I didn’t want it to be a dirt-digging expedition, because that was not the point.  I did not want anyone to grind any axes in here, with the exception of Ellen Holly (Ex-Carla Hall) because I knew it was already public record, and that is why I sought out Arthur Burghardt (Ex-Dr. Jack Scott) to ask for his side of the story.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/Ebony

Speaking of people from the past, one of the more heartbreaking things in the book is kind of following the downfall of actors who were being phased out, or were just written off, after years on the show!

JEFF:

Steve Fletcher (Ex-Brad Vernon) and Michael Storm (Larry Wolek)  are a powerful example of how brutal daytime can be!  In theory, it’s an open-ended gig; the show never stops.  It’s such a weird thing for an actor to assume a character that is supposed to go on and on.  And you often don’t get to have closure; especially guys like Michael Storm.

MICHAEL:

So, why did you decide to write Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live?

JEFF: 

I am fascinated by the medium in general.  I think it’s loaded with possibilities that are often, for whatever reason, left untapped.  I am concerned for a number of reasons for the way it’s dwindled for the last decade in change.  When I interviewed Paul Glass (current musical director at GH), that was my in, and if it hadn’t been for his stories, and more importantly his encouragement, I don’t think I would have had the gumption to do it.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought somebody should do it, and it did not seem like anyone was going to do it.

MICHAEL:

Who shocked you the most when speaking to them?

JEFF:

Probably Joe Stuart (executive producer OLTL 1977-1983).   I was terrified to talk to him after all the stories I had heard about him.  In the book, there are a lot of stories about what a tyrant he was on set, and that he kept a punching bag in his office, and he fired people for inscrutable reasons.  Everyone lived under this terror of being called into his office.  When I talked to him he was this sweet, good-humored older man.  We had a warm conversation.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ABC

At the very beginning of its run, OLTL was about a diverse group of families of different social and economic backgrounds.  You had the blue collar Wolek’s, the Jewish Siegels, the wealthy Lords, and an African-American family in the Halls.  It almost seemed that after Judith Light left the show in the early 80’s as Karen Wolek, the show got away from what made it originally groundbreaking, and at times it looked like it was fighting so hard for an identity.

JEFF: 

I am guessing, much like me, you saw every ten to fifteen years they would have a new little pocket of token minorities kind of bubble up for a little bit, and then fade away.

MICHAEL:

So many producers changed up One Life to Live in the early days; that if they had kept it to what it was at the beginning, it would have been a defining show in the ABC lineup instead of the least known of the ABC Daytime brand fighting for recognition between General Hospital and All My Children.

JEFF: 

You are absolutely correct!  And, I think a whole other book could be written about how everyone grossly misunderstood what Gloria Monty was doing at GH, and how deeply it affected every other show in daytime. And as far as getting away from its original identify, all OLTL had to do was go back to what they had at the beginning.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/YouTube

There was a really interesting moment in the book where Tony Call admits to a director’s note he was given on how to play the classic courtroom confession, where D.A Callison is grilling Karen and breaking her down bit by bit!  Apparently, Tony hated his performance!

JEFF:

I was fortunate to speak with him right after the OLTL Marathon on SOAPnet, shortly before they went off the air on ABC.  So his performance was fresh in my mind, and I remember thinking,” Oh, my God. This is so over the top.”   My clear memories of Herb are from the 80’s, and not that period.  And I remember him being a much more naturalistic actor.  So, I wanted to ask him about that.   He was very funny.  I really enjoyed hearing how he would go to real courtrooms and watch lawyers at work, and try to emulate what they were dong, and how ashamed he was of his own performance in this really iconic moment in the show’s history.

MICHAEL

“Solaramite and the Big 80’s” is the name of a chapter in the book, which harkens to the ridiculousness of some of the story arcs and themes at that time!

JEFF:

That storyline in particular reminds me of that weird interlude in OLTL’s history where they were kind of fumbling about, and it was mentioned in passing in the book, how Asa had a western bar and people hung out there, and they dabbled in country singing for a little bit   Bo owned a football team for awhile, and there was a period in the early 80’s where they did not know which direction they wanted to go.  But, that was an inadvertant prelude to all the stuff Paul Rauch (former OLTL executive producer (1984-1991) got up to with the Wild West, Heaven, and Eterna storylines.  I wish I had gotten more people to talk about Eterna, because that is the one that really is ridiculousness to me.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/ErikaSlezak.com

I love when Erika Slezak talks about working with props like the papier-mâché looking rocks in the underground city of Eterna scenes!  She said in your book, ” So here were these two grown men, respected actors and directors, digging a hole in the studio floor to find the entrance to Eterna behind little papier-mâché rocks.”

JEFF:

I was lucky with that too, because those scenes were also on the OLTL SOAPnet marathon, and Erika was in scenes with the actor who played the Native American spirit guy called “Bright Eyes”.  My question to Erika was, “What is your approach to carry a scene like that, because it was obvious that the guy was not an actor, and you are surrounded by all of these very fake-looking props (I mean it looks fake on the TV screen.  It has to look ten times faker on the set.)  How do you sell the material?”  And that was her response, and she told me the director of that scene had to read “Bright Eye’s” lines to him one by one from off-camera as the scene was being filmed … he was that bad!

MICHAEL:

So in your book, Clint Ritchie’s (Ex-Clint Buchanan) drinking problem is discussed. Erika Slezak seemed to have a good perspective on the situation, though.

JEFF:

There was no judgment from her at all.  That story from her in the book, where he accidently throws a chair at her and she ends up stopping the scene, I left it in the book because she told it as part of the story, that the main condition for him re-signing with the show was that they needed to buy Erika a director’s chair, or he was not going to come back.  I thought that highlighted what a complex guy he was, and how complicated it was for everyone else who had a relationship with him.  Michael Storm talks about how he did not like working with Clint.  There were a couple of other people who talked about how belligerent he would get on the set, and how kind of mean he could be.  But, he was not always like that.  He was talented, and I thought Erika seemed to have a clear picture of who he was.  I never was of the opinion that he was judging him for his behavior   Linda Gottlieb (Former OLTL executive producer 1991- 1994) tells a story about showing up to the set on a Monday morning and the cast is in the middle of filming this dinner scene.  Clint showed up with bandages on his face, because he had gone out and done what they call “getting a little work done.”  She flipped out and was livid, because they had to change the storyline completely because his appearance had changed.

MICHAEL:

Out of all the producers that you discussed with former cast members, or behind the scenes personal, was there one producer who stood out as the most favorable?

JEFF:

Courtesy/ABC

No one said a bad word about Frank Valentini, and no one said a bad word about Jean Arley, either.  But everyone loved Frank Valentini, and how he earned his stripes under Paul Rauch.

MICHAEL:

In the book, there is a point where Hillary B. Smith (Nora) talked about one of the grossest moments in the shows story, involving Roscoe Born (as Mitch Laurence)?

JEFF:

She said, “She was so turned off by her own show, because she was so turned off that he was trying to rape his daughter, while spouting bible verses!” (Laughs)

MICHAEL:

How was Roscoe Born to talk to?  Mitch was such a heinous character, but the series always found a way to bring him back!

JEFF:

Roscoe was wonderful to talk to.  I think he is funny.  He will say things and contraindicate things – such as: he did not really care for the daytime stigma, but then talk about how it affected his career, and all the roles that it cost him, and the personal embarrassment of how people treated him because of it.  He was very open about that.

MICHAEL:

Courtesy/YouTube

One of the things mentioned in the book that is fascinating is that during the closing arguments in Todd’s rape case, (that Hillary B. Smith won the Daytime Emmy for) she related to you that she overstepped her bounds and re-wrote a lot of the closing argument from the original dialog given to her, by then OLTL head writer, Michael Malone.

JEFF:

I can tell you that Michael Malone and Hillary are still friends, because it was Michael who put me in touch with Hillary. 

MICHAEL:

You also reveal how a beloved favorite, Marilyn Chris (Ex-Wanda Wolek) decided she was done with the show.  I remember watching the show back then.  All of a sudden, Marilyn was gone!

JEFF:

She did not want to do it anymore.  Marilyn was so afraid they were going to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse, so she begged them not to give her any financial figures.  She just said, “No, I can’t do it anymore.”  I think she saw the way the show was changing, and I don’t think she was really one of the actresses that had an allegiance to daytime.  I think like for a lot of other actors, it was a terrific way for her to subsidize her theatre career, and then she did not need the money anymore.  She was not working as much, and the landscape of the show had changed to such a great extent, it was easy for her to let go of the character.

MICHAEL:

Where does your book end … because right now, there is a huge cliffhanger for fans if One Life to Live will see a second season with Prospect Park?

JEFF:

It ends after the first season of the revival of One Life to Live, and interestingly enough the way that Prospect Park constructed their sets.  At ABC, the actors would come and go all day long for block/ taping schedules.  At Prospect Park’s version, the actors would have to be on set mostly all day long.   Both Erika and Hillary said it had the effect of restoring some of the theatre and repertory feeling to the company, and restored some of the comradarie they had in the old days.  I thought that was a nice way to bring it full circle.  I was really struggling to end the book on a happy note.  Since the “shelving” news came out just before I thought I was done.  So I ended it on a question mark … rather than a period.

Courtesy/ABC

MICHAEL:

Castle star Nathan Fillon (Ex-Joey Buchanan OLTL) also participated in the book?

JEFF:

Yes, he was wonderful.  The sense you get from him is he is a passionate defender of daytime.  He tells a great story of Bob Woods in the book where Nathan credits One Life to Live with giving him all the tools to become a successful actor, and how they gave him an acting coach.  He was green, and he picked up all these skills. Towards the end of his contract Bob Woods set him down and said, “You are going to leave.  No matter what, you are going to tell the network you are leaving at the end of your contract.  And, you are going to go to L.A. and do whatever it takes to get your career off the ground.  And if you try and you fail, you can always come back to One Life to Live.  But if you try and you stay, you are going to find yourself trapped in what Woods called, ‘Golden handcuffs’.”  It is his way of describing the soap actor’s lifestyle.  You get locked into that role for so many reasons; some of which are the steady work and money. You build a lifestyle, and you have mortgage payments to make, and you can’t get out to do other productions because you are always on the soap.  Then sometimes casting directors don’t want to see you because you have been on a soap.  For someone like Woods, it gave him a good life and lifestyle.  When Nathan Filllon told that story, and he looks around and sees everything he has, he knows he owes it to Bob Woods.

MICHAEL:

You also had a great story about Brandon Buddy coming from Texas and landing the role of Cole Thornhart.

JEFF:

I spoke with Brandon and how he got the role.  His manager told him, “You are not going to get the part, but go out to New York and have fun and treat it like a vacation.”  Brandon said he went out and tried out with all these other guys in the room, who were trying out for Cole.  After the auditions, somehow Brandon ended up ferrying all of these guys back to the hotel they were staying at.  And as he is driving them back to the hotel, they are all telling him how sure they are that they got the role!  (Laughs) Brandon seems very self-effacing and down to earth.

Courtesy/ErikaSlezak.com

MICHAEL:

The AIDS quilt storyline was one of the most emotional and remembered storylines in the history of OLTL, and so important for its time.  Roy Thinnes did a remarkable job at playing Sloan Carpenter, who dealt with coming to grips with his own son being gay, and also falling in love with Viki, and eventually dying.  But what went down behind the scenes, according to you in the book, was also intriguing!

JEFF:

Linda Gottlieb and Michael Malone lured Roy Thinnes back to play Sloan, after he played his other role on the show of Alex Crown.  He talks about how Alex was killed, and then they called and asked him to come back and he said, “My character’s dead!” Linda woo’d him back, because first he wanted to work with Erika Slezak and second, the story of the crusty old military guy who learns to accept his gay son, appealed to Roy. Unfortunately, it did not end very well.  They were playing him against Clint Ritchie, and Linda wanted to make a triangle on-screen.  Clint got hurt with a tractor accident and they had been meaning to get rid of Sloan.  But then when Clint got hurt they knew they needed to keep him around, and so they signed him to another deal.  And then when Clint got better, they decided to get rid of him.  And Peter Miner (Director, OLTL) said in the book, Roy was miserable because they would not tell him what Sloan was dying of, and he had no idea what was happening.

MICHAEL:

As someone who watched the show for a big chunk of time, went away from it and then came back to it years later, what are your favorite storylines or characters of all-time?

JEFF:

Photo Credit: ABC/Getty Images

When those three characters; Todd, John and Starr went over to General Hospital after One Life to Live ended on ABC, I was excited about the idea of it, as I wanted to see the characters continue, but seeing them in a different context really drove home for me that my fondness for OLTL was never really about any particular character, or couple. For me, it was the sum total, and all of those characters in that place of Llanview. And part of what was so gratifying about me coming back to One Life to Live after not watching it for so long was that sense of place.  I mean, obviously, it wasn’t completely the same, but a lot of it was. That felt good.

MICHAEL:

When you watched the final two episodes of One Life to Live on ABC, and the sheer brilliance of the writing, production and acting, what was the most moving moment for you as a long time fan of the show?

JEFF:

The really moving moment for me was in the final episode when Bob Woods turned to Hillary B. Smith and said, “I love you, Red.”   He said it in such a way that you could tell that he meant it.  He was in tears, and I told him how much I loved that scene.  There are a few moments from the last few years of the show on ABC that also were so emotional impactful to me, and one of those was when Viki and Jessica (Bree Williamson) are together and Jessica remembers that her baby died.  Instead of going over the top like a soap might, it was so quiet.  They just held each other.

Courtesy/JeffGiles

MICHAEL:

What is the picture on the cover of your book supposed to be?  Fans have been inquiring!

JEFF:

Well, I knew I couldn’t use any logo, or any still from the series, so I had to improvise. So I went to a stock photo company, and used a picture from the Philadelphia Town Hall, because it reminded me a bit of the opening credits of OLTL from the 80’s.

MICHAEL:

When, or how were your interviews with Erika Slezak (Viki) conducted?  Why do you think she wanted to talk with you about all things OLTL?

JEFF:

There were two interviews with Erika, actually.  She called me, and we talked for a while, and she invited me out to her place in Vermont.  And, we spent an afternoon doing follow-up stuff.  It was wonderful.  Erika made me quiche!  It was surreal.  I think the other thing people might want to take away from this, is often soap actors don’t have a chance to talk about the craft of acting in the context of daytime.  There is an incredibly unique thing they do of inhabiting one character for gross quantities of time, and using the character to traverse these insane emotional landscapes.  I think she was maybe glad for the opportunity to talk about all of this stuff.

MICHAEL:

What is that you want fans to takeaway from your book?  Was this a project done out of love for OLTL?

JEFF:

Courtesy/ABC

Yes, this was a project of love, and that is all it is.  I tried to write in such a way that even if you did not see the show, it’s still an interesting read.  I never really understood how deeply the odds were stacked against the people that worked on the show, from the actors, to the writers, to the producers.  They were always barely on the edge of the whole damn thing falling apart.  I think that is what carries through in the book, that as much as people may want to make fun of, or laugh at soaps, there is a lot of profound emotional drama that comes out of those shows.  It’s the only type of drama you can get out of a long form narrative, and that is on a soap opera.  The fact that it works as often as it does is a real testament to the skill, and the craft, and the dedication, and the effort that went in to those shows.

 

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Sean
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Sean

Thank you for this interview. I got the book on my kindle as soon as it came out and now i’m in the process of rereading it. A book like this takes a few readings to get everything to sink in…it’s so great! a Must-have for all OLTL fans!

louisa
Guest
louisa

Thank you for the interview! Fascinating. Reading the book now.

Eric Henwood-Greer
Guest
Eric Henwood-Greer

This is a must own book for ANY soap fans, even if they never watched OLTL. *Finally* truly candid remarks, and the whole he said/she said format helps let the viewer make their own mind up about what happened. Especially thrilling to hear so many stories of the early years of the show–there’s always been so much mis-information (ie just how involved was Agnes during the 70s? Again, from a few different comments you’ll have to decide for yourself.) I bought the Kindle edition when it first came out–even though I have no Kindle (I used the free computer Kindle… Read more »

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

Thanks for letting us know about this book a while back. It is fascinating – I can’t put it down! Brings back lots of memories of beloved actors and storylines.

Fran
Guest
Fran

I am half way done with the book it was written well not a tell all vibe , Ms holly seems to have issues. It would be nice if Erika would write a book about OLTL / her life she a classy lady and would not scandalize thing s, but I read somewhere that she wouldn’t write a book , but she did say she wouldn’t be on twitter their and she is on twitter , she tweets sometimes . so maybe u should ask her michael.

Patricio
Guest
Patricio

Hi Fran –

I have been hoping Erika Slezak writes a biography that would have OLTL at its center . It would b a fascinating read for any soap fan as her view of over 40 years on the sam show would be a unique and thoughtful read.

mgb357
Guest
mgb357

Thanks for writing this book. Hope to pick it up soon.
Will read it every day at 2:00pm, turning off the tv.
Maybe PP will see the sales and realize what they are missing out on.

Alan
Guest
Alan

Ordered this book the day Michael posted about it and couldn’t put it down. Well worth the money and a must have for OLTL fans.

Iakovos
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Iakovos

This books is a delight and so entertaining and written with meaning. I ordered the Kindle edition as soon as I heard of the project. I am greatly enjoying it. Grew up with OLTL and hung on through all the shifts. The original premise of living in a diverse community with its class and economic struggles is the golden age for me. Loved it then.

dawnhaze
Guest
dawnhaze

Thanks Jeff. One Life to Live is my favorite soap and I enjoyed the excerpt above and mention of all the past characters. I didn’t know about your book until I read it in the interview but I immediate went to buy it. I know I will enjoy it since it is about characters that filled an hour of my day for so many years. I surely hope PP puts OLTL back on soon. I just hope it is soon. Thanks again for the book Jeff and to Michael for telling us about it.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Hmmm…I wonder…I wonder if Jeff Giles’s, um, book includes the following tidbits: 1. When Linda Gottlieb was OLTL’s executive producer in the early 90’s, Phil Carey tried (more than once) to undermine her authority. At one time, he even tried to get her fired. 2. Basically EVERYONE on the OLTL set HATED working with Barbara Luna because she was too difficult and demanding to work with. Clint Ritchie ESPECIALLY hated working with her. 3. BOTH Joe Stuart and ESPECIALLY Paul Rauch treated Ellen Holly like dirt. 4. Paul Rauch VERY CRUELLY fired BOTH Ellen Holly and Lillian Hayman will little… Read more »

dmr
Guest
dmr

I loved the courtroom scenes from when Judith Light confessed that her character Karen was a prostitute. I was too young to watch when these scenes first aired; but, I have seen them since in reruns; and what fantastic scenes! That’s what I miss about daytime, cliff-hanger Fridays, great, diverse storylines, like when Tad was sleeping with Marion and Liza on AMC, Erica was having an affair with Travis’ brother, Jack on AMC, old-style Luke and Laura on GH, the adventures of the WSB on GH and all of the 80’s icons, dramatic heat from Sonny and Brenda on GH,… Read more »

Charles E.
Guest
Charles E.

Does the book mention ANYTHING on Jacqueline Courtney and George Reinholt? I wonder if it touches on her affair with Joseph Stuart or how Robert S. Woods wasn’t that thrilled with her. Also, from what erika has had to say about Clint Ritchie, it seems that he was VERY much like George Reinhol, an emotionally tortured person who ALSO threw a chair on the set (that was during his “Another World” days- he threw it at AW director Ira Cirker in rage over Pete Lemay’s scripts- it’s been said that this particular incident led to his 1975 AW firing). OLTL… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Charles…honestly, I forgot about Jacqueline Courtney. Dude…that DOES NOT surprise me at all that she had an affair with Joe Stuart. I once read somewhere that (when she was alive) Jacqueline had affairs with SEVERAL soap opera executives over the years. And, Jacqueline was downright MEAN AS HELL to other soap opera actresses and MOST soap opera actors TRULY HATED working with her because of her snobby, demanding and diva-like ways. Most of all, I wonder if Jeff Giles interviewed Jacqueline’s daughter for his book? Supposedly, Jacqueline’s daughter knows ALL of Jacqueline’s deep, dark secrets. Every last one of ’em!!!!!… Read more »

Avatar610
Guest
Avatar610

Well, I do know that for her last P&G contract on AW in the mid 70s she demanded her own dressing room with a toilet- and she got her wish!! This reminds me of how Joan Crawford had her own private toilet in her dressing room at MGM in the 30s, a fact that impressed Greta Garbo during the filming of “Grand Hotel”. George and Jacquie were very seemingly exclusive members of their own club on the AW set, so to speak, and apparently openly critized the work of fellow performers- just one reason why the rest of the cast… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Avatar, check this out…back in the day, when she was on both Another World and (especially) One Life To Live, Jacqueline Courtney (over the years) did SEVERAL interviews. Interviews openly criticizing and OPENLY BASHING fellow co-stars from AW and OLTL, writers, producers, directors, crew members, etc.. One time, she even did an interview bashing BOTH NBC and (especially) ABC (aka the networks). Well, eventually, Jacqueline was pretty much forced into retirement because NO ONE in the soap opera community wanted to work with her anymore and (after a while) basically EVERYONE got tired of dealing with her. Period. Take care,… Read more »

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

Avatar…check out these, um, other tidbits about Jacqueline Courtney: 1. When she was on BOTH AW and OLTL, Jacqueline used to annoy and irritate directors with her so-called and “helpful” suggestions. One day, it all reached a boiling point when a now former OLTL directer had enough and TOTALLY WENT OFF on her…including dropping the F-bomb SEVERAL TIMES in front of SEVERAL people on the OLTL set. 2. One time, on the AW set, Jacqueline VERY RUDELY walked into and interrupted a private meeting between some of the AW writers. 3. After a while, cast members from BOTH AW and… Read more »

Fran
Guest
Fran

just finished book great book . thanks .. someone needs to write A tell all book about OLTL the above comments sound juicy . Hey this sound like a drama within a daytime drama I would buy that book in a minute too.

jaybird369
Guest
jaybird369

That does not surprise me (at all) that Michael Storm did not like working with Clint Ritchie. Back in the day, on the OLTL set, ONLY Erika Slezak, Robert S. Woods and the late Phil Carey enjoyed working with CR. That was because all 3 of them knew how to deal with him and knew how to keep him in line. As for the rest of the OLTL cast (overall), they all either “cheerfully” tolerated working with CR or they flat-out HATED working with him. Period.

Kat Hilderbrand
Guest
Kat Hilderbrand

This is a must-read for any OLTL fan. I read it once and am reading it through again. The stories for behind the scenes of 4 decades are so interesting for the fan to read. It is fantastic that Jeff Giles tracked down so many different people from the show for this book. Bravo!

Interviews

Y&R’s Christian LeBlanc and Michelle Stafford Talk On Their Enduring Friendship, Sharing Scenes & Preview Special Episode

Coming up on the Monday, January 10th episode of The Young and the Restless, the CBS daytime drama series will mark the 30th anniversary of Christian LeBlanc as Michael Baldwin.

In it, Michael will being trying to figure out what’s next in his life, after he has been a successful legal eagle for decades, with the assistance of several characters and some memorable flashbacks that might inform him.

Photo: JPI

LeBlanc debut on Y&R back at the end of November in 1991, and has won three Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series throughout his time in Genoa City.

To celebrate Christian’s 30th anniversary, Michael Fairman welcomed Christian and his longtime co-star and dear friend, Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) for a special conversation on You Tube’s The Michael Fairman Channel along with some memorable clips.

Photo: JPI

During the chat, Michelle and Christian reveal their favorite scenes together, how they met, the key to their enduring friendship, and and how they have gone through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Later, Christian shares his reaction to the on set celebration in his honor with his co-star and previews his special episode.

Photo: JPI

In addition, during the holidays, Michelle helped organize a toy drive for the second year in a row to help children and families in need along with the NAACP and the National Action Network, which Christian participated in along with several Y&R cast members, and they discuss how the toy drive came together during these trying times for everyone.

Courtesy/CLeBlancIG

Now below, check out the full interview with Christian and Michelle, followed by the promo for LeBlanc’s special episode.

Let us know in the comment section what your favorite part of the conversation was, what are your favorite Michael and Phyllis scenes through the years on Y&R and share your congratulations to Christian on a job well-done for his 30-year milestone.

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Interviews

Y&R’s Joshua Morrow Chats On Nick’s Standalone Christmas Eve Episode

Nick Newman (Joshua Morrow) is one tired Santa! After delivering presents to the less fortunate for Christmas, he is tuckered out, and thus will begin the special episode The Young and the Restless is serving up on Friday, December 24th.

The Christmas Eve airing of this all-new standalone episode marks the fourth time in Joshua Morrow’s career that he has been featured like this on the top-rated CBS soap.

In this story, Nick will try to come to terms with where his life is headed when he is taken on a journey through his dreams. Enter plenty of your other favorites from the Newman clan and more, who will definitely make an impact on Nick.  At the end of it all, will Nick come away with some revelations and reflections? Will he learn anything that will change him for the better and give him a clear direction?

As viewers recently witnessed, Nick and Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) called it quits in heartbreaking scenes, leaving Nick once again at a loss in the love live department.  Will he, in turn, eventually reunite with Sharon (Sharon Case), when all is said and done?

Michael Fairman TV talked with Joshua to get insight and a preview on what to expect during this holiday episode including: if he feels Nick is adrift, how he sees each of the characters from Adam (Mark Grossman) to Victoria (Amelia Heinle) impacting his alter-ego, and of course, Nick’s relationships with the women in his life.  So, with that, ‘ho, ho, ho,” here’s our yuletide chat with Mr. Morrow.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

How did you feel when you got a script for this special Christmas episode, and that it was all centered-on Nick?

JOSHUA:  My first reaction was, “Do people really want to see more of Nick? (Laughs) When you see an episode like this, you instantly know that you’ve got to do a lot of work. You’re basically in every scene, and I think it’s pretty common knowledge that I learn my lines in the morning when I get to work. However, on those days, you can’t do that, so you just know that you’ve got to prepare, and everyone is counting on you.  I like doing my scenes as fast as possible, but when you have that much material, you’ve got to put the time in.  As an actor, you hope it’s written well, and that you perform it the way they want you to, and you just go from there.

It’s not about which women Nick should sleep with next?  (Laughs)

JOSHUA:  I think all of Nick’s dreams are women-based. (Laughs) He’s walking around town going, “Who’s next?”  No, it’s a dream about figuring out who he is.  He is going through this kind of loop in his life where he’s not entirely sure where he is, where he should be, what he should be doing, how he’s treating people … it’s just kind of a look inside himself to see if he can come up with any solutions because he knows that what is happening and what he is doing right now is not working.  He doesn’t necessarily know why or how he got to this place, but with the help of some family, hopefully he will figure it out in the dream.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Sounds like Nick is very much at a crossroads here.

JOSHUA:  Yes, that’s a good description of it.  He’s just kind of wandering, and the biggest thing (and he’s been going through this a lot throughout his whole life) is that he just doesn’t know why he gets to this place.  It’s like, is it something he’s doing?  Is there something wrong with him?  He’s just questioning a lot of things, so during the holidays, it seems like the perfect time to come up with solutions for oneself.

So, in his dream, should viewers expect to we see different characters coming to him, like we’ve seen in other Y&R episodes similar to this?

JOSHUA:  Yes, in the dream, we’re seeing his family coming into his life, and they’re talking about who he is, the good parts about him, sometimes the bad …

… Wait, Nick has bad parts about him? 

JOSHUA:  Well … just maybe some things that he needs to improve on. (Laughs) Without him knowing it, I think Nick is kind of hard on people.  If they don’t necessarily think like he is, without knowing it, he tends to hold that against them.  Just because somebody doesn’t think like you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re wrong.  He is just struggling with where he is in life.  He is wondering if he is doing things right.  The dream comes up, and it helps him realize some things.

Photo: JPI

You and Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) did some wonderful scenes recently that aired when Phyllis and Nick broke up.  Do you remember taping those?  How did you feel about the on-screen relationship going south … again?

JOSHUA:  For me, Stafford is my bro.  When you start doing those types of scenes, you realize it’s the end of something for now.  I realized that there was a window when I was with her every day, laughing, making fun of each other, doing the fraternity style comedy that we do with each other.  I did those scenes with sadness because I knew that they were breaking us up and that I wouldn’t get to see her every day, but they were great.  Michelle is such a freaking tornado of talent. I was excited to see her really do the thing I think she does best, which is just unbridled passion, whether it’s positive or negative.  She obviously crushed it.  I was just happy to be a part of it.  I don’t have to do much heavy lifting in those scenes. I just wanted to be there for her.  I think that the scenes did turn out very well.  I wasn’t happy to do them, but I always want to do good work.

Photo: JPI

So, where is Nick at with Sharon (Sharon Case) at this point?  How does she impact him in the holiday episode?

JOSHUA:  Sharon is in the special episode offering Nick a lot of advice and guidance.  Sharon is one of Nick’s biggest cheerleaders.  She is constantly trying to make him feel good and better about things that he does.  They’re really good friends.  They are coparenting, you know.  I’m no dummy, obviously the writing is on the wall as to where this will lead, but the journey of how they get there will be the question.  I don’t know when it will happen, but obviously Nick and Sharon have a tremendous history, and anytime they get together it is usually beautifully told.  I don’t know for certain because I don’t ask, but if that is indeed the path that they are going down, I am sure that it will be something the long-time “Shick” supporters are very happy with.  Like I said, there is no romantic anything at the moment. They’re nothing about that.  It’s just that around the holidays, it’s tough not to have someone, and they’re there for each other.  They’ve got kids, and they’re just trying to have a good Christmas.

Photo: JPI

Nick and Adam (Mark Grossman) have a very contentious relationship that is very complex. How does that figure into the equation?

JOSHUA:  It’s an interesting dynamic because Nick is forever grateful to Adam.  I literally think he has saved every one of Nick’s children’s lives at some point in their past, and maybe even Noah a couple of times (Laughs) It’s a delicate relationship because whether he mentions it or not, Nick is jealous that Victor (Eric Braeden) seems to turn to Adam now.  Despite all of Nick’s, “I want to do my own thing, leave me alone, etc.” it really hurts him that Victor turns to Adam when the family needs it.  For all of Nick’s, “I’m my own man,” he still really believes in the strength of the Newman family.  He will always have its back, and if it’s being threatened, like it was with what Nick perceives Ashland (Richard Burgi) to be doing, and Victor doesn’t come to Nick to help with that (or … he does in the beginning, but when it comes to an end, he basically casts Nick aside), that really bothers him.  It’s hard not to take that out on Adam. Still, he doesn’t trust him fully, and he is always kind of on edge around him.  It’s a delicate balance of trust and acceptance with Nick and Adam.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

Does Nick feel like the ‘odd man out’ with Victor, when it always seems that Adam and Victor team up?

JOSHUA:  He absolutely does, and again, Nick had brought a lot of this on himself.  He is constantly saying, “I’m going to do me.  I’m going to make my own decisions.  I don’t want you impacting any of those,” but then when Victor turns to Adam and not Nick in a very important situation that involves his sister, Nick is pretty hurt by that.  Nick does feel like Adam has come into his relationship with his father.  They’re working together very closely.  It seems like Adam had Victor’s ear.  It seems like Victor trusts Adam – at this point, maybe even more than Nick.  That definitely bothers him. I don’t fault Victor in this because all Nick has done is stomp is feet and say, “I don’t like the way you handle things,” and, “Leave me alone.  I’m going to handle things my own way.”  It’s an interesting situation for Victor to be in because I think he wants Nick to be in the fold.  He wants Nick to be there whenever he needs him, but Nick has not made that easy.  He is very hardheaded when it comes to the family dynamic at times.  Nick has created all these difficult relationships now in his family, except with his mother.  He and Victoria (Amelia Heinle) are at odds.  He and Victor are always staring each other down at opposite sides of the fence, and then Adam comes in, and threatens what he perceived to be his role in the family, and that also kind of leads to the whole dream.

Photo: SonjaFlemming/CBS

You brought up Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott).  How do you see the bond between mother and son?

JOSHUA:  Nick and his mother have always had an extremely close relationship.  Nikki leans on Nick to bring peace in the family, and Nick leans on her to talk him off the ledge at times because he does overreact, and he acts impulsively at times, while Nikki is very cool, calm, and collected at all times.  Usually, he does everything she asks of him.  Nick is very clearly a Momma’s boy, and he always will be, and if his mother needs him, he is going to step up and do what she wants.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

In terms of his sister, Victoria, how does Nick feel about their stormy relationship?

JOSHUA:  I feel like they are not contentious now, but there is a level of sadness because they’ve always been the best of friends.  They have always relied on each other for everything, and now that has been completely cast aside.  They realize they are no longer each other’s person, the person they go to for anything: advice, support, comfort, whatever.  That is gone for each of them now.  It started with the Phyllis situation with the hotel, and now, it is certainly taken to another level with the Ashland thing.  I think that’s what the overall feeling is between the two of them at this time.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

What’s amazing is that you, Amelia, Eric, and Melody are all really close in real life.  It’s like you truly have a second family.

JOSHUA:  It’s a real family.  The four of us are, for sure.  Without question, my favorite scenes to do on the show are when the four of us are together because we really are so close. Those dynamics are the fabric of what the show is about.  It’s not just the Newmans, but with the Abbotts and the Winters as well, and when the show highlights that, and really puts those small details at the front of the show, the fans realize that you don’t need those big, dynamic stories.  You don’t need the big explosive things.  When you just see those tender moments between those family members, that is everything.  That is the Bill Bell (Co-Creator, Y&R) playbook.  It’s easy to play because we care so much about each other, and I think it comes across on the screen.

Photo: JPI

Now, you’ve got a new Noah in Rory Gibson, and you got a new Faith in Reylynn Caster, both who came on to the show in the last several months.  How are they doing, and how has it been for you to adjust to working with them as their on-screen father?

JOSHUA:  It’s been awesome.  I’ve always said it’s a very tough job because I fall in love with these kids who play my children, and eventually they go off and do something else, or when they are little, sometimes there is a window when they turn about four, where they go, “I don’t want to be here! (Laughs) But when they’re babies, they’re just kind of in your arms, and it’s hard not to fall in love with them, but then when they get older, I see them grow up and turn into young adults.  Rory is an absolute stud. I did screen-test with the actors auditioning for the role of Noah, and he went first. I’m not exaggerating when I say two beats into our rehearsal, not even the actual screen-test in front of the network, I locked eyes with him, and I went, “This is him.  What are we doing?  I don’t need to do this with anyone else.”  He’s got a soul to him that is really amazing to watch.  He’s got depth.  He’s a really tremendous actor.  He’s a good kid, too.  He works hard, and he really wants to do well, and he’s humble.  In the special episode, Rory steals the dream. He does a scene in this show that is going to break women’s hearts around the world.  I am excited for people to see what he can truly do.  The sky is the limit for this kid.   I love having him here.  I super miss Robbie (Robert Adamson, Ex-Noah).  I love him like he is a son of my own, but Rory has taken this role and done something really good with it.  So has Rey-Rey.   She is obviously a tremendous talent.  Losing Alyvia Alyn Lind (Ex-Faith), who was one of the great loves of my life, killed me.  However, I couldn’t be prouder of her.  We text weekly about what’s going on with her, and she’s off crushing it, and the world is not ready for Aly, trust me!  Rey-Rey has come in, a beautiful, talented, young girl, who really wants to do well, and she fits right into the Newman mold.  I’ve been very, very blessed.  The casting department has really knocked it out of the park with these two.

Photo: JPI

I know Hunter King (Ex-Summer) is not on the show right now, but I know you two are really close.

JOSHUA:  Yeah, good grief.  It’s hard for me.  Probably Hunter and Amelia are the two others loves of my life along with Aly.  Hunter and I will text each other constantly, making fun of each other.  We have such a special relationship.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.  I just know that she will be back someday.  I don’t know why.  Whereas I know Aly is gone forever.  She is off, and she is going to be a huge star.  Some fish outgrow their ponds, and I said that about her when she left.  Aly is off to a much bigger world, but I have a feeling (and maybe it is more of a hope) that Hunter will come back to me, and I say “me” because nobody loves her more than me. My kids are just everything to me on this show.  Honestly, it is one of the things that keeps me coming back for now almost 28 years.  I love them.  They’re all great people.

Photo: TMorrowTwitter

What are you and your wife, Tobe, and the family, going to do for the holidays?

JOSHUA:  We always go snowboarding.  We didn’t go last year obviously because of staying safe from COVID, but we tend to go Colorado every year, and we will be doing that again.  My oldest is away at college this year, so it will be fun to get him home and go off and do what we do.  I remember when I was in my teens learning to snowboard, I was like, “Someday, I cannot wait to lead a bunch of sons down big mountains!” and I’ve been doing that for years with them.  Two years ago, my middle son, who is just this testosterone-raged-alpha-male, finally said, “Dad, I’m leading us down.”  I was like, “Okay.”  He is the one son who has surpassed me in speed, and now we follow him. (Laughs)

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Now let’s talk College Basketball! (Laughs) Gonzaga has already had two losses and it seems every week there is a new team at #1 in the rankings.  Who do you think is looking good? 

JOSHUA:  I only watch Oklahoma hoops. (Laughs) The days of going off to March Madness with all my friends and acting like jackasses for multiple days are gone because I have soccer and lacrosse commitments with my family, but I am still equally as passionate about Oklahoma basketball as I’ve ever been.  I always say it, and it is definitely more heart than mind, but Oklahoma is going to win the national championship this year.

Okay, Joshua.  We will put it out there in the press!

JOSHUA:  You’ve got to put it in the universe!

So, looking forward to Nick’s Christmas journey on Y&R? Which women in Genoa City would you like to see Nick have a relationship with next? What advice would you give Nick Newman to get his life on track? Share your thoughts on this, and our conversation with Joshua, via the comment section below.

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Days Of Our Lives

DAYS Chandler Massey & Zach Tinker Chat On ‘WilSon’, Being Recasts, ‘A Very Salem Christmas’ and that Drag Show

Chandler Massey (Will) and Zach Tinker (Sonny) are back for another streaming special, reprising the duo of “WilSon”.  Massey and Tinker can now be seen in the holiday film, Days of our Lives: A Very Salem Christmas now on Peacock.

In a new virtual interview with Michael Fairman for You Tube’s Michael Fairman Channel, Chandler and Zach talk about their scenes and their participation in the Salem Christmas tale.

Courtesy/Peacock

As many know by now, in story, Will has to act fast to come up with a story for his script with his Christmas Eve deadline approaching.  Sonny decides he will assist Will and help conjure up the story, and thus we get an altered version of Salem from the guys that plays on the history of Days of our Lives.

Photo: JPI

During the conversation, Zach weighs-in on being a recast for Sonny (previously played by Freddie Smith), and Chandler shares that it’s always challenging to step into a role played by someone else – something he also had to do when he began on DAYS.

Courtesy/Peacock

In addition, the two discuss reprising their drag roles of Amanda Bottom and Sonny Delight for the holiday number to help save Salem business owners from eviction in Days of our Lives: Beyond Salem.

The actors also banter about the importance of maintaining a presence for ‘WilSon’ as one of the only LGBTQ on-screen duos as part of a daytime soap opera.  The question is: will the airshow write them back in?

Photo: JPI

Chandler also weighs-in on: if he was writing Will’s holiday script, what would he like to see befall the good citizens of Salem? You’ll hear his answer.

Check out the interview with Chandler and Zach below.

Now let us know, are you enjoying Chandler and Zach as the new version of WilSon? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Cameron Mathison talks with Michael Fairman on taking on the role of GH’s Drew Cain, the latest developments in Port Charles for Drew. his busy career outside of soaps and the loss of his mother and his public battle with cancer.Leave A Comment
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