Just like the dinosaurs that roamed this planet millions of years ago, the daytime drama is fading fast. Yesterday marked the end of an era, as the CBS soap “Guiding Light” taped its very last show. The drama will be broadcast for the last time on September 18, 2009—72 years after it first premiered on the radio. (Rumored to also be on the chopping block is CBS’ As the World Turns.)
Daytime viewership has dropped dramatically during the last decade and I for one am sad to see it go. Soaps have suffered unfair ridicule for much of their tenure but very few mediums have been able to impact audiences and provoke thought like the daytime drama. Long before there were award-winning primetime dramas like ER, Law & Order, Picket Fences, and Six Feet Under, soaps put social and major health issues on the front burner. Daytime tackled it all—homosexuality, date rape, incest, abortion, personality disorder, post-partum depression, substance abuse, HIV … the list goes on and on. And long before Jodi Piccoult would write a book about parents who gave life to another child so that they could use her as a bone marrow donor for their eldest, cancer-stricken daughter, All My Children had already been there, done that.
I have many wonderful memories of daytime both personally and professionally. I’ve been watching General Hospital since I was five years old and have on and off, been an avid fan of As the World Turns, All My Children, Days of Our Lives, Santa Barbara, Search For Tomorrow, and One Life to Live. My vast knowledge and passion for daytime even landed me one of the best writing gigs that I’ve ever had, covering AMC for a popular soap opera magazine. I have fond memories of that New York City set—which will be no more now that AMC is relocating to Los Angeles to save production costs—as well as time spent and wonderful interviews had with some of the nicest, gracious and most professional people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. That list includes, but is not limited to, Cameron Mathison (Ryan), Marcy Walker (ex-Liza), Walt Willey (Jackson), Michael E. Knight (Tad), Jill Larson (Opal), Vincent Irizarry (David) and yes, Susan Lucci (Erica).
Here now, are my Top 10 Soap Opera Memories:
10. Frisco Jones returns to Port Charles to find Felicia marrying the man that tried to kill him, Colton Shore. (General Hospital)
9. Reva’s striptease and self-proclamation as the “Whore of Springfield” to a wheelchair- bound Josh. (Guiding Light).
8. Luke and Laura dancing in Wyndham’s Department store while on the run. (General Hospital)
7. The revelation that Doug Cummings was Kim Hughes’ stalker. (As the World Turns)
6. Nola’s Hollywood fantasies. (Guiding Light)
5. Stone’s death from AIDS. (General Hospital)
4. Adrienne confesses to her brother that their father has been abusing her. (Days of Our Lives)
3. Dr. Chuck Tyler’s romance with prostitute Donna Beck. (All My Children)
2. Bo kidnaps Hope from her wedding to Larry and they ride off on his motorcycle to Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” (Days of Our Lives).
1. Felicia learns that the heart that’s being given to her daughter, Maxie, is that of her niece, B.J. (General Hospital)
Have a favorite soap moment or storyline? Please share it.