By... You guessed it!... SOAPBABIE!


ONE LIFE TO LIVE - It was so ahead of the times!

    Recently 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.

Meredith Wolek

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 town.

Dorian #1

   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!

David & Jenny

   Their love story was wonderful, more on that later, and eventually it ended, and they went off into the sunset, happily ever after.

    After Michael was diagnosed with ALS, OLTL asked him to come back as David Renaldi, who just also happened to have ALS. Jenny didn't return, the story was she got lost in an avalanche. A friend of mine, who was there said, "The cast and crew gave the man a standing ovation on his first day back" He could no longer walk or talk, tho his mind was clear and his sense of humor as wicked as ever. He had a motorized chair and a computer to talk with, and he did his usual professional job!

Michael Zaslow


     Michael died in December of 1998, But, David did not.  He is still with us, my own thoughts being he went back to Switzerland, found his Jenny under a snow bank and they are living happily ever after.
    So thanks One Life and ABC for that! And for so many ground breaking years.



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June 4, 2008 - Rachel Ames