October 9, 2003

2:03 PM All Work And No Play….
Well! Another Wednesday has come and gone — and in case we haven’t mentioned it already, Wednesday is a challenging day here at Digest, as the final news stories are accounted for, last minute calls are made (or not, as the case may be — and you know who you are, Miss and Mr. Thangs) and we start giggling over the amusing headlines and captions we can come up with for our pictures.We’re here to offer condolences to California PASSIONS (and other 2pm-timeslot) fans who yesterday missed the last 15 minutes of your show? Why? Well, you voted for him, and Ahnold — that’s Governor Ahnold Schwartzenegger just needed a little time out of your day, or so we hear…. In any case, don’t fret: Today, Ethan’s going to break the very bad news to Gwen.And so, hard work and suffrance through pre-emptions pays off: Tonight, Digest and Weekly crews will be mixing it up this evening with the stars who’ll be at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital event tomorrow night! We’ve got a super-secret address to the cocktail event this evening … but we promise to spill the dirt on what goes on behind closed doors and Cosmos!10:48 AM: No More Secrets
With PC’s final chapter now over and done with, and (some, at least) of our favorites scattered to the four winds — Brian Gaskill (ex-Rafe) over at B&B as Oscar; Kelly Monaco (ex-Livvie) over on GH as Sam; and Michael Easton (ex-Caleb) over at OLTL as John — which reminds us, somebody hire Erin Hershey Presley ASAP! — we’re left to ponder other cancelled soaps, particularly some of the true oldies but goodies.Fortutiously, we recently received a letter from a reader that asked us about The Secret Storm, mentioning it was one of her favorites, and asking, “What happened to it?”Well, we’re nothing if not here to help. The Secret Storm came from the very early days of television, and lasted just a shade over 20 years, airing from 1954-74. According to the invaluable tome The Soap Opera Encyclopedia by Christopher Schemering, the show was a “highly dramatic serial about family secrets and sweaty passions — a story motivated by characters whose emotions were often uncontrollable.”Sounds good to us! The show took off, and over the decades a few choice bits emerged:– Gloria Monty was the principal director (you might recognize her name ’cause she helped GH make a comeback in the 1980s)
— It was originally called The Storm Within, but once an antacid sponsor was to be a major advertiser, they changed it … hee …
— Key stories included the dramatic opening, where a husband’s wife was killed in an automobile accident and left him to raise his three kids: Two teens and an adolescent; and a romance between a main character and a Catholic priest.
— It was produced right next to the set of Captain Kangaroo and, says Schemering, “Animals frequently made unwanted guest appearances on the Storm set…. [Actress] Jada Rowland remembered a cow chasing Gloria Monty down a hall.”
Joan Crawford taped scenes replacing her daughter, Christina who played Joan Kane, when Christina was hospitalized. CBS loved the idea so much they barely blinked at the idea of a 64 year old woman replacing a 24 year old on camera. Later, Christina noted, according to the Encyclopedia that her mother was drunk during the taping, which was confirmed by Crawford’s biographer.
— Actors who either later became famous or were already famous and appeared on Storm included Roy Scheider as Bob, Jed Allan (ex-Paul), Robert Loggia (ex-Frank), Diane Ladd (ex-Kitty), Audrey Landers (ex-Joanna); Gary Sandy (ex-Stace) and Troy Donahue (ex-Keefer). Photos of Sandy on-set can be found here!Cancellation came thanks to “mismangement” by CBS, says the Encyclopedia, which launched a new storm — of “indignation … perhaps the largest outpouring of protest” ever caused by a soap axing. American Home Products, which owned the serial, tried to sell it to the other main networks, but they passed, and attempted to syndicate the show — but that fell through, too. The soap was replaced by a game show, Tattletales. In the final scenes, the paralyzed Kevin stood up and tottered to his wife, original character Amy, and the show that had “begun in tragedy … ended in celebration.”We’ve had a hard time finding great Web sites devoted to the old show, but try Secret Main to hear the theme and check out a few curiosities!Seems to us that we could use a few more sweaty passions these days…..

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