Friday, December 31, 2010


It's a surprise Christmas wedding in Springfield! Which couple got married - and what soapy good fun happened next?

Plus, Dinah unloads a lifetime of resentment on Vanessa, Christmas Day (what are family holidays for, after all?) and Mindy fills Blake's son, Kevin, in on some of his father's less than admirable exploits. But, will it help her protect Rick's daughter, Leah, from Roger Thorpe's grandson?

Find out at:

To receive daily updates from Mindy Lewis Bauer's Twitter account, sign up at:!/melindasuelewis

Happy New Year to all our readers and followers!

We couldn't do Soap Opera 451 without your support.

See you in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Carl told Rachel, "Lucas believes Lorna's accident may have been a message meant for him. A reminder that his former associates have yet to settle the debt resulting from his betrayal."

"And what do you believe? Better yet, what do you know, Carl?"

"Accidents of Lorna's nature, especially ones with no easily discernible perpetrator, are not an unusual means of communicating or settling grievances," Carl hedged. "I am not a man to live in hope, I require certainty. If this was, in fact, an action undertaken by my old cohorts, I mean to find out."

"To what end?" Rachel asked and then answered with the obvious. "So that you can... diffuse the threat."

"So that I can see to it that our families, our children, never come to harm from that, or any other corner."

Rachel absorbed this for a moment before finally replying, "Do it."


Carl is stunned by the change in Rachel, Donna vows to protect Marley - whether she likes it or not, Morgan questions Cass' motives, Kevin goes to Lila for answers, and Alice tries to shake some sense into Jamie regarding Lorna.


This installment of "Another World Today" is dedicated to the memory of Jacqueline Courtney (Alice), who died on December 20, 2010.

Since AWT's debut in May 2009, we have done our best to honor the rich, 35 year history of the Emmy Award winning show, which includes, in large part, the Rachel/Steve/Alice triangle that brought it to the top of the ratings in the 1970s. (Read all about it, here and here.)

On a personal note, I've written about how Rachel and Alice scenes are among my favorites to compose for AWT because, anytime you get those two women together in a room, something interesting is bound to happen - and I'm just as excited as anyone to find out what!

The AWT team sends condolences to Ms. Courtney's family on their loss.

In honor of Jacqueline Courtney, please enjoy a few vintage pictures of AW at the top of its game, below....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010



Margo Hughes & Maureen Bauer

Brian McColl, Mark Evans & Grant Harrison

Annie Dutton & Vicky Hudson

Mr. Big & Wallingford

Guiding Light's Nola Reardon and As The World Turns' Iva Snyder looked a lot alike. They also had quite a few things in common.

Nola was the youngest daughter of a hard-working single mom who ran a boarding house in Springfield. Iva was the oldest daughter of a hard-working single mom who ran a farm in Oakdale. (Iva was later revealed to be adopted, but that was primarily so that her own daughter, Lily, could date Iva's brother.)

Nola lied about her daughter, Stacey's, paternity, so she could snag a well-off young medical student. Iva lied about her daughter's (later, it turned out to be twins) existence so no one would know Iva had been raped and impregnated by her cousin (who also turned out to not be her biological cousin since Iva was, again, secretly adopted, and Rod/Josh was revealed not to be a blood Snyder. I guess once the writers decides not to go the incest route, they really wanted to be doubly-sure no one was related in any way. Ed. note: This all would have been a lot easier if the show had stuck to the original plan to make Shannon O'Hara, not Iva, Lily's birth mother.)

Nola gave birth to a son, Anthony James, nicknamed AJ, and later just J. Iva gave birth to a son, Matthew John, called MJ.

Nola dreamed of a better life by constructing elaborate fantasies based on old movies. Iva suffered silently and nobly; like the heroines in a lot of old movies....

(Iva arrives home after a 15 year absence at the 2:20 mark)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

By Alina Adams

For a while there in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Scott Bryce (Craig; ATWT) was the go-to guy if you wanted to marry off a popular daytime or primetime character.

Craig married Betsy on As The World Turns...

And later Sierra...

His character Rick wed Jo (Nancy McKeon) on The Facts of Life....

And Will wed Corky (Faith Ford; ex-Julia; AW) on Murphy Brown.

When I interviewed Scott in 1994 for Pure Soap on E!, he said he had all the wedding pictures lined up at home as if they were real.

Craig and Betsy's marriage ended in divorce. So did Craig and Sierra's (well, first they took turns being presumed dead...). So did Will and Corky's.

Jo and Rick are the only ones who presumably lasted, based on The Facts of Life Reunion. (When Nancy McKeon declined to return as Jo, they sent the next best thing, Jo's daughter, Jamie, and her dad, Rick, though he was now played by a different actor. I know. It's confusing.)

In real-life, Scott Bryce is married to actress Jodi Stevens, and they have a son, Jackson.

In addition to his acting and directing, in 2009, Scott helped Connecticut students produce a movie about Frederick Douglass for PBS.

Watch him discuss the production, below:

Monday, December 27, 2010

By Susan Dansby

Colleen Zenk and I are not friends. Although I've been putting words in her mouth – or rather, her character Barbara Ryan's mouth – for 13 years, Colleen and I have spoken a handful of times.

But we have something in common. We're both cancer survivors. I was diagnosed in 2008 with large cell lymphoma; and Colleen was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2007. Now, we're each (thankfully) cancer free.

My career was threatened temporarily as I went through six rounds of chemo over the course of five months – and found it exhausting to move from one room to another, let alone think and write. Conversely, Colleen's acting career could have been permanently derailed.

In a profession where good looks, vocal control and clear diction are far from optional, Colleen was faced with three surgeries, during which, half of her tongue had to be reconstructed.

And what did she do during a recovery fight that could have left most of us mired in self-pity? She played Barbara Ryan. What an undertaking. So many things we take for granted were affected and compromised: smell, taste, breathing, chewing, swallowing… speaking.

In soaps, actors are often responsible for 25-40 pages worth of dialogue on any given day. That's an average of 2000 individual words that are memorized, enlivened with emotion, and thrust on a journey from brain to sound. Imagine how frustrating it must have been for Colleen when the words heard and felt inside bore no resemblance to the sounds she made. For a while. Just for a while.

Because Colleen Zenk is no wilting flower. She's not one to back down from a fight; and she fought for every single word. She not only made herself heard and understood, she made us feel: her longing for love, her wistfulness as she vied for Henry's affection against a much younger woman, the joy that came with each kiss and each dance.

Colleen Zenk is a hero. That's why I think she should be on Dancing with the Stars.

What? Didn't see that segue coming? Here's the bottom line: Colleen wants to be on that show. She wants to strut her stuff, and be challenged mentally and physically. She wants to wear beautiful costumes and glide, jive and paso in the arms of a graceful, gorgeous dancer.

Colleen wants to celebrate a fight won, a life saved, a future possible – when things could have so easily turned out differently. I hope you'll join me and many, many, MANY of Colleen's fans in a campaign to get her on DWTS.

Help us convince ABC that Colleen's more than qualified to join the cast. She's a gorgeous woman of a certain age with a large fan following. Colleen knows how to entertain, is dedicated to being the best, has a story to tell, and millions of TV viewers to inspire.

If you, like me, would love to see Colleen dance here are some things you can do:

  1. Join the Facebook group Colleen Zenk deserves to be on DWTS and ask your friends to join too:

  2. Go to and tell the producers that Colleen Zenk is your number one choice for Season 12 of Dancing with the Stars:

  3. Follow @teamcolleen on Twitter and tweet your friends about wanting to see Colleen on DWTS

  4. Be creative and have fun! Fans have done everything from making t-shirts and business cards to visiting nursing homes and schools to gather more support for Colleen. Everything you do will increase her visibility and help Colleen get one step closer to making her dream come true.


To watch a clip of Colleen dancing in the feature film Annie, click here.

"C-Cass?" A part of Frankie sincerely believed that merely saying his name would somehow prompt the apparition before her to disappear in a puff of smoke.

She said it anyway.

He remained where he was, just standing there on her doorstep, smiling.

"What are you... How... Did you..." It was official. Good-by, mind, hello, senility.

"May I come in?" he asked gently, comprehending Frankie's utterly mystified state, not wishing to add to it.

"Come in," Frankie parroted the words, before it slowly dawned on her what they meant and she opened the door further, standing aside, letting him in. Letting Cass in. To his house. To their house. Letting Cass in to their house when, by all rights, he shouldn't be there at all. "Come in."

"I'm real, Mary Frances," he brushed her hand to drive the point home.

"I was wondering," she admitted.

"And I'm not on the lam, either."

"I was wondering that, too." Frankie threw her arms around her husband, squeezing him desperately, trying to convince herself she wasn't dreaming. Or worse. "What is going on here? How did this happen?"


Frankie struggles to absorb Cass' return, Amanda drops a bombshell on Kevin, Donna and John look to the future, Lucas dares Carl to return to form, and Marley challenges Jamie's faith in Lorna.

All at:

Thursday, December 23, 2010


As The World Turns:

Guiding Light:

Another World

Days of Our Lives

One Life to Live

General Hospital

Santa Barbara

All My Children

The Young & the Restless

Ryan's Hope

Happy Holidays to my fellow soap fans. Because we remember....

"Merry Christmas, Mom!" Charlie, with a squealing Lori Ann perched on her hip, the baby dressed in a red and green plaid party dress with matching hair ribbon, greeted Frankie, still in her bathrobe and more than a little bit groggy, as she descended the stairs.

Charlie stepped aside to reveal Felicia, Lucas, Morgan and Dean standing there, each bearing a festively-wrapped gift, each game to echo, "Surprise!"

"I — " Frankie looked from one to the other, unable to summon up a single, appropriate response beyond. "What?"

"Merry Christmas, darling," Felicia stepped forward to kiss Frankie on the cheek. And, while she was there, smooth down a bit of her wayward hair and brush a few stray threads from her robe. After all, there was never a reason not to look one's best.

"What are you doing here?" Frankie wondered if she were dreaming.

"It was Charlie's idea," Morgan said, precariously balancing a gift box with one arm against the cast on the other. "She arranged all this."

Her daughter shrugged. "I thought today would be hard for you. You know, because of Dad... and last year."


The surprises keep coming for Frankie, Jamie and Steven bond over past hurts while Marley and Sarah warily face the future, Rachel struggles to snap Carl out of his unexpected funk, Matt attempts to put Jasmine's mind at ease, and Amanda lays some harsh truths on Allie.

It's Christmas Day in Bay City at:

Happy Holidays to all our readers and thank you for your outpouring of support for our last episode of Ghostly Visits. We weren't sure how it would go over, but now that it seems people are craving more, we're already putting our heads together, brainstorming a new installment!

You suggest, we listen. So keep it going both on Facebook and the Soap Opera 451 Message Board!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ATWT CHRISTMAS 2000 (Sounds like a new Terminator Model, doesn't it?)

Bob makes a heartfelt toast to Nancy, Lisa, Kim, Chris, and special guest Penny.... (and featuring a black and white flashback to die for! Including Bob, Nancy, Penny, the original Chris Hughes, Grandpa, and a pre-teen Tom as played by Frankie Michaels before he hit it big on Broadway!)

Learn more about....

Grandpa Hughes


Little Tom

.... By clicking the links!
By Mariann Aalda

Part #3

Part #2

Part #1

Despite the justification that can be made for the abundance of New Media outlets being able to provide a wealth of opportunity for a multiplicity of voices to now be heard, a greater argument can be made that this is doing more to fragment society instead of bringing us closer together.

To me, greater diversity doesn’t mean that different ethnic groups and age groups are afforded more chances to talk amongst THEMSELVES, it means that different ethnic groups have more opportunities to talk to EACH OTHER.

This short video gives credence to why this is so important…

Soap operas offer an opportunity to show diversity as it exists today in our neighborhoods and our workplaces. The more they do that, the greater the likelihood that audiences can be wooed away from other activities to watch them.

Do you agree? Please let us know in the Comments section below.


Mariann Aalda played DiDi Bannister-Stoner on Edge of Night from 1981 to its final episode on December 28, 1984. She also played Grace Battles on Guiding Light and Lena Hart on Sunset Beach. She is currently starring in M.O.I.S.T.! -- the "sex-istential" comedy-with-music celebrating the seasoned woman -- which she co-wrote/produced/performs with Iona Morris (ex-Fiona Griffin, As The World Turns).

Check out her on-going saga, Edge of Night Today at:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


GL Christmas 1983 (watch it here) found Phillip and Beth on the run in New York City (with Rick and Mindy in hot pursuit)!

For 1984, Beth is blind (and being wooed by Lujack, who is pretending to be a mute, piano playing handyman named Lenny), Vanessa has just given birth to Bill (a precursor to her getting overly protective and hooked on pills), Ed looks a lot like AMC's Chuck and Maureen like ATWT's Margo (they also dance to what sounds like the entire Big Chill soundtrack).

Check it out below!


Soap Opera 451 contributer and Emmy Award winning ATWT writer Susan Dansby interviews Eric Sheffer Stevens (Reid; ATWT) at EZineArticles with Part #1 and Part #2.

Make sure to check it out!
By Alina Adams

Jonny Moseley's routine sucked last night. To his credit, he's not the first skater to interpret a judge's suggestion to be more artistic as: Completely throw away everything that makes you interesting, unique and fun to watch in order to perform something that makes you boring, predictable, weak and look like everyone else. (Christopher Bowman, the late US Champion known for his fun, unpredictable style, made the same mistake when he left longtime coach Frank Carroll and turned to Canada's Toller Cranston, who tried to turn Chris into a dour, over-emoting carbon-copy of himself. Oh, and for reasons known only to Toller, also dyed Chris' hair jet black, so that he looked like Eddie Munster.)

But, while Jonny's routine sucked last night, it at least included some actual skating elements. Bethanny Frankel's did not. She was on two feet most of the time, which isn't technically skating. It's standing.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Budig did the exact same thing she does every week, only in a much prettier than usual dress. Oh, and it was fun to see her AMC cast-members in the audience.

Other that that... Horrible evening all around.


Alina Adams is the author of the Figure Skating Murder Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime, available on

Monday, December 20, 2010


Exactly 25 years ago, Christmas Eve in Oakdale meant...

Teen Lily is, as always, lamenting to Sierra about Lucinda wanting to surround her only (ha! that's what Lily thinks!) child with the very best money can buy (aw, poor Lily, the heart just bleeds for her, doesn't it?), Craig going through an (alas, temporary) sweet and adorable phase, Frannie (Julianne Moore) celebrating her 20th birthday with a gift from Doug (John Wesley Shipp) before he reveals the full extent of his nutsiness (well, he does, see the Christmas card Kim gets, but no one realizes it yet), Kevin (Steven Weber) attempting to clear his name, John visiting an incredibly young Andy, and Dusty in a Member's Only jacket. It was 1985....


"Should I be honored by your visit?" Carl inquired of his onetime nemesis.

"You should be worried," Mac explained politely.

"That I'm losing my mind?"

"Your mind and your soul are of no concern to me."

"Ah. How about my wife then? If you're here to warn me off, I'm afraid you've arrived over a decade too late. I realize time is more fluid in the hereafter, but, nonetheless — "

"Shut up, Carl," Mac said pleasantly. "Your baroque rhetoric does nothing for me. I'll take a man who means what he says over one who couches his true motives in flourishes worthy of James Joyce at his most overindulgent. What?" he smiled in response to Carl's befuddlement. "Did you think you were the only one who'd ever cracked a book?"

"Alright. In plain language: What is it you want of me then?"


It's Christmas Eve 2010, and the present day citizens of Bay City are about to receive visits from several ghosts of Bay City past!


Friday, December 17, 2010


Christmas in Another World (1986):

Mac! Ada! Quinn (being kind of inhospitable to James Pickens Jr. - guess she's not a Grey's Anatomy fan)! Assorted McKinnons (don't spend too long pondering how Mary is both Scott and Cheryl's mother... and they're dating) and Michael plotting to ruin Reginald Love's day! Pre-teen Matt (trying to forge a relationship with newly discovered biological dad, Mitch, whose gone a bit overboard in the gifts department. Then again, he's competing with Mac Cory. He's going to lose. Mitch also wants Rachel back. He's going to lose.)



Despite Kevin not really saying anything threatening, Mindy couldn't help feeling threatened. Figuring it takes a troubled boy to explain a troubled boy, she turned to Jonathan for advice.

"Kid's wack," Jonathan offered without a trace of irony.

He also advised that Mindy should figure out what's most important to Kevin, and use that against him. Mindy had an idea... but she wasn't sure if she'd have the guts to use it.

Before mentioning her encounter with Kevin to Rick, Mindy sprang another idea on him: How about they invite GQ to spend Christmas with them and Hudson? If he sees how happy his son is and how committed the Bauers are to letting GQ be a part of his life, maybe he won't pursue custody? (To vote on whether the Bay City DA should drop the criminal charges against GQ, leaving him free to get Hudson back, go to the bottom of: )

Later, at a tree-decorating party, Rick, Mindy, Beth, Phillip, Michelle, Danny, Lizzie, Bill, Holly and Ed all shared their favorite memories of past holidays. (Check out the vintage GL video clips at: )

And then they received a most peculiar invitation....

What was it? Find out and tweet Mindy your advice on what she should do next at: Read Mindy's tweets from oldest to newest at:

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Christmas in Salem can mean only one thing: A Horton Tree-Trimming, complete with ornaments celebrating new family members (like, in this case, Jennifer's daughter, Abby) and commemorating those that have passed on.

In 1993, however
, the routine was upended a bit. Tom (Macdonald Carey) was in the hospital post-surgery and, instead of blooming in the living room, the holiday tree was moved to his bedside.

Enjoy this classic Days of Our Lives clip below.


"Look me in the eye and tell me the truth, Fanny," stealing a moment as the sun rose outside before they returned to ICU in preparation for Lorna being taken into surgery, Lucas forced his wife to turn around and look at him, despite her best attempts not to. "Do you honestly, genuinely believe that our daughter's baby is, in fact, Morgan's? And that she intended to abort it, no matter what?"

"What does it matter?" Felicia demanded. "You heard the doctors. This is Lorna's best chance to pull through this. That's the only thing of any importance right now."

"It matters to Jamie."

"Because he's thinking about himself, and his wounded male ego, and marking his territory, instead of Lorna and what she needs."

"I don't care what that marriage license says. Lorna loves Jamie now. Period. You didn't see her face when she was willing to throw her whole life away and go on the run with him. I did. Or afterwards, when she came to visit me in jail. She was planning a future with Jamie. A family. She was urging me to fight and stay out of prison so I could stick around to enjoy my grandchildren. I'd never seen her happier."

"You've barely seen her anything," Felicia shot back, her nerves stretched to the breaking point, unable to take this nonsense anymore. "How long have you known Lorna, Luke? In real time, how long? Maybe eighteen months or so, twenty years ago. Most of which you spent hating her guts and warning her to keep away from us or else. And now, since you've been back. We've barely seen her. We don't actually know anything about what she's thinking or feeling. And you have no idea what makes her happy, or who. You disagree about my siding with Morgan. Fine. Disagree. Take Jamie's side. But, don't you dare suggest that you have any inkling of what Lorna would have wanted."


Felicia turns on Lucas as Jamie resorts to drastic measures to protect Lorna and Morgan takes his case up the hospital chain of command, Sharlene and Frankie face a pair of harsh truths, Grant struggles to explain himself to Lila, and Allie seeks support from a surprise source.

All at:

Help us direct the story! Vote in our episode polls and make sure to leave a comment on the SO451 Message Board!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Christmas in Llanview (1989).

Clint seethes at Viki on-stage with her new-found daughter, Megan (Jessica Tuck pre-True Blood)... and Megan's Daddy, Roger. (The truth came out while all were trapped in the underground city of Eterna. Maybe Clint is still a little pissed off about that, as well.)

Plus, for Avengers fans, we've got Linda Thorson (a.k.a. Not Diana Rigg), Tina (Andrea Evans) and Gabrielle (Fiona Hutchison) in very low-cut dresses (especially for December 25 in Pennsylvania), pre-teens Kevin and Joey and toddler Jessica, Bo with Jensen Buchanan as Sarah, Max as Santa, and Delilah, Rafe and Sammi (she of daytime's first embryo transplant... until we found out about the unaborted Josh on AMC) trying to say good-by to a "cantankerous" Asa.

And who is that playing little Sammi, The Embryo Transplant, btw? None other than Danielle Harris, pre-Urban Legend, Halloween II and Blood Night, looking a wee bit more innocent....



Mariann Aalda gives you the latest on what Alicia Van Dine and Chris Weatherhead, the actress who played her, are up to now in our new installment of

Plus, a personal message from Marianne below:

EYE ON MONTICELLO is going on hiatus for the holidays and will return with a new episode on Wednesday, January 5. Meanwhile, I invite you to leave comments on how YOU predict “The Mystery of “Wonderland Lane” will be resolved! ;)

Also, if you’d like to keep the EYE ON MONTICELLO blog series going, please forward it to friends and ask them to post it on their face book pages and blogs so that we can build circulation. This time off will give them an opportunity to catch up and read the earlier episodes. A number of you have emailed me of your desire in seeing classic episodes of EDGE OF NIGHT make a return on cable TV. I can assure you that a large circulation of EYE ON MONTICELLO will capture the attention of sponsors and maybe we can make that happen… Something to aim for in 2011!

Meanwhile, have a safe, joyful, fun-filled holiday everybody! & C U next year!!!

XO, Mariann/"DiDi"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Christmas 1986 in Port Charles!

It's the traditional children's parade led by a very young Robin, a very 1980s-big haired Anna (flanked by both Robert and Duke - some women get all the luck), with several snarky Quartermaines (including Jimmy Lee), Tiffany and Sean, and, for some reason, General Hospital's token Jew, lawyer Jake Meyer, organizing the whole thing! (But, don't worry, Jake was only Jewish when it caused problems in his relationship with Irish Catholic Rose Kelly. Once he married Bobbie Spencer who, like most soap characters, was a Christian of Indeterminate Denomination, all his interfaith issues miraculously disappeared.)

Plus a Guiding Light holiday greeting from Jerry ver Dorn circa 2001 at: (scroll all the way down to the bottom).
By Alina Adams

The first professional skating competition I ever worked was the 1992 World Championships in Oakland, CA. It was also the first time I saw France's Philippe Candeloro.

Candeloro had this spin that inevitably brought the crowd to its feet. (Watch it below.)

However, no matter how loudly the crowd screamed and clapped for it, the judges wouldn't give it marks and, in fact, eventually Candeloro began putting it at the end of his program, after the time for marking his elements had elapsed.

The reason was disarmingly simple: If you are on the edge of your boots instead of on your blades, you are not skating, you are doing something else. (The same goes for ice-dancers who lie about, dead, for a good portion of their routine. More stringent rules were put in to keep the prostrate-writhing to a minimum.)

On Skating With the Stars last night, the only star who actually skated was Jonny Moseley. (Of course, as my brother, the ex-champion ice-dancer put it, "Show doesn't have any stars, why should we expect it to have any skating?").

Bethany gyrated. Bethany pointed. Bethany did all this without moving her feet much. The bulk of her movement came from being dragged around by her partner.

And while everyone went wild over Rebecca Budig's three overhead lifts, the fact of the matter is, that wasn't skating either. That was holding herself still while being picked up. Is it easy? No. Is it terrifying? Yes. Is it an actual skating skill? Debatable...

Jonny actually skated. And he did the lifting, too. While I'm still not sure why John Zimmerman (pictured with his wife, Italian champion Sivia Fontana, me and my first skating mystery title, Murder on Ice) was there to work on lifts with the other two teams (Ethan and Fred are pair skaters themselves), I am more intrigued by the apparent spotter that briefly appeared on camera, seemingly there to catch the girls in practice - and why we haven't heard about these "helpers" before.

So, in case I wasn't clear: Jonny for the win!

(For Jonny's take on going from snow to ice, click here.)


Alina Adams is the author of "Skate Crime: A Figure Skating Mystery," now available as an e-book from Amazon.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Another classic soap Christmas clip (actually, this one is technically a bunch of them put together)! This time from Santa Barbara.

Julia (Nancy Lee Grahn) was a single, high-powered attorney who was fed up with men and romantic relationships and decided to have a baby on her own. (Not to be confused with GH's Alexis Davis, who was a single, high-powered attorney who was fed up with men and romantic relationships and decided to have a baby on her own after a one-night stand with the local, mumbling, though terribly fertile mobster. Even though they kinda look alike.)

She turned to Mason (Lane Davies), a Shakespeare and other poetry quoting, sometime drunk who Julia figured would never be interested in asserting his paternal rights, to make it happen.

Mason slept with Julia - strictly for procreational reasons, of course. And kinda, sorta fell in love with her, too. Julia kinda, sorta fell in love with Mason. But, that didn't work with the whole, very oft-stated have a baby on her own thing. Oh, and also, Mason had married Tori by this point. And Tori was pregnant. Not with Mason's child, of course. That would be silly. This was a soap, after all.

Tori's baby's father was Cruz, current lover of Mason's sister, Eden. Mason figured he would step up, marry Tori, protect Eden, and earn the love of his father, CC, whom Mason absolutely, positively did not spend his entire life trying to impress.

Tori had a boy, Chip. Julia had a girl, Samantha.

And then Tori went into rehab for cocaine addiction. And Mason was alone... at Christmas time...


Sharlene asked Frankie to accompany her to Gregory's grave. She went every week — just to talk, she said. But, it was getting harder and harder, she confessed, to throw words into the empty air. Frankie was happy to make whatever minor contribution she could. And, because she couldn't bear to leave her for too long right now, Frankie brought Lori Ann to the cemetery with her.

The little girl seemed delighted with the sunset bouncing off the polished headstones, as well as the colorful selection of flowers Sharlene allowed her to pull a few petals off of before reverentially placing the bouquet under the chiseled inscription: Gregory John Hudson 1991-2010. Sleep on now, and take your rest. Matthew 26:45

Seeing the epitaph for the first time, Frankie noted, "That's nice. Your idea?"

"Donna's actually, if you can believe it. I'm amazed her tongue didn't catch fire quoting a bible verse. But, she suggested it to John and he told me and.... Gregory fought so long and so hard, Frankie. If anyone deserves to rest in peace...."
"I think that's the first time I've heard you acknowledge how hard he did fight. Until he just couldn't do it anymore."


Frankie and Sharlene commiserate over the similarity of their situations, Jamie pleads with Morgan and Felicia to reconsider their stance on Lorna, Marley and Grant cocoon within their web of lies, Jen makes a confession to Steven about Hudson, and Kevin has a proposition for Lila.

All at:

It's an open comment thread today at Facebook: and the Soap Opera 451 Message Board: Tell us what you'd like to see in Bay City (and what you wouldn't) in 2011!

Friday, December 10, 2010



Over dinner with Rick, Mindy and Leah, Kevin Marler reminded Rick of the role he'd played in Ross' accidental death.

Mindy thought that Kevin was trying to turn Leah against her father, and promised Rick she'd get to the bottom of what Kevin was up to.

Mindy questioned Frank, who admitted that, the entire time he lived with Blake, Kevin was so distant, Frank never felt like he understood the boy.

"Listen," Frank sighed. "I think Blake did the best she could with Kevin. But, if Leah were my daughter, I wouldn't want Kevin anywhere near her."

As she was leaving Company - speak of the devil! - Mindy ran into Kevin, who explained that he knew how to play nice... as long as people were nice to him.

Now, Mindy is wondering whether the little punk out and out threatened her. Read Mindy's tweets at: You can subscribe to get daily updates at: and contribute your thoughts to help Guide the Light!

It's Christmas 1995 in Pine Valley...

Teacher Michael (played by a pre-Prison Break Chris Bruno) deals with the repercussions of coming out to his students, including Bobby Warner and Scott Chandler... as well as to brother-in-law Trevor (also, remember how autistic Lily freaks out at the color red? Check out what her mother and stepdad are wearing in this clip).

And as an added bonus at the link, Hebrew and Arabic subtitles!

Classic ATWT Christmas clip.

Classic GL Christmas clip.

Classic Y&R Christmas clip.

Classic Ryan's Hope Christmas clip.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


99.9 % of the characters on soap operas are Christians. Sure, once in a while we get a OLTL Nora or ATWT's ill-fated Ameera, but, as a rule, a blanket Christianity prevails for weddings, funerals, and baptisms. (Though it is amazing that some characters can actually enter churches without immediately bursting into flames, considering all they've done.)

The question is, what kind of Christians are they? (Is interchangeable a denomination?)

We know that OLTL's Andrew was an Episcopalian priest, AMC and GL's Santos clans were Catholic, complete with cousin Father Ray for the latter (and I presume the Coopers would be Greek Orthodox, but that seemed rather fluid). Loving had their Thorn Birds story with Shana and Father Jim. AMC's Tom's Catholicism came and went as dictated by story, and ATWT's Kathleen Widdoes once described her take on Emma to me as "spiritual rather than religious."

But, one soap family that never wavered in their religious convictions (even when their actions may have suggested otherwise), were the titular Ryans of Ryan's Hope.

Following our classic ATWT, GL and Y&R Christmas clips, please enjoy this holiday episode from 1975, featuring a painfully young Justin Deas (Tom; ATWT & Buzz; GL) as shy, retiring intern Bucky, a pre-Star Trek Kate Mulgrew as Mary, and the first of the Frank Ryans, currently in a wheelchair due to his wife's (pre-OLTL Ilene Kristen here talking to pre-Home Improvement Earl Hindman ) pushing him down the stairs.


"What did we ever do?" Sharlene demanded. "What did we ever do to Gregory that was so horrible, it warranted him treating us like that? Dismissing us as if we didn't matter? As if we were not the ones who would go on mourning him for the rest of our lives, as opposed to that underage Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, who've probably forgotten him already?"

"We refused to listen to him."

"That was for his own good. If we'd given up on Gregory when he was first diagnosed, he'd never have lived long enough to meet his precious Allie. Or graduate high school, or compete at the Junior Olympics in fencing. Do you remember how proud he was to finish, what was it? Eighth?"

"Ninth," John recalled with a slight smile.

"Ninth. It might as well have been gold, the way he was grinning ear to ear for the rest of the day, do you remember? None of that would have been possible if we hadn't fought for him once. He'd have died at eleven years old. He hated the treatments then. He used to beg me to make them stop. It killed me. It ripped my heart out. I'd hold his head while he spent hours vomiting and shaking. And when he finally fell asleep, exhausted, or just too weak to cry anymore, I used to go into my room next door and practically peel the skin off my arms from digging my nails into them so hard. He detested me then. But, he was grateful to us later. Why was this time any different?"


Sharlene receives devastating insight into Gregory's motives, Morgan pleads for Felicia to trust him over Jamie in regards to Lorna, Lila is forced to suspect Grant of betraying her, Donna achieves a Pyrrhic victory over Carl, and Amanda makes an upending discovery (which you get to vote on)!

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010


It can only be the latest episode of Eye on Monticello!

Check out Edge of Night Today at by Mariann Aalda (Didi)!

From 1990: Brad is (for one thing, still alive) making plans with Cassandra (who has yet to go completely homicidal), Dru continues pouting over Mom (and Nate) loving Olivia best, plus Paul gets an intriguing offer from Katherine's then-husband, Rex (played by DOOL's ex-Alex, and also an Oscar nominee for co-writing The Deer Hunter*; who knew?)!

* According to Wikipedia: The film began with a spec script called "The Man Who Came To Play", written by Louis Garfinkle and Quinn K. Redeker.... (Michael) Cimino himself was confident that he could further develop the principal characters of The Man Who Came To Play without losing the essence of the original. After Cimino was hired, he was called into a meeting with Garfinkle and Redeker at the EMI office. According to Deeley, Cimino questioned the need for the Russian roulette element of the script and Redeker made such a passionate case for it that he ended up literally on his knees.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


ATWT Emmy-award winning writer Susan Dansby wraps up her free e-course with an open conference call tonight at 7PM Eastern.

She'll offer her insights on the last of the sample Luke/Noah scenes submitted, and then she'll open the floor to questions.

Even if you haven't subscribed up to this point, you still can, here.

You can also tweet your questions to Susan at: or just post them in the Comments below.
By Alina Adams

Yesterday, I expounded on how my love of Christmas and television (not to mention my love of Christmas on television) helped shape my assimilation as a new American.

I also put up a classic ATWT Christmas clip.

Today it's GL's turn. Enjoy Christmas Eve 1983: After Phillip found out about his true parentage, he and Beth, who was still reeling from having been raped by her stepfather (are their traumas even vaguely comparable? I'm going to have to say no. Did Phillip think they were? Well... he was a very melodramatic lad), the young lovers ran off to New York City, and met a figure destined to play a big role in their lives for many years to come....


Alina Adams is the co-author, with Julia London, of "Jonathan's Story."
By Alina Adams

My younger brother was a competitive ice-dancer for many years (1996 US Open Novice Dance Champion; 1997 US Collegiate Junior Dance Champion; if he knew I was putting up this photo, he would be most vexed... I think I'll send him the link).

In that time, two separate partners skated over his fingers on two separate occasions. After that, he learned to pick his hands up off the ice immediately after falling (amazing how a tetanus shot helps clarify the thinking). When he takes my kids skating, it's the first thing he teaches them. Apparantly, he should have been giving lessons to Jonny Mosely's partner, Brooke Castille.

As for Brandon Smith and his food poisoning... eh, it's pretty common in skating. (When Russia's pair champion Artur Dmtriev contracted it in Minneapolis at the 1998 World Championships, I was taught a very important lesson by a veteran TV producer: "Never eat sushi in a place where you can't see the ocean." I have a Master's Degree in Broadcasting. This tip was overall more helpful.)

SWTS's color commentator Tanith Belbin had it in Tokyo prior to the 2007 Worlds. Kevin Reynolds at the 2007 Jr. Grand Prix Final. And Evan Lysacek had either that or the stomach flu at the 2006 Olympics. His performance below:

So, Brandon? Welcome!

You're one of the gang now!


Alina Adams is the author of "Inside Figure Skating," "Sarah Hughes: Skating to the Stars," and the Berkley Prime Crime Figure Skating Mystery series, which includes, "Murder on Ice, " "On Thin Ice," "Axel of Evil," Death Drop" and "Skate Crime."

Monday, December 06, 2010

By Alina Adams

When I first moved to the US with my parents in the late 1970s, I encountered a great many wonders. A walk-in closet that I thought was its own room (what? it had a light-bulb!). A holiday where you went door to door and people gave you candy (or, as my grandmother called it, "The one where the children go begging."). And TV.

Ah... TV.

Not just any TV.

Christmas TV.

Christmas music, Christmas specials, Very Special Christmas episodes. (Carol Brady gets her voice back! Mr. Edwards makes it to the Little House with a bag of gifts tied to his head! M*A*S*H celebrates its fifth Christmas despite the actual Korean War lasting only two years - okay, I admit, that one I figured out later.)

By the time I was in middle school, though, and the other kids were all excited about Winter Break, with visions of video games and egg-nog dancing in their heads, Christmas meant only thing to me (that's what happens when you're Jewish and lactose intolerant): Getting to see the soap episodes I was otherwise forced to miss during the prosaic school year (and I bet you thought the Grinch was a mean one!).

I loved everything about them. How the extended (and incestuously intertwined) families got together. How they ritualistically decorated their trees. How a deep, dark secret was inevitably spilled, while other rivals called a truce that everyone knew wouldn't last into the new year. How someone got a miracle and a visit from St. Nick, who wasn't real - wink, wink - or was he? How Charles Dickens got ripped off yet again without earning a single royalty.

To me, it was the height of Americana. A glimpse into how the other half lived that had nothing to do with economic status and everything to do with being a "core family," one that's been there from the start, and would always be there. (What did I know, right?)

It is in celebration of my pre-teen excitement that I'm kicking off a new series, Soap Christmas Flashbacks, starting with As The World Turns, circa the mid-1960s.

Ellen (Emily's grandmother), had given birth to an illegitimate son and given the boy up for adoption. When she changed her mind, she fought his adoptive parents, the Stewarts, for custody, but lost. However, when Dan's adoptive mother died, Ellen fell in love with his adoptive father, David.

Dan wasn't too happy about this new woman in his father's life (ironically, his brother, Paul, was all for it). Neither was the Stewarts' housekeeper, Fanny, who wanted David for herself.

Fanny was always threatening to tell Dan that Ellen was his real mother. Eventually, Ellen got tired of the threats, and conked Fanny on the head with a candlestick. Complications ensued.

The clip below, however, is from Christmas Eve, both the one Ellen is experiencing now, and one she recalls....


Alina Adams is the author of ATWT books "The Man From Oakdale" and "Oakdale Confidential."

Cass nodded, forcing himself to relive the memory of his wife's distraught face. "When Lori Ann came to us, Frankie and I had just gotten back together. We were still trying to figure out whether we were picking up where we left off, or starting over again. Frankie missed so much of Charlie's life; the baby she left behind was now a teenager. Those years had been stolen from her. With Lori Ann, it seemed so right, so perfect. Frankie and I would get a chance to raise a child together. Your daughter would help our family heal and finally become what we always imagined it could be."

Dean closed his eyes, crushed. "And now, I'm..."

"Absolutely right. I didn't tell you this to upset you. I told you so that you might have a better notion of where Frankie is coming from. She's fighting so hard to keep Lori Ann, because Lori Ann was part of our dream for a second chance. But I told Frankie, and I'm telling you: That dream is over. Not because of you and what you're doing, but because of me and what I've done."

"You were just trying to protect your family."

"Nobody cares, Dean. Our illustrious D.A.-turned-Mayor-Elect has made it impeccably clear that he doesn't give a damn why anybody does anything, only what, where, when, and how. I did what I thought was best for my family, and now you need to do what's best for yours."


Cass makes a decision destined to alienate Frankie, Morgan offers to back up his claim on Lorna to Jamie and Felicia, Steven refuses to come to Allie's defense, Amanda questions the details of Alice's arrest, and Donna deliberately pushes Carl too far.

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Friday, December 03, 2010


Thanksgiving in Springfield brought a pair of surprise guests to Billy and Vanessa's holiday table: Dinah and Mallet.

They explained that, with Edmund revealing himself to be alive in Andorra (and yukking it up with India while Reva agonized over Jeffrey and Marah's affair, and Josh struggled to reunite mother and daughter), Dinah did not need to be on the run anymore.

Marina introduced Henry to Dinah and Mallet as the guardian angels who brought him into her and Shayne's lives. Though both Marina/Shayne and Mallet/Dinah swore they were perfectly happy where they were, Mindy couldn't help noticing the furtive looks that passed between the four.

After the holiday, Mindy learned that while Allie attempted to do as Mindy ordered and turn GQ into the police, he had the same idea, and they ended up at stalemate (

Phillip and Beth came over to talk custody strategy. Mindy asked Beth how things were going with Phillip, and Beth admitted they still had their issues - especially about money, and the right way to raise Peyton.

Later, Rick told Mindy that, despite her sending Phillip to try and talk him out of it, Rick still intended to fight dirty for Hudson. He told their lawyer that if he didn't go along with Rick's strategy, Rick would sue him for facilitating an illegal adoption.

Deeply disturbed by who her husband seemed to be turning into, Mindy sought counsel from Ed, who advised her that Rick was terrified of losing his family - he'd already lost so many.

Mindy planned to talk to Rick about the subject after work, but he ended up bringing Leah home for dinner - along with Kevin Marler.

Mindy made small talk with Kevin about Blake and Frank's break-up, and expressed the sentiment that it would be a shame for Blake to end up all alone.

"None of this would be an issue for my mom at all, Dr. Bauer," Kevin replied politely. "If you and Mr. Spaulding hadn't killed my dad."


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Detective Chris Egan has some big news in this week's installment of Edge of Night Today!

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Thursday, December 02, 2010


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Frankie shook her head, tears spilling from her eyes. "It... you and I were supposed to raise Lori Ann, Cass. Together. She was our second chance. We were going to make up for everything we lost when...."

"I know," Cass nodded grimly. "But, I'm sorry, Frankie, that dream is over. It died the day I walked into this place. We have to do what's right for Lori Ann now. And I truly believe the best thing for our daughter is to let Dean be her father again. We have to let her go. You have to let her go."

"And I should listen to you because, what? You've been so right about everything else up to this point?"

"You think I'm happy about this? I'm not. Especially when I see how much it's hurting you."

"Don't you dare patronize me," Frankie warned. "Don't. You. Dare. I came here hoping, believing you'd help me figure out a way to keep our family intact. Instead, you did what you always do."

"Which is?" Cass asked coldly, comprehending, though no longer caring that he was picking a fight.

The words tripped frighteningly easily off Frankie's tongue, aided by her surging anger. "Which is: You make a mess, then leave me to clean up and suffer the consequences...."


Frankie's accusation shocks Cass, Jen blasts Allie, Elizabeth and Amanda come to an understanding about Rachel, Grant takes steps to protect himself and Marley - at an innocent person's expense, Jamie and Felicia spar over what's best for Lorna, while Morgan makes an outrageous claim.

All at:

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

By Alina Adams

My almost four year old asked me today, "Mommy, do you know how to say Hanukkah in Russian? It's Kwanzaa!"

A theory as to why she may be confused, here.
By Mariann Aalda

Part #2

Part #1

To give a historical perspective, here’s a television interview on diversity in daytime that I did in 1982…

Fifteen year’s later, here’s an article I wrote on diversity for Soap Opera Digest, circa 1998:

Which brings us to today… almost 30 years after the interview and 13 years after the article, where what I see as the biggest change is that with the huge impact of cable TV and technology, soap operas are no longer the driving force of daytime television.

Soaps now not only have to compete with other soaps, talk shows, game shows, courtroom shows and “reality” TV shows on the major networks, but with cable TV, DVRs, video-games and the internet as well. The result being that with all the entertainment options now available, an excellent case can be made for there being “something for everybody.”

The thing that always made soaps unique, though, was that they weren’t a just an audience diversion, they were an engagement…with viewers making emotional investments in their favorite stories and characters.

Diversionary chat, news, judge and game shows notwithstanding, today a lot of people are making an emotional investment in chat rooms, on their facebook pages, on their blogs and with narrative video games…all of which are giving traditional soaps a run for their money.

And let’s face it, it’s ALL about the money. In fact, Procter & Gamble pioneered the production of daytime dramas specifically for the purposes of selling more soap, which is why they became known as “soap operas.”

The fact that P & G is no longer in the business of producing soap operas is pretty telling. They did, however, renew a third season of “My Black Is Beautiful” which they produce and air on BET (Black Entertainment Network). And that’s pretty telling as well.

So, looking at the bigger picture, is the conversation about diversity in soap operas already moot?

Especially when Oprah, a black woman, is the most influential person on daytime today and is about to launch her OWN network; Ellen DeGeneres, an openly gay woman hosts her own daytime talk show; two black men, Wayne Brady and Steve Harvey are hosts of network game shows ("Let’s Make a Deal" and "Family Feud"), and shows on Telemundo and Univision (Spanish cable networks) often beat regular network programming in the ratings.

In response to one of Kyra’s comments -- as much as I’d like to see a black, Erica Kane-like diva character on one of the soaps (and as much as I’d like to have an opportunity to portray one!) --
maybe we should be looking at the inroads made in other entertainment arenas and delivery-system technologies, and at the opportunities for the greater diversity that they provide.

Because like Bob Dylan says in his song, The Times, They are A-Changin:

As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

The song was written more than forty years ago, but still holds true, begging to ask the question: “What is the relevancy of diversity on soaps if the soaps, themselves, are on their way to becoming irrelevant?”

It would sadden me to see soaps leave the daytime landscape…then, again, I still miss "Gunsmoke."


Mariann Aalda played DiDi Bannister-Stoner on Edge of Night from 1981 to its final episode on December 28, 1984. She also played Grace Battles on Guiding Light and Lena Hart on Sunset Beach. She is currently starring in M.O.I.S.T.! -- the "sex-istential" comedy-with-music celebrating the seasoned woman -- which she co-wrote/produced/performs with Iona Morris (ex-Fiona Griffin, As The World Turns).

Check out her on-going saga, Edge of Night Today at: