Monday, June 18, 2007

The Prisoner

Well, the 2007 Daytime Emmy's have come and gone and the good news is that GUIDING LIGHT was awarded statues for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Writing Team. Congratulations GL!

The bad news is that the ceremony itself was a rushed, slapped together, wholly unentertaining assembly line. In CBS' hurry to get the show over with in the allotted time, they revealed their lack of any genuine intention to celebrate the industry of daytime. This was most obvious in the complete lack of any sort of acknowlegement of the passing away of daytime professionals in the last year. Unmentioned were the deaths of Darlene Conley (ex-Sally, THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL) and Benjamin Hendrickson (ex-Hal, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Silas, GL; et al). I'm sure there must be other deaths that I can't think of right now or simply don't know about. This outrageous slight exemplified the workmanlike, passionless tone of this year's ceremony.

I'm very lucky to have been a part of an online Emmy-watching party at the GLMP message board. We gave ourselves the good time that CBS was unable or unwilling to provide, but the GLMP community remains disappointed that daytime as a whole didn't receive more honor at a function meant to honor daytime.

I can't do much about the Emmy's, but I can use this blog and this project to recall the work of a daytime legend who generously shared his work with soap viewers. Benjamin Hendrickson dazzled and touched daytime audiences for 25 years across four P&G soaps, beginning in 1981 on TEXAS and most notably including a 20-year run as AS THE WORLD TURNS' Hal. What some of you may not know is that he's also responsible for one of GL's most famous villain characterizations: Silas Crocker, dastardly foe of super-couple Quint & Nola.

The Prisoner provides a wonderful look at Hendrickson's time on GL. Taken from 1982, this clipset shows Silas at his most unremittingly evil as he holds Nola captive on a rat-infested boat, torturing her physically and mentally. Hendrickson is brilliant and utterly convincing in this role (and, not for nothing, he looks damn good too!)

I have to confess to not being a huge fan of the Quint character or Michael Tylo's work in the role. This character (and the characterization) just seem so alien to what GL is (or should be) about. The storyline feels like a desperate attempt to ape what Gloria Monty was doing at ratings giant GENERAL HOSPITAL at the time, generously peppered as it is with grand guignol themes and lively (if unconvincing) action sequences. The unfortunate circumstances surrounding headwriter Doug Marland's departure (early in '82) appear to have left the show all too susceptible to this kind of derivative storytelling. It is the grounded work of Hendrickson and the always believable and sublime Lisa Brown as Nola that keep this scenario from drifting completely off into the far-fetched ethers of shrill fantasy.

And now that you've read that ringing endorsement (LOL!), enjoy The Prisoner.

clip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5

clip 6 , clip 7 , clip 8 , clip 9 , clip 10

clip 11 , clip 12 , clip 13 , clip 14


An interview with Mary Stuart (then Jo on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, later Meta on GL) from the 1st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in 1974! Barbara Walters does a Q&A with Staurt and Mary Fickett (ex-Ruth, AMC).-- clip


Blogger Jane said...

I love this clip set! Thanks so much for posting!

8:42 PM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Thanks for posting and for sharing these memories of Benjamin. I also am shocked and offended that the Daytime Emmys did not in any way honor his memory after his decades of outstanding work.

8:29 PM  

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