One Life to Live 1979: Karen Wolek Cracks

I’m catching up on my DC podcasts and have just listened to the One Life to Live 40th anniversary show. I am not a modern watcher, but being a bit long in the tooth compared to our bossman Luke, I tried to think about when I first laid eyes on this show. Long before CBS, I was attached to ABC.

It started in the late 70s with General Hospital and soon after I found myself watching All My Children and at times One Life to Live. I remember Karen, Katrina, Marco, Larry, Viki, Brad, Jenny and Joe, but my memories are very hazy about storylines. I may have watched Judith Light’s tour de force performance, but sadly my attentions were focused on Rick, Monica, Alan, Jeff and Heather. Then there was Phoebe, Donna, Chuck, Opal, Palmer, Daisy, Myra, Cliff, Nina and Sybil. Oh yeah, and high school with no vcrs!

So Luke, this is for you. Take 20 and watch Herb’s masterful manipulation of Karen. You may not have time to watch all the episodes tied to this storyline, but you can surely watch these. Flashback to 1979 and see how soap writers heightened drama by building suspense, setting up characters and using a soap’s best asset…time. You only have to be a soap fan to enjoy these clips, not a One Life to Live fan. Anyone can see the value of this kind of soapy goodess. As a bonus, you can view the 1979 opening of the show in the first clip (which is the one I remember).

6 Responses

  1. Profile photo of season1217

    WOW! This happened the year I was born so I’ve never seen it but I have heard about it. The Emmy? The woman should have won the Oscar. That performance was total raw emotion, she gave every ounce of herself. They need to put a few soap writers in a room and do it A Clockwork Orange style by prying their eyes open and forcing them to watch this. This is what great writing is! This is what great acting is!

  2. Profile photo of KingTV

    This is the most BRILLIANT peformance on a daytime soap in history. The cting, writing and even the slow, build-up pacing are what are missing from daytime right now. This is simply amazing.

  3. Profile photo of ABCJunky73

    In 1979, as a child of 6 years old, I remember sitting next to my mother glued to this storyline. After they went to commercial break I looked at my mom and at the young age that I was, all I could say was “Wow!” I remember my mom saying that Judith Light’s scenes were the best she ever watched.

    To this day those scenes are the greatest scenes ever in daytime. Judith Light is such a great actress and to have her win the Emmy for them just goes to show how great OLTL was back in it’s hayday! Since Ron Carliviti took over I see shades of that hayday! If new OLTL veiwers need a history lesson on OLTL, they need to look at this!

  4. Profile photo of Trisha

    After the scenes this year when Jessica broke down at the funeral, the message boards I frequent lit up about how great Bree Williamson’s performance was. Long time viewers even compared her to Judith Light’s court room break down. I have only been watching for 15 years and I’m only 24, so naturally I hadn’t seen those scenes. I immediately went to YouTube to watch those clips and I was blown away. That is true acting, and I can’t imagine what would have happened if Judith Light had not won the Emmy. I wish I was alive in those days to see what went on back then.

  5. Profile photo of dellygrim

    I love searching through YT for classic soap scenes and had always been curious about Judith Light on OLTL. I discovered this one a few months ago but it was worth the rewatch. I wish she’d make an appearance on the show.
    I did catch young Tina, was that an eye roll she gave?

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