By PATRICK McCRAY
May 25, 1967
Taped on this date: Episode 248.
Up to now, was it clear that Kathryn Leigh Scott was a capable actress? Yes. But this is the point in the show where Maggie is pushed to such extremes that she overwhelms the show in the best way. It’s a performance brimming with powerful authenticity, and decidedly not the kind of acting we expect from daytime drama. This moment has been coming, and it pushes everyone to new extremes. Frid responds with a feral fusion of genuine fury and an angrily broken heart. Most importantly, this was the final day for actor Mitch Ryan as Burke Devlin. Mr. Ryan’s alcoholism in that period was legendary and led to his departure from the show. The good news is that his recovery was relatively swift, and his career rebounded. The sad part, other than it marking a dark period for a good man, is that the show lost a virile, charming, polished, street-tough force that most reminds me of Dan Curtis, himself -- almost Curtis’ surrogate. (The two men shared a resemblance both physically and in force of presence.) Anthony George is a perfectly serviceable actor, but not the primal actor that was and is Mitch Ryan. The show would continue for nearly a thousand episodes after his departure, but the absence is always felt because his presence so firmly established the emotional and moral core of the program.
(Episode 239 airs on this date.)
May 25, 1970
Taped on this date: Episode 248
Today is the birthday of the memorably menacing Erica Fitz, who played Leona Eltrich and Danielle Roget. She put in a wicked, strong performance as the evil spirit of Eve. Her career wasn’t terribly long, but it wasn’t dull. Not only did she welcome Arnold Schwartzenegger to the USA by co-starring with him in HERCULES IN NEW YORK, but she also sexed up the Broadway farce, THERE’S A GIRL IN MY SOUP, co-starting the Third Doctor, himself, Jon Pertwee! There’s a joke about his UNIT in there, but I’ll leave it to you to complete it.
(Episode 1021 airs on this date.)