Happy birthday, Douglas Marland!

Marland TitleToday 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.

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2 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Douglas Marland!

  1. wow — this is a comment i originally posted here:

    http://www.redroom.com/blog/jenniferkate/guiding-light-project-happy-birthday-judy-collins

    “here’s something to chew on…

    i was in looking through doug’s papers (which are part of the popular culture collection at the state historical society on the campus of the university of wisconsin, madison, along with irna phillips and p&g’s).

    i came across the longterm for that story, and as originally written, kelly and nola were supposed to wind up together, an idea i, for one, would have absolutely loved. i would love to know what, or who, changed his mind. wonder if john wesley shipp might know?”

    nola was probably my mother’s all time favorite character. she died several years before i read the longterm, but i think she would have like doug’s original idea a lot.

  2. Other than RL events (like Another World saying good bye to Mac Cory because of Doug Watson’s death), nothing has hit me as hard as the Angel Lange incest storyline. It was so unexpected, and so tragic. The ‘relief’ I felt that Marland brilliantly had her free herself, first through the Snyders – then through the sheer power of her own will… it was absolutely moving. I cheered her on every step of the way. Caleb protecting Angel even if it meant going to prison? Angel confessing what her father was and freeing herself?

    I just don’t feel that level of connection to daytime storylines any more. Marland misfired from time to time, but who can remember enough to care, given all of his successes?

    Most recently, the closest storyline to shaking me to the core was the day of Todd’s execution on OLTL.


    Norrthpier, you’ve hit the nail on the head….and you’ve said something I’ve said about some of my favorite musicians. If the artist is exceptional, then usually even their mistakes are interesting.

    Marland did have his misfires at ATWT (the Harrington brothers and the Crawford murder mystery) but there was so much else that was good it pales in comparison.

    The Frannie/Sabrina reveal and the Josh/Iva/Lily reveal shook me to the core….I can remember being haunted, really haunted, by the Sabrina story. There was pain and sadness and hope and the wounds of an old betrayal (Kim sleeping with her sister’s husband) all wrapped into one. I knew where it was headed as it unfolded, but to see Bob and Kim’s history play out on screen was phenomenal.

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