By the end of 1981, soap operas watching reached an all-time high. On ABC daytime, 4-hour bloc of soaps were scheduled from 12.30pm to 4.30pm. Anthony Thomopoulos spoke to 'United Press International', "In the old days when the other networks led the daytime ratings the soap operas appealed mostly to older women. Younger women are attracted to our shows because the contemporary issues we deal with in marriage, divorce, sex, drugs, abortion and infidelity are issues to which they can relate. 

"Our shows (such as 'General Hospital', 'All My Children' and 'One Life To Live') reflect contemporary American society in stories that a high percentage of younger viewers, men as well as women, know and understand because they share the problems or see evidence of the issues around them. All our daytime shows are faster paced than soaps used to be. We've opened them up, brought in new characters and taken them on locations. 

"New developments with tape and video facilities have made a lot of things possible. Another reason for accelerated interest in soaps is the change in the national work force with more flexible hours, especially for working women. There are more retired people in our population, too, and they are tuning in. Our younger casts have induced college and high school kids to tune into the shows as well. 

"The demographics are just what advertisers are looking for. Among women 18-49, ABC is delivering more than a million more viewers than our nearest competition. 72% of our women viewers fall into that age bracket. Daytime audiences are more loyal than prime-time viewers. It takes longer to develop a faithful following, but they stick by a show for many, many years. The popularity of daytime shows fluctuates, but each show has a core loyalty. 

"A new situation or a new character can propel a sinking show to new heights of popularity. You know how fans in bars gather around the TV set to watch 'Monday Night Football'? Well, we're beginning to see people watching 'General Hospital' on sets in restaurants and other public places. It's evidence that soap operas have come of age." 

Jeff Ryder of NBC told 'Knight-Ridder Newspapers', "A soap viewer has such a vested loyalty he will stay even when the story is bad. They'll say, 'It will get better.' Back when I was just a viewer, it took me two years before I gave up on 'Another World'. The rule of thumb is that daytime (shows) pay for everything else. It's considered the profit center of every network and always has been. Daytime programming is cheap to produce and lucrative." 

Gail Kobe told 'The Tampa Tribune', "All the devices, the exotic locales, the bizarre plots and the guest stars are secondary to the character relationships. That interest has to be there or the viewer won't. We are a more mobile society today (in 1982) and a mother and daughter who are separated by hundred of miles may not have that much in common. 

"But if they watch the same soap, they can talk about what is happening to their favorite characters. To the soap fan, the characters become real. Whenever they get together, they discuss soap plots as though they are talking about real people. And it's seldom the exotic things or the guest stars that they talk about. It's more like 'Did you see what she did to him?' The human angle." 

David Feldman added, "They're about emotions that people have to confront with every day. They give people a way to experience an outlet for their feeling. Life isn't simple anymore. In the '50s, everyone could agree on the difference between good and evil. These days (by 1982), it's all more complicated. That complication is reflected in soap operas." 

Inspired by Ronald Reagan's first inauguration, John Conboy came up with the idea for the daytime soap opera, 'Capitol' (about a town that began in 1800) which he co-created with Stephen and Elinor Karpf, "About a year ago (in 1981), I took a meeting with the network (CBS) and said that I had a really terrific idea and they loved it. I have a personal kind of feeling that America is a nation of hero worshipers. But we really get off on what happens in Washington. I think the only people we have to look up to anymore – I mean truly look up to – are politicians." 

John Conboy told the 'Pittsburgh Post-Gazette', "We brought the network in and said, 'This is what we want to do.' They loved the idea, and then it took us about 18 months to put it all together." 'Capitol' would replace 'Search For Tomorrow' which moved to NBC. To attract the largest possible number of viewers to the program daily run, CBS shown the premiere episode on prime time in the 'Falcon Crest' time slot. 

Of 'Falcon Crest', John Conboy said of Jane Wyman, "She's the reason that show works. She's real and interesting in that part. I love to watch her. Everything is right, including her good shoes, skirts and no-nonsense look. You know if she needs to be at the winery she'll be there. She plays a dressed-down bad girl, not a broad one like Jessica Walters did in 'Bare Essence' with her phony Southern accent." 

'Capitol' was the first daytime drama to be launched on prime time in TV soap history and the highest rated in the history of daytime TV. The special prime-time preview of 'Capitol' ranked 29 that week against 'Strike Force' which ranked 32 and the second hour of the movie 'Magic' which ranked 68. John Conboy also spoke to 'Gannett News Service', 'The Baltimore Sun', The 'Los Angeles Times/The Washington Post Service' and Associated Press. 

"I think the public wants to know what goes on behind the marble curtain in Washington, the corridors of power. I love doing them (soaps) because, No. 1, it's a constant challenge … And, secondly, I think we're all in this business because we're dealing with new material on a daily basis. I have a very low threshold for boredom. And trust me, I never get bored on this job. 

"I maintained that I wanted total attention from the audience – that if you put a show on the air they have watched (daily), hopefully they'll watch it. You have to watch 'Capitol'. You can't sit back and hope you'll catch up next week. Yes (it's risky), and if I find it isn't working, I'll slow it down. But I think the audience is sharp – and they're bright. They're also fairly selective about what they see. 

"It's not a show about politicians set in smoke-filled rooms. It takes place in an upwardly mobile city. We have taken the most talented and beautiful cast we could find to entertain the viewers. With them, we will create our own politicians, not depend on real people or real situations ... although a lot of people are saying, 'Ah Ha!' thinking they recognize some of the characters. 

"We don't deal with current political issues either but I hope it's topical in so far as what the characters are talking about and what it means to them – that it shows the stakes are as high as they are. I'm trying to show Washington to be the kind of glitter palace that it is – as far as the up front kind of stuff that we can see. What I want to do is take the fantasy that I know the American people have about that city and go behind the marble curtain to find out what Washingtonians really talking about – how they feel before they open their front door and a microphone is stuck in their face. 

"We are telling a little of 'Mission: Impossible', with glamor and intrigue and love and romance and sex throw in. There's a lot of that in Washington. I originally conceived 'Capitol' as an hour show. I'd produced 'The Young and the Restless' for nine years (1973-1981). When we expanded that to an hour it meant enormous changes. We had to create new families and new story lines. So I conceived of 'Capitol' as an hour show from the beginning. 

"The fantasy about Washington is wondering what goes on behind those closed doors. We haven't been allowed, even with the scandals, to enter the private world of the people involved. We see only the public image. But I'm opening the secret doors to examine what happens when all that ambition and passion meet. (However) that's legislated by the network. 

"When we started we did a lot of work in Washington. But we were constantly told by CBS to stay away from Washington. We were told to stay away from politics. We were told the audience didn't care about politics and that people weren't interested in politicians. Once, we had a story about a chase with the Washington Monument in the background. The very day we aired some guy holed up in the Washington Monument and threatened to blow it up. 

"It'd awfully difficult for us to use actual sites, especially since we work weeks ahead and can't predict events. We would have loved to have gotten our hands dirty. The closest we could come to a real Washington story was a few scandals. That's the only thing we were allowed to touch. If we are able to move the show to cable we can take a much sharper storyline.

"The most we see of politicians is the public image. I want to find the private pain. I have the luxury to dramatize why the bad guys are bad, get behind the marble curtain. This is a town of ambition, drive, grabbing the brass ring. This is a love story, but the stakes are bigger The decisions made affect millions of people. That kind of pressure is interesting. We're talking big stuff here." 

It was reported 'Capitol' was a hit on prime time TV in Italy and France and before it went off air in 1987, 'Capitol' was sold to Spain, "It takes $2 million or more just to start a show. That's in addition to what it costs to run the show on a day-to-day basis. We have finally (in 1987) paid off our start-up costs." 

Carolyn Jones was best known as Morticia on 'The Addams Family' (1964-66). Then 49, Carolyn played Myrna Clegg, the manipulative, socially prominent matriarch of the wealthy and prestigious Clegg family. Myrna was determined to get her son Trey elected president. Carolyn spoke to 'United Press International' and 'New York Daily News'.

"Myrna is meaner than J.R. She and J.R. are a matched set. Between them they could carve up the world. I based Myrna on three women I know, and they'd kill me if I used their names. I'm stunned the ratings are so good but I was also shocked at how low all daytime ratings are compared to prime time. When I was doing 'The Addams Family', we had a 35 share. If you get 21% in daytime, they think it's great. We're beating established shows like 'The Guiding Light', 'The Edge of Night' and 'Search For Tomorrow'.

"Washington is the glamor and scandal capital of the world. Every single day there's some scandal or off-beat news out of Washington where there's more room for it. In Hollywood we have to work hard. Politicians don't. People would be surprised to learn how many stars go to bed alone. I don't think many senators do. They don't have to be up at 5 o’clock in the morning with bags under their eyes to report to work.

"There are more big parties in Washington. Most of them aren't just social like they are in Hollywood. And the politicians have more outspoken wives. I'm a Democrat, so I don't have any inside sources in this (Reagan) administration but I'll never forget walking into the White House and shaking hands with President Lyndon Johnson. He said, 'Welcome, Carolyn. It's good to see you.' And I said, 'Hello, Senator.' I almost died later when I realized how I addressed him. 

"Every actress dreams of playing a classic character, something she will always be remembered by. I had no idea that's what would happen with Morticia, but I couldn’t be happier that it worked out that way. I love Morticia. I brought up a whole generation of kids. It makes you feel like you did the right thing when you're still getting money and they're still playing it. 

"Soaps basically have become the summer stock of the film business. They are the only place that young performers can learn their craft and gain experience by working with veteran actors. Politics – particularly politics in Washington, the center of world power – has suddenly become glamorous in just the way the glitter and show business of Hollywood used to be glamorous to the public. Shakespeare wrote some of the best soap operas I've read."

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