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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Books about TV: AMC Trivia Book

This is my quick write-up on "The Official All My Children Trivia Book" by Gerard J. Waggett from 1998. The book has an imprint from ABC Daytime Press and is dedicated to his editors as the late magazine Soap Opera Weekly.

This book is very similar to the much later OLTL trivia book that came out a decade later when it comes to the format. Unlike that book, this one has much shorter chapters, which aren't numbered making it more difficult to summarize cleanly. Also this book has a lot more quizzes. The introduction begins with Waggett discussing his history with AMC. He started viewing it in his senior year of high school as he was allowed to leave early on Fridays, which got him home in time for AMC. Waggett mentions being at Harvard as a student and meeting Agnes Nixon where she gave a talk. Then he goes into his favorite and most memorable things about the program. They are as follows: Palmer's ball (1980), Donna's pregnancy (1982), Jenny and Jesse in NYC (1982), Erica/Kent/Silver (1983), Liza/Tad/Marian (1983), Devon's same-sex crush (1983), Tad and Dottie (1984), Erica's screen test (1984), Mark's AIDS scare (1987), Cindy and Stuart's romance (1987-1989), Kendall's revenge (1992-94) and Erica's testimony in the attempted murder trial (1994). 

Chapter one features the AMC timeline with on and off screen highlights. Chapter two has the backstage pass and shares tidbits about behind the scenes like who got along and casting stories. Chapter three has inside jokes that made it on screen like how Erica Kane wore a black wedding gown to marry Adam, after Susan Lucci starred in a tv-movie called "The Bride in Black". Chapter five was the thin line between fiction and reality or how real life events sometimes appeared in the script. Chapter six was from headlines to plotlines aka the ripped from reality section. Chapter seven was crossovers among AMC and other ABC soaps. Chapter eight all the world's a studio goes into detail about the remotes AMC did over the years. 

Then there are a few chapters focusing on Erica Kane and/or Susan Lucci. Chapter nine was an actual quiz section on both Erica Kane and Susan Lucci called Erica Lucci. (This was rather amusing to me as people do combine character and actor names on occasion.) Chapter ten called Mrs. Martin Brent Cudahy, Et Cetera, Et Cetera went through all Erica's marriages up until this time. Chapter eleven was called the last names Erica didn't add to her own, or people Erica dated, but she never wed. 

Chapter twelve was called the marrying kind and about other characters who had multiple weddings like Adam, Palmer, Tad, Tom, Natalie, and Dixie. Chapter thirteen was another quiz called the love connection. Chapter fourteen was called have you met my mother? aka stories where characters were intimate with members of the same family like Tad with Liza and Marian. Chapter fifteen was death valley, about how some murder stories were handled in Pine Valley. Chapter sixteen was Pine Valley's ten most wanted list quiz, where you needed to name the criminal referenced in each numbered question.

Chapter seventeen was called facts about the stars. This goes into education, names, living arrangements, sports, religion, military experience, other jobs, celebrity encounters, musical talent, Tony Awards, beauty pageants, super-heroics, soap actors playing soap actors, the cutting room floor and miscellaneous. Chapter eighteen shared a list of actor birthdays by month though just people who were on AMC at that time. Chapter nineteen was casting stories, and the section ended with a quiz called "Pre-Childhood", which asks people to match AMC actors with earlier soap opera roles. Chapter twenty called double duty about dual roles like Francesca James playing Kitty and later Kelly, Adam and Stuart Chandler and others. Chapter twenty-one was actors behind the camera about actors who worked on screen and then moved to off camera positions like directors and writers. Chapter twenty-two was the artists formerly known as... and mentioned actors who had to change their names. Chapter twenty-three was relatively speaking about famous people related to those involved with the show. Chapter twenty-four was called true romance, about real life couples that started at AMC. Since this book is over a decade old some of these couples are no longer couples. Chapter twenty-five was called distinguished alumni and about actors who went on to become famous elsewhere. This chapter ended with a quiz about AMC alums on other soaps.

Chapter twenty-six was called just passing through town, about guest appearances by famous people. Some came on as themselves, others as musical guests, and others played actual characters like Carol Burnett. Chapter twenty-seven was called famous fans of the show and starts with a reference to former President George Bush calling out to Walt Willey by saying Jackson. Chapter twenty-eight was called cast members who were fans first, and shared stories of when actors originally started viewing the show Chapter twenty-nine Daytime Emmy curiosities includes factoids about the awards. Chapter thirty called All My Children's Emmy Winners and Nominees just lists the winners and nominees though just for the show, acting, writing, directing and song categories. Chapter thirty-one called literary merits is great for someone like me who likes to collect books on soaps as it lists books about the program or written by people who were involved with the show. Chapter thirty-two called fun and games lists other merchandise that had been available about AMC. The book ends with the quiz answers and an index.

Just as a note: the author of this book also is listed to have written as of the publishing of this book "The Soap Opera Encyclopedia" (90s edition), "The Official General Hospital Trivia Book", "The Soap Opera Puzzle Book", "The As the World Turns Quiz Book" and "The Soap Opera Book of Lists".

This book is close to 200 pages not including the index and answer keys and printed in black and white with a color cover. Much of the information is historical to the time of its printing and characters who were important back then in some cases are now somewhat forgotten. If one is interested in a later 90s update of the 1994 published coffee table book, and can find it at a good price on the secondary market you may want to check out this trivia book.

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