The soap opera, 'Ryan's Hope', actress Julie Campbell remarked, "That was such a great soap. It was so true to life. There were no aliens or other strange happenings. I look at some of the soaps today (in 1995), and I wonder what these people are thinking. 'Ryan's Hope' was based on real, everyday kinds of problems that families experience." 

In 1980, Roscoe Born replaced Richard Muenz for the part of detective Joe Novak on 'Ryan's Hope'. He recounted, "I was in Los Angeles working 6 days a week as messenger and selling newspapers, when I saw this ad for the 'Ryan's Hope' role in 'Variety'. I sent in my picture and then I was asked to audition. I had $15 in the bank the day I got the part. I didn't even have an agent until I had the role." 

Seli Graves from King Features Syndicate made the observation in 1988, "An actress and the character she plays travel on parallel lines. They may be headed in the same direction, but their identities never really mesh. At the end of the performance, the make-up comes off, and actor and character part company until next time. Except for the experiences any of us have in common, actors rarely share anything extraordinary with their characters." 

There were 4 actresses playing the part of Delia Ryan on 'Ryan's Hope': Ilene Kristen, Robyn Milan, Randall Edwards and Robin Mattson. It was noted each actresses interpreted the role differently. Ilene confessed in 1978, "I never bring home Delia's character but I'm not able to switch on her kind of hysteria without a long warm-up. Delia is very sensitive, as I am, but I find it difficult to take on other people's problems because I care too deeply. Delia is from a Shanty Irish background, her father had TB (tuberculosis), her mother worked in a subway. She needs to be protected. I, on the other hand, am very artistic and enjoyed a nuclear family that was very supportive of my efforts. What I've tried to do is give Delia more of a sense of humor so that the role is more interesting and varied for me. All that heaviness can take its toll, but I'm a basically happy person." 

Robin played the part of Delia in 1984 insisted, "I don't want to be Heather (on 'General Hospital'). I want to eliminate her bitchiness. What I want to bring out is Delia's humor. I loved the character of Delia. If the character is interesting and I can contribute something to it as an artist, I don't care what realm it's in. Pat (Falken Smith) was the head writer of 'General Hospital' the first 2 years I was on (1980-82) and she provided me with wonderful material." Ilene admitted in 1977, "To play the part I have to do an awful lot of crying. It sometimes take 2 hours to stop crying after the show. I get emotionally involved. I get mad at the writers because it's one trauma after another. But the show is quite successful...The key to soap opera is that people want to see crisis. No crisis, no show. Sometimes it makes people's lives seem easier when they see the misery of others." 

Helen Gallagher pointed out, "The idea that soap audiences are made up of bored housewives is a myth. 'Ryan's Hope' has always had a young following and there are a lot of people out there who won't admit they watch the soaps, but they do. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten into a cab, and the driver said, 'Oh, you're Maeve Ryan, aren't you? My wife watches the show'. It's all I can do to keep from asking him how he knows who I am if he's never seen me. So there are plenty of closet soap-watchers, and very intelligent types, too. For people with a brain, it's a terrific sedative." 

On 'Ryan's Hope', Helen played "a little Irish-Catholic girl from the Bronx." Actor John Gabriel made the comment in 1980, "We're one of the few soap operas that's set in a real city. Most shows are set in cities like Midville or Somerset. I find having a real locale sets the tone for the show. It grounds everything in a certain reality. You're in Manhattan." By 1983, Helen observed, "Theater has changed. There isn't much work now (in 1983), and I like to earn a living. In soaps, your salary depends on the length of time you've been with the show, the format – whether it's a half-hour show, or an hour-long show – and how much the network wants you. I'm not going to tell you what I get but I make a very good salary and that's why I stay."

Of taping the show, Helen recalled, "I may do 4 scenes in a row in the hospital or Ryan's bar. A few weeks ago (back in August 1983) I had to do 12 scenes in 2 days. They turned the whole studio into a huge garage, where my son was being held at gunpoint, and I spent from 7:00a.m. to 9:00p.m. kneeling on a cement floor, with him on my lap in a pieta pose. If I weren't a dancer I never could have done it, and as it is, I was completely wiped out after it was over. Of course there are scenes in which you may have one line, too, like 'Good morning, darling. How are you?'" However "you still have to be in the studio all day and that's boring. Two or maybe 3 days a week is a good schedule because even though your character is the same, it's tough to learn several scenes and play them in a single day."

Joan Fontaine played Paige Williams on 'Ryan's Hope' in 1980 described her character, "Under a steely exterior, there beats a cash register." She acknowledged, "The hardest part of being in a soap opera is having to be on the floor all day. They constantly jump from scene to scene and they want you there all the time. You sit and you sit, and by the time they get to you again, you've cooled down. I'm very glad I did all those B pictures (some 48 films in all), which we ground out in 5 or 6 days. That's exactly what they're ('Ryan's Hope') doing now (in 1980)."

Helen shared, "Doing a musical, especially a Broadway musical – no matter how mediocre – is euphoric, and the truth is that I do get disenchanted with the soaps everyday. But every other day I get re-enchanted. After all, I bought a house because of 'Ryan's Hope'. I'm financially well-situated, and I can afford to come to Ivoryton for a play like 'Same Time Next Year', which I want to do, and re-open in 'Tallulah'. I gave up 7 weeks of my life for the showcase of 'Tallulah', and it worked. But I made exactly $225. The wig I needed cost me $75, and with cab fare added to that, I was in the hole. If I hadn't been working on 'Ryan's Hope', I could never have done it.

"But it's a funny medium because the networks and writers begin to pick up on what you do, and they begin to write for you. Back in the days when George Abbott was directing and producing shows, theater was like that, and that's one thing which appeals to me. Abbott had a nucleus of actors he wrote for – not necessarily the stars – but certainly the featured players, whom he used over and over again in his shows. In a way, soap is similar. If you pay off for them – if it works, and the plot works – they'll write for you."

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