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RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/18/13
May 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Happy Mt. St. Helens Day!
  • Nordstrom was caught capturing and tracking the smartphone data of users who wandered through its (real-world) stores. Once the story broke out, the retail said it wasn’t doing it anymore.
  • A UW prof’s using meditation to teach students to conquer online distractions.
  • I’m still trying to determine if the Milwaukee slam poet Matt Cook, publicized in the hereby-linked page, is the same guy who was the Stranger’s first editor (and an unsung co-creator of that publication’s informal-snarkiness aesthetic).
  • Just as there are with vinyl records (and even 8-track tapes), there are people who staunchly defend VHS videocassettes and the culture they engendered. (Before VHS’s 30-year run as an active medium, the idea of “owning” your favorite movies was little more than a fantasy.) These analog nostalgists now have a documentary about them, taped in part at Seattle’s Scarecrow Video.
  • Carl Gibson at the political blog Nation of Change believes we should “move beyond ‘left vs. right,’” just before he iterates what is basically a center-left political platform.
  • Frank Zappa, as you all know, loathed drugs but loved him some hot groupie sex. His personal secretary, however, was allowed to turn him down.
  • Abstinence-only education, and the growing evidence that it’s really harmful, has proven to be one of the (many) topics that bring web comment trolls into full rabid-bigoted rage.
  • The UK’s Daily Telegraph refers to the Fast & Furious action-film series as Hollywood’s first “bisexual blockbuster.”
  • Does the still relatively little-used Google Plus have an alluring “tragic beauty” to it?
  • From all the hype you can hear about it these days, 3-D printing is either the best thing since sliced bread or the best thing since “industrial hemp.”
  • After just three weeks, the online revivals of All My Children and One Life to Live are each cutting back from four half-hour episodes a week to two.
  • Here’s a cool public art piece in Australia. It’s a hugeass hot air balloon in the form of a fantasy whale with human breast shapes stuck on, apparently just for fun.

junkee.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/9/13
May 9th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • We’ve got to save Metro Transit from the devastating cuts that have decimated Snohomish and Pierce counties’ transit systems. There’s a public forum about it on Tuesday, 5/14, 3 p.m. at Union Station. (Despite the unfortunate, pseudo-snarky tone of the hereby-linked article at KOMO’s SeattlePulp.com, its message is important.)
  • While upscale NIMBYs fight to keep those dirty non-upscale people out of their “clean” neighborhoods via attacks on “aPodments” (the only affordable, non-subsidized housing being built in town these days), the building of mass-produced “exclusive” luxury apartment towers continues unabated.
  • Seattle Weekly Shrinkage Watch: Restaurant reviewer Hanna Raskin (with whom I appeared last year at a MOHAI/Seattle Public Library “History Cafe” panel) has quit, rather than accept a lower-paying job as a “food and drink editor.” Back in the Weekly’s heyday, restaurant reviews were more prominent than any other “culture” category, accounting for almost a quarter of the paper’s cover stories. Now, they might or might not be part of the paper at all. (The Weekly’s also fired its music editor Chris Kornelis.)
  • Meanwhile, the Weekly’s onetime sister paper the Village Voice is down to 20 editorial staffers. Its two top editors received orders from on top to cut five of those positions. Instead, they quit.
  • Amitai Etzioni at the Atlantic claims “the liberal narrative,” which he defines as support for big-government paternalism, “is broken.” No, it isn’t. It’s government itself that’s broken, and only the “liberal narrative” has the means to fix it.
  • Jeanne Cooper, 1919-2013: The dowager “Duchess” of The Young and the Restless had played the same role for just short of 40 years. Before that she’d been in countless westerns and dramas (The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, etc. etc.). Her three kids include L.A. Law/Psych star Corbin Bernsen.
  • In not-at-all-surprising news, YouTube will add paid-subscription channels.
  • Let’s close on a happy note (on the 80th anniversary of Hedy Lamarr’s breakthrough film Ecstasy) with Hysterical Literature, a video project by photographer Clayton Cubitt. In each segment a woman reads from a favorite book while, out of camera range, a second woman gives her a Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator treatment. (NSFWhatever.)

via criminalwisdom.com

BOOK CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?
May 8th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via wikipedia

Pay close attention to the above image.

It indirectly has to do with a topic that’s been going around here of late, including on this site.

The premise: Seattle has become the new nexus of the book industry.

Amazon now firmly pulls the strings of both print and e-book sales, at least in the realm of “trade books.”

Costco and Starbucks also hold huge influence over what the nation reads.

Nancy Pearl’s NPR book recommendations hold huge sway.

And we buy lots of books for local consumption, giving Seattle readers an outsized role in making bestsellers and cult classics.

See anything missing in the above?

How about actual “publishing” and “editing”?

Now to explain our little graphic.

Cincinnati companies once had an outsize influence in the TV production business.

Procter & Gamble owned six daytime soaps, which in turn owned weekday afternoons on the old “big three” networks.

Taft (later Great American) Broadcasting owned Hanna-Barbera, which in turn owned Saturday mornings on the networks.

But if you think of TV content actually shot in Cincinnati, you’ll probably remember only the credits to the L.A.-made WKRP In Cincinnati.

And maybe a similar title sequence on P&G’s N.Y.-made The Edge of Night.

We’re talking about one of America’s great “crossroads” places. A town literally on the border between the Rust Belt and the South, in a Presidential-election “swing state,” often overshadowed by cross-state rival Cleveland. A place with innumerable potential stories to tell.

But few of these potential stories have made either the small or big screens.

The last series set in Cincinnati was the short-lived Kathy Bates drama Harry’s Law.

The only TV fare made in Cincinnati has been a couple of obscure reality shows.

The lesson of the above: prominence in the business side of media content isn’t the same as prominence in the making of media content.

What of the latter, bookwise, is in Seattle?

Fantagraphics has tremendous market share and creative leadership in graphic novels and in comic-strip compilation volumes.

Amazon’s own nascent publishing ventures have, so far, aroused more media attention than sales.

Becker & Mayer packages and edits coffee-table tomes for other publishers, and now also provides books and “other paper-based entertainment… direct to retailers.”

The relative upstart Jaded Ibis Productions combines literature, art, and music in multimedia products for the digital era.

We’ve also got our share of university presses, “regional” presses, and mom-n’-pop presses.

Still, the UW’s English Department site admits that…

Seattle is not exactly a publishing hub… so job openings are very limited and most local presses are small and specialized.… In any location, those seeking jobs in editing and publishing far exceed the number of jobs available; competition is very vigorous.

And these are the sorts of jobs people relocate to get, or even to try to get.

Of course, Seattle also has many writers and cartoonists of greater and lesser renown. But that’s a topic for another day.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/26/13
Apr 26th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

capitol records via wikipedia

  • Among the stories I missed by waiting a week to post Random Links: Heart’s well-deserved induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall o’ Fame.
  • Are the Sonics Back Yet? (Day 108): No. But at least we have a date when we might (repeat, might) find out one way or the other: May 13.
  • Seattle’s on-and-off-again Fourth of July festivities are on again.
  • Seattle’s interim police chief says he’s really, really, really sorry for the video he made mocking the homeless back in the ’80s, using police training-video production gear.
  • Is “alternative” music too female-unfriendly? Or is it just corporate “alternative” music festivals that leave the women out?
  • The SunBreak explains just why privatized liquor costs more than state-liquor-store liquor did.
  • Starbucks is among the companies asking for expanded U.S. tax breaks on overseas revenues.
  • Washington’s attorney general wants you to know that T-Mobile’s “no-contract” cell phone plans can still cost you as much as traditional ones.
  • Paul Krugman asks whether no one in power even gives a damn about the long term unemployed; while Jared Bernstein at Salon says rising income inequality can’t be fixed unless the campaign-finance system is fixed first.
  • The Boston bombing media circus was a pathetic spectacle that continues to spread misinformation.
  • Bad news everyone: Futurama is canceled, again, perhaps this time forever (but that’s what they said the last time).
  • Speaking of shows (and characters) which have come back from the dead, the once-dead online revivals of All My Children and One Life to Live have miraculously re-revived like Lazarus Dixie. Episodes stream on Hulu.com starting Monday.
  • The film itself has gone on to the big Netflix stream in the sky cloud, but the original website advertising Space Jam lives on!
  • One or more of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors had been taking female writers out of a page about “American novelists” and into a page about “American women novelists.” But people complained, and the sex-segregation has stopped. This isn’t much different from indie bookstores (like Seattle’s Left Bank Books) separating “women’s fiction” from “general fiction.”
  • Can we really blame the whole ’08 economic kablooey on a few coked-up financiers in London?
  • AlterNet reminds you that, yes, your bad memories of George W. Bush are fully justified.
JONATHAN FRID, R.I.P.
Apr 19th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

fanboy.com

Back when daytime soaps were still a profitable low-budget genre, producer Dan Curtis hit on the idea of making one inspired by the “gothic romance” paperbacks of the day. (You know, the ones with covers showing young women in flowing dresses running from houses.)

Dark Shadows was initially a ratings failure.

As a last-ditch effort, Curtis wrote in a vampire character and cast a journeyman Canadian actor to play him.

Frid was a hit. The revamped show was also a hit. Despite being made on the same low budget and impossible schedule as the more domestically-oriented soaps, it evoked realms of supernatural fantasy and even multiple time streams.

It inspired two feature films, a slew of merch, a brief revival series in 1991, and a forthcoming spoof film.

Frid became a classic typecasting victim. He went on to a smattering of other movies, one Broadway play, and many years eking out a living touring colleges in one-man shows.

Whatever it took to stay alive undead.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 2/29/12
Feb 28th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

wallyhood.org

My adventure in Bellingham this past Sunday was cold but lovely. Will post a complete post about it a little later on.

And I’ve got another presentation coming up this Saturday, right here in Seattle! It’s at 2 p.m. at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park, 319 2nd Ave. S. in pontificous Pioneer Square. (That’s right across from Zeitgeist Coffee.) This one concerns my ’06 book Vanishing Seattle, and perhaps all the things that have vanished around here since then. Be there or be frostbitten.

Now, to catch up with a little randomness:

  • Writer Jonathan Shipley would like to hear from anyone who lived or worked at or was involved in the Home of the Good Shepherd (1906-70), the former Catholic “wayward girls” institution, whose building is now a community and arts center.
  • One of my current projects is an essay about the “future of news.” It will start with the proclamation that web ads, by themselves, will almost never pay enough to support original, professional journalism. No matter how hard you pander to the advertisers.
  • The admirable local-politics site Publicola has faced this fact, and has begun appealing for donations.
  • Facebook: Soon to have more ads in your “news feed” from companies you don’t even “Like®”.
  • Under current legislation, city authorities would have more authority to kick people out of Westlake Park (including protesters?).
  • Ron Sims says it better than I can: We’ve cut too much from higher-ed in this state already.
  • Gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna won’t endorse a GOP presidential candidate. This is smart strategy for the current state attorney general. If he wants to win even a single moderate crossover vote, he’ll need to stay as far away as he cam from the “I’m a bigger bigot than you!”/”No, I am!” Republican presidential field.
  • The Seattle Times, now mostly ensconced in its new smaller digs, has put up a retro Times Square-esque news ticker sign, where people stuck in traffic halfway up Denny Way can learn all that’s going on.
  • The construction bust (at least in greater downtown): Wasn’t it wonderful? Now there’s gonna be 40 stories of apartments next to the Paramount.
  • I’ve been a skeptic of Bill Gates’s education-reform schemes (i.e., bust the teachers’ unions, and spend on fancy tech even if it means firing teachers). But today he makes a good point, that you can’t get employees to work better if you treat them as objects of incessant ridicule.
  • The Koch brothers: Not only big anti-Obama Super PAC donors/organizers, but also leading oil price speculators. I’m not alleging any dot-connecting, but you might.
  • Jonathan Chiat at New York magazine has a theory for why the far right wing (and its corporate puppet masters) are tripling down on the hate- and fear-mongering this year. It’s because the far right’s traditional chief audience (non-college-educated whites, particularly white males) is aging and dwindling, both in number and as a part of the total electorate. This may be the last Presidential election in which this audience can be effectively exploited.
  • Did Ralph Nader really endorse Ron Paul, or is the hereby-linked rant a gross exaggeration?
  • Ex-Seattle monologuist Mike Daisey talked a bit about sweatshop labor in his Apple-themed piece last year. Now he’s bashing the defenders of the Chinese factory system.
  • It’s the fourth anniversary of the last Leap Day. That was when the soap opera Guiding Light (then the longest-running dramatic production in the world) introduced a new reality-show-like production technique. (Even the studio scenes were shot with hand-held minicams.) The new look failed to save that show, or the three other soaps (which held to their standard styles) that got canceled after GL was.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/13/12
Jan 12th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

1975 opening; from onelifetolive.wikia.com

(Again this year, I’ve been drafted into participating in the Seattle Invitationals, a contest for Elvis Tribute Artists (ETA; and yes, that acronym is used within this particular scene). In keeping with the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair (and of It Happened at the World’s Fair), this year’s edition is under the Space Needle at the Experience Music Project, 8 p.m. Saturday. Be there or be Fabian.)

  • It’s another sad day in TV land. For the fourth time in as many years, a generations-spanning narrative ends. The idea that anything as out-of-thin-air as a fictional yarn could grow and morph and dig itself in for 43 and a half years (in One Life to Live’s case) seems bizarre enough in today’s media sphere. That it did so in the old three-network TV milieu is a testament to (1) the continued ingenuity of producers and writers and actors, and (2) the fact that these productions became so expensive, with such limited revenue models, that the networks would rather reinvent existing shows than replace them. But in the 500-channels-plus-Internet world, even the old-line networks can’t support these dinosaurs of drama. Alas.
  • The City of Seattle now has this handy little array of online city maps. One of the niftiest of the batch depicts the different types of street trees you can find around town. “Number one: the larch… the larch…
  • Get ready for more booze in more places in Seattle Center.
  • Unlike KPLU, I have a hard time feeling sorry for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
  • The McCormick and Schmick’s restaurants were just taken over by the parent company of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Is the author of a Congressional bill that would make online copyright violators face jail time (aka the bill that would “break the Internet“) himself an online image, er, borrower?
  • White “antiracist essayist” Tim Wise considers Ron Paul to be only a few gradations less icky than the Ku Klux Klan.
  • The creator of a new sitcom filled with ethnic stereotypes says it’s OK when he invokes stereotypes because he’s gay. Note to the confused: Gay white people are still white people.
  • A “sexual politics” blogger would like you all to stop dissing female right-wing politicians with the same “slut”-bashing language you hate when right-wingers themselves use it.
  • The concept of a “beer for women” has been tried before and failed. This time, MillerCoors is preparing to market a specially-formulated “bloat resistant” light lager. It’ll come in three named flavors: “Clear Filtered,” “Crisp Rosé,” AND “Zesty Lemon.” What’s even more bizarre is the name they’ve given the thing: “Animée.” It’s French for “livened up.” But you and I know it won’t be out three seconds before someone asks whether it’s the favorite beverage of, say, Sailor Moon.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/23/11
Sep 22nd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

nordstrom photo, via shine.yahoo.com

  • Those $85 Starbucks designer tees? All net proceeds go to Starbucks. One more reason Howard Schultz is in the Forbes 400 richest-people list.
  • A Starbucks employee in Calif. posted a satirical song about his job onto YouTube. The song became popular; he became fired.
  • After 18 years, the homey and low-key Rosebud restaurant/bar on East Pike is calling it quits. The management (which just bought the place from its previous longtime owners) homes to reopen nearby.
  • Facebook’s got this big new feature that looks a lot like something already devised by a Seattle startup site.
  • The Real Networks spinoff Rhapsody, a subscription online music service, has some sort of free trial thing going on via Facebook.
  • Washington state: Now with even more poverty.
  • You want across-the-board cuts in all state spending? Fine. Welcome some new early-release inmates, who won’t get the supervision past parolees got.
  • Swedish Medical Center to lay off 150 staffers. So much for the aging-boomer-era medical boom.
  • The on-again, off-again scheme to drastically redevelop the parking lot north of Qwest CenturyLink Field is on again. For now.
  • An unfinished Kent parking garage will be razed and replaced by homes and stores.
  • Tacoma teachers’ strike: over.
  • Obama’s coming to town. You won’t get to see him.
  • The always-lucid Feliks Banel sees the retirement of J.P. Patches in the context of the institutional decline of local TV (particularly local non-news TV).
  • The “Occupy Wall Street” folk have finally proclaimed “our one demand”—11 of them, all big-big-picture stuff, essentially adding up to the complete re-orientation of the nation’s government, economy, and society.
  • ‘Tis a sad, sad day for all who care about tradition, long-form storytelling, and frequently-remarried drama queens. The final network episode of All My Children airs today.
  • On a much happier note, you can become part of a new tradition tomorrow, the tradition of the ped-powered urbanites.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/1/11
Aug 31st, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

619 western's exterior during the 'artgasm' festival, 2002

  • We begin with the end of a 27-year tradition. The 619 Western Building artists will hold their actual, for-real-this-time, final First Thursday art show tonight. Like the previous one, it will actually occur in the south parking lot outside the building.
  • The feds want to protect Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA from AT&T’s planned takeover.
  • Port Townsend town leaders are getting a federal grant to start a privately run, tourist-oriented passenger ferry from Seattle. Rides are expected to go at $20-$25 a ticket.
  • Tacoma doesn’t want any more big box chain stores for the time being.
  • Employment in Puget Sound country? Rising up to mediocre. In the rest of the state? Still putrid.
  • Those “tea party” scream-bots love to interrupt Democratic politicians’ town halls. But when they’re elected, they don’t like to hold any fully public meetings of their own.
  • That “Latino gang problem” in south King County, mentioned in yesterday’s Random Links? Keegan Hamilton at Seattle Weekly says it’s way overblown.
  • Howard Schultz’s crusade to get CEOs to stop giving to politicians seems to be working. If, by working, you mean cutting off money to Democrats, while the super-PACs giving to Republicans get ever super-er.
  • The HP tablet device became so popular at really cheap close-out prices, that HP’s getting more made—to be sold at the same near-total-loss price. This is politely known as dot-com economics at work.
  • Just when we got excited that JC Penney was coming back to downtown Seattle, the company has to pull one of the ultimate all-time product FAILs. Yep, we’re talking about the girls’ shirt bearing the slogan “I’m too pretty to do homework, so my brother has do it for me.”
  • Glenn Greenwald describes the “war on terror” as “the decade’s biggest scam.” Considering all the other scams competing for that title, that’s saying something.
  • What sounds weirder—Al Jazeera’s claim that Dennis Kucinich tried to help Gaddafi stay in power, or the associated claim that Kucinich’s partner in the scheme was a top ex-Bush aide?
  • We end with the end of a 42-year tradition. All My Children taped its last network episode Wednesday.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/3/11
Jul 3rd, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

(Slow news day edition.)

  • In case you wanted another reason to cuss Boeing’s current management (besides paying no taxes whilst living off the Pentagon teat), Glenn Hurowitz at the local eco-zine Grist chides ‘em for falling behind Airbus in the race to make more eco-friendly aircraft. Then he cites this as just one more example of Boeing’s corporate ball-dropping:

Boeing is still paying for abandoning its once-successful strategy of long-term investments in innovative, groundbreaking products like the 747 jumbo jet in service of short-term profits meant to goose its quarterly earnings.

  • Longtime readers know I almost never quote NPR here. (Heck, I almost never listen to that marathon snoozefest of self absorption.) But here’s a neat little item by them about “how much does it cost to make a hit song?” The song in question is a producer-driven Rihanna track. As one web-page commenter to the story noted, nowhere in the entire piece is the word “musician” uttered. Indeed, nowhere is it mentioned how any non-vocal sounds on the recording are created.
  • If there were still going to be daytime soaps, here’s a new potential plot chiché for them: frozen fertilized embryos. Siblings conceived at the same time but born years apart.
  • David Swanson thinks he knows how we actually could get Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court…
  • …while Ezra Klein’s got a handy rhetorical device for following the federal debt-ceiling debate hoohah. Whenever a Republican is quoted blathering about “taxes,” replace the phrase with “blowing up the moon.”
THIS WEEK’S BAD NEWS
Apr 15th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

The great decimation of one of America’s greatest art forms continues, with the sudden cancellation of both All My Children and One Life to Live.

As noted by Knute Berger, whose aunt was one of the genre’s most venerable actors, these programs seemed to come from another time, another place, another world. They had an eternal, ethereal sense about them, even when they were trying (usually badly) to be young and hip.

It was Agnes Nixon’s (creator of both AMC and OLTL) careful juxtaposition of the universal and the with-it (by suburban standards) that made AMC, in particular, the darling of the young ladies of my teen and college years. It was the reason there are so many women in their 30s these days sporting the names “Erica” and “Tara” (the female corners of the show’s original love-rectangle storyline).

Around this time, there was also a Seattle tie-in to AMC. It seemed to be the place characters kept moving to whenever the producers wanted to drop somebody without killing them off. In the 1990s, two real local businesses were named after fictional businesses on the show—Cortland Computer (in Pine Valley, Palmer Cortland’s high-tech empire; in Seattle, an early ISP) and GlamORama (in PV, Opal’s hair salon; in Seattle, a funky fashion and novelty-gift boutique).

As I’ve written here previously, there’s no more real business model for these shows. Even as more people are working from home (or not working), the archtype of the stay-home mom having “her stories” on during housework has been passé for so long it’s not even retro anymore. In a cable/internet world, scripted drama episodes meant to be seen only once are simply not cost-effective. (ABC previously announced it’s dumping its SoapNet cable channel.)

Domestic drama stories can be told in any medium or format. But the particular qualities of the serials—multiple storylines, no single lead character, no single climactic moment, no ending, no season breaks—those assets belong to the soaps and a very few other genres (mainly certain comic strips and comic books). It’s perfectly possible to have open ended storytelling in Net video “webisodes,” but they’d pretty much need commercial backing of some sort. (Indie productions usually can’t offer long-term contracts to a dozen or more actors.)

Will a savvy marketer try this?

Tune in tomorrow.

THE FINAL ‘TURN’
Sep 17th, 2010 by Clark Humphrey

I don’t remember attempting to watch a complete episode of As the World Turns before 1969, when KIRO-TV first placed a noon newscast ahead of it. (Ah, Sandy Hill….)

ATWT was a difficult viewing experience for a preteen boy. But I challenged myself to get through it.

First came the gothic organ theme, and that very simple title sequence using a very church-y typeface. (Years later I learned the font was named “Lydian.”) Then a whole minute of commercials.

Only then did the drama commence. It was slow and quiet. It mostly seemed to consist of the Hughes, Lowell, and Stewart family members discussing the everyday minutiae of their lives.

That was all there was to story during the most famous episode of all, the one that Walter Cronkite interrupted for the news that President Kennedy had been shot.

But in retrospect, upon seeing pieces of these old episodes on YouTube, there was a hypnotic formula at work.

ATWT creator Irna Phillips (1903-1973), who’d essentially invented the genre, knew her audiences wanted virtual neighbors, whose lives (just slightly more exciting than the viewers’ own) could be shared in predictable doses at the same time every day, Monday throgh Friday.

Phillips didn’t shout at her viewers with high-strung melodrama. She seduced them with carefully written, if hastily rehearsed, dialogue.

Traditionally soaps were the one TV genre where The Writer was the auteur. ATWT’s auteur was Phillips. It was her masterwork.

It was also one of the first TV soaps to run a half hour per episode. Previously they’d all been 15 minutes, as they’d been on radio.

Phillips took this extra airtime and used it to slow down the storytelling pace, sometimes to near glacial proportions. That only made it more compelling.

ATWT quickly became known as the class act of daytime. Within two years it had conquered the ratings. It stayed on top for two decades.

But it was a show created for the three-network TV economy. The multichannel landscape was a harder place to support a single hour with a reported $50 million annual production budget, producing over 250 episodes a year with no reruns and no DVD box sets. Budgets, casts, and sets got smaller. But those were only stopgap measures.

The last episode has now aired in the west. A story older than me has ended.

Could anything like it be started again?

Yes.

Character-based, quiet, domestic drama is just about the easiest scripted video to produce. It could even be done online, given the right economies of scale.

But this particular story has ended.

THE PREMATURE LAST CHAPTER
May 3rd, 2010 by Clark Humphrey

Helen Wagner, who spoke the first line of dialogue on As the World Turns in 1956 and was the show’s matriarch ever since, has died at age 91. Her death comes four months before the show’s scheduled last episode is to air, and approximately two months before that episode is to be taped.

MOURNING AT THE GLAMORAMA
Jan 25th, 2010 by Clark Humphrey

MISCmedia is dedicated today to two of TV’s most enduring actors, Bonanza/Trapper John star Pernell Roberts and All My Children legend James Mitchell. The latter’s death was officially announced by “longtime partner Albert Wolsky.”

Yes, Palmer Cortland was gay.

What, you thought he was having sex with Opal all those years?

NOW LEAVING ORBIT #2
Dec 23rd, 2009 by Clark Humphrey

Knute Berger at Crosscut mourns the decline of soap operas (evinced by As the World Turns’ cancellation) with a tribute to his late aunt, one of the show’s, and the genre’s, most enduring performers. Berger rightly notes that “the soaps are the daily newspapers of daytime TV, once everyday staples that are now dying off like dinosaurs in a meteor-induced dust cloud.”

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