Wednesday, March 21, 2012


...We interrupt the reposting of these archive articles with some personally exciting news!

I've written about fandom for a long time - not only for this blog but for over a decade before that contributing in various ways to numerous sites, forums, and fanzines.  Well, now i'm pleased to announce that i'm not only quoted but rather nicely FEATURED in a brand new book by the marvelous Nelson Branco paying tribute to One Life to Live.

When it comes to soap journalists, there's basically only two that are truly top-notch, know what they're talking about, have incredible sources and access and can always be trusted with both facts, scoops, and opinions...Michael Fairman and Nelson Branco.  Branco has covered a wide range of entertainment mediums besides the world of daytime dramas, but nonetheless he remains one of the most knowledgeable...and fun to read...reporters/columnists of the genre.  When i heard he was working on a major OLTL tribute book, i was very excited since i couldn't think of anyone better to write one and eagerly anticipated its publication.

While he was working on it, word got out he was looking for fans to provide some quotes about their experiences and what OLTL meant to them so i sent Branco an email free-associating my thoughts figuring that somewhere among my ramblings he'd be able to get a couple of good quotes and soundbites here and there.  I figured if my comments made it in at all, there might be a sentence or two praising Robin Strasser in a chapter about her and maybe another random sentence or observation in one or two other places.

Well, i finally had opportunity to see the book and to my delighted surprise, a very large portion of my thoughts were printed in the book in a chapter about fans' reflections...with my section being the longest!  Of course not only is this such a cool thing to be a part of but it really thrills me immensely knowing that my words are most likely being read by a good portion of the cast and crew of a show that's brought me so much happiness, escapism, and joy for a good two decades!  The thought of people like Tonja Walker or Robin Strasser sitting down to read a copy and seeing my words of praise towards them really moves me to tears!  I really need to thank Branco not only for allowing me a great forum to return the love but also for his stellar work on the book overall (i'm still not finished with it as there's lots of great stuff to pore over but i've gobbled up what i've read so far!)

The book is called "Between Heaven and Hell - a One Life to Live Tribute" and is available in various online formats at  The cool thing about Smashwords is before buying a book, you can sample for free anywhere between the first at about 300 pages, that's a good sized preview right there!

Here for Muppet Freak readers is my words from the book...

"In 1992, the 20-year-old D.W. Mckim never imagined he’d regularly tune in to a
daytime soap, much less count it as one of his favorite shows! The closest I
ever came to getting hooked on a soap was my daily viewings of SOAP reruns
when I’d eat my dinner after coming home from school.

But my major in college was theatre and for years I had been especially
interested in the role it can play in social change and reflecting current issues;
something that had grown out of my first professional performance experience
as a 10-year-old puppeteer with Kids on the Block (known for its life-sized
puppets representing various types of handicaps) and my high school stint with
Planned Parenthood’s Positive Force Players, a group of teens who wrote,
performed, and toured with skits about various teen issues and problems. One
day, when I was flipping through channels looking for something to watch, I
happened upon a talk show where ONE LIFE was being featured, talking about
how the show was currently taking on various social issue storylines such as
lupus, illiteracy, and homophobia. All of a sudden, I knew I had to tune in. Not
only was this kind of thing very much up my alley, but having recently come
out as a gay man and getting involved with various advocacy groups and
activities, I could tell this was truly groundbreaking — gays were still pretty
much invisible from the dial (primetime or daytime) as this was just prior to
the great Lavender Explosion of Gay/Lesbian representation on television.

I turned on ONE LIFE with all my biases and myths of what soaps were fully
intact — the grating organ music, lots of sob stories, hammy actors that were
mostly models, sex, sex and more sex. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Little did I
know that this was at a time when then-executive producer Linda Gottlieb was
determined to wipe out exactly those types of stereotypes, looking to up the
ante on all aspects of creativity — from the music to her recruitment of
acclaimed novelist Michael Malone to head up the writing staff. I may have
been unaware of that at the time, but I immediately recognized that ONE LIFE
was not at all what I imagined soaps to be!

 I remember immediately being enchanted by this amazing blond woman who
just sparkled with electricity when she was on the screen — my first exposure
to Tonja Walker as Alex Olanov! Then one by one, as I became familiar with
other cast members, I was impressed by how many actors actually looked more
like “regular people” and not “soap stars.” Luna Moody was definitely not a
character I associated with soap operas! Even a beauty like Yasmine Bleeth
would often go without makeup and allow her to look like she’d been put
through the wringer in her stint as Lee Ann Demerest. Of course I was
captivated by the Billy Douglas story — but even more than Ryan Phillippe’s
Billy, I was drawn to this acting powerhouse known as Susan Haskell! And, at
times, Viki and Clint felt more like my mom and dad than my actual parents.

There are so many characters and actors I dearly love — ONE LIFE was a wealth
of riches in these departments after all — but I really need to give special
mention to Robin Strasser, who I would credit as one of my top five favorite
actresses of all time. I remember when Robin reclaimed the role of Dorian; I
had heard that she was an amazing talent but, of course, was wary since Elaine
Princi’s Dorian was already one of my huge favorites. But seeing Robin on her
first day back was the most incredible experience; she just set the screen on
fire. She grabbed hold of my heart and has had it ever since.

Soap fans often unfairly get stereotyped as old housewives watching while
they’re doing the ironing. I’m one of those fans who don’t fit that profile in any
way: male, started watching as a college student. I find that daytime serials
are great sources of entertainment for more intellectual viewers since no other
medium is able to present stories with such long complex detailed storylines.
With decades of daily hour-long shows, no other genre can reward viewers with
such finely developed characters. Serial storytelling is a cherished art form and
aside from perhaps the comic book, no other contemporary example exists that
has nearly a half-century of history behind it. If soaps as a genre are considered
“dead,” it can only be because those currently producing them or hosting them
on their network don’t realize their true worth and potential — and ABC/Brian
Frons is a textbook example of the wrong people entrusted with these legacies.

Thanks to everyone at ONE LIFE for creating something magical, inspiring, and
captivating that has kept me going far longer than I ever imagined I would, and
for bringing joy and hope on days where none would otherwise have existed."

I strongly recommend Branco's book for any OLTL fans, casual or fanatic, new or old (and not just because i'm in it!  This is an even better and more valuable read that the official OLTL 30th and 40th anniversary books which themselves are essential must-haves for any fan)  All one needs to do is look at the chapter listing to see what a treat this publication is:

My Life To Live

Chapter 1:
Giving Birth to LIFE

Chapter 2:
Writer In White: An Agnes Nixon Timeline

Chapter 3:
The SWAN Manifesto — Why Agnes Nixon Deserves a Kennedy Center Honor

Chapter 4:
The Greatest Executive Producer Of ‘Em All — The Paul Rauch Interviews

Chapter 5:
ONE LIFE’s Best Head Writer of All Time — The Michael Malone Interview

Chapter 6:
Best Partner-In-Crime — The Josh Griffith Interview

Chapter 7:
ONE LIFE Lives Again — The Cartini Era

Chapter 8:
Serial Killer — The Most Hated Man In TV, Brian Frons

Chapter 9:
Conspiracy Theories: Did ABC Purposely Murder Its Daytime Line-up?

Chapter 10:
Soap Warrior — The Catherine Hickland Interviews

Chapter 11:
The Little Soap That Could: How ONE LIFE Got The Last Laugh;
PLUS: The Brett Claywell and Scott Evans Interview

Chapter 12:
LLanview’s Best Characters

Chapter 13:
Best Storylines

Chapter 14:
Worst Storylines

Chapter 15:
Anatomy Of A Story Malfunction — The Farah Fath Interviews

Chapter 16:
Master Class: Best Actors

Chapter 17:
Acting Beast: The Trevor St. John Interviews

Chapter 18:
Master Class: Best Actresses

Chapter 19:
She’s The Boss: The Judith Light Interview

Chapter 20:
Gold Standards: ONE LIFE’s Emmy Award Wins

Chapter 21:
Bridges of Llantano Mountain — The Greatest Love Stories

Chapter 22:
Best Weddings

Chapter 23:
Most Entertaining Couples

Chapter 24:
Best Recasts

Chapter 25:
The Best Lord-Reily Recast: The Nathan Fillion Interview

Chapter 26:
Most Improved Actors

Chapter 27:
Worst Recasts

Chapter 28:
Hair Model City

Chapter 29
Best Moments/Cliffhangers

Chapter 30:
Best Multiple Roles

Chapter 31:
Second Chances At Life

Chapter 32:
Did You Know….? Casting 411

Chapter 33:
Best Celebrity Guest Stars Ever

Chapter 34:
Best ONE LIFE Alumni

Chapter 35:
Biggest Wastes of Talent

Chapter 36:
Gone Too Soon: The Forbes March Interviews

Chapter 37:
Best Villains

Chapter 38:
Worst Villains

Chapter 39:
Best Villainesses

Chapter 40:
Vixen Extraordinaire — The Robin Strasser Interviews

Chapter 41:
Worst Villainesses

Chapter 42:
Arrest ‘Em: Best Scene-Stealing Actors

Chapter 43:
LMAO: The Ilene Kristen Interviews

Chapter 44:
Best Location Shoots

Chapter 45:
Best Younger Actors

Chapter 46:
Brat Pack: The Brandon Buddy, Kristen Alderson and Scott Clifton Interview

Chapter 47:
Best Real-Life Couples

Chapter 48:
The Susan Haskell Interview

Chapter 49:
Hottest Hunks

Chapter 50:
Sexiest Men: The Michael Easton and Tuc Watkins Interviews

Chapter 51:
Most Beautiful Women

Chapter 52:
Sexiest Woman Alive — The Kassie De Paiva Interview

Chapter 53:
Best In Marriage: Asa Buchanan’s Wives

Chapter 54:
Best Character Names

Chapter 55:
Sexiest Moniker — The John Brotherton Interview

Chapter 56:
Boldest Faces: The Biggest ONE LIFE Superstars

Chapter 57:
The Greatest Star Of Them All — The Andrea Evans Interviews

Chapter 58:
Stars Who Should Have Emmys

Chapter 59:
Life After Llanview: Fearless Predictions

Chapter 60:
What ONE LIFE Meant To Its Fans

Heck, even if i WASN'T a fan, i'd be tempted to read through the book after looking over the chapter summary!

I'm sure after i've had a chance to finish reposting the archives and writing some Muppet/Henson entries, i'll get around to my own OLTL tribute and review of its final (for now) episodes.  In the meantime, while Agnes Nixon, Prospect Park, and other interested businesses are battling for control of the property in order to revive it in some form or another, fans can continue to get their OLTL fix satisfied by seeing the massive OLTL crossover that's recently begun on General Hospital featuring the Manning family and John Mcbain mixing things up in Port Charles.

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