Joan Crawford Takes Daughter's Soap Opera Role
by Robert Windeler
New York Times
October 23, 1968
Joan Crawford, the 60-year-old screen queen, will play a 24-year-old housewife in the daytime soap opera THE SECRET STORM for four segments beginning Friday, in place of her daughter, who is recovering from an operation.
Christina Crawford, who is 27, and the eldest daughter of Joan Crawford's four adopted children, is a star on the Columbia Broadcasting System serial. She plays the woman in the midst of a divorce action. She became ill last Wednesday during shooting of the daily series and was rushed to University Hospital, where she underwent surgery for an ovarian tumor.
Joan Crawford volunteered to fill in for her daughter "because I didn't want them to give the part to someone else," she said yesterday. "They panicked at C.B.S. and said, 'You've got to be kidding. We can't afford you.' I said 'I'll do it for nothing,' but I'm afraid they'll have to give me scale. I'll pay my hairdresser with my scale."
Scale for each half-hour segment of a daytime taped series is $165, according to the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists contract with C.B.S. However, Miss Crawford will make $595 for the four shows under a package rate.
Miss Crawford said she told her daughter: "I'll never be as good as you, but I'll keep the spot warm for you."
"They asked me about it the day after I was operated on," Christina Crawford recalled yesterday. "it was coming to me through a fog, and I couldn't exactly jump up and down in bed about it, but I do remember thinking that it was fantastic that she would care that much."
Joan Crawford is playing opposite Keith Charles, an actor in his late 20's, who plays Christina Crawford's husband, Nick Kane, also in his late 20's, in THE SECRET STORM.
This was no problem for Joan Crawford: "Isn't he beautiful, I thought to myself. So be 24."
Mark Lediar, the show's associate producer, said of the sudden switch: "The viewers become so involved with these people who perform that any change of player is an intrusion on their involvement. Credibility is already thrown to the winds anyway."
The only rewriting done by John Hess, the show's writer, was to limit Joan Crawford's appearances to five major scenes in four segments (this Friday, next Monday, Wednesday and Thursday). The character will then be written out until Christina Crawford is able to rejoin the show. She says her doctor has said that will be "after November 11."
THE SECRET STORM, seen here at 3 P.M. on Channel 2, is in its 17th season. The show is taped, but usually only three days in advance. Christina Crawford joined the show last April and has a contract that will keep her on at least through next September.
Miss Crawford has taped two of the shows and will tape two more Sunday.
Christina Crawford was previously in the national company of "Barefoot in the Park," and several films, among them the current Faces.
The mother and daughter Crawfords have never appeared together, except on television talk shows and one telethon, but Joan Crawford says she has always encouraged her daughter in show business.
"She was literally wheeled onto the set of my pictures as an infant. She grew up surrounded by lights. I've introduced her to every actor and director I've ever worked with. And then I started with the producers here: She wants to do only theater."
Audio from Joan's appearance on THE SECRET STORM was recently uploaded to YouTube! Listen below.
***Special Thank You to Robert Reid for sharing this clip!
- FLASHBACK: SECRET STORM Canceled (Coming Daytime Trends) 1974
- FLASHBACK: Daytime Delilahs 1964