Monday, February 28, 2011
By Alina Adams
Irna Phillips, who more or less invented soaps as a genre, was born Jewish, though, by the time she was eighteen, Irna recalled, "I knew something very important was missing from my life. Like many young people I wanted to believe in something. I don't know why, but for some reason I did not turn to Judaism. At this stage in my life I was still uncommunicative and did not express my feelings to anyone. I did learn, however, of Dr. Preston Bradley and the People's Church. Each Sunday morning Dr. Bradley held services in the theatre on Wilson Avenue which was only a few blocks from my home. Doctor Bradley's church was nondenominational; people of all creeds and races were welcome."
However, Irna used another personal experience, becoming pregnant as an unwed eighteen year old and having the father deny paternity, to create one of daytime's first Jewish characters, Guiding Light's Rose Kransky, and her family.
Since Rose, however, Jewish characters on daytime have been few and far between.
One Life to Live premiered in 1968 boasting a truly diverse canvas, not only the wealthy, WASP-y Lords, but the Irish-American Rileys, the Polish-American Woleks, the African-American Halls and the Jewish Siegels. (Not to nitpick, but, by the time we met them, Dave Siegel was already married to Eileen Riley, making their children, Tim and Julie, not Jewish by the law of maternal descent, so really, how Jewish was this supposedly Jewish family? Tim, first played by future movie star Tom Berenger, went on to marry Jenny, thus stopping her from taking her final vows as a nun. He died moments afterward. Clearly, some God was mightily displeased.)
Ryan's Hope, a show set on New York City's Upper West Side and across the street from a major hospital, no less, somehow managed to have only two contract Jewish characters during its entire fourteen year (1975-1989) run. (Why, that would be like a show taking place in the fashion industry in Los Angeles with barely any Jews, Hispanics, or homosexuals!)
There was Nancy Feldman (played longest by Nana Tucker Vistor), who loved Patrick Ryan, but his Catholic mother and her Jewish parents objected, so out of town she goes after a little more than a year on the canvas, and there was Dr. Adam Cohen, who everyone thought would be much, much better for Nancy. He lasted little more than a year, too.
Adam was played by an actor who then went by the name Stan Birenbaum. Check him out in the clip below.
If Stan looks familiar, it's because, as Sam Beherns, he was also Jake Meyer on General Hospital. Jake loved Rose Kelly (wow, was Abie's Irish Rose prophetic, or what?), but she was Catholic and he was Jewish and they just couldn't seem to find a way to make things work. So, out of town Rose goes.
A few years after Rose, Jake married Bobbie Spencer.
Jewish? What Jewish? Who's Jewish? Why should that be a problem? (Personally, I think Jake's family should have been more upset about a Gentile ex-hooker than they were about a Catholic widow, but, by the time Jake and Bobbie got married, he had no family to speak of.)
In 1985, Days of Our Lives dipped their toes into the interfaith dating pool with Jewish Dr. Robin Jacobs and non-Jewish Dr. Mike Horton. Robin's father and uncle were both concentration camp survivors and felt strongly about Robin only marrying a Jewish man. (Although, ultimately, the entire Holocaust story primarily served the function of kicking off the redemption of Patch, who, up to that point, had been a low-level thug happy to torture Hope and Kimberly. Once Patch expressed the highly controversial opinion that Nazis Are Bad and agreed to help Robin expose a former SS commander living in Salem, he was well on his way to becoming a romantic hero.)
Robin and Mike also tried to make things work.
(Warning: There are so many mistakes in the below scene, they're not even worth counting. It was a huge favorite among my friends attending The Jewish Theological Seminary.)
Robin and Mike failed. She married a nice Jewish doctor, divorced him, and went off to Israel, secretly giving birth to Mike's son, Jeremy. (Who, we later learned, was a real punk.)
To Be Continued....
Alina Adams has written for Interfaith Family Magazine, including Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural... and Loving It, Back Talk, and The Wrong Lessons.
Lucas reached around Felicia to squeeze their daughter's hand, his voice quavering. "I don't think I've ever seen a more beautiful sight in my life. How do you feel, sweetheart?"
"Stiff," Lorna confessed. "Sore. Weak. My head hurts and my throat's been scraped raw. But, I managed to sleep through the worst of the morning sickness, so, what the hell, six of one, half dozen of the other, right?"
"The baby is alright?" Felicia asked Jamie anxiously.
"I hear she's in better shape than me," Lorna joked.
"You know for sure it's a girl now?" Lucas double-checked. "Jamie said you thought so from the start, but...."
"It's definitely a girl." Lorna smiled at him. "I even got to see her. Look." As Lucas straightened up from taking his turn hugging her, she handed him the sonogram photo Jamie had gotten printed out for her. "Guess you're doomed to always be surrounded by women. Ready to spoil another granddaughter, Dad?"
Lucas clutched the photo, nodding his head, blinking, unable to speak. Wordlessly, he handed it to Felicia, who exhibited a similar reaction, only, in her case, the gesture came accompanied by a quick, guilty dart of the eyes towards Jamie. He looked back at her neutrally. Neither of which was lost on Lorna.
Felicia, Lucas, and Morgan face defending their actions to Lorna, Cass confronts the competition, Matt receives a proposition in more ways than one, and GQ lays out his case for reclaiming Hudson.
All at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_95p1.html
Send us your favorite soap opera moments! Details at: http://tinyurl.com/TopSoapMoments
Friday, February 25, 2011
Hudson's custody trial finally kicked off in Bay City, with Allie taking the stand.
Despite knowing that Allie was to blame for their current predicament, Mindy couldn't help identifying a bit with the girl, remembering when she was young and pregnant and in love with a man who didn't love her back.
Follow all the courtroom drama at: http://twitter.com/MindyLewisBauer and tweet Mindy your advice about what she should do next!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the baby," Lorna repeated to Jamie. "I was going to. I swear. Your birthday... I had it all planned. I was going to tell you then. You must have been wondering what the hell was going on. I can't imagine what you thought I was up to."
"I did wonder," he brought her hand to his mouth, kissing it between every word. "And I won't lie, I was dying to say something, to tell you that I know, to tell you how thrilled I was. Especially the night of Alice and Spencer's wedding. But, you were so miserable. I figured it wasn't the right time to get into it."
"I felt like crap," Lorna agreed. "But, I was so happy that night, too, Jamie. All I could think about was your baby growing inside of me. I already loved her so much. And I loved you so much, and I couldn't wait for the three of us — the five of us; Steven and Kirkland, too — to be a family. But, I just needed to take care of one thing first...."
Lorna's voice trailed off as a noise from the doorway caught both their attentions. Morgan stood there, breathing heavily, as if he'd run the entire way to her room. He'd come to a hard stop, suddenly unsure of what to do or say next...
Lorna comes face to face with the consequences of her lies, Allie attempts to defend her actions in court, Carl makes Felicia a promise of justice, Marley clarifies their relationship to Grant, Jeanne urges Matt to take action regarding Donna, and Cass returns to his old ways... but who's beaten him to the punch?
All at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_94p2.html
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
By Alina Adams
I got my first VCR in 1984. As a result of my mother trying to kill me. (In her version of events, she wasn't technically trying to kill me. But, when you put suntan lotion instead of sunscreen on your very white child and second degree burns result, the ensuing guilt warrants the purchase of a VCR, nonetheless.)
Back in those dark days, boys and girls, you couldn't program a VCR to stop and start. You could pick one start time, one end time, and one channel.
So, in 1984, I simply recorded the entire ABC line-up from beginning to end: Ryan's Hope, Loving, All My Children, One Life to Live, General Hospital, The Edge of Night.
And I watched them all as soon as I came home from school. (Well, after finishing my homework, of course - my mom reads this blog, that was officially our deal.)
Four and a half glorious hours of soapy goodness.
Ryan's Hope and The Edge of Night were both gone (though I saved their final episodes on tape, natch) by the time I came to work at ABC Daytime in 1995.
Loving was also on its last legs, but, right before it morphed into The City and Lauren-Marie Taylor (Stacey) hosted a week's worth of retrospectives featuring Corinth's serial killer, I got to write her intros, earning my WGA union card in the process (I was a real TV writer now! As my father said, "Who knew all those years you wasted watching soap operas would ever turn out to be useful!").
Check out the Figure It Out promo, below:
So why am I taking this trip down memory lane today?
Because, Ryan's Hope is gone, The Edge of Night is gone, Loving and The City are gone, CBS is down to two soaps, NBC only has one, and now comes a report that either All My Children or One Life to Live is on the chopping block.
Et tu, ABC?
Alina Adams worked at ABC Daytime from 1995 to 1997 and Procter & Gamble Productions from 2001 to 2010. She is the author of "Oakdale Confidential" and "The Man From Oakdale" and the co-writer of "Jonathan's Story."
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
After ten years as Creative Content Producer for the Procter & Gamble soap operas, “As The World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” I became very familiar with the following phrase: If only TPTB (The Powers That Be) would do what the fans want, this show’s ratings would go through the roof!
After ten years, I also became privy to one of show biz’ dirty secrets: There is no such thing as what all the fans want.
Even when it seems like there is only one possible way for a story to wrap up, somewhere, someone will disagree. I guarantee it.
Check out my guest-blog on the subject of reader input in interactive fiction at: http://howardsherman.net/post/3444822660.
A giggle for those heading off to work today after a long weekend.
Myrtle! Mona! Ellen! Dimitri! Maria! Edmund! Adam! Erica! Nick! Tom! Plus Grant Aleksander (Alec; AMC & Phillip; GL).
Monday, February 21, 2011
"Don't you see?" Felicia challenged Rachel. "He hasn't changed a bit. Jamie is still the same petulant, selfish, spoiled brat he was all those years ago! Bullying people into giving him the toy he fancies at the moment, only to throw it away as soon as he wins, not caring about the heartache he caused along the way. I cannot — I will not — stand by silently and allow him to discard Lorna the same way he disposed of all the other women in his life."
"My turn," Rachel announced as soon as there was silence longer than a heartbeat between them. "First of all, Jamie is not the same person he was twenty years ago. And neither, unfortunately, are you."
"What are you talking about?" she scoffed, Felicia's voice faltering for the first time since she'd come in.
"I'm talking about you, Felicia. You wielding your grief as a weapon to intentionally inflict as much pain on the people around you as possible. You claim Jamie has complete disregard for the misery he metes out? Take a good look in the mirror and think about your behavior of the past year, before you dare open your mouth in criticism of anyone."
"My behavior? My behavior? I lost my daughter!"
"And I can't even begin to imagine what that must feel like. But, then you decided to hold on to your grief as fiercely as, once upon a time, you held onto a bottle of vodka."
Felicia gasped. "How dare you compare what I went through with losing Jenna to my addiction? To something as horrible and destructive as alcoholism?"
"Your grief for Jenna has changed you. Taken over your life. Pushed you away from the people you love. Sound familiar?"
Rachel urges Felicia to take a long, hard look at her actions, Alice proves she's no one's fool, Allie is forced to pick sides as Hudson's custody trial gets underway, Carl unveils his plans for Donna, Frankie inadvertently reveals more than she intended to Dean, and Jamie's prayers are answered.
Don't miss a moment of the game-changing action at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_94p1.html
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Soap stars Cady McClain (Dixie; AMC and Rosanna; ATWT), Austin Williams (Shane; OLTL) and Adrian Pasdar (David; Desperate Housewives) headline Home Movie, a "lost footage" (ala The Blair Witch Project) horror flick about a perfect family going very, very wrong.
Watch the trailer...
Check out a detailed video review:
Then get a copy of your very own, below!
Jamie hesitated, realizing that all his years on the other side of the healing aisle hadn't prepared him for the question he was about to ask. "Allie? How did Gregory... how did he know that it was time to let go?"
She didn't seem surprised by his query. Then again, her entire demeanor suggested Allie never intended to be surprised by anything ever again. "Are you thinking about that?"
Jamie took a long, deep breath, then exhaled it slowly. "I'm going to have to, sooner or later. If Lorna doesn't show any signs of improvement... We can't just keep her alive by artificial means indefinitely. I mean, we could in theory, but that would be..."
"Cruel," Allie supplied for him.
"Cruel," Jamie agreed. "The question is: When? How long? To what end? There's the baby, of course. But, Lorna isn't just a human incubator. Once the baby is born... When is it time to give up hope?"
"She'll let you know," Allie said confidently.
"What do you mean?" Jamie shook his head, as if he'd misheard.
"When Lorna doesn't want to fight anymore. You'll know. Because you love her." In response to the skeptical look on Jamie's face, Allie insisted, "I knew. With Gregory. I could feel it. Do you feel like she's ready to give up yet?"
Jamie wonders if it's time to give up the fight, Grant pleads his case to Lila and Kirkland, Morgan asks Frankie and Lila asks Cass for a favor - and to keep a secret, while Matt gets an offer you have the power to make him refuse!
All at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_93p2.html
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
How much is too much? How much is too little? How much is just right?
In fiction, I mean.
A recent discussion on our Message Board got me thinking.
One reader wrote: HAD A BIG LET DOWN READING VALENTINES DAY IN BAY CITY.I WAS EXPECTING SOME ROMANCE,PASSION,MAYBE EVEN A SEX SCENE OR TWO.... WHERE WAS GRANT? WHY WASN'T HE ROMANCING HIS LADY, HE DOES PASSION SO WELL.DOES ANYONE REMEMBER HIS UP AGAINST THE WALL SCENES.... LETS GET THINGS ROLLING HERE PLEASE I DONT WANT TO CHANGE THE CHANNEL. O YEAH DID I MENTION MORE SEXXXXXX!
While another countered with: Sorry, I disagree. Do not need to hear or read about people breeding. Way too much indiscriminate breeding everywhere we look nowadays.. But was greatful to read about real love.
So, which should it be?
I wrote romance novels before coming to soaps, so I'm pretty comfortable with sex scenes. But, I always came at it from the point of view that the action should suit the characters.
In my first contemporary romance, Annie's Wild Ride, the characters had a lot of sex, in a lot of different ways, in a lot of different places. (I still get fan mail about the Ferris Wheel.) But, that was who they were.
In my second, When a Man Loves a Woman, the scenes were fewer, but they were more sensual. Again, because that's who this particular couple was.
Same thing with Another World Today. I went PG-13 for one sequence, because the occasion called for it. Doing it indiscriminately, without cause seems a bit pornographic to me. Not to mention... hacky. But, this project was launched from the start to be fan directed, so I will yield to popular opinion. More sex scenes? Less? You tell me, and I'll do it.
And that question applies to all soaps in general. Mainstream media believes soaps are nothing more than bare chests and heaving bosoms 24/7 (see this TIME article from 1976 or this one from PEOPLE 1982). But, what do the true fans think? Is there too much sex on soaps? Too little? A Goldilocks-worthy just right?
Matthew Grant has written an entire book on the subject. Check out Sex on the Soaps below:
And if you're turned on by his academic work, he also has a novel out, exploring the theme further. ;)
Maury Povitch put in his two cents in 1989. (Featured are quotes from Jill Farren Phelps and Douglas Marland).
Now tell us what you think!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Ever since I made my announcement about publishing an enhanced e-book featuring soaps' greatest moments (keep those suggestions coming to AlinaAdams@gmail.com - I've loved the ones I've gotten so far!), people have been asking me to name my greatest moment.
However, it is a fair challenge.
And since the theme of my book is: What scene would you put in a time-capsule to demonstrate soaps at the very top of their game, I am going to have to go with....
General Hospital 1994, and Felicia telling little Maxie that the heart that saved her life came from Maxie's cousin, BJ:
Watch it with tissues handy. Many, many tissues.
Monday, February 14, 2011
A 1983 Love in the Afternoon Valentine's Day Family Feud Special!
Featuring the stars of General Hospital versus All My Children, including actors who appeared on other soaps: Darnell Williams (Jack; ATWT & Griggs: GL), Richard Van Vleet (Ed; GL), Laurence Lau (Jamie; AW & Brian; ATWT), Stuart Damon (Ralph; ATWT), Marcy Walker (Tangie; GL & Eden; SB), Kin Shriner (Keith; ATWT), Ruth Warrick (Edie; ATWT) and Robin Mattson (Hope; GL, Gina; SB, Delia; RH & Cheri; ATWT).
Happy Valentine's Day from SoapOpera451!
"Your dad would have been the coolest one at the Father/Daughter Dance," Steven reassured his little sister.
"Totally," Kirkland agreed. "Jake would've had all the girls — and probably their moms, too — begging for a chance to dance with him. He really knew how to turn on the charm."
"Was he a good dancer?" Michele asked.
"A great dancer," Steven replied confidently, though frankly, he had no clue. "You would've had to drag him out of there, especially if it meant showing you two off."
"No," Kirkland corrected. "He would've shown you two off, alright, big time. He'd have practically cornered every other dad so he could boast about how his girls were so much better than, well, pretty much any other kid on the planet. But, he wouldn't have hung around for the whole dance."
"Why not?" Bridget wondered.
"Because, Jake would have needed to get home early, to set up whatever Valentine's Day surprise it was he'd planned for Mom."
"Like what?" Michele leaned forward in her chair, eyes shining, thrilled with this peek into the family she should have had — but didn't.
"Like... well... uhm... " Kirkland's fantasy hadn't quite gotten that far. He hadn't expected to be pressed for details.
Watching his brother flounder, Steven offered, "Probably something totally hokey, like the time he recreated their high-school prom for her, 'cause they didn't get to go when they were actually, you know, in high-school."
"And there'd be swings involved," Kirkland dredged up a brainstorm. "Mom and Jake and those swings... Seriously."
Steven and Kirkland help Bridget and Michele remember Vicky and Jake, Donna and Marley face the ghosts of Valentine's Day(s) Past, while Carl, Cass and Matt compare notes on the awesome responsibilities of parenting daughters.
All at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_93p1.html
Friday, February 11, 2011
Rick and Mindy were able to resolve some of their issues (though she neglected to tell him about the deal she'd made with Dinah about Kevin) and prepared to go to court to fight for custody of Hudson.
But, Leah threw a monkey-wrench into their plans, upset that her mother would be attacking her father in court.
Leah, Mindy, and Rick urged Mel not to represent GQ. But, then Mel came back with a truly gut-wrenching decision for Rick.
Find out what it was and tweet Mindy your opinion about what she should do next at: http://twitter.com/MindyLewisBauer.
Meanwhile, Hudson's biological mother has a tough choice of her own to make. Help her decide by voting at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_92p2.html
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Cass insisted to Felicia, "You needed stability and a modicum of peace amidst the other madness. The shock of his return — "
"Would not have broken me," Felicia hissed. "How could you harbor so little faith that you'd think Lucas returning would make me fall apart? It would have been exactly the opposite!"
"You've fallen apart over him before," Cass reminded. "Twice, he abandoned you. Twice, he's broken your heart. Factor in the sorts of people he was now beholden to, and all the signs pointed to Lucas needing to make a third, quick exit, either through dying for real this time, or simply fleeing to avoid it. After what you'd already been through, I wasn't about to let that happen! So I told him to stay away. To give you some space."
"How dare you! Who the hell do you think you are? "
"Someone who loves you."
"You crossed a line, Cass. I am not a child, nor am I an invalid. I don't need to be taken care of or protected from my husband. By you or anyone else."
Cass defends his actions to a hostile Felicia, Jamie reaches the end of his rope, GQ gets new insight into Jen, Carl lays out his plan to Spencer, and Amanda and Kevin prep a defiant Allie for her day in court.
All at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_92p2.html
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
As announced last week, this blog is expanding into the brave new world of enhanced digital books with the fan interactive Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments.
What this means is that I need to compose a list of producers, writers, directors and actors to approach about naming the moment that they believe epitomizes soaps at the very top of their game.
Unfortunately, the first giants that pop to mind - Irna Phillips, Gloria Monty, Bill Bell - are dead.
That still leaves plenty of others, of course. Agnes Nixon, Claire Labine, Kim Zimmer, Susan Lucci, Linda Dano, Anthony Geary, Bill & Susan Seaforth Hayes, Eileen Fulton, Jeanne Cooper, Robin Strasser, Susan Flannery.... Are just a tiny fraction of who I was able to think of from the top of my head while composing this blog.
But, I want to hear from you! Who do you think absolutely deserves to be included in a book about Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments? Please tell me either in the Comments below, or by e-mailing AlinaAdams@gmail.com.
And keep those suggestions for Greatest Moments coming, too!
Here is one that I received that I was already able to find a video clip for:
From Mark: There is a (Another World) scene between Jamie and Mac that you can find on utube when they discussed their relationship separate from Rachel. That Jamie always thought of Mac as his father and Mac loves Jamie just as much as if he were his own son. This coming after a rift between them. It is simply one of the most heart wrenching moments. To this day I blubber when I watch it.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Of all the stories we've done on Another World Today since it premiered in May 2009, none have generated as much passionate and heated discussion here, on the Message Board, and on Facebook as the custody battle for Hudson, and all the racial issues and implications surrounding it.
In light of the points brought up by our readers, I found this piece on Halle Berry's custody battle most relevant.
Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry, battling for custody of their daughter Nahla, have both thrown some mud, but after word about Aubry's alleged racism got out, Berry is firing back.
In a new interview with EBONY Magazine, Berry says (via TMZ), "I feel she's Black. I'm Black and I'm her mother, and I believe in the one-drop theory."
That goes against the wishes of Aubry, who, allegedly, doesn't like when people call Nahla black.
More at: TMZ.com
Monday, February 07, 2011
STICK IT TO THE MAN!
Well, Amazon.com, anyway....
Amazon is currently offering all three tie-in books, Oakdale Confidential, Jonathan's Story and The Man From Oakdale for $32.52.
Over on eBay, however, you can get the same set for only $25 (with FREE shipping, to boot)!
Available while supplies last.
Rachel told Carl, "Lila took the blame for making the call that got Alice arrested."
"Hmmm. What an intriguing development. Any conjecture as to what prompted our Lila to fall upon her sword in such a self-sacrificing manner?"
"She did it to protect me. So it wouldn't ruin my relationship with Amanda or Jamie."
"Most kind of her. And rather insightful."
"I hate it. I love Lila for doing it, but I hate the idea of someone else suffering because of what I've done. Especially when I know I didn't do anything wrong. I protected Allie and Steven; I am not ashamed of that. Amanda, however, is having a field day gloating."
"It was Lila's choice," Carl noted. "You didn't ask her for this favor. It flowered from the bottom of her heart. Frankly, I daresay it would be a touch insulting for you to nullify Lila's heroic actions by stepping forth to challenge her assertion."
Rachel cocked her head. "That's an interesting way of looking at the situation. Tell me, how often have you used it yourself to help get through those dark nights of the soul?"
"You maintain that it's merely a justification for deliberate inaction on my part?" Carl asked sharply.
"That's not what I meant, but, okay, sure, let's go with that." When her husband's face only darkened in response to her attempt at levity, Rachel wondered, "What's going on, Carl? What kind of nerve did I hit now?"
Carl and Rachel debate how far is too far to go to protect their family while Grant and Spencer seize on an alternate means to protect themselves, Cass and Frankie's birthday celebration for Charlie is interrupted by a distraught Felicia, Morgan challenges Lila to help him, and John demands Donna live up to her promises.
All at: http://www.anotherworldtoday.com/2011/2011_92p1.html
Friday, February 04, 2011
Via Mindy's new home at: http://twitter.com/MindyLewisBauer
Mindy demanded to know what Dinah expected her to say after the latter confessed she was in love with both Shayne and Mallet - and didn't know what to do.
Dinah begged Mindy to at least keep quiet about having seen Dinah and Shayne kissing. Mindy agreed... for a price.
What was it? And will Dinah go along?
Find out at: http://twitter.com/MindyLewisBauer and then tweet Mindy your advice (you have to register for that, but it's free) next!
Thursday, February 03, 2011
In honor of the Ice Storm of 2011 (hope everyone is okay!), SoapOpera451.com harkens back to the Scribe-Award winning ATWT tie-in, The Man From Oakdale, and Henry's first encounter with Vienna's frosty homeland, along with her idea of a cozy getaway....
“Oh, Henry,” Gjord smacked him heartily on the shoulder, “What a sense of humor!” Henry winced. Vienna’s father had a grip like a small cookie-cutter shark. “Come,” he said. “We will show you to your room.”
Henry didn’t know what to say. Would a hug and a kiss be appropriate? An equally hearty handshake in return? A quick Irish jig followed by a uniquely American fist pump? Unable to decide between the three, Henry settled merely for accepting their generous invitation by proceeding to make himself at home. He took off his coat.
“Oh, no,” Martina said. “You had best keep that on.”
Henry shot Vienna a quizzical look. She just smiled innocently and, linking her arm thought Henry’s, followed her parents.
“You two will be staying in the guest-house,” Gjord explained.
“Oh, Papa!” Father and daughter beamed at each other. Henry, figured that when in Sweden, join in. He beamed, too. Even though no one was actually looking in his direction.
Chattering all the while about how lovely it was to have Henry visiting with them and oh, how they wished Vienna brought her friends by more often; it was ever so lonely to have their precious child living so far away, the Hyatts led Vienna and Henry through their living area, around the kitchen with its simmering pots of exotic aromas that Henry told himself he couldn’t wait to try -- someday, and out the back door.
The gust of frigid wind that hit Henry the moment they stepped outside was as close to a “wind” as the Hyatt castle was to a modest little “home.” This was no wind. This was a semi-permeable block of ice floating through space like the Plexiglas prison Superman trapped his SuperEnemies in. Henry could feel his eyeballs blistering from the cold. His lashes froze into pointy spikes. He could feel the wind whistling through his cheeks, for Pete’s sake. This was not good.
“This is cold,” Henry managed to croak out through a mostly paralyzed face.
“It is,” Vienna agreed. “We are 200 kilometers inside the Artic Circle. The weather here is a bit more brisk than in Stockholm.”
“You brought me to the Artic?” Henry wondered how she could have left out that little detail while planning their itinerary. What was his lovely vixen thinking?
“Lester Keys Enterprises,” Vienna reminded, as if reading his mind.
“Cold,” Henry reminded back.
And now they wanted him to trudge through the snow? What was wrong with these people? Did they think toes breaking off was a natural condition? Like tarantulas shedding their skin? Did the people of Sweden re-grow frost-bitten extremities? Did they realize that the people of America did not?
Nevertheless, Henry did as the Hyatts commanded, learning a valuable lesson along the way. Even the nicest of Italian shoes were not made for a trudge through sludge. And Henry’s shoes weren’t particularly nice. Or Italian.
Fortunately, after the first few steps, he couldn’t feel his inferior shoes anymore. Or his toes, for that matter. His feet were on fire. Which, considering he was knee-deep in a snowdrift, wasn’t particularly likely. But the sensation still was not very pleasant.
“Here we are,” Gjord said. He took out a ring of keys and proceeded to unlock a snowdrift.
Wonderful. Now the cold was making Henry hallucinate.
He had to be hallucinating. There was no other explanation for it. Now he was hallucinating that the snowdrift had a light shining inside of it, and that Vienna’s father was beckoning them to come in.
Sure. Why not? In for a penny, in for a phantasm.
They’d passed through a snow-covered tunnel that grew narrower and narrower the further they went. However, once their party reached the point where Henry and Gjord’s heads were brushing the icy ceiling, the floor unexpectedly descended into a sequence of steps carved out of ice. The steps led to a slippery, sparkling floor and a series of carved columns, all made out of ice. A bed stood in the center of the room. The blankets appeared to be sleeping bags sewn out of cured reindeer pelts. The surrounding frame -- headboard, legs, diamond lights twinkling at the base -- was fashioned completely out of ice. Even the bar had been configured completely out of ice. Though the dozen bottles of vodka chilling invitingly atop its crystal blue surface did take the sting out of that particular desecration somewhat.
At least the igloo’s walls weren’t made out of ice.
They were made out of snow, with intricate mosaic patterns chiseled from floor to ceiling to break up the otherwise blue and white monotony.
“What is this?” Henry whispered. “Hell’s refrigerator?”
“Is it not glorious?” Vienna asked. “Every year, my parents invite artists from all over the world to come in and create this masterpiece. It takes many weeks. They start in November, setting up the molding. Then, once the temperature dips below freezing, they spray the shapes with snow and bring in ice blocks from the Torne River to sculpt out the inside and the furniture.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re in the Artic Circle and you have to import ice?”
“It is like living in a magical fairy tale!”
“Isn’t this what they did to Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Matchgirl?”
“You will stay here during your visit,” Martina said.
“Really?” Vienna cried.
“Really?” Henry yelped. Thankful to see that her stay in America had at least imbued Vienna with a touch of common sense when it came to sleeping in below zero weather....
The Man From Oakdale is now available as a paperback at Amazon.com:
"You ready?" Kevin asked Jamie as they took their seats across the aisle from Morgan and Stacey, with Felicia and Lucas hovering directly behind them, as all six — the room had otherwise been cleared of spectators — waited for the judge to render his verdict.
Jamie merely nodded, not trusting his voice. Not trusting much of anything anymore. He glanced over his shoulder at Lucas, who tried to smile reassuringly Jamie's way. But the stiff, secluded way Felicia was holding herself, as if she couldn't bear to so much as share the same space with her husband at the moment, suggested Lucas might be equally in need of bucking up.
Morgan, for his part, was literally on the edge of his chair, leaning forward against the table-top, his hands, the palms upturned, stretched out in front of him, literally attempting to pry the verdict from the judge's conscience so that he might crush it into a ball and stuff it victoriously into his pocket, unchallenged and irrevocable.
"Dr. Winthrop," the judge began, prompting Jamie to groan inwardly. His Honor wasn't even peering in Jamie's direction. Incongruously, Jamie remembered sixth-grade English class, and To Kill A Mockingbird; Scout's observation that a jury never looked at a defendant they'd convicted. "It is the opinion of this court that your marriage to Ms. Devon does indeed meet the legal criteria for legitimacy."
The judge renders his verdict in Lorna's case as Lila gets news from Chase about her own, Allie refutes her mother's diagnosis, Kirkland strives to unearth Grant's secret, Spencer challenges Carl to do the right thing - at an exorbitant price, and Lucas calls Felicia on the issue of Cass.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
By Alina Adams
I love soaps.
But, there aren't as many on TV these days as there used to be. (Kind of hard to miss, no?)
So, as confessed before, I make do with Soap Substitutes, nice, juicy family saga novels with multiple generations fussing and feuding and falling in love.
Alas, books are expensive. (Even electronic editions that cost nothing to print or ship.)
And I am cheap.
That's why I get so excited when I find a reasonably priced family saga e-book (in my case, that would be the $.99 cents price point) that's actually pretty good, too!
The Breadwinners by Jan Hurst-Nicholson is set in the cut-throat baking business of South Africa. (Did you know that baking was so cut-throat? I had no idea! But, seems it is.)
It follows the fates of a half-dozen families from the turn of the century to present day, as they all intertwine through, what else? Sex, money, and revenge. (I.e. The Good Stuff.)
The writing is clean, direct and moves very quickly, telling you the story more than showing it, describing characters rather than letting them reveal themselves (and pretty convinced that folks are either all good or all bad; not many shades of gray abound, and, when they do, they come a bit out of left field) but throwing in so many plot twists and turns that it really doesn't matter and keeps those e-pages turning briskly.
Considering the massive canvas he chose to work with, Hurst-Nicholson does a bang up job of keeping everyone straight and making it easy for the reader to do the same, from patriarch to inevitable illegitimate off-spring.
My biggest quibble - and this is purely personal - is that the author, who clearly knows a great deal about the baking business as well as life in South Africa - populates a book set in a country notoriously plagued by apartheid exclusively with white characters. (A few Africans make cameo appearances as workers and deliverymen, but that's it). Granted, that well may be the reality of the times. Wealthy, middle-class and even working class white families may honestly have never had any interactions with Black ones outside of brief shoulder-brushing on the job. But, it leaves the sense of only painting half a local picture.
Fortunately, the above are minor imperfections that can easily be overlooked.
Written right and priced right, The Breadwinners is a winner for soap fans!
Check it out below!
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
By Alina Adams
When half your career is spent writing books and half in television, it's inevitable that you'll eventually get an itch to combine the two (arguably, I did that with Oakdale Confidential, Jonathan's Story and The Man From Oakdale; but I've always been one of those overachieving, take it to the next level kind of girls.)
Now that the technology is finally here, I'm dying to write a book that fuses text and video in the same way my original concept of www.AnotherWorldToday.com had.
My first attempt at this sort of hybrid was taking a previously published novel of mine, Skate Crime: A Figure Skating Mystery, and turning it into Skate Crime: Multimedia, with skating videos inserted right into the story. (You can check out how it works via the link below:)
For my next project, I'm thinking bigger, better, brighter, bolder. And I'm thinking soaps!
Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama's Greatest Moments will pose the following question to a wide range of producers, directors, writers, actors and fans: Which one moment from the past seventy-five years of broadcasting would you pick to demonstrate daytime drama at the very top of its game?
Their answers will be compiled and edited, inside stories and memories will be solicited from those who participated in the most frequently named moments, and then (this is my favorite part) actual clips of those moments will be included in an enhanced e-book that will serve as a permanent monument to the very best of soaps. (This is in keeping with Soap Opera 451's motto: We're remembering.)
I realize that I am embarking on a monumental project. I'll keep you posted as we go through the process right here on this blog.
I'll also be asking you for help along the way. Got a moment that you think absolutely defines how good a soap opera can be; something that deserves to be noted and recorded as a pinnacle of achievement in the history of the genre? Write to me at AlinaAdams@gmail.com and let me know! Feel free to include any questions you'd like me to ask the folks who were a part of it. (I can't promise I'll get you all the answers you're looking for, but I do promise to try!)
Together, let's build a definitive, living tribute to the shows that have meant so much to us all.
I hope you'll join me!