All My Children

All posts tagged All My Children

Hopelessly Devoted To: James Mitchell

Published March 14, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan


Not only did the handsomely eclectic James Mitchell enact one of soap opera’s most hiss worthy villains for decades, but this lucky performer was also one of the cast of thousands, as that film’s tag line so boldly highlighted, to appear in the 1943 version of Phantom of the Opera


Granted, in Phantom, the always attention stealing Mitchell appears for mere moments as a reporter logging the details of the catastrophes that have haunted a local music hall. Thankfully, his turn as the diabolical Palmer Cortlandt on All My Children was a bit more substantial. There, his character continually made life hell for his often revolving spouses and judiciously tender offspring – all storyline subtext that Mitchell fully embraced, resulting in 7 Emmy nominations for the dedicated actor. 

Mitchell, who seemingly never hid his devotion to costume designer Albert Wolksy, his romantic partner for 39 years, also held dear his substantial pedigree as a theatrical artist. Humbly describing himself as an actor with strong movement skills, he actually was one of the Broadway stage’s most powerfully athletic dancers. Those who saw him perform never forgot it and his close collaborators included such mavericks as Agnes DeMille, Jerome Robbins and Gower Champion.

With DeMille, he famously essayed Dream Curly in the ballet sequence of 1955’s Oklahoma, where one of his partners was the beefy, animated character actor Rod Steiger. 

Thankfully, just like in that particular scenario, Mitchell always seemed to come off as unique and individualistic. So, while his one Gothic credit might only encompass a couple of minutes of screen time, the breadth of his career definitely speaks to the multiple achievements that one of our queer brothers could make – justifiably earning him a place in every gay horror lover’s heart forever. 

Until the next time, SWEET love and PINK Grue, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Fruity Flashback: The Loving Murders

Published May 9, 2020 by biggayhorrorfan

Loving Murders

Long term cast member Randolph Mantooth has called it the show that nobody ever saw. But the ABC soap opera Loving did have plenty of loyal followers who have remembered it fondly since its cancellation in the fall of 1995. Interestingly, for a show that continually floated at the bottom of the daytime ratings, it certainly had pedigree. It was created in 1983 by soap opera legend Agnes Nixon and, over the years, it definitely had its inventive moments. A few of those even contained elements of horror and the supernatural. In one of his first acting jobs, television stalwart John O’Hurley played a devilishly evil character named Jonathan Matalaine while the program’s college age characters interacted with a tortured romantic couple, who just happened to be ghosts, in the early ‘90s. Perhaps its most genre laden plotline was the Loving Murders, the months long story arc that brought the show to a close and helped it morph into another (very short lived) soap called The City.

L-R: PETER DAVIES;JOHN O'HURLEY

O’Hurley as the satanic Matalaine

As longtime characters were murdered off by a stealthily cloaked serial killer, the show’s ratings actually rose 20%. This was perhaps due to some of the unusual ways in which the cast was offed. Longtime heroine Stacy Donavan, portrayed with heart and verve by frequent horror sweetheart Lauren Marie Taylor (Friday the 13th, Part 2, Girls Nite Out), met her end via a poisoned powder puff. Deadly candles, heart attacks and coldblooded drownings also made appearances. The most spectacular sendoff probably belonged to Jean Le Clerc’s popular Jeremy Hunter, though. Clerc’s Hunter, an important character for many years on the iconic All My Children, was a sculptor who met his demise by being turned into one of his own statues!

Notably, the producers originally planned for a former character named Trisha, who had a history of mental issues, to return as the culprit. Noelle Beck, her longstanding portrayer, nixed that concept, though. Thus, Gwyneth Alden (Christine Tudor), Trisha’s mother and the show’s diva-licious matriarch, was chosen as the villain. While Tudor did spectacular work and obviously relished the juicy emotional windfall that this turn of events brought her, it was hard for many devoted fans to buy her as the murderess. Tudor had filled Alden with such true-to-life heart over the years, it was next to impossible to believe that Gwyneth would be able to kill off her family and friends no matter her state of mind. Still, the plotline allowed her and the show a significant (if overlooked) place in afternoon television history.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Chrsrine Newman

Gwyneth/Tudor in “happier” days.

As The Stab Burns: Kassie DePaiva, Days of Our Lives

Published August 22, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan

Kassie 3
(As The Stab Burns explores the careers and characters of genre actors who have, also, made a name for themselves in the delightfully awesome world of soap operas.)

As Bobby Joe, she, gamely, faced down freaky stuff in the woods in the cult horror classic Evil Dead II. But, lately, the timelessly beautiful, sweetly talented Kassie DePaiva has been dealing with even more twisted drama, on the regular, as the emotionally tormented, ultimately vengeful Eve Larson on Days of Our Lives.

After the late spring discovery of Eve’s affair with her innocent daughter’s boyfriend, a soap staple plotline if there ever was one, DePaiva has skillfully shown Eve’s guilt and anger. This anger has recently manifested itself upon Days’ perennial heroine, Jennifer, whom Eve blames, more than anyone, for the fallout of her relationship with Paige, her vulnerable offspring. As Eve, currently, plots to drug Jennifer into a doomed madness, De Paiva shows every conflicted thought in her character’s mind with flinty shifts in her eyes.

Kassie 2Testaments to DePaiva’s talents have been evident throughout the entirety of this story, though. Strangely, in a genre that has been built around powerful women, the writers at Days turned what could have been a deliciously lurid romp into an almost anti-feminine treatise, dominated by the male perspective, with only DePaiva showing the emotional confusion necessary to give the plotline a human touch.

Instead of concentrating on the forbidden connection and passion that a younger man and a more mature woman might share, the scribes had JJ, Eve’s undercover paramour; react with rebellious disgust over his affair with his girlfriend’s mother. His violent outbursts against Eve not only rendered the plot as almost unbelievable, but made the character of Eve seem deluded and desperate. That Jennifer, JJ’s mother, blackmailed Eve into allowing him to recommit himself to Paige, after her discovery of the affair, was another story oddity. This allowed JJ to bed Paige, a virgin, who surely would not have slept with him, had she known of his transgression. Unfortunately, this violation has never been addressed, vocally, by any of the participants, producing something far from the aura that such mighty mavens as Irna Phillips and Agnes Nixon, creators of such soaps of Guiding Light and All My Children, strove to achieve with such strong characters as Bert Bauer and Erica Kane. (Days has wandered down this weird path a number of times in the past few years. A particularly unctuous moment occurred when Kate, the show’s ruthless businesswoman, maneuvered Chloe, her former daughter-in-law, into a life of prostitution. The kicker, of course, being that Kate was once a lady of the evening, herself. )Kassie 1

Thankfully, though, the edge of heart sickness that De Paiva has given Eve has resonated throughout the story, giving viewers a way in, emotionally, and allowing them to care for the character, despite her mistakes. In fact, the show was at its best during the weeks of the reveal of the affair and its aftermath, thanks to that work and the truly fine achievements of De Paiva’s co-stars True O’Brien (Paige), Casey Moss (JJ) and Melissa Reeves (Jennifer). Additionally, the powers-that-be have finally allowed JJ to take a much softer and more balanced approach to his transgression. No longer spouting monologues blaming Eve for their trysts, he has acknowledged that they were both equal participants. Still, it’s a shame that the whole affair wasn’t rendered along the lines of such classic scenarios as Tad and Marian on AMC and Brooke and Deacon on The Bold and the Beautiful.

But, now with new head writers in place, it appears De Paiva is being tied into the show’s history with Eve’s current agenda. Jennifer’s mother Laura has had her bouts with madness, Eve’s inspiration for her scheme, and it looks like she may have a touching connection with the show’s upcoming serial killer mystery, a Days staple, as well. (The uninitiated should note that Days has often, successfully, delved into the spookily macabre with tales of satanic possession and premature burials lining up their dockets.) De Paiva’s chemistry with Greg Vaughn (Children of the Corn V), the show’s romantically lost former priest, has been readily apparent, as well.

…and if the weekends find you missing her presence, be sure to visit this incredibly talented lady, whose other terror credits include We Are What We Are and (the seemingly unreleased) Undone, at http://www.kassiedepaiva.com.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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