Flashback Friday - TV Guide (March 16, 1981)
A promo ad in TV Guide, promoting the “One-Hour Special” of the groundbreaking, yet controversial sitcom “Soap”. By March 1981, “Soap” was waning in its fourth season, as ratings started to decline, and the Reaganite Conservatives were calling for the show’s head on a silver platter.
In the Fourth Season DVD sets, these were packaged as the fourteenth and fifteenth episodes from that season. In Syndication (and when it was rerun on Comedy Central in the ‘90s), fifteenth and sixteenth, as the Season Premiere was split in half. But, when the show(s) aired over 34 years ago, it was the thirteenth episode of season four.
The show was supposed to go on for a fifth season, but ABC (forced by the aforementioned Reaganites) pulled the plug. Show creator Susan Harris came up with a five-year “Bible”, before the show debuted in 1977. There were rumors floating around the internet of a fourth Tate child, who was longlost from Vietnam, and that everybody (mainly Burt, Jessica, Danny, and Annie) whose lives were in peril in the Season Four (ahem, Series) Finale, were spared in Season Five (The Tates, with a little help from their ex-butler Benson paid off the Malaguayan rebels by placing blanks in the guns was one rumor, another was El Puerco arrives in time). Susan Harris admitted in a 1990 panel discussion with the cast and crew that she wouldn’t have ended “Soap” with Katherine Helmond facing a firing squad (but Daytime Soap producer John Conboy took that idea almost six years later when CBS cancelled the daytime soap “Capitol” to make room for “The Bold and the Beautiful”, by having the leading lady face a firing squad in the Series Finale).