Proof of Life

I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since December! Yes, I’m embarrassed ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Still, I’m posting here today to say that we’re going to begin posting a few sample pages from the book this weekend. This is to give you some idea of what you can expect once this #$@ book finally lets go of our hand and stumbles off into the world.

And, let’s face it, it’s also a bit of proof that yes, damn it, there IS a book. Kind of like a kidnapper putting a purloined loved one on the phone to show that they’re not dead…yet. “Proof of life” I think they call it.

So there ๐Ÿ˜‰


19 comments on “Proof of Life

  1. “Soap” fans are patiently waiting, and are confident the finished result will be an informative and entertaining product. Thanks for the update, Aaron. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Sounds like a good idea. Just like when the kidnappers let Elaine talk to Danny. “Buy your own pickle!”. Is the book alright? Are you letting it keep it’s pickle?

  3. Thank you for that. Their patience is greatly appreciated. (They’re also still waiting for a conclusion to Season 4, if memory serves….)

  4. Oh hell, Jeff — we all know how well THAT turned out. And never you mind about its pickle. That’s just the sort of suggestive content I’d expect from a Soap fan. Go sit in the corner — now!

  5. I’m gonna put the “Soap” theme on a loop until I have it in my hands! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Though I know it’s tough to get all surviving key players (and I’m sure you gave it your all, Aaron), Billy Crystal is so missing from the cast from who we will see comments. Anyone know if he’s talked about “Soap” in the last couple of decades, outside of plugging the DVD on Letterman? ๐Ÿ™‚ There are some others (not as instrumental as Billy), but, again- can’t get everybody.

    Also- Aaron, were you able to use past quotes from departed greats for the book? I know you spoke to Mulligan’s publicist.

  6. It’s a delicate case with Billy Crystal. My understanding (from former cast and crew, and from subsequent interviews and media pieces) is that he couldn’t disassociate himself from Soap fast enough, something best illustrated by its complete exclusion from his memoir…with the single exception of dubbing one of his media rounds as the “I’m not gay” tour, or words to that effect. I think some of that has to do with just what a risk he’d taken by portraying Jodie. At a time when we’re seriously debating gay marriage, it can be hard to remember just how much negativity (disgust might be a better word) was directed at gay people, both real and fictional, in the ’70s. And sadly, Crystal received a certain amount of flack for his portrayal. I don’t think he ever managed to get over that completely. Though he never flat out refused to be interviewed for the book, I approached him through various third parties and never received a response. For the most part, every other major actor in the series was gracious enough to speak with me, something for which I am grateful.

    As for Richard Mulligan, he taught me something very valuable. Though he passed away long before this project was conceived of, the memories he left behind with cast and crew tell us more about the man than I think he ever could’ve done himself. In the few interviews I’ve read with him, the picture he had of himself varied greatly from the picture others had of him. He wrestled with a lot of demons throughout his life, but he also lived and worked with a passion that has lived on after him, and will do so for many years to come.

    • I don’t understand Billy’s attitude. I’d think the hard part would be deciding to play a gay man. After you’ve done it and it was successful, why not take the applause? Especially all these years later. It was a long time before “Will & Grace”, etc. and is considered a TV breakthrough. I don’t think he’s ever done a better job as an actor (his taste in movies is pretty bland). Except maybe some of the stuff I’ve seen him do for Comic Relief. It’s interesting that probably his first starring role in a movie was “Rabbit Test”, where he played the first pregnant man. That was around the time “Soap” started. Maybe it was just the times, people did edgier stuff (that was the original “Saturday Night Live” era).
      Anyway, he took the risk and did “Soap” and I’m thankful to him.

      • I certainly understand where you’re coming from, Jeff. I don’t want to psychoanalyze the fellow here because I’ve never met him, and I haven’t lived the life he has. I have talked to several people who do know him and who worked with him on Soap, and the best I can say based on that is that he wasn’t always sweetness and light to begin with; the “gay thing” simply didn’t help. I’m just glad we now live in a time where all that stuff has finally turned a corner. Jodie Dallas helped a lot of people get through the dark days, and whatever Mr. Crystal’s qualms about the part, isn’t that really the important thing?

  7. Thanks for the insight, Aaron. That’s too bad if that’s how Crystal feels. Surely he sees what a gem the show was, even if he did have a tough time of it for a while as that character. One thing I didn’t particularly like about “Soap” near the end was the almost “de-gaying” of Jodie. It was fine that he wasn’t as flamboyant as he initially was portrayed in the first few episodes, but it’s like the last season really tried to get away from the gay thing.

    And thanks for the tidbit about Mulligan. He was such a great comic character- we only know these people through these terrific character portrayals, and, surprise- it turns out they’re human and face issues just like the rest of us.

    • Your “de-gaying” insight is a good one. Compare that to how all over the place his sexuality was in the first few episodes (was he transgendered, a transvestite, gay?). But we also have to keep in mind we’re viewing this all through the prism of the 21st century — there just wasn’t a lot known about gay people in the straight world beyond what was seen in the movies (though some of this might be down to simple denial). The same closet that kept so many in also kept a great many more out. Finally, though we automatically assume (correctly, as it turns out) that the right gave Soap hell for portraying a gay character; gay-interest groups, too, were hitting it for not allowing Jodie to be gay enough (no long-term gay relationship, etc.). Though the producers were pretty tough when it came to other people trying to tamper with their show, it’s clear that this constant tug-of-war between left and right did leave its mark.

  8. I often wonder if that show would have been more of an issue now than it was back then. I mean back then it was new to people cause they have never had that kind of boldness behind a camera. It took a lot for bob g. Being an africn merican portraying the stereo type of the black butler. Todays society I believe would have found it far more insulting. The way of the world. Lawsuits etc… people frown upon it. Politcally correct….etc…if tha be the case norman lear would have been tarred and feathered.

    • I don’t think anyone would bat an eye over Soap today – it was a show very much of its time. Robert Guillaume was under an enormous amount of pressure from black friends and fellow actors when he took the role because of the timing of it all. At a time when black people were still fighting for their civil rights, many saw his role as a step backward for their people. Of Course Mr. Guillaume recognized it for what it was โ€“ a character who was always the smartest person in the room. Indeed, the thesis of “Soap! The Inside Story…” is that people were getting so upset over a television show at a time when real-world problems far outweighed anything on television: the aftermath of Vietnam, Jonestown, skyrocketing crime, political skullduggery, international terrorism. As for today, I just can’t imagine Soap getting the same reaction. Most of us can’t even seem to get worked up over the fact that our own government apparently has us under 24 hour surveillance.

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