Happy birthday, Douglas Marland

Note: I know that a lot’s been said lately about the exciting new things happening for serialized shows, and I’m eager to look to the future. But the future is better understood when we put our past into context.

I take any opportunity I can here to sing the praises of the late Douglas Marland. Today would have been his 75th birthday.

Marland died way too young, and he’s been sorely missed since his death in 1993.

I’ve been lucky to have a few great, wonderful experiences as a result of this blog. I’ve written an essay that will be published later this year in an academic journal (!), I had the good fortune to see one of my favorite shows being made, and I’ve met or talked to a number of talented professionals.

But I have to say, talking about the work and legacy of Douglas Marland ranks right up there.

Two years ago, Marlena Delacroix and I remembered the Marland magic on the anniversary of his untimely death. It’s worth remembering him again today. If you’d like to check out those posts, take a look at Marlena’s blog. (The posts, from March 2008, are under the “Yearning for Yesterday” tag.) We talked to several ATWT and GL actors.

As with stunning performances that have since slipped into the ether, it’s hard to quantify what was so fantastic about Marland’s work for younger viewers if they’re not able to see it.

When he fired on all cylinders, it was the perfect balance: dramatic yet realistic, romantic and filled with love for friends and family, yet rocked by great villainy and anger.

It was, in short, a wonderful story, and Marland will forever be remembered as a master storyteller.

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2 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Douglas Marland

  1. Bless you for remembering Doug’s birthday. and so beautifully. How we miss him and remember him all the time.

    And for linking to–and mentioning one of the most meaningful projects I have ever done. Fantasic to work with you, Patrick!

    Right back at you, Connie! It was a great joy to be a part of this, and great to be a part of the Thinking Fans legacy! How sad that we seldom get to express joy about our shows now.

  2. Very well said, as usual. 🙂

    What I remember about Douglas Marland’s writing on both Guiding Light and As the World Turns was that he balanced the new characters with the old characters. Maybe some people weren’t happy with the new characters Marland introduced to both shows, but he had a way of introducing the new people without forgetting about veteran actors. He could reinvigorate shows with new characters while maintaining familiarity by including the characters and actors that long-time fans loved. People from different storylines interacted with each other. He knew how to juggle stories.

    Even with all of the new characters Marland introduced on both ATWT and GL, I never felt that those characters dominated their shows. Even if they did, the stories were so good, that I didn’t mind. I’ve noticed that for the last several years, under at least two different head writers, ATWT has at times been The Craig Show, The Katie Show, The Gwen Show, etc. Now inexplicably, with just a few months left, ATWT has become The Janet Show. I can’t help but wonder whether allowing certain characters to take over, while veterans were forgotten led to low ratings that killed ATWT.

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