Marland Monday: Just Watch Us Now

Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons
4 min readMar 28, 2022


Wait a minute! Is it Monday? And it’s raining? Take it away, Karen Carpenter!

Sing it, Karen

And that means it’s also…

Marland Monday!

All righty, you know the drill: Every Monday I look back at the career of Douglas Marland, one of the GOATS of soap operas. Let’s get to it!

First off, man, what a dull Oscars, huh? Nothing happened, so humdrum, do de do. Seriously, congratulations to Billie Ellish and her brother Finneas for winning Best Song! Quick reminder: their parents were on soaps back in the day: Maggie Baird was mean Taylor on ATWT. Patrick O’Connell was Neil Everest on Guiding Light. Both of them worked with Robert Calhoun, who was the executive producer of ATWT during Marland’s first three years on the show. I wish Marland and Calhoun could’ve been there last night; they would’ve gotten a hoot that two winners had soap opera origins.

Speaking of special events, this Saturday thirty-six years ago, As The World Turns celebrated its 30th anniversary. Marland had been the head writer for eight months. Technically, the celebration started a year earlier, in the spring of 1985.

I don’t think Susan Bedsow Horgan (the previous head writer) gets enough credit in her short term on ATWT. Working with Robert Calhoun, she had Bob and Kim get married. CBS did something smart: they advertised the wedding on prime time. My mother saw it then told me “Bob and Kim are getting married.”
“Bob and Kim! On As The World Turns!” Mom watched the show when she was pregnant with me when Bob and Kim had an affair. Only he was married. To Kim’s sister who was also named Jennifer. Then both Jennifer and Kim ended up pregnant with Bob’s babies. It’s a soap!

Kim is wearing a pink shimmery dress with a really ugly matching hat. Bob is wearing a tuxedo.
Bob and Kim: Friends in Love

I hadn’t watched the show since my grandmother died. “Seriously?”
“Seriously. Can you program the VCR to tape the wedding?”
“Oh yeah.”

So we watched them get married (What would their super-couple name be? Bim? Kob?) Almost everyone came to the wedding. There was a new Frannie there. It was the performer’s second big role, the first being on the canceled Edge of Night. Her name was Julianne Moore. The big treat was seeing characters that had been written out: Nancy Hughes (Helen Wagner) Don Hughes (Conard Fowkes) and Penny Hughes Cunningham (Rosemary Prinz) It was smart thinking: it got me taping the show again.

When Marland took over, he kept weaving the history of characters with new storylines. Kim used to be a nightclub singer. She became the subject of stalking by someone who knew her back when she sang. Tom and Barbara used to be an item, so newly mean Barbara tricked Tom into thinking they slept together.

On April 2, 1986, everyone came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nancy and Chris (Don McLaughlin) Penny and Don came back. So did two of the Stewart girls, Dee and Annie. Add Barbara’s bad brother Rick, bitchy Susan Stewart, it was just grand seeing everyone again. I had the week off because of Spring Break. I was spending it in Oakdale, baby.

The episode centered around Nancy and Chris. It’s hard to watch: McLaughlin looked so frail. It was his last appearance on the show; he died a month and a half later. There were toasts after toasts. The cake was rolled out. Wagner and McLaughlin looked comfortable together, like a true married couple. Then the cast started to sing “Always” the Irving Berlin song. Okay by then I was sobbing. “Always” was my grandparents’ song. We then were treated to old clips of Nancy and Chris. It ended when months before they came back to Oakdale. McLaughlin and Wagner had been written out by the show by another producer. Seeing them again getting back to where they belonged was emotional.

black and white photo-Nancy has short hair, wearing a sweater and shirt. Chris has graying hair and is wearing a suit.
Love: Nancy and Chris.
Nancy wearing a red colored outfit. Chris is hugging Frannie, Chris has a suit and tie on, wearing glasses. Frannie’s red hair is in a braid. She’s wearing a teal sweater. Tom has blonde hair and wearing a suit and tie.
Get back where you once belonged

The camera focused on them singing the last lyrics It was slightly off-key, but oh it was beautiful:

Not for just an hour, not just a day
Not for just one year but always.

Nancy is wearing a glittery blue dress. Chris is wearing glasses and has a tuxedo on, black jacket and tie. Nancy’s earrings glittering and matches her dress.
Always: Nancy and Chris

Then everyone cheered.

It went to the cast/crew lineup, showing clips of classic episodes. We then saw Nancy and Chris kiss. Then it went to the original black and white opening, then color, then the current opening. Announcer Dan Region thanked the viewers for watching for thirty years, then said: “Just watch us now.” It went back to the cast and they yelled “Happy anniversary!”

I also believe Wagner did a PSA-encouraging people to read more about soaps. She recommended a book that had become my bible: Soap World by Robert LaGuardia.

I think what I miss about today’s soaps, honestly about TV in general, was how classy everything was. People of different generations all together. Everyone had a chance to be upfront. Everyone had a chance to be the star. The only show I know of that comes close to this is Call the Midwife. What can I say? I’m old-fashioned. I tear up at “Always.” I wish I could’ve appreciated the show more.

Not for just an hour, not just a day
Not for just one year but always.

Tune in next week everyone…



Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons

I am seeking representation for my memoir about helping solve the cold case of Suzanne Bombardier: