By John N. Goudas and Eve Lubin
December 7, 1985
Can villainy turn SANTA BARBARA around? With Joe Mascolo wandering about the California beach town as the greedy Carlo, it looks like NBC is borrowing a page from GENERAL HOSPITAL and its own DAYS OF OUR LIVES.
Not too long ago DAYS was struggling. In came Mascolo as the nefarious Stefan, the Mafia warlord ready to kill off the entire town of Salem to have his way. Ratings picked up in this obvious plot steal from GENERAL HOSPITAL, soap opera's leader of trends.
DAYS even borrowed the GENERAL HOSPITAL casting line. When HOSPITAL first went crooked, producer Gloria Monty hired the debonair George Gaynes, once a Broadway singing star, to become the sinister underworld leader.
Gaynes went on to become a hit in Tootsie, but not before showing afternoon fans how to leer and snarl in a gentlemanly manner.
Since Gaynes wasn't available for DAYS, being busy with PUNKY BREWSTER, Joseph Mascolo covered. After all he belonged in the Gaynes mold. Mascolo sang with Luciano Pavarotti in the movie Yes, Georgio. In his heyday on Broadway, Gaynes had doubled, performing with the Metropolitan Opera, and singing alongside Rosalind Russell in "Wonderful Town." A Burt Reynolds buddy, Mascolo worked with Reynolds in Sharkey's Machine and performed yearly at Reynolds' theater in Jupiter, Fla.
Having terrorized half the citizenry of Salem, Mascolo now plies his trade in Santa Barbara, holding back a bit in the snarl. The writers and Mascolo are being careful in the early stages. Carlo flexes a few muscles and is outwitted at times.
But the devil has made his presence known. If DAYS fans are a bit confused watching SANTA BARBARA, it's understandable. The aim is to hook fans with Stefano-Carlo. For Joe Mascolo, it's a shoo-in. Along with the smoking gun, you may hear an aria.