ONE LIFE TO LIVE - It
was so ahead of the times!
OLTL has been going through some changes, all for the good. This has
always been such a great show, with such great people. Even Sammy
Davis, Jr played on it, at his request!
OLTL first aired July 15, 1968. It was cool right from the
start cause "it said it like it was" which was just not done. It
had an open honesty, it spoke of race, interracial marriages,
religion, interfaith marriages, drug addiction, venereal disease.
Things that were usually whispered about or ignored. It had a core
family of the Lords, rich, white, Protestant, the Riley's,
Irish-American, Catholic, hard working, but on the wrong side of
the tracks to the Lords, at least to Victor Lord. it had a working
class Polish family, even though Larry Wolek was a Dr, he was not
considered 'good enough' to marry a Lord. But Viki (first Viki was
Gillian Spencer, later Daisy Courtland on AMC) married Joe Riley,
(Lee Patterson) the love of her life, and Meredith, (Trish
Van Devere) her sister married Larry (Michael Storm)! The stress
of fighting her father over this is what brought out Viki's other
self, Niki, and Niki had a relationship with Vince Wolek, the
brother of Larry who was married to Meredith, the sister of Viki.
(Sounds like a soap doesn't it?) Joe's sister Eileen, married a
Jewish doctor, a lovely man named Dave Siegel, they had two
children and their marriage was a strong success.
Joe & Viki Riley
Larry Wolek with
later wife, Karen
Meredith had so many problems with her health, that Dr Steve
Hardy, from Port Charles had to come to Llanview for a few
days and cure her! Meredith had a breakdown when one of her twins
was born dead, Dr Joyce Brothers came onto the show to counsel
her. Sadly, Meredith was killed during a robbery, leaving her
infant son and widowed husband.
Anna Wolek, sister of Larry and Vince, married Dr James Craig,
who was considered 'above her station' Dr Craig's daughter, an
unhappy neurotic girl took to drugs over this, and went to Odyssey
House, a real facility in New York, remember, at this time, Ford
Clinic wasnt even thought of. They filmed episodes at the actual
clinic, and some of the real patients were on the show! These
episodes and the Dr Brothers ones were so carefully well done,
they gained a great deal of respect for daytime.
Viki with Vince Wolek
Jim & Cathy Craig
Another forbidden subject; Carla Gray, (Ellen Holly) a
beautiful actress, was passing for white! She was conflicted over
this, and began dating both a white man, and a black man. This
caused some sponsors to threaten to pull out of the show, and many
fans protested. (we have
come a long way in some
respects) So Carla's love life came to an abrupt end, and after a
time, she married police Lt. Ed Hall, who was by the way, played
by Al Freeman, Jr!
Ed & Carly Gray
About this time, a Dr Dorian Cramer (Nancy Pinkerton) came to
Determined to be a success no matter what it took,
she also promptly broke up a young Dr's marriage, Dr Mark Toland,
played by Tommy Lee Jones.
Mark & Julie Toland
During the course of that, she and Dr Toland accidentally over
medicated a patient who died, causing Dorian to lose her license.
As she had by this time, dumped the doc and managed to snag an
ailing Victor Lord in marriage, making a living wasn't a
problem for her!
Dorian & Victor
At one time, this show had 40 people in the cast! Too many
stories to go into now, though I would like to mention one.
Along with being ahead of the times, OLTL and ABC showed how they
can really come thru. One storyline involved David Renaldi and Jenny
Wolek, played by Michael Zaslow and Brynn Thayer, two people I loved!