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Playing God

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Writer envy, Glamorous names, Casting Info and Fan events

In high school I loved watching soaps for two reasons. First, as a young writer, the thought of literally playing "God" as a soap writer fascinated me. You could bring people back from the dead. Cure terminally ill characters. Marry ten times, including three times to the same guy! As a soap writer, you could do anything to the characters and stories on the show, and as long as it grew from character, the audience would buy it! Or so I thought. What fun I thought it would be to write soaps.

Boy, was I wrong! It is almost the epitome of the "dirty, thankless job." Especially if you read the sentiments on some of the internet message boards. LOL In truth, writing a soap is a gargantuan task, with so many variables. As said many times before, I don't envy the writers their jobs.

What do you suppose the second thing was that appealed to my high school sensibility? The gorgeous faces? The buff bods? The beautiful clothes or elaborate sets? Nah. Although those all played a definite part in my tuning in every day, the second thing that really got me was the names of the characters. Names like Bo, Brandon, Kimberly, Tiffany, Brooke, Taylor, Casey, Jake, Holden, Tawney, Chloe, Buzz, Noah, Cassie, Blair, Lindsay, Reese, Whitney, Julian, Alistair, Ethan, Courtney, Jenny, Jamal, Ashley, Brad, Chad, Tad, Erica, Brittany, and Ridge to name a few. Typical soap names.

The question I pose here is where are the Herberts or the Harveys? The Marys or the Maudes? The Gertrudes or the Penelopes? Never mind the Marvins or the Harolds? Well there was "Harold the Dog" on AMC, but he wasn't a real person, he was a canine. Does that count? LOL

Then, there are the names of the real actors who play the soap characters with their typical soap names. Chea Courtney (Angel Girl, Passions). Terrell Tilford (David, GL). Bradley Cole (Prince Richard, GL) Ty Treadway (Colin, OLTL). Shemar Moore (Malcolm, Y&R). Scott Reeves (Ryan, Y&R) Lauralee Bell (Christine, Y&R). Kale Brown (Sam, OLTL) Maurice Benard (Sonny, GH). McKenzie Westmore (Sheridan, Passions). Jensen Ackles (Eric, DOOL). Galen Gering (Luis, Passions). Zachary Kady (Jamie, AMC). Great names. All have that "moviestar" ring to them. Least they do for me.

I don't really know where I am going with this, other than to say that names have always held an interest for me. Whenever I meet someone with a great name, I make a note of it. Never know when it may come in handy -- like maybe in a script! "McCarthy Smith" is one of my most heroic characters. It's the name of a real guy, too. A friend of my college roommate's high school boyfriend. I never met him, but I always loved that name. LOL "Ridgeway Knight." Now, that's a name. "Parker Knight." Another great name, and an old friend from New York. They are real people. They don't know each other. They live on opposite coasts, but for me, who is always writing in my head, those names could create the heros of my next script. They would be father and son, or brothers. Maybe long, lost cousins. Both very noble, although one will fall prey to excess and ultimately undermine the bliss he shared with his one true love, "Kentucky Barrington." (Isn't that a great name? She is NOT a real person, I made that name up. LOL See how much fun you can have being a writer.)

In a round about way, that brings me to this: I hope the writers of soaps have fun. When the writing is fun, it flows. When it flows, it works. And that's the name of the game.

TRO News

TRO Message Board posters have asked us to create a Personal Topics Board. Your wish is our command, and the board is now up and ready for posting. You'll find it down at the end of the list of Forums on the TRO Message Board Main Page. Share your thoughts on everything under the sun. Wish Happy Birthday's. Talk about your kids and pets. Gripe about your boss. Get on your soap box about anything and everything, not necessarily soaps. LOL Enjoy!

Soap News & Notes

TRO has been asked to confirm the contract status of Olivia Birkelund, (Arlene, AMC) as there has been conflicting internet buzz regarding her contract. Unfortunately, the network does NOT comment on contract status. However, the spokesperson for All My Children did say that Ms. Birkelund is fast becoming a fan favorite. She also confirmed that both the show and the network love her.


Days of Our Lives: Robin Riker plays Maureen Lockhart, Mimi's mother and Austin Wolff is Connor, Mimi's brother, beginning July 11. Both are recurring roles. Also on July 11, 2000, Madison Mason (another really great name, LOL) returns as Gene Brisco, Victor's lawyer. On July 12, 2000, Debbie James returns in the role of Candy the stripper. You may remember Candy. Franco was getting a little too friendly with her right before he got shot. In other DOOL casting news, Aaron Van Wagner (Jason) has signed a contract with the show.

Seeing Stars

Cameron Mathison (Ryan, AMC) will appear at Juniors in Erie, PA July 15, 2000 at 4:30 PM. Call 814 461-0911 for further information.

Drake Hogestyn (John, DOOL) and Jason Cook (Shawn, DOOL) will appear at Paramount's Canada's Wonderland, located outside Toronto, Canada on Sunday, July 16, 2000. Two shows (1:00 PM and 3:00 PM). Tickets are free with theme park admission.

Josh Ryan Evans (Timmy, Passions) will be the Grand Marshall of the River-Cade Parade in Sioux City, Iowa on Monday, July 17, 2000. For more information contact: KTIV 4 in Sioux City, 712 239-4100.

General Hospital fans in the LA area mark your calendars for Saturday, July 22, 2000. Real Andrews (Taggert) will host a fan club event with special guests A Martinez (Roy), Maurice Benard (Sonny), Michael Saucedo (Juan) and two, two, two Luckys in one - Jonathan Jackson and Jacob Young. The event will be held at the Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City, CA from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Tickets are $30.00 for fan club members, $35.00 for non-members, and $40.00 at the door. For further info email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Tell Linda Turtle-Run sent you!

Drake Hogestyn (John, DOOL) and Matt Cedeno will be appearing at Paramounts' King's Dominion in Doswell, Virginia on Sunday, July 23, 2000. The amusement park is located off Interstate 95 between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA. Two shows (1:00 PM and 3:00 PM). Tickets are free with theme park admission.

Matt Cedeno (Brandon, DOOL) and Austin Peck (Austin, DOOL) and many other stars will compete in the River City Celebrity Softball Challenge at the Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky. The game begins at 3:00 PM. Tickets are available at the door. The game benefits several local charities.

The first annual Passions fan club luncheon will take place at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City on Saturday, August 12, 2000. Tickets are $40.00 for fan club members, and $65.00 for non members. Send a SASE with check or money order to Passions Fan Club Luncheon, 4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604 Attn: Sonya (Hi Sonya!)

James Hyde (Sam, Passions) will be the Grand Marshall of the Columbus, Ohio State Fair Parade on Saturday, August 5, 2000. Stay tuned to TRO for further details.

Days of Our Lives Starfest, September 15-17, 2000 in Salem, Illinois. Bryan Datillo (Lucas), Arianne Zucker (Nicole), Jason Cook (Shawn), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe) and Steve Blackwood (Bart) will be on hand to welcome the fans. For complete info visit http://www.geocites.com/salemdaysfest/index.html or call 618 548-0878.

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Linda Marshall-Smith (QueenRuler, Soapdom.com)
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Past Blast

Crystal Chappell & Jessica Leccia reunite in A Million Happy Nows

'A Million Happy Nows' is an upcoming Feature Film starring Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia, produced by Perfect Features and Open Book Productions, due to be released later this year.

Veteran actress Lainey Allen (Chappell) is tired of being sidelined for younger talent on the soap she has starred in for twenty years. Coupled with finding it harder to retain her lines, she decides not to renew her contract, and she and her publicist and partner, Eva Morales (Leccia), move to their weekend house overlooking the ocean on the Central California coast. The move highlights some small changes in Lainey’s personality – mild depression that Eva puts down to leaving the show.


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