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August 31, 2015

One Life to Live plans amazing 40th anniversary shows

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 12th 2008 4:41PM
logoI don't know about you, but I was kind of ticked off that General Hospital decided that 45 years on the air wasn't a good enough reason for a special episode. They had a cake -- good for them -- but generally speaking, the media celebrated the GH anniversary more than the show did. Well, ABC and One Life to Live are doing just the opposite for four decades of broadcasting. One Life to Live will celebrate its 40th anniversary -- officially July 15th -- with three special, out of this world storylines. It all starts on July 21. How out of this world? Well, it will be celestial.

Headwriter Ron Carlivati told TV Guide that his plans, which are extensive, include sending Viki back to Heaven. Longtime fans will recall that in 1987, Viki "died" and went to Heaven, which was inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and looked very sci-fi.

Viki's guide back then was an angel named Virgil, played by John Fiedler (the voice of Piglet in Winnie the Pooh). For two weeks, Viki relived her life and met family members who'd died, like her sister Meredith (who's never mentioned today) and her first husband, Joe Riley. Well, now, Viki is going to have a car accident and make a return trip to the hereafter, only this time things will look and feel different than before.

"This time, Heaven will be a very modern high-rise - Viki will go up the elevator floor by floor, encountering all sorts of dead characters along the way," Carlivati said. She'll be seeing her former father-in-law Asa Buchanan (Phil Carey), her fourth husband Ben Davidson (Mark Derwin), her daughter Megan (Jessica Tuck) and her rival Dorian's great love, Mel (Stephen Markle). And my favorite meeting of all will be the one that really breaks the fourth wall -- Viki will see Agnes Nixon, the woman who created One Life to Live in 1968 and gave birth to the character of Victoria Lord. Of course, since Agnes is very much alive, she'll probably be playing a guardian angel or something. Still, it should be fun.

If that were all OLTL had in mind, that would be a lot. But it's not. They're re-doing the classic Tina (Andrea Evans) going over the Iguazu Falls saga, but in this variation, Carlo (Thom Christopher) is the mastermind and he's having Tina's daughter Sarah take the plunge in Mendorra, forcing Tina to watch in horror.

There was another wild storyline in the late '80s on OLTL, 1988 to be exact, that Carlivati is also revisiting. Clint time-traveled to the Old West, Buchanan City, where he lived another kind of life. It was all in his head -- like Dorothy over the rainbow -- but for weeks, viewers were watching the Old West come to life every afternoon. Carlivati's idea now involves Bo and Rex, only instead of time-traveling back to the wild west, they're doing a Life on Mars trek.

"Bo (Robert S. Woods) and Rex (John-Paul Lavoisier) are hit by lightning and wake up in 1968 - the same year OLTL hit the air," Carlivati says. The twist is not only that it's 1968, it's that Bo has become Asa, his father, and Rex is a youthful Bo. This storyline is slated for a longer run than Viki in Heaven. In fact, says Carlivati, since it's 1968, Rex could be subject to the draft and wind up in Viet Nam. They're compelled to get back to the future, as Marty McFly might put it. (Actually, back in 1968, they might run into lawyer Dave Siegel, one of the first Jewish characters ever on the soaps).

Some fans are anathema to wacky storylines like this. They prefer realism in their soaps. For me, all this sounds like must-see viewing. It's a fanciful, whimsical turn in what is by and large a realistic -- and very good -- soap opera.

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I, for one can't wait for these episodes. A great part of what is wrong with all soaps these days is that they don't appreciate their history. I was just a kid when these original stories took place, but I remember them and am thrilled to see them revisited. I also can't wait to see Asa, Ben, and especially Megan again.

June 13 2008 at 8:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Into the wayback machine! At least they're not going to revisit the "Eterna" storyline, the goofiest thing I think I've ever seen on soaps. (Though I did love Larry Pine as Roger Gordon, Viki's first love and Megan's father.) Or the inane "Mendorra" political intrigue. I remember gagging at the sight of Bo, Sarah, and Megan dressed in wedding attire fleeing the evil prince's goons on skis.

Of course, they can't do a parody of my favorite OLTL plotline, because the story is still being played out today: Mitch Lawrence "finds God", becomes a "prophet", finds a "flock" (with the help of some mind-altering drugs) and turns the Waterside Inn into a religious compound. And we were introduced to Mitch's fanatic disciple Allison Perkins, who's still around causing trouble. I can't see Barbara Garrick, Allison's portrayer, in anything without picturing her yelling "He's the messenger!"

I caught a bit of Andrea Evans' return as Tina today. She's carrying a dog around in her purse! What a hoot!

June 12 2008 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i love to watch oltl is my favorite it sounds like its going to be a great 40th oltl joella tester

June 12 2008 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Doran

OLTL is the most notorious time-space flipper of all the current soaps, so it's no surprise that they'd come up with something like this. I wonder who's going to be Victor Lord this time - of all the actors who've played the part over the years, I believe Fritz Weaver is the only one who's still alive. Oh well, wait and see...

June 12 2008 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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