Tuesday, February 26, 2008

GUEST COLUMN: MARIANN AALDA (DIDI; EDGE OF NIGHT)

Comin’ in from “The Edge”…
MARIANN’S MIDLIFE MAYHEM & MISCELLANY:
“Calvin & DiDi”…The Love Lingers On.

And now, a pause from the “Mama Drama…”

To be continued, of course, since caring for an aging parent is an ongoing theme in my life these days – as it is with so many in my baby boomer generation – but it doesn’t need to be the focus of it. And since, for the last month, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my mom’s bedside in the hospital watching daytime television, I’d like to comment on the return of “Angie & Jesse” as it relates to Edge of Night’s “Calvin & DiDi”…and since this is the last week in February, to Black History Month.

Back in the day… the sagas of “Angie & Jessie” and “Calvin & DiDi” were high-profile storylines at about the same time (the 1980’s) that caused quite a stir in the African-American community because of their vibrant and complex love stories. There wasn’t a lot of that going on for black folks in soap operas back then. In fact, there’s not a lot of that going on right now in soap operas – which is one of the reasons for all the excitement surrounding the return of “Angie & Jesse.”

Debbie Morgan and Darnell Williams are fabulous actors and it’s thrilling to see the evolution of their characters’ teen romance to mature love. Alas, we will never get to see whatever happened to “Calvin & DiDi” because Edge of Night is no longer on the air – and the wonderfully talented Irving Allen Lee (Calvin), who passed away several years ago – is no longer with us. But when last we saw them on EON ’s final episode, DiDi announced to Calvin that she was pregnant, so I’d like to imagine that....

They had twins, a boy and a girl, who’d have graduated from college right about now. The boy (Calvin, Jr.) is enrolled in medical school. And the girl (Danielle) has taken a year off before enrolling in law school to volunteer in the Presidential campaign. Calvin, Sr. is now Monticello’s Chief of Police, and DiDi works for UNICEF and has become best pals with Angelina Jolie.

On one of her many trips to Malibu, while she and Angelina are having lunch and going over fund-raising strategies, DiDi spots Calvin’s ex-wife, Starr, dining with a young man who looks very much like a young Calvin!

Now as you may recall, Starr was pregnant when she left Monticello to pursue her singing career. At the time, she told Calvin she’d had an affair and it wasn’t his baby… but was it? Hmmmm…the plot thickens.

Former Edge of Night head writer Henry Slesar and Executive Producer Nick Nicholson, have also gone on to that “big soap opera sound stage in the sky,” but I’d like to think that they, along with Irving, would get a big kick out of my storyline idea :-)

Edge may be gone from the networks, but as I am often reminded by its many fans who still think of me as “DiDi” – despite all the other things I’ve done in my career in the more than two decades (Yikes!) since then – it continues to live on in the hearts of many…and fortunately, on AOL/PGP Classic Soaps as well! So, for all you fans, here’s a “Calvin & DiDi” blast-from-the-past, just as their romance was beginning…


URL: http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=0jf77690kMI
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URL: http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=zT07rhvjBMs

The significance of the 20-plus year old storylines of “Angie & Jesse” and “Calvin & DiDi” is given new relevance by Procter and Gamble’s My Black Is Beautiful initiative launched last year to address the dissatisfaction felt by many African-American women in the way they currently see themselves portrayed in the media.

You can find out more at the P & G My Black Is Beautiful website :
While addressing this issue is certainly a great place to start…seeing a greater diversity in casting and the telling of stories might eliminate the issue – and a need for such an initiative ­– altogether.

I’m just sayin… "Welcome back, 'Angie & Jesse'!"

Keep believin'...
Mariann

1 comment:

Esther said...

This is the first I'm hearing of this inititive. Granted, I'm white, but wouldn't I still have heard of it? Mariann, you are soooooo right about things not seeming too different (if not worse) today with people of color being spotlighted in stories on soaps. I think it's pitiful. Soaps are a reflection of life...apparently only in the white community these days.

Btw, I love your story idea. Would have been wonderful to have seen it. So many amazing people associated with soaps have passed on. I like to imagine Irna Phillips, Doug Marland, Henry Slesar and so many actors, writing and acting out a heck of a story in heaven.