With GENERAL HOSPITAL celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, We Love Soaps has been catching up with some of our favorite actors from over the years including Kin Shriner, Lynn Herring and Robin Mattson. The latest is actor and singer Brad Maule, who played Dr. Tony Jones on the show from 1984 to 2006. In Part 2 of our exclusive interview, Maule talks about his favorite writers over the years, working with Jack Wagner, and leaving the show for good in 2006. Check it out below.
Read Part 1 here.
WE LOVE SOAPS: During your long run, GH had quite a few different head writers and producers. Was there a writer you thought really got the character of Tony or that matched your take on the character the most?
Brad Maule: Michele Val Jean. She got me, and I loved her writing. And Karen Harris. Those two. They liked me and I liked them, and they wrote for me. They just understood. I don't think Bob Guza ever really liked my character that much.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Fans don't always have the same opinions of characters or writers or producers, but fans online were quite happy when he was replaced as head writer.
Brad Maule: He definitely had crushes on certain people. If you were successful and he didn't have a crush on you it was almost like he had to work harder to make that person not successful. I went through maybe eight producers at GENERAL HOSPITAL and I would rank Gloria Monty as one of my favorite producers, and Jill Farren Phelps. Then there's others that no matter how hard you tried, you weren't going to ring their bell.
I absolutely adored Wes Kenney, who came over from THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. He was misunderstood., and was a great producer. Gloria, Wes and Jill were my favorites. Even though Jill is the one who took me off the air, I respected her.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Frank Valentini took over as executive producer last year. Was there ever any possibility Tony might return to GH this year for the 50th anniversary?
Brad Maule: We didn't part on the best terms. I was going through a rough time then and I had moved to Texas. I didn't want to just be another out of work actor living in Hollywood. I wanted to have another life. I wanted to be with my children. So I moved out here and have found a great life. I have more friends and more sanity and enjoy it.
I don't know the new people on the show at all. I don't know what the machinations are, but no one ever asked me to come back.
I don't think they ever understood how much I cared about the show. To me it feels like I had my time on it, and it's done and over. I've moved on and I think they have too. It was a good time, a special time, and now it's different.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Tony was the brother of Frisco, played by Jack Wagner. What were your favorite memories of working with him?
Brad Maule: I loved to work with Jack. We had a really nice relationship, a funny relationship. One time, in one my comas... [laughs] Jack was sitting by my bedside talking to me and the whole time, where the camera couldn't see, he had his finger in my ear and was twisting it, trying to make me laugh. That's Jack. He has a joyful quality about him.
He was the only actor on GH that the directors would ever say to just ad lib our scene when he and I worked together. We pretty much knew what they wanted. Those are what I consider golden times. I respected him a lot and think he's a terrific guy. He acts like a tough guy, but the Jack I know is a gentle sweetheart. It's the same way with Maurice Benard. He's not a "tough guy," he's a great guy.
WE LOVE SOAPS: Tony Jones could have died many times during his run in Port Charles, but GENERAL HOSPITAL used the plague to finally kill off the character in 2006. Were you surprised at the time? Were you ready to move on?
Brad Maule: It had really been over since 2001. It was all done except for the shouting. Looking back, I realize that now. At the time you don't know, you just always want to do your best as an actor. Once they start cutting your contract and your airtime.... Somebody said to me one one time, a producer, "You are not on the board. You should know that." She took me aside and I didn't understand it at the time because actors go on and off the board all the time. What she was trying to tell me was I didn't have a future and I should prepare for that. But you're never prepared for it really.
I got tired of people telling me when one door closes, another one opens. I was really out there in the wilderness for a while. But I just put my head down and started working. And it's been so amazing. I have two buildings to work in that are my at this university (Stephen F. Austin State University). I have a hundred students that I teach and it's just great. My daughter's happy and my son lives with me and he's happy. There's been a plethora of blessings since then.
Click here for Part 3 of our interview.
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA and the documentary SOAP LIFE in 2012.