Diana Canova Audiobook

canova audiobook

Hi gang. Saw this come up on Audible today and thought I’d share it.

My publisher, Ben Ohmart, wrote a biography of Diana Canova’s mom, Judy, a while back. This week he published the audiobook, read appropriately enough by Diana. What a blast to hear Corinne reading to you 🙂

Audible members can get it here.




‘Soap’ Reunion on The Hallmark Channel

benson_reunion(Click photo for TV segment link)

While it’s great to see Jay Johnson’s photos from today’s honoring of Robert Guillaume on Hallmark’s Home and Family show, Jay’s thoughts on it all are exactly what we’ve come to expect from his Internet soap (Soap?) box: an honest reflection on whatever subject he’s decided to turn his mind to.

I’ve frequently said here (and in the Soap book) that Jay Johnson gives the impression of being the smartest guy in the room, and his post here only underscores that. There’s a certain tension that exists when you have someone who is both self-aware and aware of the ridiculousness of his surroundings, and that person has a career in Hollywood.

Honestly, the only other person I can think of who had these qualities was Douglas Adams. His Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy might’ve told us “Don’t Panic”; I think Jay would probably say “You probably should panic, but really, what’s the point?”

‘Soap’ Reunion Turns 25

reunion_museumThanks to Soap super fan Jeff K. for pointing out that the insightful Soap reunion sponsored by the Museum of Broadcasting took place March 22, 1990 – 25 years ago yesterday.

It’s been a quarter of a century today (March 22nd) since the gang came together and filming it became one of my treasures. I’ve just watched it for the anniversary. Diana Canova’s “6 year old son” is in his 30’s, older than I was when I filmed it. R. I. P. Caroline McWilliams, Arthur Peterson & Richard Mulligan (I guess a pretty good average for 25 years).

This is also probably a good time to remind people that Jeff went to considerable trouble to transcribe the Soap reunion that he attended (and taped) back in 1990. You can find the complete transcript right here.

It occurs to me today that all I did was write one book about this influential series – it’s Jeff and people like him who did the really valuable work of preserving these bits and pieces over the years. Thanks to one and all who have done us all that great service.

Edward Herrmann Interview Download

herrmann_intHi all. With last week’s passing of beloved actor Edward Herrmann, I put together the complete interview I conducted with him for The Gilmore Girls Companion back in 2009. (He graciously wrote the foreword to that book.)

It occurred to me that many Soap lovers might also be fans of his work considering the wide range of programs and films he appeared in over the years.

When I went back through my notes I discovered that the interview ran to 40 typed pages in all, so it seemed best to make it available as a PDF rather than online.

I apologize for the design quality of the document itself; Pamela is up to her eyeballs in deadlines right now so I had a go at putting it together myself. She’s the designer, I’m the writer, and unfortunately I’m afraid that shows.

That said, I wanted to get this text out there sooner rather than later.

A word here on the process: I sent him a few sample questions before we actually spoke by phone for the first time. I recorded the conversation, transcribed it, and sent the transcript to him to make any corrections or clarifications he deemed fit. That corrected text is what you’ll find in this PDF.

More than anything else, I really wanted people who never had the opportunity to meet him to see how he spoke and his thought process.

He was a rare individual, and greatly missed.


PS – As a fellow old-time radio fan, I wanted to include a few quick links to the shows and personalities Mr. Herrmann references in the interview. For those interested in hearing the programs first hand, there are many free podcasts available – just search for “old time radio” or “otr” in your favorite podcatcher or in iTunes.

Fred Allen

Jack Benny

Bob & Ray

A Bad Year for ’70s Sitcoms…


Not sure how I missed the passing of Bonnie Franklin

The loss of Allan Arbus, who played M*A*S*H’s shrink Maj. Sidney Freedman, only twists the knife.

I know we’ve lost a lot of greats in the last year or two, but I tend to keep my head buried on these things. Occasionally I catch a glimpse…and go right back to burying my head in the sand.

Who’s Your Favorite ‘Soap’ Character?

…Because I’m suddenly curious, and I have all of these fancy bits of technology at my disposal for some reason.

Catching Up With Tony Thomas

One of the great pleasures of speaking with those who were greatly involved in the making of Soap is hearing an air of nostalgia creep into their voices as they suddenly think of things they haven’t thought of in decades. Thus was the case yesterday when I had the good fortune to speak with Tony Thomas, one of the Witt Thomas Harris triumvirate who made Soap a reality.

The only one of the three to have grown up in the business, Thomas brought to the table a unique understanding of time-tested comedy that he gained from watching father Danny Thomas perform. He also grew up in a home where anybody from George Burns to Don Rickles might stop by.  Though he will be the first to tell you that Susan Harris was the master of writing sitcom, one can’t help but get the feeling that Thomas’ own knowledge of comedy helped to shape what hit the written page.

This is particularly evident in his appreciation of silence in a comedy scene, something he learned from his father. While this element of comedy goes back to the days of Vaudeville, and is perhaps best illustrated by the pauses in dialogue by Jack Benny on his radio and television shows, Soap used this often throughout its run, almost as a way of making some of its zanier elements appear even crazier in comparison.

So how about a moment of silence for Soap, and for Tony Thomas? And while I know this is Soap we’re talking about, please avoid the temptation to get all racy with talk of “pregnant pauses.” 😉

‘Soap’: 30 Years Ago Today

[Thanks to Soap fan Jeff for reminding me of today’s anniversary.]

Thirty years ago today, ABC succumbed to nearly four years of pressure from advertisers and activists, and pulled the plug on Soap with Season 4, Episode 16. Chances are good that if you’re reading this blog, you probably regret that decision. However, as even a casual search through the world brain that is the web reveals, April 20th has been a pretty rum date throughout modern history. Consider:

So all in all, Soap‘s premature ending is in….pretty lousy company, actually.