21 August 2010 | WeatherViolet
Hating the Murder of "Love of Life"
It's 1959, and Audrey Peters is cast in the role of Vanessa, a role originated by Peggy McCay, and then played by Bonnie Bartlett up until the day of her wedding....
At the ceremony, groom Bruce Sterling (Ron Tomme) lifts the veil of bride Vanessa "Van" Dale Raven Sterling to reveal Audrey Peters, who together with Ron Tomme, leads the daytime serial "Love of Life" through its next two decades, as its setting somehow relocates from Barrowsville, New York, to Rosehill.
While the virtuous and ever-forgiving Vanessa and Bruce stand as the program's moral center, Vanessa has her hands full, facing problems to solve around the community, often at the hand of her spirited sister, Meg Dale (Tudi Wiggins, during the 1970's), the daughters of Sarah Dale (Joanna Roos, also during this period).
Well, it takes an entire community to deal with the ambitious Meg's antics and schemes, and, in addition to Sarah and Vanessa, there's also Meg's loyal housekeeper, Carrie Johnson (Peg Murray) to pitch in with the mop-up responsibilities.
But Carrie's beautiful and glamorous daughter, Arlene Lovett (Birgitta Tolksdorf), has secretly married Meg's wayward son, Ben Harper (Christopher Reeve or Chandler Hill Harben), whom Meg bribes to marry the innocent Betsy Crawford (Elizabeth Kemp or Margo McKenna), the sister of Doctor Tom Crawford (Richard Ely or Mark Pinter), making Ben a bigamist and Arlene none-too-happy with the situation at hand.
Meg also has dealings with Eddie Aleata (John Aniston) and Caroline Aleata (Deborah Courtney or Roxanne Gregory), but the glamor and nice appearances do not stop there.
During the 1970's, many other interesting characters deal with Rosehill's problems and difficulties on an everyday basis, often at the hand of Meg, with Vanessa to turn to for comfort and forgiveness....
Felicia Fleming Lamont (Pamela Lincoln), Bambi Brewster (Ann McCarthy), Mia Marriott (Veleka Gray), Doctor Andrew Marriott (Ron Harper), Ray Slater (Lloyd Battista), Doctor Ted Chandler (Keith Charles), David Hart (Brian Farrell), Doctor Joe Cusak (Peter Brouwer), Michael Blake (Richard Council), Ian Russell (Michael Allinson), Elliott Lang (Ted Le Plat) and Wesley Osborne III (Woody Brown) become some well-known faces to behold about the community.
Although the series ultimately hasn't very much time to resolve many of its loose ends upon its sudden cancellation, in 1980, (which is murder to its many long-running fans), it continues to boast of many fine talents, some of whom, including Jerry Lacy, are associated primarily with this series, while other famous performers have already achieved recognition elsewhere for their acting, such as Rita Gam, Jane Rose, Robert Alda, Carl Betz, Roy Scheider and Ray Wise.
Up and coming stars of the 1970's and beyond have also graced this series with their presence and acting talents, such as Irene Cara, Ja'net DuBois, Julia Duffy, Nancy Marchand, Marie Masters, Jed Allan, Dennis Cooney, Raul Julia, Christopher Reeve and Ian Ziering.
And "Murder, She Wrote" fans, by the way, may feel pleased to realize that at least a dozen guest stars during the series have also appeared with recurring roles upon "Love of Life," including Bonnie Bartlett, Judy Landers, Karen Grassle, Rue McClanahan, Jessica Walter, Mason Adams, Thom Christopher, Bert Convy, Alan Feinstein, Tom Fitzsimmons, John Gabriel and Arlen Dean Snyder.
All-in-all, "Love of Life" certainly lives up to its promise of the morality play, opposing goodness with evil, and showing many of life's lessons along with much glamor and suspense amid a very nice looking cast, who perform nicely in their respective roles.