“No — you can’t be who you look like!”
And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know
Okay, fine, I’m not going to spend another post doing Now That’s What I Call Music 1995, but this really is a jagged little pill for Barnabas and Julia to swallow. Our heroes have been catapulted into the Lost City of Alanis, a civilization of angry women who blame them for pretty much everything.
Collinwood is gone now, swept away by some nameless ghostnado twenty-five years ago, and here’s an older version of Carolyn, furious about the destruction and betrayal and general decline in her standard of living. Barnabas and Julia have fallen forwards in time, landing with a bump in the mid 90s, and the mess they made when they went away isn’t going away anytime soon.
Except here, in this mysterious new playroom set, which is stuffed with the most luxurious props we’ve ever seen. Longtime readers may recall that I’m obsessed with the stuff in David’s room, and the playroom is even better. There’s a big plush lion that’s probably from FAO Schwarz, and a rocking horse, and a big drum, and a little drum, and a sweet toy carousel. The rest of the house has entirely fallen to pieces, but the playroom’s in perfect condition, frozen in time and camera-ready for the cover of Playrooms Magazine.
Barnabas and Julia have followed Carolyn to this weird entertainment center for fancy children because they thought it would help them understand what’s happened to everybody over the last twenty-five years. It does help, but not very much. Basically, they now have a new noun to fit into the sentence “I know that [blank] has something to do with what’s happened here!” which doesn’t contribute much, but at least it helps to pass the time.
Carolyn’s here because it’s “his” birthday, another in a string of unheralded pronouns which are the only things that stand between us and understanding what the hell is going on. She throws the trespassers out of the room, but Barnabas says she can come to the Old House if she changes her mind about helping them.
Once the intruders are gone, Carolyn finally spits out a name, but it’s not the one we expected. “I won’t change my mind,” she smirks, talking to herself. “He wouldn’t like it. Would you, Tad?”
She doesn’t get an answer, so she looks around. “Tad? You can come out now. It’s all right, they’ve gone!” But Tad doesn’t appear, whoever he is, and she starts to cry. “Tad? Please come back. You’re angry…”
And then she bursts into sputtering rage. “It’s all their fault!” she screams. “It would have been a lovely party, and they spoiled it!”
This is the 1995 storyline, all in one scene: a weird set, an old character being angry about something we don’t understand, a name we don’t recognize, and most of all: people talking about whose fault everything is. That’s really the mystery that the characters are concerned about — not what happened, or how to undo it, but whose fault it is. Personally, I blame Judge Ito for allowing cameras into the courtroom.
Later on, Barnabas and Julia find a birthday card in the playroom, which says “Happy birthday to my dearest Tad, from your loving Carrie.” Then Barnabas does a take to the camera, asking, “Who in the world could Tad and Carrie be?”
These are new names we’ve never heard before. We know that the ghost that’s appeared at Collinwood is named Gerard, because he’s listed in the credits, although he hasn’t introduced himself to anybody yet, and in the next episode they throw the name Daphne at us. It’s like the characters are trying to catch up with a show they haven’t watched for years.
This is actually a perfect reflection of a daytime soap opera in 1995 — abandoned, unloved and unwatched, with a handful of original cast members getting older and lonelier, as the plot is driven by new characters whose names we don’t recognize.
Because 1995 is when it all went wrong for daytime television, thanks to the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Forget the ghosts, the vampire, the time travel and the magic playroom — the most unbelievable thing about the 1995 storyline is that nobody is talking about O.J.
Explanation, for younger readers: O.J. Simpson used to be a famous football player who became an actor, and then a murder suspect, and then an armed robber and a kidnapper and a prisoner, generally in that order. In June 1994, Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole and her friend and waiter Ron Goldman were brutally murdered by somebody, who knows who. An arrest warrant was issued for Simpson, who then got into his white Ford Bronco and drove around for three hours with the police more or less in casual pursuit, while every network in America interrupted every program in order to show helicopter footage of basically nothing. This set the tone for an interactive multimedia news story that was followed by pretty much everyone for the next sixteen months.
It was a riveting story, partly because it was a murder mystery about famous people, but also because it was about a black man accused of killing a white woman. The big question was whether the police rushed to judgment because the suspect was black, and every step of the investigation was examined and re-examined endlessly, both in the trial and in the endless media coverage, and then there was the media coverage about the media coverage, asking whether that was biased, and it went on forever. White Americans mostly thought he should be found guilty, and black Americans mostly thought he should be found not guilty, except everyone kind of felt guilty, about everything, and I’m pretty sure we didn’t do it.
The judge allowed cameras into the courtroom, and the trial — which lasted from January to October 1995 — was broadcast live on cable TV, with the networks cutting into daytime programming every time something important happened, like one of the lawyers got a haircut. Everyone connected with the trial became household names — the judge, the lawyers, the police officers, and the witnesses. There were camera-ready spectacles like Simpson trying on the gloves that were found at the scene, with the television-jingle catchphrase “If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit.”
So if this is July 1995, then Barnabas and Julia are on completely the wrong track. They want to know where Elizabeth and Roger and Maggie are, and the answer is obvious — they’re watching the O.J. trial. Where else would they be?
But fine, let’s do it their way. The search for the real killer takes Barnabas and Julia to Ye Olde Professor Stokes, who has gray hair and wrinkles and a hearing aid, unless he’s done some time travel of his own and it’s actually an iPod.
“I warn you,” Stokes says, “you must stop going to Collinwood. Your lives are in danger!”
“We already know that,” says Julia, as if knowing it means they’re not in danger anymore. They keep grilling Stokes, and wondering why he won’t tell them anything, when obviously the answer is that if you tell people about the ghost, then the ghost will kill you. That just happened to Mrs. Johnson yesterday, a fact that they don’t acknowledge in any way.
Julia finds a letter on the desk that mentions Quentin Collins, and after a brief period of Stokes denying that he knows anything, Barnabas snatches the letter out of Stokes’ hand and reads it.
“Good lord,” Barnabas cries, “Quentin’s in a mental institution!”
“The astounding thing,” adds Stokes, “is that he looks exactly the same as he did when he was committed in 1970.” No, the astounding thing is that the rest of you aren’t in a mental institution, where you clearly belong.
They finally persuade Stokes to testify, and he tells them his alibi — that he was away in Europe when the disaster at Collinwood happened. “I asked questions everywhere, with as little success as you’ve had. If you feel frustrated after just a few days, you can imagine how I feel, after twenty-five years.”
“I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me this when we ran into each other the other day,” Julia says.
“I was terrified for your safety!”
“But why?” Barnabas asks. The answer to that question, obviously, is because the ghost kills people who try to investigate. You just watched him try to cave in Julia’s skull with a stone bust. Why is this such a hard concept for you to grasp?
I’m making jokes, but it’s actually a wonderful scene, moody and thrilling, as Stokes tells his story. Barnabas and Julia are on the edge of their seats, and so is the audience, leaning forward in anticipation, hungry for any details. This is what happens when you let something actually happen on your soap opera.
Stokes: Shortly after I returned, I heard rumors of strange happenings at Collinwood. I thought if I could undo what had been done, I might at least restore poor Carolyn’s mind. I attempted an exorcism, and very nearly paid for it with my life.
Barnabas: Then you never found out what happened to the rest of the family?
Stokes: No one has. They vanished. For all we know, they may all be buried somewhere in the house.
(Stokes gets up, and walks across the room.)
Stokes: The night it happened, Quentin Collins was found wandering in the woods, totally incoherent. Carolyn was found cowering in the tower room. They had both gone mad. I’ve always suspected that Carolyn was the only person who knows what really happened, but the secret is buried, perhaps forever, in the darkest corner of her mind.
It’s fantastic. If anybody was watching soap operas in 1995, they would have loved this.
As it happens, 1995 was a turning point in the history of daytime soaps. The genre was already in a process of demographic decline — the top soap in 1980 got a 14.0 share; by 1990, the #1 soap was pulling an 8.0 share. Still, things had more or less stabilized by the early 90s — for five years, the #1 soap stayed above 8.0, and the #2 soap hovered around 7.0. Then O.J. happened.
In 1995, the soaps were constantly interrupted with bulletins about the O.J. trial. People who were especially fascinated by the trial started watching the daily feed on Court TV, and the broadcast networks — aware that they were losing daytime viewers — started interrupting more and more, using any excuse to issue bulletins from Brentwood.
The immediate hit in the soap ratings was obvious — the #1 soap, The Young and the Restless, went from an 8.6 share to a 7.5 in a year, and it never recovered. By 1998, it was getting a 6.8 share. A sizeable chunk of viewers had just gotten out of the habit of watching daily soap operas, and they didn’t come back. The trial didn’t kill the genre completely, but starting in 1995, it went into a slow but steady decline, especially with young people.
For example, here’s a young person who can hardly recognize the main characters of the show that he’s actually in. It’s Quentin, hooray, who slipped through the leaky colander that is any Dark Shadows mental institution, and now he’s here, tousled and damaged and permanently bewildered.
He’s picked up a huge carving knife somewhere, probably out of the take a murder weapon, leave a murder weapon tray in the foyer, and he’s planning to destroy the portrait that’s kept him young and handsome since the late 19th century. Naturally, he doesn’t succeed, because you can slather old age makeup on Carolyn and Stokes, but it’s best to leave Quentin the way he is.
Barnabas and Julia disarm him and try to get him to recognize them, but he refuses to believe it. “No, you can’t be who you look like!” he says. “They went away, a long time ago.” Barnabas persists, and Quentin starts to giggle, staring at nothing in particular. “It’s one of his tricks!” he chuckles. “The attendant’s always playing tricks on me.” You have to wonder how the attendant could dress up as two people; he must be one of the world’s great pranksters.
They manage to wrangle Quentin downstairs, and then they stand around with their heads cocked at an angle while he does a kind of Flowers for Algernon / Of Mice and Men / Contemporary Monologues for Emotionally Disturbed Young Actors performance piece.
Quentin: I still don’t understand how you got here, and why you look the same.
Barnabas: But you do accept that we are here, and who we are.
Quentin: Oh, yes, yes. I accept anything and everything. Except…
Julia: Except what?
Quentin: My own innocence. I will never accept that!
Barnabas: Tell us what you mean.
Quentin: Oh, I came here to do something. Yes, and I failed. I failed again. I’ve got to go now.
He’s adorable. They can’t really decide what kind of crazy he is — he gives us the full One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest assortment, one after the other — but the point is, here’s a loveable version of Quentin, to help wash away the sour taste of the nasty Parallel Time version. His hair’s all askew, and he doesn’t have a tie on, and you just want to hug him and tell him that everything’s going to be okay, and then see where the evening takes you.
Ultimately, it wasn’t really the O.J. trial itself that caused the decline of soap operas after 1995; the trial was just the precipitating event that shook the networks’ confidence in a long-running soap’s ability to hold an audience on a daily basis.
Timing was a real problem for the daytime soaps to grapple with, during the trial — they were trying to get important story beats across, and they didn’t know whether a given episode would get interrupted, or pre-empted altogether. It lasted for ten months, and the interruptions got more frequent, and longer, as the American public gave into their growing fascination with their own reactions to the media coverage of the media coverage of the trial.
So what could the soaps do, except slow down? There had always been a lot of recap and repetition on daily soap operas, that was just a basic fact of the genre, but now they had to repeat themselves even more, just in case a plot point was obliterated by the breaking news that Kato Kaelin would testify on Thursday instead of Wednesday.
Once the trial was over, they couldn’t just speed up the stories again, because they didn’t know when it would end — so when viewers came back to their soaps, there were weeks of episodes that were specifically designed to be watched maybe three times a week. So the audience took the hint and stopped paying as much attention, and that set up a feedback loop that so far has turned ten soap operas into four soap operas.
The three new soaps that they tried to launch in the late 90s — Passions, Port Charles and Sunset Beach — were all intended to appeal to younger viewers, with flexible schedules that could accommodate a couple episodes a week. They were all super slow-paced, and the one thing they were really good at was training people to watch them less often. They were all dead last in the ratings until they stopped altogether — the slowest one, Passions, lasted all the way until 2007, because they couldn’t even get cancelled quickly.
So that’s how it was on daytime, in 1995 — everybody’s trying so hard to figure out who’s to blame that they don’t realize they’re looking in the mirror.
O.J. promised that he would find the real killer. Afraid that they were losing their audience, soap operas started down a path to losing their audience. White America and black America examined and re-examined their own inability to understand each other.
And Barnabas and Julia tried to reassure Quentin that he wasn’t responsible for the disaster that destroyed Collinwood, even though he obviously was. The “haunted Collinwood” story was so popular last year, when Quentin was doing the haunting, that they’ve brought it back for a return engagement. He had his turn of the screw, and now it’s Gerard’s turn, and Quentin is standing at the threshold of this new storyline, driven mad by the thing he used to be. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
Monday: This Is How We Do It.
Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:
When Carolyn tells Barnabas and Julia, “You may not stay here any longer,” you can see a studio light at top left.
When Carolyn calls for Tad after Barnabas and Julia leave the playroom, the camera swings to the right a little too far, and you can see the edge of the set and a studio light.
The playroom apparently moves in the middle of today’s episode. At the end of yesterday’s episode, which is repeated in the teaser, the room is around a corner, in the middle of a hallway. When Barnabas and Julia approach the door on their second visit, it’s at the end of a hallway, next to a grandfather clock.
When Barnabas and Julia enter the playroom for the second time, they’re off mic for a couple sentences.
Barnabas says, “Poor Stokes… he’s so baffled by the fact that Quentin isn’t as young as he was in those years.”
Behind the Scenes:
The Smith Brothers mustache photo is back on the wall at Professor Stokes’ place. We’ve recently seen it in Timothy Stokes’ house in Parallel Time, and before that in Alexis’ room.
Since I’m already obsessed with David’s toys, I might as well catalogue the playroom toys too. Here’s a list:
Musical instruments: Mandolin hanging on the wall, big drum, little drum, curved horn, straight horn, tambourine.
Plush toys: Dog with googly eyes, lion, tiger, sheep, rag doll, three Raggedy Anns.
Toys: Horse-drawn carriage, full-size rocking horse, toy-sized rocking horse, toy carousel, a kite with a picture of an eagle and the words “AMERICAN EAGLE”, set of croquet mallets, toy chest, toy egret behind the big rocking horse. There’s also a yellow kite in the corner under the mandolin, which you can’t really see here, but it’s in the credits of 1069. In 1066, they add a toy sailing ship on top of the wardrobe, next to one of the Raggedy Anns.
So, about the Raggedy Anns. We’ve seen a Raggedy Ann doll in various places over the years: Sarah’s room in 1795, Nora’s room in 1897, Windcliff in 1968, and Buffie’s apartment in Parallel Time. In episode 632, there are actually two Raggedy Ann dolls at Windcliff, but they’re replaced by flowerpots during a commercial break for no reason. Now we’ve got three Raggedy Ann dolls in the playroom. The Raggedy Army is on the march…
Monday: This Is How We Do It.
— Danny Horn
119 thoughts on “Episode 1065: You Oughta Know”
Let’s add rooms with selective entry requirements to the shopping list of elements of storylines. First the Parallel Parlour drew people in to the East Wing to hold or eavesdrop on plot relevant conversations, yet only let people through on a whim. The Playroom will prove just as frustrating, but at least it’s more consistent.
Interrupting the soaps with news teases like that? Imagine if that had happened so constantly with the Vietnam War, etc, while Dark Shadows had been on the air from 1966 to 1971. It’s already bad enough that we lost the opening of episode 251. Our Favorite Show would be unwatchable to this day! If that happened in the 1990s, it was only because of the Corporation, having gotten so out of control and bloated as to transform society into a 24-hour news vulture voyeur culture.
I’m glad I stopped acknowledging Western culture after the mid-1980s, around when I gave up on TV altogether, about the same time recorded mainstream music became unlistenable. Since then, I just shake my head at the mess that oozes out of news outlets like the blood of a gunshot victim.
That’s why I like Dark Shadows — it’s a world unto itself. Maybe there was a 1995 out there somewhere, but it never intruded on the Great State of Collinsport. Because, how could it? No one there even had a TV set.
Prisoner, I so wish I’d given up on TV when you did. I stopped watching about 5 years ago and have never missed it.
Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen Downton Abbey.
Despite every other member of my immediate and extended family being avid viewers, I still have not seen the Downtons.
But I think I may be the only one on the planet who never watched Seinfeld.
Just never thought it was funny. Not even a little. (Thought maybe that was the joke.)
I couldn’t stand Seinfeld. My sister tried to “explain” the show to me once and finally concluded in exasperation that I am incapable of getting that kind of humor.
That must be true cause I never thought it was funny.
“I couldn’t stand Seinfeld … cause I never thought it was funny.”
I also never thought Seinfeld the sitcom was funny at all, though a family member of mine often enjoyed watching even the re-runs in the living room. I just did not find it funny. In fact, I couldn’t even stand to stay in the room when the show was on. After about a minute, I’d always feel compelled to flee to the safety of another room in the house.
Yeah, I can always find someplace else to be as soon as I hear the theme music. Sadly, my whole family loves the show; and because of its popularity, I am familiar with everything from the soup Nazi to the nonfat frozen yogurt.
While I agree with Prisoner overall about today’s television, I must say that I’m really glad I bit the bullet and watched Downton Abbey. It was the perfect mixture of drama, comedy, love, beautiful cinematography, and a wonderful musical score. When each episode ended, I wanted more…more! I cried watching the last episode…twice!
Samantha wrote, “Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t seen Downton Abbey.”
I’m in agreement with Robert Sharp’s description, above. In fact I loved Downton Abbey Seasons 1 through 5 sooo much that I still cannot bring myself to watch Season 6 because I don’t want it to come to the end!
I know, everybody tells me DA is wonderful and that I would love it. I have been watching Game of Thrones (mainly because I read all the books and just had to see the dragons!) and once that ends, I probably will sit down with Downton.
Seinfeld though – just the sound of that theme music makes me cringe!
No offense to the Seinfeld lovers here!
“Seinfeld though – just the sound of that theme music makes me cringe!”
Then, on the other hand, many people really enjoy Seinfeld — “not that there’s anything wrong with that!”
I can’t recall the opening or closing Seinfeld theme music. But something related that really drove me crazy on Seinfeld: The short series of musical notes that lasted only 1 or 2 seconds which were used as a segue to punctuate transitions between the various scenes. I found those ba-da-bums especially irritating!
That’s basically the theme music – just extended, with other instruments in the mix.
But my all time winner for annoying segue riffs is Law And Order.
“But my all time winner for annoying segue riffs is Law And Order.”
Gee thanks, Lieutenant. Thanks a lot! Now you made me remember. However for discretion’s sake, I shall not post a YouTube link to the ‘dunk dunk.’ 😉
Then let us never speak of it again.
To drive away the thought of it, I suggest “I Love You (Don’t You Forget It)” by Perry Como – but beware, it is equally toxic in its own way. Like using methadone to quit heroin.
‘Methadone’? … ‘HEROIN’?
You mean like with needles?
What a fool I am! I thought it was just a little insulin! … and that you were a diabetic!
That’s likely the excuse Barnabas would’ve given the police if he’d been caught – “I thought it was insulin, wasn’t Dr. Woodard a diabetic?”
That would have to be Two and a Half Men where every scene change the word “men” was sung!
Samantha, when you get around to Downton, prepare to fall in love!
Well, now I don’t know if I can stand to wait! I know I’ll be kicking myself cause I didn’t watch it sooner.
Samantha – it’s great that you waited. Now you can watch all of it without interruption. We didn’t start watching it until 2015 on iTunes for that very reason.
I’m the contrarian who likes Seinfeld and doesn’t care for DA. I’ll also take Newsradio over Friends every single day.
But Count, Season 6 (or as the Brits say, “Series 6”) is wonderful, and now we have the movie to look forward to. But I understand, I didn’t want it to end either.
Robert Sharp- Thanks for the heads-up about the movie. I didn’t know. That is most interesting news! I just searched for a cast list without any luck … I’m thinking it could be too early for casting announcements at this stage.
Count, they are saying it will be shot in 2018 and released in 2019. It sounds like the cast is interested in returning. In the interviews I’ve listened to, it appears that the story will take place just after season 6 and definitely before the market crash of 1929.
“… It sounds like the cast is interested in returning. …”
That sounds so wonderful!
[Downton Abbey SPOILER ALERT: Samantha Harris (and JohnE Comelately) STOP reading IMMEDIATELY!!!]
Now, since Downton the movie isn’t likely to turn supernatural, it’s a safe bet we will not be seeing Dan Stevens again as Matthew Crawley nor Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil Crawley, except perhaps in a flashback or dream.
However, as I recall one of my very favorites, Siobhan Finneran’s character, the lady’s maid Sarah O’Brien, was never killed off in the series, was she? … Hmmmm … Oh, how I’d enjoy watching the return of Miss O’Brien!!!!!!!
I haven’t watched DA – but anything with Dame Maggie Smith can’t be all bad.
SPOILERS! Don’t read if you haven’t watched all of Downton. (Don’t worry Count, I won’t spoil season 6 for you.)
You really liked her? Well, to each his own. No, I doubt that we’ll see anything of Matthew or Sybil unless it’s a flashback. Julian Fellows said that Dan Stevens didn’t let them know that he wasn’t returning until very late in the season, otherwise they would have had Sybil and Matthew in the car together and get killed off that way. Fellows said that in the UK, actors sign up for three seasons and that Jessica Brown Findlay made it clear from the very beginning that she was only going to do three seasons.
Personally, I don’t understand that reasoning. If I were on a hit show, I’d stay until the bitter end. Acting is too much of a gamble as it is. But they are young and I am older.
“You really liked her? Well, to each his own.”
From the fact that I so despised the maid Miss O’Brien, I knew the actress Siobhan Finneran had done an excellent job portraying such a wicked woman, if that makes sense. You might say I enjoyed Miss O’Brien in much the same way many of us enjoy Count Petofi on Dark Shadows.
Additionally, if you recall, O’Brien began to feel some significant remorse for her misdeeds, which I found interesting as a matter of character development. Had the English legal standard mandating a 3-year span for acting contracts not interposed , I imagine that Ms. O’Brien might have morphed full circle from an evil to a good character. I would have enjoyed seeing that too. But it wasn’t to be …
Fully agree. I grieved when the Crowley’s were no more.
I have not seen Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, or any of the modern shows, and I stubbornly refuse to join the 21st century and do not own a “smart phone.” I just have a “dumb phone” that sort of looks like a blackberry.
Or as I like to refer to it, the twenty-worst century. 🙂
YANA. I’ll watch select shows online (it takes forever to be shown on TV in NZ, if at all), but my TV watching has gone down in favour of DVDs and stuff on my computer.
very well put, PrisoneroftheNight!
With the advent of DNA testing maybe the 1995 Collinsport Police Department could finally solve the mystery of town’s multiple murders from 25+ years ago…
Not if Barry Scheck got called in to join the Tony Peterson & Assoc. Dream Team.
…and James Storm was briefly a cast member of “Sunset Beach.” This all ties together!
The playroom set always came off as ridiculous to me. Tad/Carrie & David/Hallie are teenagers and wouldn’t be caught dead in a room furnished for toddlers.
Ok, they will be caught dead in the room. But the idea that it would become their focus of supernatural fascination never made sense, say, the way the West Wing did.
David and Hallie might have gone into that playroom – to make out and smoke pot.
Well, at least it kept them away from that meth lab over in the basement of the Old House.
Meth lab -oh, you mean Julia’s sedative factory.
Location is no issue, Julia can set one up anytime, anywhere without the police even being aware she’s doing it. Old basement? Piece of cake. Secret crypt in 1840? You could at least try and give her a challenge!
I bet she could even manage a lab in 1795, AND get electricity for it to run the equipment (after all, what’s a mad scientist lab without an oscilloscope?)
Oh yeah, Julia would have had poor Ben workin’ like a mule, turning the hand crank on her magical “lightnin'” generator box.
What the heck would Barnabas have done without Willie, Ben, Jeff Clark and the gypsies to do all the dirty jobs?
Barnabas is pretty high maintenance – I never saw HIM dig a grave.
They may have their privacy for the former, but I’d love to know what the Collinwood teens discussed while high. How would they get it, though? Aren’t they both homeschooled? Did Itchy Fingers supply it? My girlfriend speculates there may be a hydroponic room attached to the playroom. Carolyn goes there even when it’s not Tad’s birthday & she can sure use it.
I totally agree with you, Mark. That has been an issue of mine since I watched DS at it’s original airing. I was about 12 at that time, and I thought it was ludicrous that Tad/Carrie & David/Hallie would have anything to do with a tot’s playroom! I know that at the age of 12, I would not have wanted to play in that room, myself!
Heck, even at ten I would have preferred to play in the armory –
“…I was just noticing your harpoon collection…” 🙂
What’s worse, they actually have a scene where David Henesy has to sit on the rocking horse.
That must be the moment David Henesy decided to get out of show business.
Samantha wrote, “That must be the moment David Henesy decided to get out of show business.”
Good one! (But all kidding aside, see my comment about David Henesy further down near the bottom.)
Yeah, David was already too old for the playroom, but then they cast an actress for Hallie who could pass for 19.
It also makes no sense in the context of 1840, when kids Tad and Carrie’s age would be married already.
I honestly love everything about the playroom: the way it moves around the house, the fabulous stained glass over the door and in the hallway, the great toys–I want the lion, the sheep, and the carousel especially.
This was a great idea, because it signals that Collinwood is seriously haunted in a way neither Julia or Barnabas has dealt with–hell, they didn’t know the playroom existed, and Barnabas lived before the house was even built! It’s just suddenly there, and like Gerard and the general destruction, they missed those episodes and don’t know where all this came from.
Gerard briefly considered raising an army of Raggedy Ann dolls, until he realized dead people were in greater supply (but only just).
Oh, I would have loved to see an army of Raggedy Ann dolls.
Maybe they are Weeping Raggedy Ann dolls.
Well, Gerard tried an army of pigweasels, but they just stood there staring at him, like they were stuffed or something.
No wonder Gerard was so pissed off.
And every time he looked away, when he looked back they were facing the opposite direction.
Sadly, by 1995 Julia and Stokes were long dead and Quentin had graduated to a nighttime
Speaking of Quentin, I have a small bone to pick with this blog. Mr. Horn, because of your extravagant praise of Quentin’s DS memoir, I ordered it for $25. It was loopily autographed to me, which was nice. But the text was a tad, uh, free-associative. Wandering among time periods might have worked for Quentin on the show, but on the page he’s not exactly Proust. It’s always nice to hear that Jonathan Frid was a nice man who had problem learning lines, but I think I’ve read that somewhere before.
Didn’t I tell you how dreamy and stream-of-consciousness the text is? That’s what I like most about it. I interpret it as an expression of how bewildering the experience was, suddenly being incredibly famous and then quickly dropping back to earth.
This is the post where I wrote about it:
But I’m sorry I made you waste $25; I’m known for my dedication to customer service. How can I make this right?
I’ll take it off your hands for $10. Everyone’s happy!
You pack so much entertainment into these posts that this customer feels amply rewarded.
Awww. I like you too.
Danny wrote, “The three new soaps that they tried to launch in the late 90s — Passions, Port Charles and Sunset Beach … were all dead last in the ratings until they stopped altogether … ”
Changing the channels on my TV one afternoon sometime approx 1999 to 2003, I landed on the soap Port Charles. I was amazed to find on my screen a character named “Caleb” who was … a VAMPIRE!!! Then my shock turned to laughter and head shaking. Not very original, I thought, they’re just copycatting from “Dark Shadows”! P.S. I wonder if low ratings may have been the reason Port Charles decided to go supernatural. A vampire had saved Dark Shadows so maybe they figured it might give Port Charles a transfusion …
Just like One Life to Live did a time travel story to the Old West, and folks went on and on about how innovative it was!
They also did a story in the early 80’s where a character goes into a coma, has a near death experience, goes to heaven and sees that all the people she knew who had died were there. Of course, she comes back to life. It does seem like a lot of other soaps tried to copy Dark Shadows’ success and incorporated supernatural/sci fi elements.
What about all the nighttime shows that went this way? Vampires got to be a real fad. Buffy the Vampire slayer, Angel, Vampire Diaries, Forever Knight, True Blood. The list goes on. Of course, all the vampire novels. Don’t tell me Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris didn’t watch DS. The young people now have the Twilight series of books and movies. They all got inspired by Dark Shadows. It was really a first.
The only thing I liked about Vicki’s trip to Heaven on OLTL, was that the show honored long-time viewers by featuring the characters of Meredith, Vinnie, and Joe.
I thought Caleb was much hotter than Barnabas, so I was ok with it.
Christine wrote, “I thought Caleb was much hotter than Barnabas, so I was ok with it.”
Me too! Were Audrey Hardy, Lee Baldwin, and Scotty Baldwin still on PC when it went supernatural? I could just see Audrey walking around with a cross around her neck! LOL.
I think the non-spooky denizens of Port Charles had fled back to the hospital before the writers started flinging vampire rock stars at us. I would have loved to see Lee’s and Audrey’s reactions to all the shenanigans as well!
I went over to Port Charles because of Caleb. Somebody posted about it on the Dark Shadows newsgroup. It may have originally been inspired by Dark Shadows, but went off in its own direction. I was heartbroken when they cancelled it–especially when they left us with that cliffhanger! Then GH tried to revive it a decade later and ruined the whole thing.
By 1995, news events like the OJ trial had gotten to have 24/7 coverage, due to cable news networks like CNN. And there was live coverage like Court TV. Most people had cable by this time. And it was more interesting than Network TV. A real-life soap opera. Of course, Network TV stations had to try to grab their piece of the pie. The same thing happened on 9/11 and went on for days and days afterwards. In 1995, I was homeschooling my daughter. Of course we watched a lot of the OJ trial, in the afternoons, after finishing her lessons. I got out of the habit of watching General Hospital around this time, after watching it steadily for years, starting in high school/college after Dark Shadows had gone off the air. It was sort of a replacement. In the 70’s and 80’s it went after a younger audience, but with a James Bond/Mission Impossible sort of approach. A rich villain with a weather machine trying to take over the world, The Luke and Laura story and their wedding, Her kidnapping by the same Greek tycoon villain who’d had the weather machine. Her return, then them having to run away from the mob, A Russian spy posing as an American (later this happened in real life!) Two formerly married secret agents who team up again to fight the Russian. They’re trying to find where in Port Charles the Russian had planted a bomb before it went off. Various run-ins with mobsters, including Chinese mobsters. Stories like this. It did have a huge audience among college students in the seventies. I was a fan until the mid 90’s. Part of the reasons I got disinterested was that the best characters (and stories) had left the show, it wasn’t the same as before. It got boring. In 1998, I went back to school for a year and couldn’t watch. When 9/11 happened a few years later, I was homeschooling my son. Of course, once again real life events were much more riveting than fiction. Plus, I hadn’t watched GH in years by then, so it would have been impossible to pick up where I left off. My next chance at daytime TV was in 2009,after working full time for years, but by this time, streaming online video had become available. With shows like The Tudors, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad available online, on demand, why go back to soap operas, in fact, why go back to Network TV at all? At the time, in 2010, ABC decided to end All My Children and One Life to Live. These had been very popular for years. But now, people had cable TV and online streaming, so had many, many choices available. A lot different from the days when there were only 3 channels available and limited choices to watch. All these factors combined to kill off soaps. All my TV watching is online these days, since my husband won’t pay for cable, and over the air reception in our area is terrible. So I, for one, won’t be going back to network TV and soaps.
Carol, I have tried to go back to watching soaps, but I just can’t get back into them. I think expanding to an hour ultimately was a bad thing in that it require viewers to give up more of their time.
I even have a friend who is a director on General Hospital, and when we get together, we only talk about the old days – not the current stuff.
Robert, I think you are right. Most people, even if they are home in the daytime, don’t really have the time to devote an hour to each show they might be following. When I’m home in the summer (I teach school), I’m usually cooking, sewing, cleaning, looking at emails, or even gardening (due to a Kindle that I bring outside) at the same time I’m watching something, including episodes of Dark Shadows. I seldom just watch TV anymore. And always, a significant real-life event will grab my attention. My husband got lucky and got to come home early on the day of the eclipse, and we were outside watching it, not TV. So were all our neighbors. It was only a partial here, but all of a sudden, everything got really quiet for a while!
I’m glad you mentioned that we have the version of Quentin that guys and gals both swooned over. His lost and vulnerable persona here is very appealing.
I know the Collins have always been poor parents, but putting two children in a room with a French horn and six wooden mallets is just asking for trouble.
I wondered about the lawn croquet set, too – does not seem age-appropriate.
Yet another teachable moment for DS viewers.
“I know the Collins have always been poor parents, but putting two children in a room with a French horn and six wooden mallets is just asking for trouble.”
This is especially true when Hallie/Carrie starts whining in a week from now. I’m sure one of those mallets could be pretty tempting for David/Tad.
If there ever were a time for Maxwell’s Silver Hammer…
If you’re going to raise kids in a house where there’s a murder weapon readily available in every other room (check the curtains!), might as well not hide them.
I’m surprised there’s no lawn darts.
I recall a line from the Judy Phillips summary for this episode that describes Quentin’s first appearance: “He hasn’t aged or combed his hair in 25 years.”
They did such a good job of setting up this story about the fall of Collinwood. I wish they had not tied this to another trip to the 19th Century. I think it would have worked better if Gerard had just been a guy who lived in 1970, visited Collinsport, and found the head of Judah and became possessed. He could have caused all kinds of problems for every member of the Collins family and their friends, similar to the way Petofi did in 1897. Judah’s spirit could have enjoyed watching the family in chaos and suffering. Angelique could team up with Barnabas and Julia to try and defeat Judah. Daphne could have come to town as Gerard’s girlfriend, but then was horrified at what he became as a result of the possession. She would then turn her affection to Quentin. The ending of the Collins family curse would also be a great way to end the series. To hell with RT and PT in 1840/41.
Yes, I can totally see that.
Sign me up for two!
Idea: Robert Sharp, using the I-Ching, travels to New York City circa 1970, where he must land a job as DS scriptwriter in order to avert the disasters of 1840 and PT1840 before ABC decides to cancel the show?
Where did I stash those dang wands?
You idea has a good foundation.
The 1840/41 story was the worst of all, in my opinion. I know a lot of fans hate the Leviathan story, I felt like it was anticlimactic after the great 1897 story, but not really that bad. They never showed the HP Lovecraft inspired monster, but of course, this was a low budget show. They couldn’t do a monster like what was shown on a show like The Outer Limits or Star Trek. Werewolves were about as far as they could go.
Once Jonathan Frid was no longer Barnabas and Lara Parker was no longer Angelique in the 1840/41 time frame, this is where the show really jumped the shark, in my opinion. These two characters held everything together thru all the various time travels up to this point. They stayed the same, while everyone else changed. Now, no one from 1971 went back in time. It seemed like they were telling a Dr. Who story without Dr. Who. The audience is just plopped back in time, with no frame of reference. The show really should have ended after Barnabas and Julia returned to 1970.
By this time the writers had run out of ideas, and the actors and everyone else involved in making the show including Dan Curtis were feeling pretty burned out. At the time, however, it seems that a network would keep going with a TV show until the ratings really tanked, then it would get cancelled, many times with no proper ending. These days, TV shows have a planned life span and planned ending, and it’s much better that way. It’s probably why Dark Shadows ended with this lousy story. The last episode was really bad, pretty lame. DS ended, to quote that famous poem by TS Elliot, not with a bang, but with a whimper. On the other hand, maybe the last storyline was deliberate, so it would get really bad ratings and get cancelled, since they all wanted out.
I think 1840 was the worst for me, too. But I thought it kind of picked up a little for 1841PT. If only they had gone back to real time and had Barnabas and Angelique again afterwards, it would’ve been fine.
Mr. Horn, as long as you’re on a ’90s musical spree:
Samantha wrote, “That must be the moment David Henesy decided to get out of show business.”
Good one, Samantha! But all kidding aside, exactly why he gave up on acting I’ve never heard. And I certainly hope that no one tried to do anything bad to him out there in Tinseltown to make him change course. I know he later became a restaurateur in Panama.
DAVID HENESY: But if you’re curious to see what the young man looked like just three years later in 1973, actor David Henesy did appear briefly standing in a line of applicants behind Richard Thomas and spoke a line as “Jerry” in The Waltons: The Thanksgiving Story S2 E10 (1973) at 33min32sec in the DailyMotion link below. (Hope the link opens OK).
Had Henesy gone along with the migration trend at the time for actors to re-locate from NY to LA? Maybe … But in fact when you look up his name in IMDB, this Thanksgiving episode of the Waltons in 1973 is the only thing listed after his work on Dark Shadows:
Well…. I attended a few of the DS festival here in LA, and I do recall Diana Millay saying that David’s mother was a real stage mom, and that she couldn’t say anything more because she didn’t want to get sued.
And then I heard through friends who attended a festival later on that David Hensey’s mom attended and was on stage with Diana Millay. I wish I had more details on that situation! But life does go on.
If the star can’t make it, then how about the star’s mom? Amazing tale. Reminds me — just the tiniest little bit — of Joan Crawford standing in for her ill daughter Christina in The Secret Storm (1968) …
And, by the way, did you ever notice the CRASHING WAVES ON ROCKS in the opening of Secret Storm (1960)? I just noticed it now. While no one can copyright waves crashing on a beach, it’s just so strikingly similar to Dark Shadows opening waves that it makes one wonder if the similarity is just a coincidence.
I noticed the similarity in the openings of Dark Shadows and Secret Storm as a kid. In this case though, it would be the former that would have been guilty of copying the latter’s opening, since Secret Storm had been using the waves crashing on the rocks way before Dark Shadows premiered. I think it was just a coincidence.
The original name of Dark Shadows was to have been The House on Storm Cliff.
But I think the waves intro comes from an earlier source, the 1944 film The Uninvited — the same place they got the idea for the sobbing woman in the night and the family legends of ghosts and haunted houses, etc.
As a gothic novel come to life, Dark Shadows was the first of its kind, whereas from the clip posted above The Secret Storm,/i> seems like just another soap, with that cliched ballpark organ music all over the place.
So true, Prisoner. Secret Storm’s organ music always me feel as if I had an upset stomach.
I live in RI, home of the Seagate Terrace/Casey mansion aka Collinwood (which looks even more spooky in real life than it did on TV!) Not far away is what we locals call the Cliff Walk, a walking path not far from a 50 ft. cliff with a rocky beach below. I’ve always had the feeling that this was the inspiration for Widows’ Hill and they filmed the waves here hitting the rocks, it looks so much like it.
He was on Another World in 1976.
The book Barnabas & Co. has more complete source material. Someone above made the comment that it may have been the playroom/rocking horse that hastened his decision to leave show business. That may not be far off the mark, at least in terms of his decision to leave Dark Shadows: “His part did not seem to mature with the teenager. Henesy chose to leave Dark Shadows in 1970 when he was fourteen.” (p. 206)
As to why he chose to stop acting altogether: “I never hated show biz,” he said in 2002. “[I] just found it boring after a while and enjoyed working in an environment where I had more control over my chances for success.” (p. 207)
That he would go on to become a restaurant manager seems a natural progression, as he was always dreaming up little entrepreneurial schemes while on Dark Shadows, like the one he was operating out of his dressing room where he would cook lunches for cast members on a hot plate, for which he would charge them.
Louis Edmonds was a regular visitor to his restaurants, telling everyone that he was David’s father — a “fact” David himself would never deny.
Oh, and incidentally, it isn’t surprising that David’s mother Jeanne (Avery) would appear onstage at DS conventions with cast members, as she was herself an actress, appearing in such titles as the 1973 TV movie Go Ask Alice with William Shatner, Andy Griffith, and Mackenzie Phillips.
I well remember both the movie Go Ask Alice from the 1970s and its theme song, Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, but had no idea at all David Henesy’s Mom was also an actress. I can now see that she played the role of the teacher.
ASTROLOGER JEANNE AVERY: Then, when you wrote her name was Jeanne Avery (instead of saying Jeanne Henesy), it instantly rang a bell with me, but I couldn’t figure out why: As it turns out, “Jeanne Avery” used to write a nationally syndicated column about astrology/horoscopes circulated in print newspapers. That is likely why her name sounded so very familiar to me somehow, because I would always see the name Jeanne Avery as the by-line of the astrology column in my local newspapers over the years!
Thanks for the great information.
A lot of child/teenage actors quit when they get older. The girl who played Sarah on DS. Angela Cartwright, Danny Bonaducci, just to name a couple from the same time frame. The young man who played Joffrey on Game of Thrones quit. Not surprising, young people seldom know what they really want to do for a career at that age. These days, most people are going to have more than one career anyway.
I’m on my second, and will probably have a third after I retire in a few more years.
One has to wonder what they would have done with the David Collins character had the show kept going. After all David was now too old to need a governess or tutor. Maggie was gone too. David might have chosen to go a boarding school for his high school education They might have kept Hallie Stokes around for a little while. Or maybe have they both written out as having gone to boarding school and return as mature teenagers ..played by different actors.
Based on how modern soaps work, David would likely be written out or aged up to early late teens (or rather a 20something actor playing a teenager). Actual teenage boys don’t look like the cast of 90210 or Dawson’s Creek. They are kind of awkward and goofy looking (no offense to the kids at home).
Amy was SORAS-ed for the audios. She goes from being David’s age at oldest in 1969/70 to being a university student in 1973
Bit of a shame, as David Collins was reaching the age where he was ready for romantic plot lines. If Carrie could have a suitor that young, no reason for David to fall for the daughter of the owner of the Collinsport Inn. In a brilliant reveal David isn’t acting strangely because he’s been possessed, he’s trying to impress a girl and it’s hormones at fault!
Another benefit is that the characters would be acting like a family instead of gaslighting or ignoring. Roger would be assessing whether the girl is right for David. Elizabeth would wonder how time has flown. Quentin would be giving David dating tips. And just wait for Meet the Parents to go disastrously wrong.
The audios didn’t use David until the early 80’s timeframe, when he was a young man played by Alec Newman (in Kingdom of the Dead, Bloodlust and Tainted Love). When Maggie returns from where she left the show, she finds Roger finally sent David to boarding school.
If I were re-writing the story, Hallie would have been a very troubled and vindictive girl whom David has fallen for. Through Judah’s influence, they both become addicted to drugs and this will wreak havoc for the Collins family. Gerard (not a ghost but an actual man living in 1970 – no ties to 1840) is possessed by the head of Judah and becomes a secret crime boss. He heads up a drug cartel and also tries to ruin the Collins family enterprise, while at the same time romancing Carolyn, who is still heartbroken over Jeb’s death. The supernatural elements would still be there, but this would be the last great fight for the Collins family. Subplots could have gone on for at least a year or so. Eventually the curse of Judah is broken and the family is able to pull itself together and actually find some promises of happiness. End of series.
OJ Simpson certainly broke a lot of people of the habit of watching soaps which didn’t help, but people make it sound like soaps went down and everything else stayed up. That isn’t the case. The entire daytime programming block on all three networks has nose dived. Part of the reason is TPTB driven. When is the last time you saw an ad for anything on daytime during primetime to lure people back? The main reason TPTB consider things like judge shows and game shows successes is because they cost less to produce and they see a greater resale potential because you don’t have to see them in order so can package however you want. What networks are giving up though is loyalty. Our family were proud CBS soap fans and wouldn’t watch a soap on any other network. I know other people who were just as proud to be for NBC or ABC. You watched all the shows during daytime and that’s where your channel was so you also watched their news and their primetime shows got first pick because you saw their commercials all day. I’ve never heard anyone say I’m an NBC sports fan, I only watch the games on NBC or I’m a CBS game show fan, I only watch game shows that CBS airs. This race to the bottom of costs will be disastrous in the long run for the networks because independent producers can make almost identical shows cheaper and really what does a local station need a network affiliation for now? They are going to figure it out and without that soap loyalty as a secure foundation I think it’s the networks that are crashing not soaps that are taking the genre to new places and formats.
I also disagree that other soaps were copying “Dark Shadows.” “Dark Shadows” might have done it first, but daytime writers even in the 1990s rarely knew their own soap’s history let alone what any other soap had done 20 years before. It’s a frequent complaint among soap fans. They might copy what other soaps are doing right then, but most frequently they copy themselves (as DS is doing with the ghost in this storyline). For instance there was one writer who liked mob stories. God forbid TPTB hire someone outside a handful of people to write soaps so she wrote for quite a few soaps and every single one she did a mob storyline. Not because they were popular, but because she liked to write them. That ripping off storylines you’ve already told once is epidemic. I doubt most soap head writers stop navel gazing long enough to remember what DS did.
And in this OLTL copy DS because Sam Hall was writing there. I was watching at one time, and it struck me that he had two versions of the Barnabas/Julia duo. One the 1967 with the two being cold blooded killers (even killing a beloved character via lethal injection) and the other the duo Karen Wolek/Marco Dane in which they are helpful characters while at the same time keeping the secret of pretenting that Marco Dane is posing as his twin brother, Dr. Mario Corelli.
I think the networks are crashing because of cable TV, online streaming, and “reality” shows. I remember a time in the early 2000’s when my husband decided that we didn’t need cable and before online streaming became available. Just about every other show on network TV was a “reality” show. Shows like Law and Order and CSI were on 3 times a week in their similar variations. There were no more movies on network TV. It was boring. I was renting/borrowing a lot of videos instead. I refuse to watch mindless junk just to watch something.
I got into online streaming around 2008 and I’ve never gone back to cable or network TV. Over the air reception in my area is terrible, has been since the digital changeover in 2009, so I don’t even bother. Gone are the days when there were only 3 channels and limited options. Thank Goodness.
My recollection of the whole OJ time — It seemed like every channel ran the OJ coverage just about 24/7. Yes, it was on various cable channels. When the three major networks – CBS, ABC and NBC – tried to air an occasional soap for their fans, that network’s ratings nosedived and people switched channels so they could watch OJ. I think the big three networks seemed like they just gave up and ran mostly OJ coverage also.
I remember reading that soaps did everything they could during the OJ time to try to win back their viewers — Viki (Erika Slezak – sp?) on OLTL, instead of just two personalities Niki and Viki, was giving Daytime-Emmy-worthy performances with 14 distinct personalities, taking her on-again, off-again multiple-personality storyline to new heights. “Days of Our Lives” (DOOL), however, sort of went off the supernatural deep-end by having one of their main characters Marlena become possessed by the Devil. I heard they sort of tried to somehow back-pedal that story somehow — but I remember years later popping over to DOOL for just a brief moment in passing, and Marlena would just casually say, “Back when I was possessed by the Devil…” with the same matter-of-factness that someone would say “Back when I went fishing on my vacation last summer…”
Yes, it looks as if by 1990 or so, if Danny’s daytime ratings stats are correct, daytime ratings were way down from the 1980’s glory days, and I believe OJ was the first nail in our daytime soap coffin. With OJ, daytime soaps lost a huge chunk of their audience, and those viewers never came back.
Just as a side note, I was working full-time throughout that OJ time, and I did not own a VCR to record my “All My Children” or any other show, and I was not following OJ at all. I worked as an admin assistant at a medical clinic, and one of our new doctors was shocked that we did not have a TV to follow the OJ trial — I thought at first he was kidding. Then that doctor brought in a TV so we could all watch the OJ verdict at the reception desk. I was personally surprised by the “not guilty” verdict — I truly just assumed he was guilty — but I was not following this story at all, so all the courtroom drama and in’s and out’s I only heard about later second-hand.
It wasn’t OJ that ruined the soaps for me, it was the content of the shows I had been watching: All My Children did the umpteenth identical twin and/or look alike story, plus I got tired of Erica’s umpteenth romance with a rich guy, and the show really began emphasizing characters that I had enjoyed through the years; As the World Turns became a mess when Doug Marland died.
Doug Marland’s death was a huge blow to the soap world and to As The World Turns in particular. Guiding Light similarly suffered when Marland went off to create Loving. Sadly Loving didn’t work, so GL suffered for very little reason.
All My Children also suffered because Agnes Nixon had turned most of her attention to Loving and I really noticed a change (not for the better) in the scripts for AMC.
The more “downhill” DS goes, the popular this blog gets.
I put the word “downhill” in “quotes” because I’ve mostly enjoyed 1840, even if it was a continuity bull in a china shop. Can’t wait to see what Mr. Horn and the commenters have to say.
The show may have passed its all-time ratings peak several months before, and the overall creative trajectory may not be too encouraging. But I’d say this week of the show, from episode 1061 to 1065, is the single best of the series. Monday’s images of Collinwood in ruins make for a visual setup as as striking as the first time the hand darted from the coffin to Willie’s throat; the final shot on Friday is as powerful a week-ending spectacular as they’ve done; everything in between works very, very well. The cast is just perfect, Clarice Blackburn and Nancy Barrett especially. A real triumph.
I bet one of those Raggedy Anns is Annabelle. She’s the one attempting to amass an army of Raggedy Anns.
I have to say, with regards to the O.J. Simpson trial, I think in 1995 I wasn’t watching much if any network television at all, and if I recall correctly the only soap I was watching was Dark Shadows, on the Sci-Fi channel, so I didn’t know that the soaps were getting pre-empted. I wouldn’t start watching regular soaps again until years after Dark Shadows’ Sci-Fi run. I do know that anything I learned about the trial at the time was second hand from friends and co-workers and family members, and even then I tuned most of what they were saying about it out because I wasn’t the slightest bit interested. Fast forward a decade or so later and I was even at a point in my life where I didn’t know what a Kardashian was and by then I was too afraid to ask.
Now, in response to some of the above comments which I don’t have the energy to respond to individually in their proper threads right now, especially since they’re all over the place, I just wanted to add that I have never watched Seinfeld on purpose. I had the misfortune of being subjected to quite a few episodes however by friends when I would visit them. Years later I read that it was meant to be “a show about nothing” and I can sort of appreciate that, but it just never interested me, nor did I find it all that funny. Well, maybe Kramer now and then. Also, all of the characters were such awful people, and so were my friends who loved the show, so I eventually came to the conclusion that they identified with those characters who were just as awful as they were and in much the same banal way. Not that I’m judging them being awful since I identify with Barnabas, Julia, and even dare I say it, Angelique. But that’s a kind of awful that’s anything but mundane, so there. So basically it’s the banality of their awfulness I sneer at.
Downton Abbey, on other hand, I might have gotten into if I’d had the time. I might still watch it in the future once I’m done catching up on a hundred other shows.
My fiance of the time and I held a grudge against the OJ thing because they interrupted Picket Fences to show this endless, boring car chase. And then after that it was all the news or anybody would talk about, so we refused to follow the crowd, instead scribbling “no OJ” on the grocery list and things like that.
Time went on and the fiance went away, but my grudge remained. As the world remained riveted, I refused to fall in line. Of course, it was hard to avoid hearing or reading about some of the things that happened as time went on, especially when the verdict came out. But no, I didn’t watch the trial.
Oh yeah, and somebody at college the 94-95 year had a white Ford Bronco parked in the nearby dorm parking lot, so that inspired some jokes…..
I was also one of the few who paid little to no attention to OJ. I was working during the day, had no VCR to tape soaps (and my soaps were not on regularly anyway). I just assumed he was guilty (I still think he was guilty), so that was that, as far as I was concerned.
I worked at a health clinic at the time, and we got a new doctor who said, “What – you don’t have a TV here to watch OJ?” I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. He was actually following the trial gavel to gavel. That doctor did bring in a TV for the verdict – he sat it right in the middle of the big reception/appointment area and we all gathered around. At this clinic, when the verdict was read, no one cheered – just silence and then back to work.
I didn’t have a tv in my glass studio, but Ch 6 in Portland Maine broadcast the audio over a low channel on fm radio. So once in a while I would listen for an hour then go back to music. The day the verdict was tallied, I marked slashes in the lid of a storage box I still use. About 2003 cable got so outrageous in Florida, we cut broadcast tv off and did dvds and (shhh….downloads) reading for entertainment to save money especially later as a new widow. Then the current husband wouldn’t move in unless he could have his sports in 2014. His dime now, not mine. And he starting to mention the cost of cable.
I am just starting 1995…how far in the future it seemed when it first aired. I can see Dark Shadows is starting to devour its own tail at this point in time.
The OJ thing really wrecked Another World, but what really wrecked was TAHIC! They brought in a producer.head writer notorious for having misogynist serial killers in her stories—Jill Farren Phlops, er Phelps. They used this to kill off the beloved Frankie, so they could hook up Cass with a younger bimbo. None of the characters were acting like themselves. By 1998, they canned Charles Keating, so that ruined the Carl/Rachel relationship. It was done to try to get rid of Victoria Wyndham, who was too old and too expensive. They backburnered or fired all of the older actors. During the last year, they brought in a cult leader and his “Lumina” cult. They did everything possible to piss off loyal viewers and tank the ratings, and the succeeded. It was gone by 1999. There was an NBC “Super Soap Weekend” here where the NBC actors appeared at various venues including several malls. It was the Susan Flea Lee) and Her Pet Hunks Tour, as they promoted Sunset Beach and Days by having the young hunks out on t shirts, sweat into them for a minute, and then toss the shirts out to the crowd. Some girls came dangerously close to going over the balcony rail to catch the t-shirts. Even though they had AW actors there, they were virtually ignored. I did get to talk with Rhonda Ross, and she heard about Keating’s firing on the plane to Columbus. It was awful. I spent the weekend distributing green ribbons and flyers with contact info to protest his firing. TAHIC got rid of him for being too old (and they got a bad reaction from test footage of putting him together with his daughter in law as a potential story, yuck). When I talked with young women in the autograph lines, they were outraged because he was their favorite and didn’t care about his age. Yep, TAHIC really messed up Another Workd on purpose so that they would have an excuse to cancel it in 1999.
Port Charles had gone to a telenovela format, and that’s where the vampire story got started. Michael Easton couldn’t talk above a whisper for some reason, and Kelly Monaco thought keeping her eyes half shut like she was on ‘ludes was sexy. Then they brought Keating in as the vampire’s assistant, who was killed by a hypo of poison sitting on a desk and he leaned into it and got a hypo full of poison in his backside. Then he came back, and he was Satan’s assistant and then later Satan himself. They were ripping off Buffy, especially by having Lucy Coe suddenly discover that she was really Lucy Kovik, Vampire Slayer! It was miserable! Keating said that he did it “just fog the money, baby”.
Soaps aren’t even watching now. With grade inflation, the Daytime Emmy Awards aren’t worth anything now. When there were a lot of soaps, there was real competition; chances were about one in 64 of winning in a category. Now, the chances are about 1 in 16 or even better. Now, models who can’t act and are shot full of Botox get Emmy awards for being adequate. It really sucks now…
I don’t watch any soaps and haven’t for years. I got back into DS in 2019, and its even better than Another Workd, which I considered the best because of its intelligence and literary content. DS is my favorite all the way!