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Encyclopedia > Love of Life
Love of Life

The Love of Life title card from 1957.
Genre live action, soap opera
Running time 15 minutes (1951-1958)
25 minutes (1958-1980)
Creator(s) Roy Winsor
Starring Audrey Peters
Ron Tomme
et al
Country of origin Flag of United States United States
Original channel CBS
Original run September 24, 1951February 1, 1980
No. of episodes Approximately 7500

Love of Life was an American soap opera which aired on CBS from September 24, 1951 to February 1, 1980. Image File history File links Love of Life logo from 1957. ... In film and video, live action refers to works that are acted out by flesh-and-blood actors, as opposed to animation. ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television... Audrey Peters (born February 11, year unknown, in Maplewood, New Jersey) is an American actress. ... Ron Tomme (October 24, 1931 — January 29, 2005) was an American actor, best known for his long-running role as Bruce Sterling on the soap opera Love of Life from 1959 to 1980. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_States. ... CBS (an abbreviation for Columbia Broadcasting System, its former legal name) is one of the largest television networks, and formerly one of the largest radio networks, in the United States. ... September 24 is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television... CBS (an abbreviation for Columbia Broadcasting System, its former legal name) is one of the largest television networks, and formerly one of the largest radio networks, in the United States. ... September 24 is the 267th day of the year (268th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ...

Contents

Production

Love of Life was taped at several studios in New York City, but primarily at the CBS Production Center on West 57th Street and CBS's Studio 52 behind the Ed Sullivan Theatre. In 1975, the studio was moved to make room for a nightclub that would eventually become known as Studio 54. Until 1980, Love of Life was taped in the same studio as another CBS soap opera, Search for Tomorrow. Nickname: Big Apple, City that never Sleeps, Gotham Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1613 Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday. ... The original Studio 54 logo. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ... CBS (an abbreviation for Columbia Broadcasting System, its former legal name) is one of the largest television networks, and formerly one of the largest radio networks, in the United States. ... Search for Tomorrow was a soap opera which started airing on Monday, September 3, 1951 on CBS. The show was moved from CBS, its original broadcaster, on Friday, March 26, 1982, with NBC picking it up on the following Monday, March 29, 1982. ...


Format

Unlike most other soap operas, Love of Life was originally not split up into segments dictated by commercial breaks. Because the show was owned by packaged-goods giant American Home Products, and merely licensed to CBS, all commericals were for AHP brands, and occurred before or after the show. In the 1960s, one commercial break was allotted around the middle of the program, but this was mostly to allow affiliates to reconnect with the feed after airing local commercials. Wyeth, formerly known as American Home Products, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ...


In 1958 the show moved from 15 minutes to 25 minutes, a departure from the norm in a world where most soap operas were expanding to a half-hour. The last five minutes in the half-hour timeslot (a timeslot that generally led into the noon hour in most areas) were reserved for a CBS News update. 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. Its current president is Sean McManus who is also head of CBS Sports. ...


Ratings history

Love of Life original title card from 1952.
Love of Life original title card from 1952.

As a CBS soap, Love of Life was generally among the top six rated soaps in the 1950s and 1960s. However, the 1970s brought a marked decline, and the cancellation of fellow CBS soap The Secret Storm in 1974 was a factor in the show sinking to the bottom of the ratings chart. Image File history File linksMetadata LOL_1952. ... Image File history File linksMetadata LOL_1952. ... The Secret Storm title card from 1960. ...


A brief rise in ratings in the mid-1970s was not sustained (it had climbed as high as 9th, above General Hospital and One Life to Live in 1975-76), and Love of Life was at the bottom tier of the ratings when it was cancelled in 1980.


Titles and theme tunes

B/W years

  • In the early 1950s, a typical episode began with announcer Don Hancock saying, "Good afternoon. Don Hancock speaking. Welcome to Love of Life," over a shot of the fountain outside New York's Plaza Hotel with the show's title appearing diagonally across the screen in elegant sweeping calligraphy. After a brief commercial was the main title sequence, where Charles Mountain said over this visual, "Love of Life, the exciting story of Vanessa Dale and her search for human dignity." This was followed by some credits. The theme song was done by organist John Gart.
  • In 1957, the show changed visuals twice. The show briefly used a time-lapse shot of a flower, with announcer Herbert Duncan saying "To live each day for whatever life may bring . . . this is Love of Life" over it. This was changed to a shot of a starry sky, as seen in the accompanying picture. By the early 1960s, the opening narration had been shortened to simply, "This is... Love of Life," with Ken Roberts (father of actor Tony Roberts) at the microphone.

And Then It Happened Official language(s) None Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... The Plaza Hotel as seen from the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan For the music festival PlazAid, click here The Plaza Hotel in New York City is a landmark 19-story luxury hotel on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South in Manhattan, currently... Calligraphy in a Latin Bible of AD 1407 on display in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, England. ... Tony Roberts (born October 22, 1939 in New York) is an film actor who is best know for his work in the films of Woody Allen. ...

  • In spring 1967, the show switched to color, and a picture of sunlit flowers by a window for its titles. This visual lasted about ten years, and was accompanied with two different themes: "And Then It Happened" by Charles Paul (1967-1973) and "The Life That You Live" by Carey Gold (1973-1977).

The final years Charles Paul is an American composer and organist, most known for his musical accompaniment on radio and television. ...

  • In 1977 (at the latest), the show used as its theme a pop-style ballad composed by Hagood Hardy. The main title visuals were set against a black background and had the show's new logo, designed by Lou Dorfsman, on at the bottom and a series of head shot profiles of the main characters on the top.
Love of Life title card from 1960.
Love of Life title card from 1960.

Hugh Hagood Hardy (February 26, 1937 – January 1, 1997) was a Canadian composer, pianist, and vibraphonist. ... Image File history File links Love of Life logo, taken by me via digital camera from my television. ... Image File history File links Love of Life logo, taken by me via digital camera from my television. ...

Plot

Beginning years

The original story was a morality play of good versus evil, illustrated by the interactions between two sisters, Vanessa Dale (originally Peggy McCay) and Meg Dale (originally Jean McBride). Vanessa (often referred to as "Van" for short) was "the good girl." She stood up for what was right in life and in her community. Meg was the schemer and all-around "bad" girl. While Van disapproved of Meg's actions, she still loved her and taught the audience the value of forgiveness. The show was painted black-and-white in this regard, which was evident in the tagline recited at the beginning of each of the earlier episodes: "Love of Life: The exciting story of Vanessa Dale and her courageous struggle for human dignity." Vanessa Dale Raven Sterling was the main character in the now-defunct American Soap Opera Love of Life. ... Peggy McCay (born November 3, 1930 in New York City) is an American actress, with a career spanning over fifty years in daytime television and movies. ... Meg Dale Harper Andrews Aleata Hart was the second female major character in the now-defunct American Soap Opera Love of Life. ...


The show changed directions when the character of Meg was phased out and the show changed locales (first set in the fictional town of Barrowsville, it moved to Rosehill, where it would remain for the rest of the show's run).


During this time, the actress who originated the role of Van (Peggy McCay) left the show and was replaced with actress Bonnie Bartlett. Bartlett was subsequently replaced by Audrey Peters, who played Van for the rest of the run, from 1959 until 1980. Peters had an unusual debut; Bartlett had played the role of Vanessa up to Vanessa's wedding day. The next day, when Vanessa walked down the aisle, Bruce Sterling raised Vanessa's veil, and revealed Audrey Peters. Peters admitted that, during the wedding reception scenes afterward, she didn't know the names of all the characters that were interacting with Vanessa, so she called everyone "dear." Bonnie Bartlett (born June 20, 1929 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, but raised in Moline, Illinois) is an American television and film actress. ... Audrey Peters (born February 11, year unknown, in Maplewood, New Jersey) is an American actress. ... Year 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ...


In the 1960s, most of the drama was focused on Van and her new marriage to Bruce Sterling (played by Ron Tomme). The late 60's involved attempts to shake up the somewhat staid atmosphere through campus unrest and a return of Vanessa's first husband, who had been killed off in the mid 50's. Vanessa divorced Bruce to reunite with her first husband, outraging many in the audience who could not accept their heroine getting a divorce. Ron Tomme (October 24, 1931 — January 29, 2005) was an American actor, best known for his long-running role as Bruce Sterling on the soap opera Love of Life from 1959 to 1980. ...


The final years

As ratings began to slide in the 1970s, Meg (now played by Tudi Wiggins) and her son Ben were brought back to the show (Ben, now an adult, was most notably played by Christopher Reeve). Under the reins of critically acclaimed daytime writers Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer the show returned to the original "good Vanessa, bad Meg" theme. Meg broke new ground for daytime when she called her son a "bastard", the first time profanity was spoken on daytime TV. Tudi Wiggins (October 10, 1935 - July 19, 2006), born Mary Susan Wiggins in Victoria, British Columbia, was a Canadian actress best known for her work in television daytime drama. ... Christopher Reeve (September 25, 1952 – October 10, 2004) was an American actor, director, producer and writer. ... Claire Labine is an American soap opera writer. ...

Ron Tomme and Audrey Peters as Bruce and Vanessa Sterling, in an episode of Love of Life from 1969 (from black & white kinescope, original show in color).
Ron Tomme and Audrey Peters as Bruce and Vanessa Sterling, in an episode of Love of Life from 1969 (from black & white kinescope, original show in color).

However, after Labine and Mayer left, the show lost focus. The grittier storylines that took over the show (one story implied that while Ben was in prison, he had been sodomized) were not warmly received by the audience, and the ratings dropped. The show also was challenged by its fringe timeslot: since the beginning, Love of Life had aired in the very late morning, and few soaps had been successful airing before noon. The show's ratings had been middling in the 1950s and 1960s, but had dropped sharply as the show entered the 1970s. Image File history File linksMetadata Tomme_and_peters. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Tomme_and_peters. ... François Elluin, Sodomites provoking the wrath of God, from Le pot pourri de Loth (1781). ... The 1950s was the decade spanning from the 1st of January, 1950 to the 31st December, 1959. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ...


On April 23, 1979, Love of Life switched timeslots (the show was moved from its traditional 11:30 AM slot to 4 PM). Love of Life ended its run abruptly on February 1, 1980, with a cliffhanger: after testifying in a trial, heroine Betsy Crawford (Elizabeth Kemp) collapsed as she was leaving the stand. No one knew what happened to her as the show was not picked up by another network. The final scene of the series was longtime director Larry Auerbach walking through the empty sets, as Tony Bennett's "We'll Be Together Again" played in the background. April 23 is the 113th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (114th in leap years). ... For the Smashing Pumpkins song, see 1979 (song). ... Larry Auerbach (born 1923 in Mount Vernon, New York) is an American television director. ... Tony Bennett (born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926) is an American popular music, standards, and jazz singer who is widely considered to be one of the best interpretative singers in these genres. ...


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