Today would have been Douglas Marland’s 74th birthday. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate his talent and his work.
The newer generation of soap viewers may not know who he is, but he touched so many of the shows I know and love: Guiding Light, As The World Turns, Another World (where he was a staff writer for Harding Lemay), and General Hospital.
Last spring, Marlena Delacroix did a week-long celebration of his work, and I contributed some of the content to that week. I was pleased with what we were able to discuss, but had one regret: that we were observing the 15th anniversary of his death. So let’s raise a glass to his life!
As The World Turns had a magnificent tribute to Doug, narrated by Don Hastings (Bob). It’s been on YouTube for some time, but unfortunately the audio has been removed due to a copyright issue.
In the Marlena tribute, we spoke so much and so often about the eight years that Doug wrote ATWT, and all of the magnificent stories there – Frannie/Sabrina, Scott Eldridge, Iva/Lucinda/Lily, Duncan and Shannon, Douglas Cummings, Hank Eliot, Margo’s rape, and Casey Peretti’s euthanasia story, to name just a few.
But I’m including a clip from my introduction to Douglas Marland, which happened when he was writing Guiding Light. This clip was the first Marland scene I watched that made me sit up and take notice, that made me understand I was watching something unique and different.
This story had me glued to the television, and these scenes gave me goosebumps. This was the culmination of months and months of story featuring Nola and Kelly, and it’s such a perfect explosion of anger for Kelly, one that Nola – true to her character – tried so hard to deny. (And it must be said, of course, that Marland’s words sang when they were in the hands of the magnificent Lisa Brown and John Wesley Shipp.)
These scenes opened the show – and played straight through for nearly the whole hour, making the intensity almost uncomfortable….but completely fascinating.
I don’t want to succumb to nostalgia, and live solely in the past. I’m intrigued and excited by some of the changes in daytime, and some of the possibilities for serialized stories to continue on TV and on the Internet.
But Douglas Marland’s work is timeless, and worth sharing in any season. Intelligence and wit and heart (all present in his work) are always welcome in any well told story.