Keeping up with the soaps

Ed Rood
Ed Rood

A good way to get in hot water is to call certain people in the late morning or early afternoon. Chances are he or she might be watching a soap opera. To them there are few things more important than a particular television program. 

I am speaking from experience. No, I’m not a “soaps” addict, but I have, on occasion, been guilty of interrupting someone watching their favorite daytime show. It’s not a good way to make or keep friends.

I must admit there was a time in my life when I did enjoy a form of soaps. Back in the old radio days there were a few programs we kids made a habit of listening to with some regularity. 

They were a far cry from today’s super sexy stars with hard hearts and hardly any clothes who plotted robbing banks and wild romantic flings. Our heroes and heroines had soft hearts, I assume wore plenty of clothes, and worried about rather mundane things such as what clothes to wear to a dance or how to ask a friend for a date. 

A good example of a favorite was “The Aldrich Family” which poured out of our big old Philco radio every Saturday morning. I can still hear the Mom yelling “H-E-N-R-Y, H-E-N-R-Y ALDRICH!!”

To state that the show didn’t have much of a plot would be an understatement, but there were always funny things happening. I remember one show when Henry’s father was invited to a rich friend’s home to watch a new invention called color television. The host warned him to be sure to bring sunglasses. This worried the Aldrich family so they spent the entire program seeking advice on how to watch color television from people who had never seen a color television. 

Another of the families I grew up with on radio and television was the Nelson family – better known as the “Ozzie and Harriett Show.” Ozzie and Harriett had two sons who were just about my age, David and Ricky. Other shows I made a habit of watching included “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best.” 

All these shows had one thing in common. Over the course of the first 15 minutes someone in the family would be facing a major dilemma; during the last 15 minutes either the mother or father would solve that dilemma. 

The problems dealt with things like a first date or confronting a bully or making enough money to repair a car ding.

Today’s programs are a little different. Instead of a teenager wondering if he or she should break a date, the boy is wondering if his date would object to holding up a convenience store to get some money to pay for the date. While he is bothering his dad with that problem the daughter comes in and asks if it’s okay to join a motorcycle gang and get a couple dozen tattoos. 

The wife is too busy to offer advice as she and her lover are trying to figure how she can get a divorce and still remain in her loving husband’s will. While all this is taking place, the grandmother gets thrown in jail for driving the getaway car in a liquor store holdup. 

The chef of police, who happens to be a friend of the family, ends up being a crook who takes the father for $100,000 to get his family out of jail. This leaves the father broke so no one cares about him anymore and desert him. He soon discovers the only way he can make a living is to write scripts for television soap operas. 

Ed Rood is the former publisher of the Tri-County Times.