Anyone who creates a TV show called “One Life to Live” must have expected the puns and wordplay that would accompany news stories reporting the show’s end, but they probably had no idea just how long that life would be.
After nearly 44 years, the daytime drama is finally calling it quits — on Friday the 13th — a victim of the same declining ratings that recently claimed its ABC sister soap, “All My Children.”
Following the cancellation of CBS shows “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns,” the show’s demise halves the number of network soap operas from just over two years ago and ends the decades-long run of New York City-based soaps.
Production company Prospect Park appeared to be the white-hatted hero to ABC’s dastardly villain, with promises of an online — and eventual cable — future for both ‘‘OLTL’’ and ‘‘AMC,’’ but that plan has been scrapped.
‘‘AMC’’ signed off in September with a gunshot-fueled finale that put the entire cast, including Susan Lucci’s Erica, in the cross hairs. Let’s hope ‘‘OLTL’’ fans get a little more closure before the final credit rolls.
Before you bid a fond and tear-soaked farewell to Victoria Lord, Niki Smith, Jean Randolph, Tommy, Tori, Princess and Victor (that’s all one person, by the way), or stick pins in your Ty Pennington voodoo doll (the TV handyman and star of the also canceled “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is one of the hosts of the health and lifestyle show “The Revolution” taking over the ‘‘OLTL’’ timeslot on Monday), test your knowledge of all the lives of Llanview, Pa., with our “One Life to Live” trivia quiz.
And then go pray for “General Hospital.” (By the way, the latest news this week from ABC is that four OLTL stars — Roger Howarth (Todd), Kassie DePaiva (Blair), Kristen Alderson (Starr) and Michael Easton (John) — would be heading to “General Hospital” along with their OLTL characters for a story arc sometime in February.)
1. • Longtime ‘‘OLTL’’ heroine Victoria Lord Gordon Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter Davidson Banks has helped her portrayer, Erika Slezak, win a record six Daytime Emmys. But which one of these things never happened to Viki?
A. • Died and went to heaven
B. • Was trapped in the underground city of Eterna
C. • Gave birth to twins by two different fathers
D. • Had six alternate personalities
E. • Traveled back in time to 1888
2. • Crusty Texas millionaire Asa Buchanan played a major part in the show’s landmark gay teen plotline of the early ’90s. Phil Carey, the actor who played Asa, previously played one of the first gay characters on network TV in a famous episode of what 1970’s sitcom?
3. • Llanview is the county seat of Llantano County, located along the banks of Llantano River in the shadow of Llantano Mountain. What is the name of Viki Lord’s estate?
4. • ‘OLTL’’ was responsible for the first big breaks of many future stars, including Tommy Lee Jones, Ryan Phillipe, Judith Light, Nathan Fillion, Dixie Carter, Blair Underwood, Phylicia Rashad, Tom Berenger and what current ABC nighttime star preparing to say goodbye to her own long-running show this May?
5. • Llanview is home to two daily newspapers: The Banner, run by Viki Lord; and The Sun, a tabloid owned by her brother, Todd Manning. By what name was The Sun known when it was owned by Viki’s decades-long nemesis Dorian Cramer Lord, etc.?
6. • A watershed moment in soap opera history came in 1979 when doctor’s wife Karen Wolek (Judith Light) broke down on the witness stand during her friend Viki’s murder trial and confessed a terrible secret, earning Light a Daytime Emmy and continuing praise as the greatest performance ever in daytime, and the scene a place on TV Guide’s 100 Most Memorable Moments in Television History. What was the secret?
A. • She was born a man
B. • She was a housewife hooker
C. • She had no idea who the boss was
D. • She had assumed the identity of her dead evil twin
E. • She was the actual murderer
7. • Following in the footsteps of “General Hospital” character Luke Spencer, ‘‘OLTL’’ controversially turned rapist Todd Manning into the show’s antihero. Recently, the “real” Todd returned to Llanview after eight years in captivity by his rogue CIA agent mother while his brainwashed twin brother assumed his life, even though that brother had first appeared in town with a new face thanks to plastic surgery to make him look like the brother of psychotic cult leader Mitch Laurence, who was revealed to be the father of one of Viki’s twin daughters and who just took part in a massive blackout to break out of prison and wreak havoc on the town in the show’s final episodes. So, on which cheek is Todd’s trademark scar?
8. • In its 44 seasons, how many times has ‘‘OLTL’’ won the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series? How many times has it been nominated?
9. • Despite the often fanciful plotlines, Agnes Nixon created ‘‘OLTL’’ as a more realistic and multicultural alternative to the other soaps on the air in 1968. The show first focused on the wealthy Lord family, the middle-class Woleks and Rileys, the Jewish Siegels and the African-American Grays. Today, along with the enduring Lords, there are the Vegas, the Patels and the Jewish District Attorney Nora Hanen Buchanan. But what character debuted as half-Asian only to become a blonde Caucasian when the part was recast?
10. • What fictional country has played a part in many ‘‘OLTL’’ plotlines since first introduced in 1986?
A. • Moldavia
B. • Malaguay
C. • Macho Grande
D. • Mypos
E. • Mendorra
1. • C. This was revealed to be untrue in the series’ final episodes, although it was taken as fact by all the characters for the past decade.
2. • “All in the Family.” He played an ex-professional football player friend of Archie Bunker’s on the series’ fifth episode. Interesting side note No. 1: The plot inspired an on-tape rant by Richard Nixon. Interesting side note No. 2: Another co-star on that same episode? Anthony Geary, later Luke Spencer on “General Hospital.”
3. • Llanfair. What else?
4. • Marcia Cross. The “Desperate Housewives” star began her career on “Edge of Night,” but had her first major role on ‘‘OLTL’’ as Kate Sanders in 1986.
5. • The Intruder.
6. • B. Too bad she had to open her mouth. The murder victim, her pimp, Marco Dane, was not only not dead but returned to the show several times over the next 13 years before transferring to “General Hospital.”
7. • Right. He received it after he tried to rape Marty Saybrooke a second time and he was hit with a lead pipe by New Age goddess worshipper Luna Moody.
8. • One win, five nominations.
9. • Blair Cramer. When the character showed up in 1991, played by Japanese-American actress Mia Korf, she was the product of the rape of a thought-dead mental patient by a Japanese hospital worker. Kassie DePaiva, Blair from 1993 to the present day, took over and all mentions of the character’s Asian heritage disappeared.
10. • E. Moldavia was the scene of the infamous cliffhanger massacre on “Dynasty”; Malaguay was the Central American country where Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond – coincidentally Judith Light’s “Who’s the Boss?” mother) faced a firing squad in the final moments of “Soap”; Macho Grande was the site of the war that haunted the memories of Ted Striker in “Airplane!” and “Airplane II: The Sequel”; and Mypos was the Greece-adjacent homeland of Balki on “Perfect Strangers.” Anyone notice that three of these, like Mendorra on ‘‘OLTL,’’ come from ABC shows?
The last episode of ‘One Life to Live’
Watch • 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 Channel 4