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.