October 14, 2008


Except for one very bored summer in my teen years, I've never been a big soap fan. But I did become briefly addicted to ALL MY CHILDREN around 1982, and was mesmerized by Eileen Herlie, who portrayed Myrtle, who ran a boutique in Pine Valley. Myrtle was a good listener, so she could comfort whichever crazy popped into her shop. Not too many dramas directly involved her, but somehow, over a decade later, I somehow managed to catch a few episodes when she became a central figure. In the 80's, soaps veered away from their usual plot lines of romance, infidelity, and mysterious secret relatives popping up from the past. After Luke and Laura became involved in international espionage, the stories just became too ridiculous, though a fun disco song called GENERAL HOSPITALE came out of it. Anyone know it? It was a hit on Chattanooga's radio stations.

Anyhoo, the soaps reached their zenith of popularity in the 80's and we even saw the development of night time soaps like DYNASTY and DALLAS, which I never had any interest in. The precursors of the death of the script which gave way to reality TV, perhaps?

As I mentioned, soaps plot's got crazier and crazier. PASSIONS' witch-themed nonsense was particularly bonkers, but I was channel-surfing one day and who should appear on my screen but old Myrtle. The dear gal was involved in a romance which had all of Pine Valley a-gossiping! It seems Myrtle had gotten involved with an old bearded gentleman who everyone thought was trash. Myrtle was in love, but even she was unsure when her burly beau revealed that he was homeless. It turns out that Myrtle was right to pooh-pooh her man's naysayers, when it was revealed that her jolly old suitor was none other than Santy Claus, and only Myrtle had had the good judgement to recognize his benevolent nature.

I could never quite comprehend Myrtle's accent--her obituary reveals that she was Scottish. By the time it was muted in an attempt to sound "American", it sounded like a ham-bone ex-carnival worker. Still, she was mesmerizing in her lunacy, and delighted soap audiences from 1976 until her death.


Blogger ayeM8y said...

I’ve watched All My Children since Erica had her abortion...the abortion who recently surfaced as a regular character through some miracle of modern science. With Myrtles passing it’s sadly the end of an era.

I remember the General Hospitale! That would be a fun record to sneak onto the turntable one night.

10:22 AM  

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