The Puberty Fairy won a daytime Emmy yesterday and doesn't that say something about daytime TV? Not only that, but the Puberty Fairy's real-life godmother (a.k.a. executive producer), Carole Hart, announced in her acceptance speech that the Puberty Fairy (and his cathode hideout, NBC's "Hot Hero Sandwich," which won the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Entertainment Series) has been canceled. (And doesn't that say something about daytime TV?) Anyway, with nary a bow to J.M. Barrie, what do you think she did? Why sure, she said " . . . if you want that kind of program, please write to all the networks and tell them." Ah, Tinker Bell, where are you, now that we need you?
Somewhere in a government or law or business office, in fact, probably in more offices than you would care to know about, there is a clerk with earphones, typing away like mad from, you might reasonably think, a taped transcription of some late-night dictation from a hardworking boss. Right? Wrong.
He or she is wired for sound all right, but from one of those radios that pick up TV channels. Chances are, that clerk is listening to a soap opera. pMaybe a game show, although, speaking, you understand, from no experience whatsoever, I would think that would be more difficult to follow.
That's how some people combine work and daytime TV.
Now I don't have the kind of job where you can do that, so I make do by using as primary sources a combination of my 85-year-old mother, my 21-year-old just-graduated-from-college daughter, colleagues who work different hours from me, and Captain Airwave's weekly roundup. I do often end up with a lot of material about a lot of soaps I don't really care a great deal about, but all that, plus an occasional Friday off, keeps me more or less au courant with most of the plot twists. (My daughter now has a job of her own which does not permit such luxury as watching or even listening to soaps, so there goes my "General Hospital" connection, but I just found out that one of her classmates is deeply into "Edge of Night," only now he's graduated too . . . But listen, Mike, whatever did happen to that couple that thought they were brother and sister but were in love anyway, only they really weren't?
I was happy to see "The Guiding Light" (CBS) win for Outstanding Daytime Drama in yesterday's 7th annual Daytime Emmy Awards, broadcast live in the afternoon on NBC. Now this is a soap I have followed since it was on the radio. In fact, there were days I pretended to be sick (honest, Mom) so I could stay home from second grade and see what happened. Only nobody I know watches it now, and every sixth Friday isn't much help. Who is Elizabeth anyway?
And I don't (sorry) watch "One Life to Live," but one of my soap resources assures me that it was a really good thing that Judith Light won it yesterday for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series because "she got shafted last year." And what's more "she was really super." The NBC handout material says she plays Karen Wolek, but that's about all I can tell you.
I can do a little bit better for Warren Burton, who won for best supporting actor, and Francesca James, who won for supporting actress. Both won for their roles in ABC's "All My Children." Here's how it worked: Burton's character, Eddie Dorrance, was murdered sometime last year, so he's gone. James' character, Kelly Cole, was wrongly accused of his murder and languished in jail interminably. Now James started out in "One Life to Live," I am assured by one of my reliable sources, but got killed off. She turned up in "All My Children" as a character named Kitty, who died. However, she proved so popular she was brought back as Kelly Cole, Kitty's long-lost identical twin. Got it?
Daytime TV isn't just soaps, of course. There are game shows and talk shows and children's shows and commercials and commercials and commercials. Some of the non-soap winners included:
Phil Donahue (syndicated) for the fourth consecutive year as best talk show host. (He couldn't accept in person. On honeymoon, remember.)
Peter Marshall as best game show host, although Marshall's soon-to-be-defunct daytime "Hollywood Squares" tied with the also soon-to-be-defunct "$20,000 Pyramid" for best game or audience participation show.
An "ABC Afterschool Special" called "The Late Great Me: Story of a Teen-Age Alcoholic" won for best children's special and CBS won for their "Festival of Lively Arts for Young People" production of "Why a Conductor," with Zubin Mehta and Beverly Sills.
Now that's one worth watching.
I did some heavy daytime TV watching the year my son was born. The wild and wonderful daytime Jack Paar show (which should have been at least R-rated for innuendo), especially when Walter Slezak was all wound up, is still one of my favorite TV memories.
He was followed, I recall, by Art Linkletter's "House Party," which I never watched. Only once in a while (nursing mother, you know) I got trapped.
I remember the time he had some youngsters on and asked them what animal they'd be if they had a choice.
After some routine cats and dogs and birds one child said, "I'd like to be an octopus."
"Why?" wondered Linkletter.
"Oh," said the child, "so the other children could come play with my testicles."
I've been watching daytime TV for years, but nothing ever measures up to that.