The popularity of daytime continuing storylines in the 1970s with housewives, college students and even professionals, saw college professors at universities such as Yale, Princeton, Michigan and New York offering courses in soap operas teaching everything from scripts to structure (basic story concept, core characters) to researching subjects on soaps (the issues dealt with) and fan mail. One student made known in 1977, "We had to watch a serial every day, analyze the week of shows every week, write 7 papers, and take a test on the basic concepts of serials. This was in addition to thrice-weekly lectures." Students would also get to meet performers and writers of different programs. One instructor had each student wrote 5 scripts for a soap of their choice. 

By 1983, some 4 to 5.5 million viewers each day reportedly watched 'All My Children', 'One Life To Live' and 'General Hospital'. Its success, 'One Life To Live' producer Jean Arley told the press at the time, "It's like a Dickensian novel. It's fantasyland and entertainment, and problems that anyone can empathize with and that you don't get in any other medium. We have an opening night every day." Gloria Monty of 'General Hospital' added, "I used more nighttime techniques. We also put in a new storyline, more humor, more scenes in each episode, new actors, got away from organ music into modern ballads and generally made it faster paced. I borrowed a lot of romanticism, which I just love." 

The soap opera, 'Ryan's Hope', created by Paul Avila Mayer and Claire Labine ran between July 1975 and January 1989. Set in Manhattan, 'Ryan's Hope' followed the hopes and dreams and passions and loves of the middle class Irish Catholic immigrant Ryan family of New York City. 'Ryan's Hope' became the first daytime drama to use a real setting for a soap opera, breaking many traditional molds, because New York City was "both contemporary and urban centered." Viewers followed the Ryans who never lost their faith in the American Dream. In all, there were 3 "nicely contrasting families" depicted: the upper class Beaulacs, the middle class Ryans and the Coleridges.

Actor John Saxon who played the sheik Rashid Ahmed on 'Dynasty' made the comment in 1985, "Daytime serials are the nicely kept secret which suddenly spawned nighttime serials, which are among the biggest successes on TV. And I would much rather do a scene that deals with the intricacies of relationships than do a series of car crashes." One professional following a daytime soap confessed, "One of the reasons I keep watching is because I'm invested in the characters. Having a history with a character makes you want to see what's going to happen. Even though some of the storylines are cookie-cutter and played out, I still want to see them."

To help understand middle class, Fred Yoder from the Department of Sociology at the State College of Washington explained in 1934: "Middle class democracy was the distinctive social movement of the 19th century. It was a revolt against the old aristocratic order of Europe. Free land and economic opportunity in America made common men worthwhile, gave them social status, boldness for self-assertion, and finally, political independence. Free land made men free in America. No monarchical government, no class society could long survive in America.

"...Middle class democracy makes a strong appeal to human nature. Its basic assumptions inspire, flatter, and give hope and promise to common men. Its tenets are simple. By nature every man has a right to liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. All men are born free and equal. Each man is the best judge of his own interests. Left free to pursue their own individual interests men will, at the same time, achieve their own best good and the greatest social good.

"Laissez-faire (policy of no interfering) is the ideal for industry. Allow all persons to participate in government, but govern as little as possible, and industry flourishes and the general social welfare is enhanced. Given the opportunity to vote and the common man will become an alert and intelligent citizen. He will become the interested and omni-competent citizen. Universal suffrage, liberty, individualism, and laissez-faire are the best roads to the good life.

"If there be weaknesses in democracy, let there be more democracy. So runs the philosophy of democracy. And the people have prospered and fared well under middle class democracy. The old economic restrictions and privileges were largely abolished. Middle class governments promoted new manufacturers, trade, commerce, and agriculture. The great industrial revolution of machines, power, factories, and highly organized corporations, given free play under democracy, brought mass production. New resources have been tapped in every part of the world.

"The energies of men and the captains of industry were released. The standard of living in all the democratic, industrial countries rose rapidly during the last half of the 19th century. Democratic systems of education were inaugurated in all these countries. Individual liberty was increased. The masses voted and helped to rule. Middle class democracy brought greater economic and cultural opportunities than the masses had ever known. The masses liked democracy so long as their standard of living rose under its beneficial rule."

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