Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it was appropriate to revisit one of the finest soaps that ever aired: Ryan’s Hope.
To this day, I can’t hear “Danny Boy” without thinking of Helen Gallagher singing the song, especially as she did on the show’s last day in January 1989. It seems impossible that the show was cancelled twenty years ago.
I miss Gallagher on daytime and wish she’d come back (perhaps as Meta Bauer on Guiding Light). At 82, she’s still active, teaching at a performing arts school (HB Studio) in New York City. Gallagher may come across as warm and nurturing, but I think it’s fantastic that there’s a legendary story where she supposedly kicked someone trying to upstage her on stage into the orchestra pit. Like Maeve Ryan, Helen was not to be trifled with!
And courtesy of the joy of YouTube (and of the channel there created and maintained by dedicated soap fan EONSFTFAN), here’s a clip I’d never seen before, with Helen and the late, great Bernard Barrow appearing on Good Morning America in 1989 (with someone I don’t recognize).
Ryan’s Hope was a great show. It lost its way when it tried to leave behind the very thing that made it special – great characters, great actors and a lot of heart. When it was canceled, it was on its way to getting back on track. I think it could have continued to this day, but being banished to the noon time slot doomed it (and Loving wasn’t far behind).
Fans of the show didn’t watch for big-budget special affects or (ahem) ritzy sets. We watched for those great stories, as crafted by Claire Labine and her writing team.