Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Remembering soap opera restaurants

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 1:31 PM

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Yesterday, when National Public Radio's Morning Edition reported that CBS had canceled As the World Turns, one of the longest-running soap operas in America, the story included an interview with that show's most famous vamp-villainess, the conniving Lisa, played for nearly half a century by actress Eileen Fulton.

Among other things, Fulton remembered the day that the script required her character -- who opened at least one restaurant on the show -- to make Cherries Jubilee. During rehearsal, the cherries refused to light, no matter how often Fulton tried, so the prop person tossed a little kerosene into the chafing dish. The cherries exploded into flames and nearly burned down the set. Fulton said that former Kansas Citian Walter Cronkite was on an adjoining set and smelled the smoke.

Restaurants have always played an important role in TV soap operas. "There always had to be a lobby bar or a private booth or secluded dining room where two characters could exchange secrets," notes chef-novelist (and devoted soap opera fan) Lou Jane Temple. "Even more importantly, if the characters were having an affair, they could be spotted by other characters or even have a dramatic confrontation. It was an essential part of the storyline."

Temple points out that on the recently canceled Guiding Light, plenty of action took place in a restaurant called Company, where most of Springfield's citizens gathered daily. "Company was one of the linchpin sets," Temple says.

Oakdale, the location of As The World Turns, has had many restaurants in 50 years. Do you remember any of them? Here's a quiz.

And in case you were wondering, at least two former Kansas Citians played featured roles on As The World Turns: Ruth Warrick and Mary Linda Rapeleye.

 

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