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The Definitive Soap Opera Book
on January 14, 2016
I have been in to soap operas for quite a few years now. My primary focus has been towards the prime-time ones, such as Dallas and Knots Landing (my favorites), as well as Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Party of Five. In the early pages of this book, we get an introduction written by author Marcy Walker and a foreword by Macdonald Carey (star of Days of Our Lives). This book was written in the early 1990s (around 1991, I believe), and therefore many of the shows I mentioned above, such as BH 90210, Melrose Place, and Party of Five aren't mentioned. At the time of this book's publication, Dallas and Knots Landing were still on CBS, although Falcon Crest and Dynasty had both just ended their runs.
Soap Opera History has something for everyone, from the die-hard soap fan to the casual viewer. It is, indeed, a great collector's item. Among the soaps mentioned are Guiding Light, General Hospital, All My Children, The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, One Live to Live, The Bold and the Beautiful, and many, many others. The majority of the ones mentioned are from the day-time category, which is the predominant haven for soap operas. The four major prime-time ones (Dallas, Knots Landing, Falcon Crest, Dynasty) have pages dedicated to them. We get information on some of the lesser-known (and perhaps forgotten) soaps like Bare Essence, the early 1980s tryout starring Genie Francis, and the critically lauded prime-time flop Flamingo Road, featuring Morgan Fairchild as its vixen. And, of course, we get details regarding cult classics like Dark Shadows, and even the genre parodies, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Soap.
What I really like about this book is the in-depth discussion each show gets. Each soap opera gets at least two pages dedicated to them, although some (like General Hospital, or Dallas) have perhaps ten pages or so set aside for them. Exactly how many pages a show gets seems to depend on its reputation and popularity. In the pages dedicated to each individual show, we get insights as to the origins of the shows, brief overviews on some of the more popular actors, and a pretty lengthy detailing of the show's memorable storylines. At the end of the book, in a section titled "Flashes in the Pan", a series of pages are dedicated to the soaps that had rather short or almost entirely forgotten runs. These soaps don't get as much space in the book, but it's interesting to read about those that "could have been..."
I love this book, and overall, I am very pleased! I only wish it was a bit newer. By this, I mean, I would like an "updated" edition of this book that would discuss All My Children and One Life to Live being canceled and then being briefly revived on the internet, and the newer "soaps" that have came (and went) since 1991. Highly Recommended.