Saturday, September 1, 2018


Unlike the TV Western showcase that lasted all last month, or the annual January 1st blogathon dedicated to 'Doctor Who' all day long, this month's theme saluting soap operas will be intermittent.  All of the Friday Hall of Famers will be from soap operas and we'll have a look at some of the major crossovers.  And there will be a few Super Six Lists as well.

So we'll kick it off with our monthly induction into the Television Crossover Hall of Fame.  Traditionally September is the month during which we salute the creators behind the scenes who have done much of the work to expand the TV Universe.

And this year, we turn our attention to the Queen of Soaps, Irna Phillips.

From Wikipedia:
Irna Phillips (July 1, 1901 – December 23, 1973) was an American scriptwriter, screenwriter, casting agent and actress. Known by several publications as the "Queen of the Soaps", she is best known for creating, producing and writing several of the first American daytime radio and television soap operas. As a result of creating some of the best known series in the genre, including 'Guiding Light', 'As the World Turns', and 'Another World', Phillips is credited with creating and innovating a daytime serial format with programming geared specifically toward women. She was also a mentor to several other pioneers of the daytime soap opera, including Agnes Nixon and William J. Bell.

From Entertainment Weekly:

Daytime’s first crossover came in 1966, when Irna Phillips, head writer of 'The Guiding Light' on CBS, picked up lawyer Mike Bauer and his preteen daughter, Hope, and sent them to 'Another World' on NBC, where Phillips also happened to be the head writer. Widower Mike spent an entire year in Bay City, during which time he managed to romance both Pat and her stepdaughter, Lee, all while working for Pat’s (paralyzed) husband, John. (In 1999, when AW was cancelled, a handful of character migrated to another Phillips-created show, 'As the World Turns'. When ATWT itself was cancelled in 2010, they made a reference to Bay City.)

Back to Wikipedia:

Phillips co-created 'Another World' with William J. Bell in 1964, originally planned as a sister show to 'As the World Turns'. Although Procter & Gamble owned both series, CBS had no room for the program and it was brought to rival network NBC. 

Phillips fired veteran actor John Beal from 'Another World' after only one episode, and actress Fran Sharon after two weeks. Actress Kay Campbell stated, "I'll never forget once on 'As the World Turns', Rosemary Prinz did a scene, and when we were only off the air five minutes, Irna was on the phone and tore her to pieces. I don't think Irna liked actors." Phillips and Bell later gave 'Another World' over to James Lipton, who passed it onto Agnes Nixon.

In 1965, Phillips was a story editor for 'Days of Our Lives' and was a story consultant on 'Peyton Place' before co-creating 'Our Private World', the first prime-time series to be spun off from a daytime serial. The series featured the 'As the World Turns' character Lisa Miller; the series ran during the spring, summer and early fall of 1965, before being cancelled. She left 'Love is a Many-Splendored Thing' when CBS censors refused to fully tell a love story involving an Amerasian woman (born out of the love affair in the original film) and a white man. CBS and Twentieth Century-Fox Television were co- producers of the show. All 1,430 episodes of 'Love Is a Many Splendored Thing' were recorded on videotape at CBS Broadcast Center Studio 41 in New York.

Phillips was the unofficial story editor for 'A World Apart', an ABC soap opera that was created by her daughter, Katherine. One of the main characters was a soap opera writer who lived in Chicago and was in charge of a soap opera in New York. Soon after, 'As the World Turns' asked her to come back and write for them.

Phillips introduced a number of characters to the show and integrated them with the core Hughes family. Her new story, and the show's new heroine, Kimberly Sullivan (Kathryn Hays), became involved with longtime hero, Bob Hughes (Don Hastings). Bob was married to Kim's sister Jennifer, but Phillips had Kim seduce Bob. She became pregnant. P&G fired Phillips in early 1973; it was to be her last writing gig.

On January 25, 2007, in an episode celebrating the 70th Anniversary of 'Guiding Light', the current cast portrayed actors and behind-the-scenes personnel from the early years of the series (both radio and TV). Beth Ehlers played Phillips, and several incidents in her life were fictionalized in the series.

Phillips was a fiercely independent entrepreneur who retained ownership rights to all her series, producing through Carl Wester and Company and allowing agencies, sponsors, and networks little control over her soap opera empire.

And that's how it all began, all thanks to Irna Phillips.

She even appeared in Toobworld, on 'To Tell The Truth' - a panel quiz show which had a televersion as well as the show seen here in the Trueniverse.

And we have that for you now, making this a Video Saturday.

And finally, we have first person tales about the experience of working with Ms. Phillips.

Welcome to the Hall, Ms. Phillips.....

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