Saturday, April 30, 2005

End of an Era

While this will mean very little to my regular political readers, I can't ignore a very large part of my life that's rooted in the world of soap operas. That said, we now have a hole in the force. Last night William J. Bell passed away. Ever hear of The Young and the Restless or The Bold and the Beautiful? Both were created by Bill (along with his wife, Lee). To the daytime community, he was a legend. CBS named the studio Y&R tapes in after him. He's received numerous awards. There's a funny story about one of those awards.

Many years ago at the Daytime Emmy Awards, Y&R won for best writing. The next morning, Bill got a call. There'd been a mistake -- Guiding Light had actually won. The next time Bill's team won, Bill quipped, "And if you call me tomorrow morning, I'm not picking up!"

Bill will forever have my respect because, along with Agnes Nixon, he was a protege to the greatest soap legend of them all, Irna Phillips. What I would have given to have been born back then, to have had the opportunity he did to learn from the master -- the woman who essentially invented the genre.

My condolences to the cast and crew of both shows for losing their inspirational leader and father figure; to Lee for losing her life partner; to their kids Lauralee, Bill Jr. and Bradley; and to all the fans out there of this dying narrative form we affectionally refer to as soap opera.

13 Comments:

At 2:00 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

I must confess I’ve never ever watched a soap opera.
Am I missing much?

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Esther said...

These days? No. Back in the 70s...a bit in the 80s and the early 90s, perhaps. I was never a huge fan of his shows, but they were definitely solid.

Bill was a master storyteller and updated things as society changed. One of the stories I really respected was when in the 90s he wrote a storyline about adultry... the usual about a man betraying his vows. But since it was the 90s, Bill kicked it up a notch. The husband contracted HIV. So now not only does his wife feel betrayed, but her life is literally in danger.

(For those who care, the husband and the mistress eventually died but the wife didn't contract it. Of course, it made no sense when she then had an affair with her best friend's husband, but I don't think Bill was still writing by that point, lol.)

 
At 11:12 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

Uh... Sorry?

lol

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

You can now tune into The Chocolate & the Spotted, Esther. lol

 
At 11:20 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Patrick, I think you missed my first line. ;) I knew you guys wouldn't be into it but I still had to write about it.

I'm not sure you realize it, but while it involves the soap world... the guy... like... is really dead. He's not a character on the show. :(

 
At 12:15 AM, Blogger MissingLink said...

What about Bonanza?
Can it pass for a soapie?

 
At 7:20 AM, Blogger Tran Sient said...

If Bonanza passes, so should the Sapronos.

 
At 8:52 AM, Blogger Esther said...

The definition of a soap involves continuing storylines from episode to episode. I'm not familiar enough with Bonanza or the Sopranos to judge but from everything I've heard, the latter definitely could be called one.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Esther said...

If anyone's interested, news of Bill's death has now broken in the news:

http://www.suntimes.com/output/television/cst-nws-xbell01.html

and

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=718358

And many, many others.

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger david bannister said...

my mother in law sure loves Y&R and she would be sadened to hear this

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"continuing storylines from episode to episode."
Damn! I am so much out of it!

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Esther said...

david, thanks for dropping by and commenting! Your mother-in-law won't be alone. I think there will be many sad people. Most of whom do not read my blog, lol.

felis, no worries -- lol. We love ya just the way you are.

 
At 5:44 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

Sorry, Esther—I was being a wisenheimer.

 

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