Thursday, November 17, 2011
On the occasion of the last taping of One Life To Live on ABC I feel that I should share some profound words of wisdom.
I've got nothing.
For many of us the memories go back for decades as we grew up with the characters who have populated Llanview and those who were just passing through. I can't see one of these former Llanview residents pop up on primetime shows or in movies without saying, "Hey, he used to be on "One Life To Live!"
I've been missing All My Children for months since it left the airwaves and soon it will be time to face the sad fact that One Life To Live will no longer be found on ABC. I still have hope that both shows will eventually be resurrected on the web. This is as revolutionary as when soap operas moved from radio to television. It's a new world and we're all reinventing it every day.
Feeling nostalgic about my favorite soaps and considering the changing landscape of the entertainment industry, I know it's not just the shows themselves that I miss. It's the community. Today I spend time on Twitter and Facebook and talk about my favorite shows with literally thousands of fans from all over the world on a daily basis. Some would say "Now, there's a community!" With hundreds of channels to choose from you can usually find someone else who is watching that show you love and one of them has probably set up their own message board for it.
When I was a child in the '60's, I'd turn on my television set, peek at the back of it to see the tubes start to glow as it warmed up, wiggle the rabbit ears about till I found the perfect spot and the snow on the screen cleared up, adjusted the contrast to receive all the colors from white to grey to black, and then turned the dial to one of the three networks (okay, we could pull in a couple of independent stations, too) and finally settle in to watch my favorite show. With so few choices there was a good chance most of my friends were watching the same thing at that very moment. No one had heard of VCRs yet.
I tell myself it was a simpler time when the world moved at a slower pace and shows stayed on the air for years and years and became old friends. But the reality is the '60s were anything but slow as the world was changing radically at breakneck speed. For every memory of Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo there were also images of Peter Jennings and Dan Rather reporting on the Vietnam war. And while there were shows that lasted like Gunsmoke and Bonanza we also gratefully bid adieu to My Mother the Car and It's About Time.
The only constant is change.
Sometimes met with a sense of relief
Often fought tooth and nail
Change is inevitable.
We can't tune out the static yet and get a clear picture of the future for All My Children and One Life To Live but I think there are a few things we can say for sure.
1. No matter what happens, fans will complain.
2. Our favorite soaps will be replaced on the networks by other shows, much cheaper to produce, that will be little noted nor long remembered.
3. Prospect Park sees value in these shows and is willing to try to find a new format, a new platform to keep telling their stories. It's not a sentimental sacrifice on their part, they're hoping it will pay off. I'm glad they recognize that these shows do still have an audience and they apparently believe the audience will still be there once they've worked out the kinks. I think they're right and I wish them all the luck in the world for the sake of the fans and all who have played a part in bringing these shows to us for so long.
4. No matter where they go or what other projects they will do in the future, the fans will always support anyone who has worked on soaps. Members of the Guiding Light family who joined Twitter and Facebook as their show was going off the air know the connection formed with fans has provided much needed support for actors, crew members and fans during the transition to life after the show. This is yet another way that Guiding Light has blazed a trail for us and now All My Children and One Life to Live actors are connecting with the fans in this way, too.
So, to the cast and crew of One Life to Live, I say a heartfelt "Thank you" for all the stories through all the years, every laugh,every tear and every Friday cliffhanger.
I look forward to the future.
It won't look like today.
But people will always want stories.
There will always be someone who wants to tell them.
And someone will find a way to share them.
Friday, November 11, 2011
When I moved to Maryland it seemed to me that the people here had a very different attitude toward government than in my home state of Texas. In Texas the government was what you wanted to get off your back. In Maryland, the government was how so many people managed their space and their resources in this densely populated area of the country.
We’re hearing a lot in the news these days about the government. Some people want more, some people want less, some blame the government for everything.
The government isn't a group of buildings in Washington DC, a corporation, or a nameless, faceless entity out to get you.
The government IS you.
The government didn't spring into being overnight when someone waved a magic wand. It's there because We, the People, put it there.
Walk into any government office anywhere and the people you see working are there because somebody voted for somebody who got elected and made a decision that put them there.
No one has more power to change the government than you do - than we do - because WE are the government. We decide how our country will be governed every time we vote in an election and between elections we can contact the people we voted into office and tell them what we want them to do and why. The choices they make may not always go the way we’d like but we have the right and the responsibility to be part of the process.
I hear a lot of people complaining about candidates, saying they don’t like any of them. They’re fed up with the government and they’re not going to bother voting this time.
If you do not exercise your right to vote then you are allowing other people to make important decisions for you. If you don't like the decisions they make, then you made the wrong decision when you gave that power to them.
Next time, exercise your right to vote. Work it. Do your research, don't just read the headlines or take someone's word for it. Read it for yourself, listen to a candidate's whole speech and not just the sound bites. Consider the source of the news you read and don't rely on just one. Weigh the long term consequences of policies, not just the quick fixes because the future of our children is at stake.