Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Catching Up with Janet Iacobuzio (Part 1 of 3)

Nelson Aspen with Janet Iacobuzio.
Photo courtesy of Nelson Aspen.
I first met Janet Iacobuzio when I was working on Search for Tomorrow but it wasn't until I joined the production staff at Another World that we became close pals. Huddled in our little subterranean office in the Brooklyn studio for long days, we didn't know we were enjoying what would be the last great Hey-Days of the NYC-based Soap Operas. As often happens in life, we eventually drifted apart because of time and distance...occasionally managing to reconnect through other old friends. But as you will see in this three part series, once we finally managed to sit down for a meal together, it was like no time had passed at all! A testament not only to friendship, but the unifying power of Soaps!

NA: I'd say, "We're so old, we've been around forever" but it's more like "we started so young!" We were KIDS when we started in Daytime. I've known you since SFT. Remind me what the heck it was you were doing back then in the mid-80s and how the heck did you end up there!?
JI: I had an internship during my junior year in college at The Edge of Night which was sort of a dream come true for me as that was my absolute favorite show. It was on at 4 PM which was a great time after school and then when it was over, the 4:30 movie would come on! I mean, what more could you want? Anyway, how that happened is unusual. I grew up in Westchester and in the summer of 1982, I think, my brother was working as a reporter for the local newspaper, "The Daily Item.". The Edge of Night was shooting a night time remote at Playland with a huge stunt on the Dragon Coaster. I was out of my mind. My brother was assigned the story and pulled some strings - he brought me along as his staff photographer. Two of my photos were published with his front page story and I think of that to this day as a crowning achievement.

At that shoot, we met the PR person for Procter & Gamble who gave me a name of a person who knew a person, etc. I sent resumes to every soap in NYC, which at the time, was more than you could count on two hands. Edge was the only bite I got and I was so happy. I worked with the Exective Producer, Nick Nicholson. He had an office on the 4th floor, studio was on the 6th and they shot in order, laying down the music live starting every day at 2. They'd call down, I'd answer the phone. I'd say: "Nick, they're ready." And he'd stand up, smile, say: "It's showtime, folks." He'd take off his sweater, put on his suit jacket (like Mr. Rogers) and he'd take me upstairs with him and I'd sit in the control room and watch them tape from the back deck. Never forgot it, learned so, so much.

NA: I worked with him for a short period at SFT. He had the exact same routine!
JI: After I graduated, I ended up at Another World because Cathy Sedwick, who was a Production Assistant on Edge said her sister Carol, who was a PA on AW in Brooklyn told her they needed a temp. I got the temp job at AW which was another amazing thing to happen. I worked for $50/day for a year until they hired me on staff as a Production Coordinator. Eventually I was made Assistant to the Producer. I worked at The Agency in the Daytime Programming department. I paid talent, answered phones for the P&G/NYC honchos and learned about publicity and promotions. Back then, there were so many people, so many departments, so much more money! I worked for the Daytime programming people who were overseeing so many shows: AW, SFT, ATWT, GL, Capitol and Texas, Edge of Night. Oh, The Caitlins, which was shot in Atlanta. it was a prolific time.

NA: I remember the Sedwicks! And their Mom played "Dr. Sedwick" on Guiding Light...for years and years!
JI: The dad, John, was a director.
NA: A soap Dynasty!

NA: You're still pals with some of the AW folks. Name names!
JI: Some of my very best friends. Mary Kelly Rodden (Weir), Marge Doherty, Karen Wilkens, Susan Strickler, Meg Beliveau, Carolyn and Richard Culliton, Anna Holbrook, Anna Stuart, Steve Schnetzer, Linda Dano, Amy Carlson, David Forsyth, Maggie Delgado. A lot of us have stayed in touch thanks to social media but also in the real world. We met at a very special time in the business and we were all very close. Sometimes too close!

EDITOR'S NOTE: In Part Two, Janet remembers her time in Bay City and where the Soap God led her after that!

Nelson Aspen is a regular contributor to We Love Soaps and popular broadcast journalist around the world. His new book, "My Prime Time" will be released this fall. You may visit him at or follow him on Twitter @nelsonaspen.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! What a blast from the past. I remember crossing paths with Janet at some point during my tenure at Another World. And Nelson, I remember the day you worked as an extra on Search for Tomorrow during this big flood scene. You came traipsing up to my office in huge boots and a yellow rain jacket. Those were the days my friend...we thought they'd never end.