As you may know, I love Judge Marilyn Milian, who runs People's Court
. She has a saying for everything. One of my favorite is "Say it, forget it. Write it, regret it." What she is saying is that if you say something in a phone conversation or face-to-face, it means nothing and has no value. Once you put it in text, by texting or in a letter, you are committed to what you print. I have several stories. I can tell you the stories, but if I tell you the name, I'll regret it. These are some of the most bizarre soap stories of all times.
In the 1970s-80s, everyone was taking drugs. Not quite everyone; I wasn't. I have never been high on illegal drugs. However, many people in the soap world were. There was a producer who had a coke problem with her actors -- and I don't mean the beverage. This drug was provided so they would be fresh for the most crucial time of the day when the show was actually taped.
One of my favorite drug stories revolves around a personal appearance I was making with two major daytime stars. One played the snobbish matriarch, the other portrayed a drug-selling pimp. We are driving around in Pittsburgh in a Volkswagen dressed up like a bumble bee -- yes, totally inconspicuous. The lady suddenly pulls out a reefer and passes it around. I am passing it on, while they are taking a puff. The two actors are having a good time, or so they think. I keep looking out the window for police cars.
On another personal appearance, we were with a group of roller skaters and a soap star heroine. To pass the time, they were doing pot. Lots of pot. We were on the side of the road for five hours. No one ever feels as uncool as when saying no to drugs when everyone is smoking. That's okay, cool has never been one of my aspirations.
One award-winning actor was so dependent on drugs, he sold his Emmy for his next fix. It turns out that the studio's security guard was the dealer for that show.
One time, I was interviewing a mega daytime show star. It was obvious said star had taken cocaine. In the middle of the interview the star started to crash. The star asked for a minute or two, headed straight for the bathroom, and four minutes later comes back higher than any kite that has ever been flown. Makes for a fun interview -- not.
In soap operas, lovers are not always friends on the set. One of my favorite stories was the one that's told by an actress with the same love interest for fifteen years. In real life he would do anything to upset her. His favorite trick was to have burritos right before a love scene. The actress was constantly buying bottles of Beano to counteract the activity caused by the beans.
Another not-so-loving couple could be bad breath one-upmanship. Before a kissing scene, the actress would eat Limburger cheese. Next time you're at the store, get a whiff -- it is horrendous. The actor is a very laid-back guy. He retaliated by eating herring, capers, and anchovies, the trifecta of fishy smellorama. This went on for over four years.
Sometimes producers will do anything to protect their show. This story shows just how far a producer went to make certain her "virgin" was kept pristine. Learning the unmarried actress was pregnant, the show's producer called the head writer. The show's producer was semi hysterical: "We have big trouble. Our little virgin is pregnant." The writer explained he would start working on a storyline. Two hours later, the writer received another call. The producer was overjoyed: "We no longer have to worry about this! I talked her into an abortion!" It was said as though he had just signed a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine.
Sometimes performers create so much havoc for their producers/writers that they are indeed not worth it. The hero of one of the soaps called the show's head writers, proclaiming he was in desperate trouble and needed rescuing from Manhattan. The writer, who enjoyed a beautiful home outside the city, felt obligated to come into the city and give the actor safe haven. Arriving at the apartment at 10:00 at night, the writer waited until 1:30 in the morning for the actor to appear. When he finally did, he apologized, explaining he could not be down earlier because evildoers had left human excrement outside his door. The writer couldn't stop wondering how he knew the difference between animal excrement and human excrement.
Not wanting to mess things up, the writer never asked. During the long ride back home, the actor seemed fidgety and scared. Arriving around 3:30 in the morning, no matter what time the writer went to sleep, he got up at 8:00 to write for the next 6 hours. He showed his guest where the food, drinks, and necessities were and said goodnight. He was certain the actor would still be hysterical the next morning. He strolled into the writer's office, and asked to stay another night. His friend had a play going on down the street. So it appears the demonic visitor's scenario was made up to get a free ride and room near his friend's play.
A soap set really can be like a family; some relatives are "crazy." One Valentine's Day, one of the high-level actresses took off her skirt and underpants to show a valentine shaved into her pubic area.
One of the yuckiest storylines concerns a soap actress who became a major film star. During her tenure, one of the young actors turned 13. His first gift from her was to be his first sexual encounter. She cornered him and would not let him leave. Our boy star left the show six months later and has not been professionally heard of since. One beloved actress doesn't care if the people she is working with take drugs, are up all night, or are having a major personal crisis. She expects one thing only: know your lines. If you don't know your lines and you are working with her, get ready for the unemployment line. Most of the drugs and all-night partying soon end. She is respected and well-liked, and the actors want to keep their jobs.
Soap opera star weekend may be fun for fans and the performers but hell for the public relations department. Our favorite moment goes to a leading lady who had always been jealous of a lady of another show. Her complaint was that her competition gets better treatment. She spends hours complaining that her chair is not as nice as the other chair. At one point, she grabbed the other chair, put her name on the "better chair" and switched them. Her yappy dog was kept on her lap. The other actress could not one-up her because she didn't have a dog.
One soap opera star was infamous about calling and asking to be interviewed. Okay then! Head over and, four times in a row, she was not there. Of course, this is the actress who would not come out of her hotel room three hours after a personal appearance was over because Steven Spielberg was talking to her for three hours. Steven Spielberg doesn't talk to anyone for three hours, just ask his wife.
Next time I will tell you some heartwarming stories of the stars, and there are as many of those as there are blood-curdling ones.