Television was described as a visual medium. For politicians, television represented the single most important communicator. On television, the visual elements (style, lighting, art direction and composition) sent out subliminal messages. When network executives tried to revolutionize television program content, they did so without making too many changes in order to give the look of the show a distinctive consistency. 

Choosing the typeface for the opening and closing titles was as equally important as the sets, color, cut and shape of clothes, hair and makeup. Graphic designer Andrew Hoyne told 'Fairfax Media', "Typography is the most under-utilised element in design. These days (back in 1994), most typefaces are just dead weight, but type (fonts) actually can make words come alive. In general, designers approach type in a formal, industry-oriented way … People get attached to a particular font and that's all they use for 50 years. Type (fonts) should be throwaway. It should be looked at from all angles. It's about what's right for you, like packaging or fashion. If you're sick of a particular typeface, change it for a while or get rid of it altogether."

On television, soap operas were regarded international in scope. Paul Denis, the founding editor of 'Daytime TV' (circulation of 290,000 in 1979) told 'The Index-Journal', soap operas had become a very basic part of American life, providing both fantasy (through birth, marriage and death open-ended plots) and education (by exploring taboo topics such as infidelity, abortion, divorce, rape and social issues such as drug addiction and alcoholism which was a major health problem and cause of death) to millions of Americans.

In 1981, many colleges and universities began offering courses on soap operas through history, sociology and psychology departments. Daytime soap operas were usually set in the Mid-West and depicting people with traditional values. At the start of the '80s decade, the mood of the country appeared to be in a conservative swing, hence soap operas would reflect the Reagan administration during his years in office.

Paul Denis noted soap operas never stay ahead of time but in step with the time, "They don't really innovate. They may seem to at times ... but they back out fast if they see the public just isn't going along with a storyline." Helen Denis reminded, "The soap operas are in the business to entertain, not to reform. It is Americana." Paul Denis expressed, "We think they're Americana, part of the pop culture … The fact that soaps have lasted so long, more than half a century if you include radio (drama of the Roosevelt years), shows this is what America wants." Actress Teri Keane believed soaps were therapeutic and had helped many people combat loneliness.

In daytime, soap operas along with game shows had become a gold mine, the "most lucrative portion of the day" for the networks, with soaps attracting about 20 million viewers alone, mostly women 18 to 49 years of age. "The soaps have no beginning, no middle and no end," Paul Denis told 'The Greenville News' in 1982. "They just go on and on. Soaps go back half a century. They came to prominence on the radio during the Depression. Housewives listened because they had no money to go to the movies. They got hooked on those shows. The shape of the viewership is changing. The audience is now about 25% men. In the old days, men were maybe 1%."

"I think the main philosophy that all of the networks shoot for is that of a common denominator or a broad appeal," Jacqueline Smith of ABC told the 'Daily Herald' in 1977. Michael Ogiens of CBS added, "And involvement is important, too. That's what has made soap operas and game shows so popular. Both of them encourage audience involvement. You care about whether a lady contestant on a game show makes the right decision and chooses the box with the $500 in it over the one that holds a bunch of bananas. You care what happens to your favorite young couple on your favorite soap opera. It becomes a very personal thing and that's something that prime time program hasn't been able to achieve yet (or at the time)."

Back in 1972, Norman Mark of 'Chicago Daily News' made the comment, "Television daytime serials are often an exasperating dramatic form, where the trivial is celebrated, the cliché is commonplace, the pace is slower than boredom itself and imitation is a rule of life." Allen Potter of 'The Doctors' pointed out, "If you think nothing happens on this show, you ought to see 'As The World Turns'. They have an older audience that has been watching so long that nothing more need happen than grandpa catches a bad cold, and they'll all tune in tomorrow to see if he makes it."

Judith Martin of the 'Washington Post' observed, "The slow pace is a key element in soap opera hypnosis and perhaps most important, that old-fashioned morality decked out in contemporary dress. The reason characters are always reviewing what happened before is that viewers are not always paying close attention because they might be doing something else, too."

Andrew J. Reynolds: Do your dreams the previous night dictate what kind of a day you will have?

Eleanor Smock: Not as a rule. They are more apt to tell you what kind of a day you had yesterday. Your subconscious mind will pick up the things which you have been doing. It's one of the reasons, when you start to record your dreams, you keep a note pad by your bed to let your subconscious mind know you really mean business. Then, before you go to bed, you write down the highlights of that day and when you record your dreams you'll see where your subconscious mind has picked up the things that have happened – what you've read, what you've seen on television and the movies. These will be incorporated into your dreams.

Edwin Nicholson said 'The Edge of Night' followed "the unwritten code of good taste. Once, drinking was taboo, especially among the core characters. Villains could take a drink before dinner, and now (in 1971), without really slopping it up, so can goodies. But a couple of years back (around 1969), after the surgeon general's report, we had the core characters stop smoking. Today (in 1971), villains can drink and smoke." Teri Keane played the wife of the police commissioner advised she rebelled against the stereotypes, such as heroines always drank sherry on soap operas. Hence Teri insisted her character, Martha Marceau, occasionally asked for Scotch.

By 1977, Ron Tomme of 'Love of Life' told the 'Albuquerque Journal', "Soap operas are enjoying a renaissance." At the height of the Luke and Laura phenomenon which saw 'General Hospital' soared to No. 1 in the ratings, Jo Ann Emmerich of ABC told 'Chicago Tribune' in 1986, "At that time, there was a lot of misinterpretation about the youth movement in soap operas. The idea of a summer story that appealed to young people was misinterpreted as a story about teenyboppers and that's not at all what had been popular. Young people are like anybody – they like a universal story.

"A wonderful romantic story or a wonderful adventure that has romance at the core is going to be appealing to a universal audience. I mean, why did we see such high ratings for 'The Thorn Birds'? It's not just because people like a story about a priest and a woman; it's that it's a wonderful forbidden-fruit romance. And every age group was interested in it.

"And besides, Luke and Laura were not kids. She was a young woman of maybe 20 or 21, but he was obviously over 30. And though their kind of adventure story was very appealing to the young people, it was also appealing to the older people. Other shows copied the inanities and didn't copy the essence, which was the romance of Luke and Laura – that chemistry and that relationship."

Meridith Brown of 'Soap Opera Digest' (circulation of 825,000 in 1986) noted, "'The Young and the Restless' (under William J. Bell) hasn't been a faddish soap opera and it has really kept its center. It's still done in a very kind of old Hollywood way – lots of closeups, lots of long pullbacks and pauses; very glamorous." Bill Bell reasoned, "You can't just suddenly say, 'Well, the kids are home from school, I'm going to pander to the youth of America and hype the show.' Because you can't do that to your regular viewers – you have to keep them involved in their stories as well."

Brian Frons of NBC highlighted, "Let's say 'General Hospital' does a young love story, say Luke and Laura on the run. Everybody duplicates it. And finally you have an overload. Then everybody says, 'No, none of us are going to do that any more; we all need to do something else.' So they have this vacuum until somebody figures out what the new trend is.

"The baby boom group is now (in 1986) 22 and 40 years old. How can we not react to the fact that the largest group demographically in our country is starting to hit 40? The main thing happening now is a renewed focus on families, with each member of the family really having a love story, be they 65 or 17. I mean, we've not changed soaps so that they're back to two people in a living room drinking coffee. But we're looking less for, say, 'Who's got the laser that's going to destroy the Earth?' and more for, 'How will these characters deal with problems on an emotional level.'" 

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