"Dial-a-Soap" has lathered its last, but it did accomplish something.
"Dial-a-Soap" was a telephone service offering up-to-the-minute summaries of the latest pairings, partings and pantings from all 11 network soap operas.
Despite 10,000 calls a day to the three phone lines from Washington area soap addicts, "Dial-a-Soap" is down the drain. In a world hungry for romance, "Dial-a-Soap" was the victim of unromantic economic reality.
"It was fun; I'm just sorry that we lost so much money," said Dennis K. Lavery, who started the phone summary service without ever having watched a soap opera himself, in partnership with Diane Geddings.
A team of "soap watchers" watched each soap opera every day and phoned in major developments to "Dial-a-Soap" headquarters in Annandale. Fresh tapes were in place each day by 5 p.m., rendered in a female voice that sounded like it came straight from "The Young and the Restless."
Interspersed with the summaries were advertisements from local merchants that were supposed to pay the bills. But while the merchants were intrigued, they largely refused to be seduced. "They all thought it was a nifty idea too," said Lavery, "but just not quite right for them."
The service, begun last May, sighed out of existence in the fall without telling listeners about one pairing in particular.
Geddings and Lavery married each other after their business failed. As Geddings puts it: "We had our own soap opera."