Soap Operas

All posts in the Soap Operas category

Fruity Flashback: The Loving Murders

Published May 9, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Loving Murders

Long term cast member Randolph Mantooth has called it the show that nobody ever saw. But the ABC soap opera Loving did have plenty of loyal followers who have remembered it fondly since its cancellation in the fall of 1995. Interestingly, for a show that continually floated at the bottom of the daytime ratings, it certainly had pedigree. It was created in 1983 by soap opera legend Agnes Nixon and, over the years, it definitely had its inventive moments. A few of those even contained elements of horror and the supernatural. In one of his first acting jobs, television stalwart John O’Hurley played a devilishly evil character named Jonathan Matalaine while the program’s college age characters interacted with a tortured romantic couple, who just happened to be ghosts, in the early ‘90s. Perhaps its most genre laden plotline was the Loving Murders, the months long story arc that brought the show to a close and helped it morph into another (very short lived) soap called The City.

L-R: PETER DAVIES;JOHN O'HURLEY

O’Hurley as the satanic Matalaine

As longtime characters were murdered off by a stealthily cloaked serial killer, the show’s ratings actually rose 20%. This was perhaps due to some of the unusual ways in which the cast was offed. Longtime heroine Stacy Donavan, portrayed with heart and verve by frequent horror sweetheart Lauren Marie Taylor (Friday the 13th, Part 2, Girls Nite Out), met her end via a poisoned powder puff. Deadly candles, heart attacks and coldblooded drownings also made appearances. The most spectacular sendoff probably belonged to Jean Le Clerc’s popular Jeremy Hunter, though. Clerc’s Hunter, an important character for many years on the iconic All My Children, was a sculptor who met his demise by being turned into one of his own statues!

Notably, the producers originally planned for a former character named Trisha, who had a history of mental issues, to return as the culprit. Noelle Beck, her longstanding portrayer, nixed that concept, though. Thus, Gwyneth Alden (Christine Tudor), Trisha’s mother and the show’s diva-licious matriarch, was chosen as the villain. While Tudor did spectacular work and obviously relished the juicy emotional windfall that this turn of events brought her, it was hard for many devoted fans to buy her as the murderess. Tudor had filled Alden with such true-to-life heart over the years, it was next to impossible to believe that Gwyneth would be able to kill off her family and friends no matter her state of mind. Still, the plotline allowed her and the show a significant (if overlooked) place in afternoon television history.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Chrsrine Newman

Gwyneth/Tudor in “happier” days.

Va-Va-Villainess: Margarita Cordova

Published March 1, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Margarita Main

Peter Gunn, the ultra cool private eye series created by Blake Edwards, definitely featured its share of shady ladies over its 3 often irresistible seasons (1958-1961). Of course, all of these women radiated spunk and beauty. But the most dynamic of those varied and capable performers has to be Margarita Cordova who, over the course of two episodes, skillfully danced, sang and played guitar along with the other expected prerequisites of her acting assignments. Margarita Dance

Granted, her last appearance in the show’s Cry Love, Cry Murder offering found her in more valiant territory, portraying a character that exposes the schemes of family member with a firm yet tear stained heart.

Her first runaround with Craig Stevens’ unflappable Gunn was a bit more insidious, though. As Elena, the mistress of a two timing scoundrel in the Mask of Murder offering, Cordova willing delivers the series’ titular hero to death’s door. Gunn, naturally, survives…as the alert Elena slinks off to presumably charm other suckers. Cordova fills this determined schemer with a strong survivor’s instinct mixed with a sly bit of seductive minx, providing for a most memorable villainess with plenty of (the above mentioned) va-va-voom to spare.

Margarita Mission ImpossibleDecades later, Cordova found her biggest fame as a regular on two NBC soap operas. As the matriarchal Rosa Andrade on Santa Barbara, she provided a noble sternness. She was given even more creative freedom, though, as Sunset Beach’s truly memorable Carmen Torres. Vengefully opposing the romantic union of her beloved (former priest) son with his brother’s ex-fiancée, Cordova took the mother in law from hell act to deliciously glorious heights.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Margarita Mail

Hopelessly Devoted to: Randall Edwards

Published January 10, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

RandallGorilla.jpgA mad man was threatening to freeze frame the world. Fair ingénues were being buried alive. And over at Ryan’s Hope, the comically conniving Delia was kidnapped by a gorilla in a daytime television take on King Kong’s love struck antics. Such was the world of the early ‘80s soaps and the game and lovely Randall Edwards was a huge part of that zany atmosphere.

Taking over the role of Delia from the incredibly popular Ilene Kirsten, Edwards eventually made the role her own while simultaneously thrilling old school horror lovers with her best Fay Wray impression. Purposely grabbing a lion’s share of publicity, this attention seeking storyline surely prepared Edwards for some theatrical scrutiny that was soon to follow.RandallPeople

After a successful showing in Neil Simon’s critically acclaimed Biloxi Blues, Edwards was cast as sassy showgirl Kiki Roberts in the 1988 Broadway production of Legs Diamond. The show, nicely, gave her an ample chance to show off her singing and dancing talents in numbers such as I Was Made for Champagne and Only Steal From Thieves. Expensively produced and starring popular singer-songwriter Peter Allen, this production eventually went down in history as being one of show business’ most notorious flops, causing the permanent closing of the theater in which it debuted.

RandallLegsOf course, time has thankfully brought out kinder reactions to the project. Allen’ score has been favorably reexamined and several of the songs were included in The Boy From Oz, the popular retelling of his life starring Hugh Jackman. Nicely, a 30th anniversary concert recreation of the show even featured a still beautiful, dizzily potent Edwards.

Reportedly now a psychologist, it would definitely make her many fans “go ape” if this talented woman would continue to make occasional appearances in creative situations.

RandallLegs30th.jpg

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Joan Crawford

Published January 5, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

joan-1a

The one time queen of MGM…and Warner Brothers…and the daytime soap scene, Joan Crawford has a special place in the heart of distinguished horror lovers everywhere. Allowing herself to be humbled for her art, she gave victimhood a special glow in the classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? Her subsequent terror offerings may not have been as distinguished as this oft nominated chiller, but they sure were fun! From Strait Jacket to Berserk! to Trog, the lady Crawford always gave her professional best.

She was similarly committed when given a song and dance number to do in The Hollywood Revue of 1929.

Meanwhile, The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia covers everything else that this golden age superstar accomplished in her lifetime.

www.joancrawfordbest.com

Joan berserk 2.jpg

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Hopelessly Devoted to: Laurinda Barrett

Published October 3, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

 

Edge Laurinda

Esteemed theater actress Laurinda Barrett is probably best known to celluloid buffs from her work in the 1968 film adaptation of Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Eagle eyed viewers will also remember her appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man, as well.

Laurinda Wrong ManThankfully, working with the Master of Suspense must have prepared Barrett for her work as Molly Sherwood on the long running mystery soap The Edge of Night. With knife like precision and incisive skill, Barrett enacted Sherwood’s reign of terror with a rare sensitivity – and a cold blooded determination. Illogically predisposed to do away with anyone who seemingly threatened a loved one, Sherwood not only calmly killed those she considered perpetrators, but also anyone she suspected may have knowledge of her crimes.

Utilizing horror influences to the extreme here, this EON plotline reached its pinnacle when Sherwood stabbed one offender while wearing a disturbingly cheery clown hand puppet to mask her fingerprints.

A veteran of multiple soap operas, including All My Children and Guiding Light, it is ultimately Barrett’s macabre run as Molly that lingers on in viewers’ minds. Decades after those initial airdates, this observation is a true testament to the richness and power of her work all those years ago – and proves that even without superstar status, this dedicated performer made a true impact on people’s lives.

Laurinda Heart.png

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: My Boyfriend’s Back

Published September 22, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Boyfriend

The Angels sweet, valedictory take on My Boyfriend’s Back has insured that number a place in musical history. Their original version has even appeared in Matinee, Joe Dante’s loving nod to genre cinema and its great showmen. It was also the obvious inspiration for the beloved early ‘90s, Sean S. Cunningham produced horror-comedy My Boyfriend’s Back.

As with many iconic ‘60s songs, there have been a multitude of cover versions to charm and/or amuse the ears. Everyone from Kristy and Jimmy McNichol to Melissa Manchester and The Raveonettes have put their mark on this cheery yet revenge fueled composition.

One of the favored takes was provided by popular soap actress Sharon Gabet in the early ‘80s. At the time of the recording, Gabet was starring as Raven on the gothic mystery sudser Edge of Night. Nicely, the dark rhythms of that show’s plotlines emerge in the pulsing backgrounds in this harder edged takeover.

Gabet, a veritable soap hopper who also appeared on Another World and One Life to Live, is now the author of a number of  books including From Raven to the Dove, which beautifully describes her seven year experience working on Edge and her life since then.

love in the afternoon

P.S.: Those with sharp ears might even catch Donna De Lory’s vocals on the background of this track. De Lory, of course, has long been a part of Madonna’s roving troupe of players and is an established solo artist in her own right, as well. 

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Halloween in Salem!

Published September 18, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

Days Burial

It is starting to smell like Halloween in Salem! In the past few weeks, the setting place of (the long running soap opera) Days of Our Lives has had long lost characters rise from the dead while a mad scientist runs amuck, his chemical concoctions exploding around him! One of the show’s major heroines has also just been kidnapped by a silent, shrouded figure.

One recent ghoul stained returnee has even taken a deadly shine to some of her old, mischievous tricks. Vivian Alamain (currently being played by daytime icon Robin Strasser) has always had a thing for burying folks alive…but her latest victim Kate Roberts (the incomparable Lauren Koslow) wasn’t giving up her mortal coil easily. After being shot by Vivian and covered in graveyard dirt, this resourceful anti-heroine crawled out of her makeshift resting place and dragged her nearly expired glam gal self to the local hospital. Naturally, as the writers stretch out this macabre yarn, Kate’s life still hangs in the balance…and Vivian is prowling the hospital corridors, hoping to drag her off of that precarious ledge.Days Kate

Of course, this is all being done with a sense of grand, over-the-top fun. But more than anything, it’s been a twisted joy watching glamorous, dedicated pros like Strasser, who gets more assured and enjoyably cunning with every appearance, and Koslow go at it with few (if any) holds barred. The producers also, nicely, gave longtime soap lovers a special treat by recently reuniting Strasser and Kassie DePaiva, who plays town pariah Eve with distinctive panache, for a brief scene. For decades these legacy performers went at it with love (and occasional wraith) as aunt and niece, respectively, on the late lamented One Life to Live.

Days Vivian

Intrigued by all this deadly, pumpkin spiced mayhem? Well, be sure to tune in, daily, at https://www.nbc.com/days-of-our-lives.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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