Mental Floss: Sex & Death in the Afternoon - An Oral History of the American Soap Opera

Mental Floss magazine features "Sex & Death in the Afternoon: An Oral History of the American Soap Opera" in their new September/October 2011 issue.

We Love Soaps' Roger Newcomb is one of the "experts" included in the feature trying to continue our message that soaps are not dying, just changing mediums, and are actually more popular than ever in primetime and on the web. VENICE and EMPIRE received shout outs.

The story also contains quotes from Agnes Nixon, Ken Corday, Don Hastings, Kimberly McCullough, Sam Ford, Kay Alden, Erika Slezak, Jacklyn Zeman, Greg Meng, William J. Reynolds, Tina Sloan, Wendy Riche, Eden Riegel, Chris Goutman, Julie Hanan Carruthers, Bill & Susan Hayes, Suzanne Rogers, Tristan Rogers Genie Francis and more.

The article is divided into four parts with quotes in each:
Part 1: The Addiction Begins (1932-1663)

Ken Corday: My earliest memory is picking out the logo for AS THE WORLD TURNS with my father at the Museum of Natural History--that incredibly famous film clip of the Earth turning around and around. I was about 5. The show went on the air in 1956.

Wendy Riche: Soaps first came into my consciousness when I moved back in with my parents--pregnant and not married. My mother was watching DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and she said, "Ooh, look Wendy, they've got a story on that's just like you!"

Part 2: Leave No Taboo Unbroken (196-1972)

Eden Riegel: It didn't seem like a big deal to me. It was only later that I realized how groundbreaking this was. Soaps are for Middle America, and these people were inviting a gay person into their living rooms every day.

Part 3: The Go-Go Glory Years (1973-1999)

Kimberly McCullough: Everyone was on coke. There were a lot of affairs. There were things I wasn't picking up on, but I was a kid. As I got older, I was like, "Oh, that's what was going on.

Part 4: Daytime Turns To Twilight (2000-Present)

Here are a few of the interesting quotes from the 7-page article:
Erika Slezak: I think that Brian Frons, the head of ABC Daytime, doesn't believe in the genre. He never believed they could last. My biggest objection is ABC saying people don't want entertainment anymore; they want information. That's ridiculous. People always want entertainment.

Chris Goutman: I knew that when GUIDING LIGHT went off the air, our days [on AS THE WORLD TURNS] were numbered. I was bawling like a baby when they announced it.

Don Hastings: CBS didn't even say goodbye to us after 50 years. There was nothing to anybody on the show who had served on it, any kind of official, "Gee, we're sorry, and good luck." The show itself gave the cheapest party I've ever been to. Just a very sad end. That's the part I don't miss.

Roger Newcomb: We invented the term "indie soap" a few years ago. It's how we refer to all these Web series, which are like minisoaps with continuing story arcs from week to week. That's the future.

You don't want to miss the full feature which is on sale now at bookstores and magazine shops. It contains a number of photos including plenty of Susan Lucci (Erica Kane), multiple shots of Marlena's possession on DAYS, gay couples Bianca & Reese and Luke & Noah, and other mini-features including Kay Alden's "5 Commandments of Soaps".

For more on Mental Floss, check out their website at

Mental Floss has now posted the entire article online. You can read it here. The date says January 2006 at the top of the page but this is a brand new article.

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