Wednesday, April 22, 2009


It's Election Day in Bay City. (Mostly because its November 1991 on the latest episodes of Another World.)

Grant Harrison has finally won a Senate seat, much to the delight of his Machiavellian father, Spencer. But there is a problem. Grant's cop brother, Ryan, has turned up evidence linking Grant to supervillain Carl Hutchins. (He says it's solely in the interest of protecting the public from the evil Hutchins; the fact that Ryan's girlfriend, Vicky, has been awfully chummy with Grant lately has nothing to do with Ryan's interest in the election.)

Ryan confides his dilemma to Spencer as Grant prepares to make his victory speech. Spencer tells Ryan he's got it all wrong. Grant isn't the one in Carl's pocket, Spencer is. And then he tells his son why. It's because Spencer is Irish.


Spencer blames being in cahoots with a man who robs, cheats, steals and kills on the fact that when Spencer was a young man, fresh off the boat from Europe, he couldn't find a job due to the abundance of "No Irish Need Apply" signs.

Let's do a little PGP Classic Soaps Blog math, shall we?

Actor David Hedison, who brilliantly played the wily Spencer was born in 1927. That means that the year 13 year old Spencer washed up on America's shores was circa 1940.

The infamous NINA -- as they were commonly called -- signs allegedly sprung up in America around the 1850s, during the "Know Nothing" movement's attempt to oust Irish Catholics from public office. In 1862, a song was written on the subject.

Historians, however, have long argued vehemently as to whether the signs were, in fact, as prevalent in America as legend would have it.

According to one historian, "In the entire file of the New York Times from 1851 to 1923, there are two NINA ads for men, one of which is for a teenager. Computer searches of classified help wanted ads in the daily editions of other online newspapers before 1923 such as the Brooklyn Eagle, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune show that NINA ads for men were extremely rare--fewer than two per decade. The complete absence of evidence suggests that probably zero such signs were seen at commercial establishments, shops, factories, stores, hotels, railroads, union halls, hiring halls, personnel offices, labor recruiters etc. anywhere in America, at any time. NINA signs and newspaper ads for apartments to let did exist in England and Northern Ireland, but historians have not discovered reports of any in the United States, Canada or Australia. The myth focuses on public NINA signs which deliberately marginalized and humiliated Irish male job applicants. The overwhelming evidence is that such signs never existed."

And there was most certainly no evidence of any such ads in the World War II era, i.e. Spencer Harrison's time.

So not only is the man a horrible father and a crook, he's a liar, too.

But what's even better is Spencer's justification for why it was okay for him to take Carl's dirty money. Spencer explained that he used Carl's influx of cash to build his own empire, and that he, in turn, hired people of all religions and races. So he's actually a civil rights hero.

You've got to hand it to Spencer, though (and actor Hedison). He is downright convincing, not only for the audience, but for Ryan, as well. Tune into the November 14, 1991 episode on, and watch, as Grant in the background makes the traditional political speech explaining how he's in this to help the poor and downtrodden and not merely to fulfill his own ginormous ego, Spencer and Ryan go head to head in one of the best father/son confrontations in daytime history!

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