TO: Agnes Nixon
FROM: The Staff
RE: Proposal for a New Soap
Here’s the idea you’ve been looking for, the soap that (dare we say it?) can approach the standard you set in creating All My Children, One Life to Live and Loving. It’s ALL THE RESTLESS DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and it has everything that has worked like crazy on other soaps. Take the setting: The Young and the Restless and All My Children really pulled in the college kids with youth-oriented stories in the 1970s. Why not set a whole show on a college campus? Better yet—since a hospital worked for The Doctors and General Hospital—ALL THE RESTLESS DAYS will be set in a campus hospital. When General Hospital needed to inject some pizzazz, they cut to an exercise class, remember? The beauty part is that our campus will be in Fort Lauderdale, so we can get in bathing suits and credibility.
In this frankly unique setting you also get your right-to-die stories (like when that heartthrob Dr. Seneca Beaulac on Ryan’s Hope went to trial for pulling the plug); your amnesia and split-personality victims; easy access to your skin-cancer patients—any illness you need. If things get too heavy, we can cut to the women’s gym.
Our characters? A decent husband with a fatal flaw (alcoholism, adultery) in the Arthur Tate-Johnny Ryan mold; a scheming bitch in the Erica Kane-Phoebe Tyler-Lisa Miller-or-anyone-played-by-Robin Strasser mold; the long-suffering-Mary Stuart (Search for Tomorrow’s Jo) wife who survives gossip, blindness, kidnapping and changing hairstyles; the quintessential Goody Two-shoes Jenny Gardner (All My Children); and of course the dashing, ever-so-bad hero. You think people are nuts about Days of Our Lives’ Patch? Wait till they see our Tom Cruise look-alike, Dimples.
We do plan a “Dreaming Death Syndrome” plot, but the story about a virus that causes comatose patients to dream about death—and die—is probably a little too fresh in people’s minds from The Guiding Light in ’84. We’re thinking of a contagious neurosis that compels people to jump off bridges. This needs work, admittedly. However, we feel the freezing of Port Charles on General Hospital in 1981 was a classic and should not be repeated.
Now, the weddings. They can be costly, we realize. Lives spent a bundle to fly some of its cast and crew to London for Bo and Hope’s union. Hope’s gown alone cost $20,000, even if having the honeymoon in a police station saved a few bucks. But if Luke and Laura’s wedding on General Hospital drew some 17 million viewers, why stop? We envision a wedding every 12th episode—21.7 a year.
Sex? Romance? Couplings? Lucy and Tony on the kitchen floor in General Hospital, Tina and a bartender in the deep freezer on One Life to Live, and Chuck and Donna in the cave on All My Children will have nothing on us. We’ll have foreplay in the frats, sex on a surfboard, carnality in the carrels. But RESTLESS will not be just pulp and palpitations. We’ll also follow the social consciousness tradition—Guiding Light on the need for Pap smears, the Odyssey House encounter groups on One Life to Live.
Of course, all children will be kidnapped, fought over in court, become drug addicts or discover they’re someone else’s offspring. A nice touch, Tina surviving a raft ride over a waterfall and giving birth in the jungle on One Life, and when dead Sam’s embryo was implanted in Delilah (also on Life), that was soap and medical history. Here’s our kid coup: We’re bringing back All My Children’s Bobby Martin. That’s right. He went up to his room years ago to polish his skis, and he’s never been seen since. People have been waiting. We’ve got him, Agnes; an exclusive, even if he doesn’t look like a kid anymore. We also plan to bring in all 12 actors who played Tom Hughes on As the World Turns and let people guess which is the real Tom.
But here’s the biggest scoop. General Hospital’ had the Liz Taylor guest shot. The Secret Storm had 64-year-old Joan Crawford subbing for her real-life actress daughter as a young married. Okay, we’ve got Di and Fergie for the premiere. The story line includes anorexia, talking scales, abandonment and a battle about hemlines. They go for the idea. They say they’ve been living a real-life soap opera for years.