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SOD Best & Worst -- 1987
Topic Started: Nov 14 2009, 12:58 PM (1,910 Views)
Matt
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Presenting the Best & Worst of 1987 from the issue of Soap Opera Digest dated January 12, 1988...


THE YEAR IN REVIEW: LOOKING BACK AT 1987


Rape. Cancer. Alcoholism. Teen prostitution. Teen suicide. Drug abuse, interracial romance, and even the "A" word -- AIDS -- were the difficult and complex subjects that soaps didn't shy away from this year. It was about time.

Scripted by different writers, these story lines were handled with varying degrees of excellence and believability, but most were moving, thought-provoking and, thankfully, absent of heavy moral judgment. Sensitive writers, producers and network executives finally seemed to win the internal battle over the American public: with the airing of these story lines TV seemed to be admitting that the daytime viewing audience is a lot more intelligent and open-minded than they had been given credit for.

You can be assured that many of these stories did not cross the airwaves without a fight. There was talk for many months about whether such social issues would offend the viewers. Not even a year ago some network executives were quoted as saying that an AIDS story would no be told on their soap operas. But the times they were a-changing. AIDS and teen suicide were making headlines daily. And other forms of entertainment tackled the issues. Plays, films, nighttime dramas and movies of the week had all dealt with difficult topics, including AIDS; always, when the drama was stirring, people watched.

Concerned by daytime's seeming refusal to deal with AIDS, Soap Opera Digest put a questionnaire in its April 9 issue, asking readers if they would like to see more social issues, including AIDS, dealt with on the serials. A whopping 87 percent of you responded by saying, yes, social issues -- including AIDS -- were topics that demanded daytime's attention. Soon after the results of our survey appeared in print, both NBC and ABC announced that they would be introducing AIDS story lines on ANOTHER WORLD and ALL MY CHILDREN. And CBS's AS THE WORLD TURNS began a riveting story about teen suicide. In fact, when NBC announced their story line in a press release, they cited this magazine's survey. That questionnaire and your responses to it were among the things Soap Opera Digest editiors have been most proud of for it proved once again that the audience does have a voice when it comes to programming, that good entertainment does not have to suffer when an important issue is being dealt with, and tha tyou are an enlightened and informed group.

We were particularly glad to see how well, the 1987 social-issue story lines fared on air. Ratings, that all-important barometer of TV's every movement, did not drop when AS THE WORLD TURNS told the story of Kathy Evans's depression leading to attempted suicide. They did not waer when ALL MY CHILDREN's Mark Dalton realized he could have contracted AIDS from his days as an intravenous drug user, or when GUIDING LIGHT's handsome and virile Johnny Bauer learned that he had cancer. And few events on daytime television were as well-acted, -directed, or -written as the harrowing rape of Caroline Spencer on THE BOLD & THE BEAUTIFUL. The viewer felt the depths of Caoline's despair. Special mention must be given to actress Joanna Johnson for her remarkable portrayal of a sheltered rich girl whose life is devastated by one night. While GENERAL HOSPITAL experienced all kinds of ups and downs this year (some might term it chaos, others, rediscovering itself), it began a fascinating interracial love story between doctors Tom Hardy and Simone Vabelle. Daytime has tried this sort of story before but always aborted it mid-stream. GH must be applauded for their promise to tell the tale with all its complexities, despite scattered criticism, from start to finish.

Of course, social issues were not the only stories unleashed on serials in 1987. Ollie North and the Iran-contra hearings were a mesmerizing off-screen drama that erupted on screen and interrupted the daily airing of the soaps. For all its drama, lies, heroes and villains, not to mention the unraveling of secrets, one can't help but call those hearings something of a soap opera.

Nineteen-eighty-seven was the year that CAPITOL was canceled and BOLD & BEAUTIFUL premiered. It was the year that ANOTHER WORLD was told by NBC to shape up or possibly be shipped out; the year that rumors abounded about Procter & Gamble wanting to sell their soaps because the serials were getting too expensive to produce -- the company owns ANOTHER WORLD, AS THE WORLD TURNS, and GUIDING LIGHT. It was a year when GUIDING LIGHT celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, making it the longest-running show in the history of broadcast, and saw the return of head writer Pam Long to a serial that no longer made sense to many of its viewers. Patrick Duffy had come back to DALLAS, but Victoria Principal departed, leaving many to wonder if the show could survive her loss and keep its ratings intact (ratings have dropped since last year) and budgets on many of the prime-tiem soaps were cut. So was one of the soaps. THE COLBYS, DYNASTY's spin-off, came to an abrupt end after two seasons with Fallon floating off in a spaceship, only to return to Earth and Denver with her husband Jeff on DYNASTY. Meanwhile, FALCON CREST became funny and KNOTS LANDING stayed superb, particularly when it told the story of Olivia's drug abuse.

GENERAL HOSPITAL was down in the ratings, until the People Meteres came along, and then it regained its number-one spot over THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS. Actors with high TVQ's came and left, among them: Bob Woods, who left DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and returned to ONE LIFE TO LIVE; Peter Bergman, who left then came back to ALL MY CHILDREN; Vincent Irizarry, long gone from GUIDING LIGHT showed up on SANTA BARBARA; and Kin Shriner returned to Port Charles and GENERAL HOSPITAL as Scotty Baldwin. In 1987, ALL MY CHILDREN regained its strength, ONE LIFE TO LIVE became the Tina Show, and AS THE WORLD TURNS stayed a class act.

With all the turbulence of new writers, new producers and even new heads of networks, 1987 was a very good year for soaps. We will keep watching, and hope you do, too.
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juniorz1
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The Royal Stoner

YAYYYY!!! Can't wait to read this when I get home from work!
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Matt
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WHAT YOU DIDN'T SEE: THE BEST AND WORST OFF-CAMERA


BIGGEST STINK ABOUT A STORY LINE
GENERAL HOSPITAL fans were outraged by the insensitive way the show handled Holly's death. GH made up for the error in judgment later, but before the tender good-bye aired, viewers lit up switchboards with their complaints.

MOST IMPRESSIVE FILM PERFORMANCE
Robin Wright is charming as the beleaguered Kelly Capwell on SANTA BARBARA. But Kelly's problems couldn't compare to those of Buttercup, the fairy-tale heroine Wright played so enchantingly and to critical acclaim in the film, The Princess Bride.

MOST HEATED POWER PLAY
In the heat of a battle for creative control of SANTA BARBARA, co-creator Bridget Dobson reportedly was not allowed on the SB set. The issue involved the interpretation of Dobson's contract with the show.

JUICIEST DEPARTURE
What really happened the day THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS's Brenda Dickson (ex-Jill) walked off the Y&R set for good? Dickson released a list of grievances to the press concerning Y&R's mistreatment of her. CBS issued a more restrained statement. Those on the scene were diplomatically silent. Was Dickson difficult to work with, or was she unjustly fired? The answer depended on the source.

MOST SCANDALOUS DIVORCE
Joan Collins's tumultuous DYNASTY affairs were mild compared to her real-life divorce from cash-hungry Peter Holm, who took Collins to court but not to the cleaners. Holms's outrageous alimony demands and tacky publicity stunts made the tabloids but the court ruled in Collins's favor.

MOST CURIOUS NEW TREND
A bride adopting her husband's surname is traditional. But changing her first name, if it's Deborah, is a baffling new development. CAPITOL's Deborah Mullowney (ex-Sloane) married James Farentino. Credits for her new show, HOOPERMAN, advised viewers that her new name was Debrah (no "o") Farentino. Deborah Morehart (ex-Robin) went even further after marrying ALL MY CHILDREN co-star Michael Tylo (Matt). These days she's known as Hunter Tylo. Catchy, but why?

BEST PARTY
New York's Lincoln Center provided an imposing backdrop for GUIDING LIGHT's elegant fiftieth anniversary party. The affir was a fitting tribute to an enduring show.

WORST FASHION DISASTER
ANOTHER WORLD's Linda Dano (Felicia) was all set to unveil her new line of clothing last fall when a warehouse fire consumed some of her creations. All was not lost, but the show was postponed.

MOST FAMILIAR WEDDING DRESS
Kristian Alfonso (ex-Hope, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) wore something borrowed in her real-life wedding -- her dress. Actually, the gown, which she wore in her on-screen wedding to Peter Reckell (Bo), was a gift from DAYS.

WORST TIMING FOR A BREAKUP
The sparks that flew between FALCON CREST's Lorenzo Lamas (Lance) and Robin Greer (Dina) ignited offscreen, too. Before long the stunning couple announced their engagement. But when the wedding was off, so was Robin, who in an unfortunate coincidence found herself written out of the show.
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Mason
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Matt
Nov 15 2009, 01:54 PM
MOST FAMILIAR WEDDING DRESS
Kristian Alfonso (ex-Hope, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) wore something borrowed in her real-life wedding -- her dress. Actually, the gown, which she wore in her on-screen wedding to Peter Reckell (Bo), was a gift from DAYS.
She wore that embarrassingly hideous thing for her own wedding? LoL!
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Matt
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Mason
Nov 15 2009, 02:10 PM
Matt
Nov 15 2009, 01:54 PM
MOST FAMILIAR WEDDING DRESS
Kristian Alfonso (ex-Hope, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) wore something borrowed in her real-life wedding -- her dress. Actually, the gown, which she wore in her on-screen wedding to Peter Reckell (Bo), was a gift from DAYS.
She wore that embarrassingly hideous thing for her own wedding? LoL!
That dress was very fabulous, thankyouverymuch. You keep reinforcing the concept that you have no taste (and here I just thought it was Amello).
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Matt
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BEST STORY LINE


LIFE AT CORTLANDT MANOR, ALL MY CHILDREN
This is the story that got ALL MY CHILDREN back on track. Living under one roof was Palmer and his wife Natalie, as well as his son and daughter-in-law, Ross and Ellen, Natalie and Ross had been having an affair. It was drama at its best as: Ross and Ellen's adopted daughter Julie learned the truth and tried desperately to keep her parents together; Elizabeth Carlyle, Julie's natural mother, turned up and wanted to take Julie away from Ellen and Ross -- eventually causing Julie to run off to New York, where she started working the streets; Mark Dalton, Ellen's ex-husband, arrived and wanted Ellen back -- especially after learning that he was Julie's natural father; Palmer's precious daughter Nina went off and married Matt Connolly, a man she hardly knew, causing more turmoil; Palmer and Ellen learned about their spouces diallianes; Ellen left Ross for Mark; Palmer threw Ross and Natalie out; Ross raped Natalie in revenge. Quite simply, life at Cortlandt Manor was -- and continues to be -- the most tightly woven and compelling saga that AMC has served up in years.
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Matt
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WORST STORY LINE


THE ALPHABET WARS, GENERAL HOSPITAL
Take the basic tool of our language -- the alphabet -- let the writers of GENERAL HOSPITAL get their hands on it, and you'll get a migrane. This year's sick headache (there's always one on this show) involved warring factions named the WSB and the DVX. For the uninitiated, the WSB stands for World Security Bureau, an organization that has battled generic evil on GH for many years. The letters DVX stood for nothing in particular but were chosen to represent a peace-loving terrorist organization that was trying to rub out both WSB agents working for America and their enemies (working for you-know-who) in the interest of nuclear disarmament. Implausibility aside, the story climaxed with a bewildering, poorly directed, cat-and-mouse chase at the foot of Mt. Rushmore. For our added pleasure, there was a song, "The Forty-Million Stars," used by the head of the DVX to hypnotize her fall guy, Dusty Walker. The writers planted clues to their story in the lyrics, but due to the serpentine nature of the plot, the tune didn't sink in and neither did the clues. We thought last year's Laurelton escapade was going to be the last of the bad GH stories, but here we are again.
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Matt
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BEST LOVE TRIANGLE


ASHLEY/VICTOR/NIKKI, THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS
Once again, Y&R wins hands-down for its passionate, compelling and carefully crafted love triangle. Does Victor belong with his wife, Nikki, a woman who is desperately in love with him, but is not above extramarital affairs and deceit? Or should Victor choose Ashley, the intelligent, noble, beautiful "other woman"? As with any top-notch triangle, the choice not only isn't obvious or easy, but is subject to change. Nikki's impassioned pleas may have the audience rooting for her one day, but allegiances shift when Ashley's integrity wins sympathy the next. For good measure, Y&R throws in Jack, Ashley's brother and Nikki's sometimes lover; Matt, Victor's brother and admirer of both woman; and Steven, a psychiatrist who's fought hard to gain Ashley's trust. It's a well-acted, cleverly written story with enough unexpected twists to keep things fresh.
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Matt
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WORST LOVE TRIANGLE


JACK/PATCH/KAYLA, DAYS OF OUR LIVES
Here is a good story gone bad. And, for once, it isn't really the writers' fault. After overcoming innumerable obstacles, Patch and Kayla fell in love. Then Patch found out that his long-lost brother, Billy, who was dying, had fallen in love with Kayla, too. To complicate matters, Billy had been raised by a rich senator and didn't even know he was adopted, let alone that Patch was his brother. But Patch did what he thought was right: He broke up with Kayla to give his brother a reason to live. Naturally, Patch didn't tell Kayla or Billy about his noble sacrifice. So far, so good. The problems came when the actors were asked to play out the story. DAYS chose to ignore the fact that spunky Mary Beth Evans, who portrays Kayla, was very pregnant. Instead, they unsuccessfully tried to camoufladge her condition with large clutch-purses and camera angles, and did not cut back on the steamy love scenes. This really didn't work. It was also hard to buy the idea that Kayla would readily accept being dumped by Steve and then marry on the rebound. But, the main problem was the casting and re-casting and re-casting of the pivotal character, Jack. The audience was just warming up to the first Jack (who really looked like Steve) when he was abruptly replaced. Chemistry between the second Jack and Kayla was non-existent, so he was history. Enter Jack number three who faces a tough uphill battle for audience sympathy. Meanwhile, the so-called triangle existed in name only, since Jack was never able to hold up his end.
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Mason
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Matt
Nov 15 2009, 06:13 PM
But, the main problem was the casting and re-casting and re-casting of the pivotal character, Jack. The audience was just warming up to the first Jack (who really looked like Steve) when he was abruptly replaced. Chemistry between the second Jack and Kayla was non-existent, so he was history. Enter Jack number three who faces a tough uphill battle for audience sympathy.
And that Jack would end up being the ONLY Jack, in most fans' eyes, LoL.
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esp13
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Hee! That's interesting criticism of the Steve/Kayla/Jack storyline. I don't disagree that the recasts hurt (well, more specifically, Jack #2 hurt things badly - lousy actor, no chemistry with MBE). But, for me, that storyline is the gift that kept giving for about 5 years of pretty good storylines. Steve and Kayla reuniting, the affair, the rape, the Jack is Billy reveal (to Jack), the complex love/hate relationship between Steve and Jack, the even more complex relationship between Jack and Kayla, the impact of the rape on Steve and Kayla's relationship, the impact of Steve and Jack's sibling relationship on Steve and Kayla, the incorporation of Jack's attempt at redemption into the Marina storyline, and the impact of Jack's past on his relationship with Jennifer. There are so many absolutely wonderful, character driven moments and storylines that come out of this triangle that, for me, it overcomes any relatively minor problems with the triangle storyline itself.
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juniorz1
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Mason
Nov 15 2009, 02:10 PM
Matt
Nov 15 2009, 01:54 PM
MOST FAMILIAR WEDDING DRESS
Kristian Alfonso (ex-Hope, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) wore something borrowed in her real-life wedding -- her dress. Actually, the gown, which she wore in her on-screen wedding to Peter Reckell (Bo), was a gift from DAYS.
She wore that embarrassingly hideous thing for her own wedding? LoL!
You're nuts! That is easily one of the most beautiful soap wedding gowns of all-time. My mom would probably say it's her favorite wedding gown bar none of all-time, and she's obsessed with weddings.
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~bl~
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I look at that dress, think it was the 1980s and styles were different then. Now it wouldn't look right, but then it did.

The recast at the time was a big deal with Steve/Kayla/Jack, and having Kayla marry Jack sucked. If MBE hadn't been pregnant, the plot would have gone very differently as that was not the original story. I wish we could have seen the long term that had been planned.

Thanks Matt!
Edited by ~bl~, Nov 16 2009, 12:09 AM.
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Mason
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That's true. People did wear anything back then, LoL.
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Matt
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BEST LOVE STORY

RICHARD & MAGGIE, FALCON CREST
People had been waiting fo ryears for these two to get together. The chemistry was always there. Unfortunately, so was Robert Foxworth, who played Chase. When he decided to leave the show, the producers split up Chase and Maggie and gradually made the latent attraction between his brother and his wife potent and inevitable.

Perhaps the nicest feature of this adult relationship is that Maggie and Richard were friends first. Richard proved his devotion by being more dependable and supportive than Chase during several miserable Maggie-style crises without ever expecting her to become romantically involved with him. He was considerate enough to let Maggie sort out her own confusion about the last days of her marriage and let her come to him when she was ready.

She did, and they're great together.
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Matt
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MOST TORTURED LOVE STORY


CRUZ & EDEN, SANTA BARBARA
Cruz Castillo and Eden Capwell's tale of woe could aptly be titled, The Agony and Very Little Ecstacy. What horrific crime did they commit in a previous life to merit such misery? Can their fate be blamed on bad karma? In between emotional crises, this pair took turns being rushed to the hospital with life-threatening emergencies like wine poisioning, a cliff fall, a jailhouse stabbing and the odd car accident.

Nineteen eighty-seven was an abyss with no exit. After Eden miscarried their baby, Cruz believed she died in a plane crash and edured the torture of mourning the woman he loved more than life. Meanwhile, paralyzed from a murder attempt, Eden was marooned in the mountains. After some time, they were reunited -- but not for long.

An innocent Castillo was arrested for murder; Eden suffered a relapse and was back in her wheelchair. The last straw was when Keith Timmons (wallowing in his own slime), convened a kangaroo court, engineered Cruz's conviction and got him sentenced to life imprisonment. SB's hero in wrist and ankle manacles? Timmons railroading every witness? Please.

For three years, SB has maneuvered Cruz and Eden in an endless game of break-'em-up and put-'em-back-together. That the audience retains any interest whatsoever can be directly attributed to the strong chemistry and talent of A Martinez and Marcy Walker. Time and again, the actors inject believability into the unbelievable. But, no mas!
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Matt
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BEST SCENE STEALERS


LUCINDA WALSH, AS THE WORLD TURNS
CLIFF BARNES, DALLAS

How do they do it? Some characters always manage to catch your eye, even when they're not the main focus of a scene and don't have the best lines.

Ken Kercheval's Cliff Barnes is an itch that no one on DALLAS seems to be able to scratch; a tenacious gnat who diges in and refuses to budge. No matter which heavyweight he's up against, Cliff diverts attention, despite the fact that many of his own stories have been on the weak side. Barnes is the best listener/non-listener in the business. His facial gymnastics and restless body English tell their own tale and often provide welcome humor in the face of relentless tragedy. Even when things are at their worst, you can always count on Cliff Barnes to make you smile.

On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Elizabeth Hubbard's Lucinda Walsh shamelessly steals every scene, even if she's sitting "unobtrusively" in the back of a restaurant. Lucinda uses everything within arms' reach: her food, someone else's food, her clothes, someone else's clothes, her body, someone else's body -- even her infant grandson becomes a prop if a point needs to be made. Though it probably delights/chagrins the writers (and castmates who can't keep up), Liz Hubbard is the queen of the ad-lib. And it's all done in character. Ms. Walsh needs to dominate, and that's lucky for the audience. There's never a dull moment in Oakdale as long as Lucinda's around.
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juniorz1
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The Royal Stoner

More, more, MORE!!!
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sungrey


That year was miserable for Cruz and Eden... and Justin Deas was marvelous as Keith. God, Santa Barbara was SUCH a good soap!
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Matt
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BEST LIMITED RUN


DAVID O'BRIEN, ANOTHER WORLD
Classy psychiatrist Dr. Alan Glaser was first introduced as Donna Hudson's sympathetic shrink. Then, when a serial killer began a reign of terror in Bay City, the police department sought Glaser's expert advice in establishing a personality profile for the murderer. He graciously obliged, and with professional detachment, described the psychotic stalker. Although clues and victims were dropping like flies, none of them seemed connected to cool-as-a-cucumber Glaser. Then, just when the story seemed to flounder, Glaser's elegant facade cracked and a possessed madman started to emerge. O'Brien made the complete turn-around shocking -- and convincing. The restrain which had characterized Dr. Glaser was transformed into cold-blooded scheming. But more importantly, Glaser's motives -- though warped -- were understandable. Ultimately, the complex character elicited pity, as well as horror. O'Brien's portrayal of the Sin Stalker was developed, detailed and frighteningly deliberate -- a far cry from the cardboard killers usually seen as plot devices on soaps.


BEST REDNECK


EBAN JAPES, LOVING
This ole boy thought was realllll smart. Smarter than a liquor salesman trying to con a farm girl out of her virtue. Eban came to Corinth to claim his gal, Lottybird -- a fine lookin' filly who had been his common-law wife. But his woman two-timed him. She had taken up with a rich city-slicker -- going by the name of Curtis Alden -- who aimed to make her his bride. That didn't stop ole Eban from goin' after what was rightfully his -- and then some. He figured to pocket some of that cold, hard Alden cash. Well now, it would go a long way back in Craggy Hope. But, son of a gun, right after Eban kidnapped Lotty -- and things looked as rosy as a piggy's rear -- that Curtis dude cornered him, and put him in the pokey. Eban was madder than a wet hen. He busted out and took his feud to the chucher where Miss Trisha Alden was about to tie the knot with her intended. Eban raised his squirrel gun and... Bang, bang, he shot 'em down. Or almost. Them boys in blue were quicker on the trigger, and ole Eban wound up deader than a doornail. Now, in spite of his shortcomings, ole Eban is sorely missed.
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