Friday, May 30, 2008

PAIR JUMPERS

In 1975, there was no hotter couple on daytime television than Another World's Steve and Alice. After surviving AW's definitive love triangle of Steve/Alice/Rachel (details here), the newly married couple was finally blissfully happy, even going so far as planning to adopt little ten year old orphan Sally. Alas, it was not to be. While on a business trip to Australia, Steve's plane went down and he was presumed dead. (Which, as we all know, doesn't really mean completely dead, just slightly dead. Not unlike Schrodinger's cat.)

The on-screen cause of Steve's death may have been bad tail winds, but the off-screen reason was an ongoing feud between actor George Reinholt and AW's Headwriter Harding Lemay. While Lemay had many complaints about Reinholt's acting and overall on-set behavior, the biggest bone of contention was their differing takes on Steve Frame's past.

When Reinholt assumed the role, he received no information on Steve's background. So the actor made up his own backstory, deciding that Steve had grown up in working class Pennsylvania and left to make his fortune -- just like Reinholt himself had.

When Lemay took over Headwriting duties at AW, he noticed that Steve had no established background and proceeded to give him one. Lemay decided that Steve had grown up on a farm with multiple brothers and sisters -- just like Lemay had.

When Lemay and Executive Producer Paul Rauch butted heads with Reinholt over the introduction of Willis Frame, one of Steve's many heretofore unmentioned siblings, Reinholt was fired. A few months later, his love-interest, actress Jacqueline Courtney was recast. (For the actors' take on what happened, click here.)

Almost immediately, One Life to Live swept in to hire both actors, creating the characters of star-crossed lovers Tony Lord and Pat Ashley Kendall in the hope that lightening would strike again and the duo would become as big of a sensation in Llanview as they had been in Bay City.

They did not.

Reinholt left OLTL within two years, complaining:

We created the biggest success on daytime on Another World, and Courtney and I saved One Life to Live from going off the air. But they're not grateful. They put me in a dressing room with three other men. They negotiate a contract with me that says they will give me a foot in prime time, but then they turn around and say, No, we'd rather pay you off and let you go. And that's what they've done. So they won't develop me as an artist, so why should I stay there?

Since 1975, several other soaps have attempted to reunite couples who'd been huge on other shows in the hope of mimicking their earlier success.

Mary Beth Evans and Stephen Nichols (Kayla and Patch on DOOL, Katherine and Stefan on GH).
Nancy Lee Grahn and Lane Davies (Julia and Mason on SB, Alexis and Cameron on GH).
Debbie Morgan and Darnell Williams (Angie and Jesse on AMC, Angie and Jacob on The City).
Laura Wright and Paul Anthony Stewart (Ally and Casey on Loving, Cassie and Danny on GL).

None of them were able to duplicate the previous coupling's success. (As always, in the interest of full disclosure, it is very difficult for a single actor associated with a character on one show to make an equally big splash on another show or as another character. Even daytime's biggest names, Genie Francis and Tony Geary couldn't stir up the same passions, separately, as Diana on DOOL or Ceara on AMC, or as Luke's cousin Bill on GH. But the task becomes even more difficult when it's a couple making the attempt.)

There are probably a few more examples I've left off the above list. Do you have a favorite example of Soap Opera Pair Jumpers?

11 comments:

Esther said...

If they had even halfway tried to write a decent character for Lane on GH, it could have worked. But the writers should be ashamed of themselves. Nancy and Lane still had it -- they just didn't write anything worthy.

supersage21 said...

Sour grapes much? Could this in any way possible be a subtle take on Ricky Paull Goldin and Beth Ehlers?

Chris said...

I agree, this is embarrassing. It's clearly a swipe at Ricky Paull Goldin and Beth Ehlers.

RoseVioletDaisy said...

OMG, this article is almost as pathetic as GL itself. I have a funny feeling that blubbering aside, neither BE nor RPG are gonna regret going to AMC. It has it's problems to be sure but it's a hundred times better than GL is in it's current state. And over the last two weeks, AMC has been can't-miss TV. They've been doing everything that GL should be doing. They've been reuniting longterm couples, not breaking them up over nothing. They've been bringing back desperately needed older characters that fans miss. They had a gorgeous wedding for a couple that's been in love but apart for twenty years and they were surrounded by over a dozen longtime legacy characters on a big and beautiful set, with real costumes, hair, and makeup, all taped with honest-to-goodness grown-up cameras, not TinkerToys.

Debbie said...

How spiteful but not surprising. I read it as also a swipe at ABC. Pst....come close and let me whisper.....Ricky Paull Goldin is doing great over on AMC. The fans have taken to him really well...some even feel he's "THE" Jake Martin.

I think Ricky and Beth Ehlers will survive just fine. GL, I'm not so sure about!

fitz said...

This dig at Ehlers and Goldin is called tacky in my world or bad form in others. GL didn't act as though they liked the pairing, so why does PPG care? They are talented actors who have a great deal to offer - both separately and together.

petoola said...

Seriously this is pretty sad. I'm not impressed. Too bad they didn't realize Ricky and Beth's value before they left. GL's loss is AMC's gain, that's for sure.

LizDC said...

This is just classless. And coming from a show that could use some good P.R. at the moment, this is a really bad move.

I don't think you'll have to worry about how Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin will do at AMC. They will be just fine.

Kathy said...

I think CBS and P & G have lost their minds. Why would they even think of an article like this except to slap Ricky and Beth and ABC? They need to truly get over themselves and learn about public relations. What is done is done and Guiding Light is the loser and All My Children is the winner. Ricky is awesome as Jake and I look forward to his scenes everyday. At this point, I wonder if Guiding Light has any fans that are not ticked off?

Chanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chris said...

Wow! I second what everyone else said- we also have no clue as to what they will do with Beth and Ricky at AMC- I trust if they do try to match them on AmC and it misfires,there are plenty of other actors they would do well with on that show...of course we will all be clamoring to see them together!:)...again,GL is the loser here.I swore I would never watch ABC shows but have been impressed with the $ they throw at them over there!Ricky seems to be doing very well.