To Texas!

Somehow, despite being a dedicated Another World watcher (with mom), I never became hooked on Texas.

I do seem to recall watching the first few episodes. Beverlee McKinsey’s Iris was there, of course, and I think there may have been an appropriate ooh and aah at seeing her name in the show’s opening, with the “Starring” billing.

It was summer, so I know I checked out those first few episodes, but that was about it.

I know later on, after McKinsey left, it seemed to have a very dedicated group of fans, and that many were upset at what they felt was a premature cancellation.

I also know that Guiding Light has an irrevocable bond to that show, since GL gained a producer, head writer and several actors when Texas ended.

I never had a chance to see any of the later run of Texas, or those final episodes – but I caught them recently on YouTube, and was blown away.

A few of them had me in tears. Those episodes are all heart, and all Pam Long. Truly ALL Pam, as she was writing and acting in those shows!

Her time at GL had plenty of that heart, perhaps tampered down just a bit by executives or the network – but on these episodes of Texas, it was a full on schmaltzfest (and I LOVED it).

A return of a lost loved one, the connection between mother and child, a child born at Christmas and yes, even a reading from the book of Luke (the same one that Linus reads to Charlie Brown)!

As another Texas-based show would later say: clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

I watched these last month – almost 38 years after they were filmed – and it was far too late for a spoiler alert. I’d heard years ago what happens in those final episodes (well, one part, anyway, where a certain Mary-like figure returns home).

And still, the impact was quiet moving. The last few minutes of Part One had me sobbing.

To Texas!

One thought on “To Texas!

  1. So good to see you writing again! I’ve missed your insights.

    Texas was one of my all-time favorite soaps! Have very fond memories. Even have various clips saved to a VHS tape that I recently transferred to a DVD.

    The first year of Texas was hit or miss. A few great scenes mixed with lots of lackluster storytelling. But the last 18 months, once Gail Kobe took over as EP, were great, with the final year being fantastic. It was must-see TV for me back in 1982! Loved so many of the characters, especially Lurlene and Ruby (the Lucy and Ethel of the show). Also adored Carla Borelli as Reena and Jerry Lanning as Justin. Both should have gone on to have bigger careers in the soaps!

    I was so sad when NBC cancelled the show prematurely. So many of the show’s problems came from inept decisions made by NBC, including scheduling it at 3 p.m. opposite Luke and Laura on General Hospital. NBC should have scheduled it at 2 p.m., sandwiched between established shows Days at 1 p.m. and AW at 3 p.m. Also foolish to debut the show as 60 minutes rather than 30 minutes. Likewise, it was a late decision to insert Iris into the show, who never really fit into the show.

    Glad you’re getting to a chance to appreciate the show, even if it is 38 years after the fact!

    Thanks, James!

    It’s been a joy in this weird, odd pandemic summer to discover these episodes.

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