The time is 11:00am. The sound of a piano playing the opening theme to The Young and Restless fills my living room. I feel like I am being treated like an adult. My mom motions for me to join her in her black recliner. My younger sister is having a nap. It is just me and my mom to watch her favorite daytime show. We watch Danny Romalotti perform a song in his rock concert. I see Tracy having a pool party and seeing her rival Lauren try to take her down. For one hour, it is my mom and I alone. Our world stops while Genoa City emerges.
It is many years later and I still watch the show. For one hour, five days a week I watch the drama unfold and not miss my mom for that little bit. As an adult I used to feel like it is my guilty pleasure. I would only watch in private from my husband or not tell my workmates. Then I realized I was being silly. I enjoy the show. It is one of the few things I have of my mother’s favorite things. When I became pregnant I would watch the show to relax. When my girls were babies I would let them nap in my arms during the magic hour where I could escape.
When I heard that there was a book out about the creator I became eager to read it. The Young and Restless: Life of William Bell by Michael Maloney with Lee Philip Bill dives into how this beloved soap and others came to life. The forward is by David Hasselhoff, who played Snapper Foster Jr on The Young and Restless. The book does not paint a sugary sweet picture. The tales of how the first Jill Foster played by Brenda Dickson was let go under a drama cloud. It continues on how Malcolm was cast when the casting director at the time saw Shemar Moore. Sharon Case was not the first Sharon. That surprised me.
“Writing for daytime is from the gut. It’s character and emotion, and that’s why Bill Bell’s stuff comes alive.” Says Pat Falken Smith, Bill’s successor at Days of Our Lives.
Bill and Lee never lost class through the notoriety that the soap opera world bestowed upon them. Their over fifty years of marriage and being parents kept them grounded. They graciously attended fan events when they can. On one Donahue show he encouraged fans to ask any questions about any of his shows. However, you would never want to cross him. Actors were ‘written off’ under a quick cloud of mystery if they were given chance after chance. Bill was loyal to his staff and cast, but he had a soap opera empire to helm.
It is believed that he would have shuddered at the idea of Twitter. Bill Bell held plots dear to his heart. Times have changed as you can find most of the cast on Social Media. Bill was well loved and respected for his immense passion for writing. It was an end of an era once he passed. Now there are only four soap serial operas on air in the daytime.
I rarely buy hard copy books these days. I am in love with my e-reader. I bought this one knowing I will flip through it for years to come. The personal pictures in the biography make it worth re-living why I adore The Young and The Restless. I know my mom would agree.