ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR WATSON
In 1997, in an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Harding Lemay, former Headwriter of Another World, had this to say about Douglass Watson, the patrician actor who play Mac Cory on the show from 1974 until the actor's untimely death in 1989:
He was the most generous, sweetest-natured, empathetic man in the world and when he died it was so sudden. I thought he would always be there. He was a little older than I. He would call me after I had left ANOTHER WORLD, when I could no longer do him any favors as Mac Cory. He would come to town and invite us to have dinner with him and his wife and hear Barbara Cook. He would take us to the Plaza and spend hundreds of dollars. I would ask him why he was spending all this money and he would say "I wouldn't make this money if it weren't for you, so shut up." Another time he visited us when he and his wife were going to use our house at Fire Island for a weekend and he wanted to know if we had seen "Nicholas Nickleby." I said I wasn't going to spend a hundred bucks for a ticket. They left and when I went to empty an ashtray, there were two one hundred dollar bills under it. That was so typical of him.
Watson's generous nature and humanity were visible in every word he ever uttered as Mac. For a textbook example of how an actor can take the words on the page and transcend them, tune into this episode of Another World now playing on the AOL/PGP Classic Soap Channel.
Mac Cory is a man who doted on his grown daughter, Iris, as well as on his baby girl, Amanda. He was a loving stepfather to Jamie and Matthew. But Mac made no secret of the fact that he always longed for a biological son.
In 1981, he got one. Sandy Alexander revealed himself to be Mac's illegitimate child.
Mac was thrilled. Jamie, not so much.
To be fair, Jamie had his own issues with Sandy. Such as the fact that Sandy is sleeping with Jamie's wife, Cecile. (As time went on, both men would realize that Cecile was no prize and that, in fact, she only pounced from Sandy to Jamie when she realized that Sandy was now more likely to inherit Mac's fortune.)
Mac, however, doesn't understand his stepson's hostility. Watch how, in this episode, he reaches out to Jamie, trying his best not to judge or take sides, feeling for the boy he raised even as he disapproves of his actions, and doing his best to reassure Jamie that he'll always consider him a son -- even if Mac and Jamie's mother, Rachel, are in the process of getting a divorce.
It's an acting master class in subtext, subtlety and style.
Check it out, here!