FLASHBACK: You Are Cordially Invited to A (Soap) Wedding (Part 2)

Ryan's Hope producers sent Mary (Kate Mulgrew) and Jack Fenelli
(Michael Levin) to Ireland when they reconciled and remarried. The
cameras followed, and viewers were treated to weeks of on-location filming.
You Are Cordially Invited to A (Soap) Wedding

The Soap Box
Vol. IV No. 2 February 1979
by Linda Susman

(continued from Part 1)

Not all of Pine Valley's weddings have been so traditional or well-attended. The unorthodox "wedding" of Tara Martin and Phil Brent was the basis for a major AMC storyline that continues to complicate the lives of many Pine Valley residents even today.

Tara and Phil had been high school sweethearts; but after Phil ran away to New York when he found out he was adopted, Tara became engaged to Chuck Tyler, Phil's best friend. Although Phoebe Tyler, the boy's grandmother, wanted a huge, fancy affair, Tara chose a simpler wedding in her grandmother's garden. During the ceremony, Chuck fainted, suffering from a serious kidney disease. While he was in the hospital, Phil and Tara realized they were still in love, but they didn't want to upset Chuck until he had fully recovered. Meantime, Phil was drafted and they decided to marry secretly the night before he was to leave for Vietnam.

Although the young lovers made careful plans, they didn't count on a blizzard that would prevent them from reaching a justice of the peace. Desperate to take their vows before morning, they found a tiny, deserted chapel and performed a ceremony themselves they considered binding. Tara became pregnant that night, and when Phil was listed as missing-in-action, she finally told Chuck the whole story. He still loved her, and she agreed to marry him so her child would have a father.

When Phil was later found and returned home, Tara divorced Chuck to "remarry" her true love: This time in a chuch ceremony. But their son Philip (Charlie) still believes Chuck is his dad. Chuck then married an ex-hooker, Donna Beck, but now, he and Tara have fallen in love all over again.

Tara's older brother, Dr. Jeff Martin, had eloped with Erica Kane when he was a medical student. After their divorce, he had a more traditional wedding when he and his late wife, Marry Kennicott, tied the knot. (Actors Charles Frank and Susan Blanchard fell in love while plying Jeff and Mary. Both have since left the show and are now married to each other.) Although he didn't plan on quite a big "do" when he recently married Dr. Christina Karras, Jeff did want his family to be present. Christina had just been released from prison after a false arrest, and she said she was too self-conscious to have anyone witness their ceremony. That began a serious in-law problem which now threatens their marriage.

Kevin (John Driver) and Raven Jamison (Sharon Gabet)--
like most folks on The Edge of Night--were married in
Geraldine Whitney Saxon's mansion.  Kevin has since
died, Geraldine's moved out of the mansion, and Raven
has taken up with her old flame, Logan Swift.
Last year, Oakdale residents (As the World Turns) were real social butterflies. Within days of each other, Annie Stewart married Beau Spencer, and Sandy Garrison and Kevin Thompson were wed. Because of the differences in the ages and lifestyles of the two couples, the weddings were totally different: The Spencers had a traditional church ceremony, performed by Rev. Norman Walter, husband of Rita Walter who portrays Carol Stallings on the show. A reception followed at the Stewart home. The bride wore a white gown designed by Priscilla of Boston. (When Annie's parents were married on the show in 1966, the studio was turned into a sunken garden filled with fresh flowers, and a string quartet played.)

Sandy Garrison had been married before, so a less traditional wedding was called for. Her ecru knit dress by Dominic Rompollo was perfect in the rustic setting of friend Valerie Conway's country farmhouse where the ceremony and reception took place.

Occasionally, a show will go on-location for a wedding. Viki and Joe Riley (OLTL) eloped to New York City where they were married at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, with Joe's sister Eileen as their witness. Afterwards, the bride and groom took a hansom cab right through Central Park to a pre-determined location, where Joe had arranged for a tuxedoed waiter to serve them an elegant luncheon.

The longest on-air wedding--four days--took place at Manhttan's St. Benedict the Moor Church, when Mary Ryan and a reluctant Jack Fenelli (Ryan's Hope) tied the knot. Jack was drunk, following his bachelor party, and was having second thoughts about settling down. When he finally arrived at the church, it was Mary's turn to waver. In the end, they were married by Priest Father McShane, played by actor John Perkins who, offstage, is quite active in religious affairs.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check back on Thursday for You Are Cordially Invited to A (Soap) Wedding (Part 3 of 3).

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