Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring (2-16-71)
I'm sure in 1971 people were still going on acid trips and it seems like this movie was made during one of those trips.
Denise "Dennie" Miller (Sally Field) returns home after a year of living on the streets in various parts of the country. She's tired of the hippie lifestyle and hopes to get her life straight again.
It takes a few days for her to travel cross country and when she comes home its in the middle of the night and before going into her house, she reflects by soaking her feet in the family pool. Once inside the house, she goes to her old room and is grateful for laying in her own bed.
As her family wakes up in the morning, the same mundane routine is played out and while getting ready for school, her sister Susie (Lane Bradbury) gets a run in her socks and goes into Dennie's room to grab a fresh pair. At first she doesn't notice Dennie in the bed, but then stands there stunned as their father Ed (Jackie Cooper) calls for Susie.
Susie tells him to come upstairs and Dennie wakes up once Ed comes into the room and Dennie begins to apologize profusely. Their mother Claire (Eleanor Parker) comes up to see what all of the commotion is and joins in the welcoming of Dennie.
With Dennie home, Susie steps back and disappears into the background once more.
As Dennie begins to settle back into life at home, she realizes why she ran away in the first place as her parents direct their anger at Susie.
Back in California, Dennie's boyfriend Flack (David Carradine) finds out that she's returned home and sets about his cross country journey by stealing an exterminator's truck and an ice cream truck.
Susie, fascinated with Dennie's adventures, wants to know what it was like and tells her that she's gotten high and Dennie tells her that she's experimented, but the drug culture isn't for her.
After her parents host a party, Dennie tries to tell her father about Susie's drug use and its met with deaf ears as the adults continue drinking and have a good time.
The next morning, Susie is floating in the pool and sees Flack standing at the edge. She rushes in and tells Dennie he's there and he has an offer for her to go with him to Canada. In essence, he even asks the parents for their permission.
Now she has to make another big decision in her life: stay home where she can get her life together or go back to the street life.
The big problem with this movie is there are too many flashbacks and while Dennie is a character that you can root and hope for, the film shows just how oblivious we are to everything and our mundane lives by feeling comfortable in our daily routine.
Sarah T.- Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (2-11-75)
The mid '70's were good times when it came to cautionary tale movies. They tried like hell to scare you straight, but of course, it's hard to say if they really worked.
This movie of course was no exception, and Linda Blair had already shown us the dark side of what happens when you runaway from home and are locked up in a juvie detention center.
Sarah Travis isn't adjusting well to her new life in SoCal and desperately wants to be with her father (Larry Hagman) up in San Francisco.
Her social climbing mother (Verna Bloom) lives with blinders on as she attempts to be the perfect wife to Matt (William Daniels) while trying to surpass "The Jones'" in everything.
She and Matt throw a weeknight party which sets up the stage for Sarah and her drinking problem. She'll gladly clean up after the guests and finish off any trace of a drink.
The next morning, her mother announces that she has a hangover and is quite surprised that Matt isn't feeling the effects of the previous night. She delights in talking about the people at the party and then realizes that Sarah is trying out for Glee Club later that day.
Sarah gives a bad audition and upset (plus she can't reach her father) has a delivery of booze come to the house. Cleverly, she tricks the delivery guy into thinking that her mother is in the shower and he leaves the booze with her. Once he's gone, she turns off the empty shower and pours herself a coffee cup of vodka.
After getting in touch with her father, he comes to town and tells her that he quit is job and is going to concentrate on being an artist. It's his dream job and since he's now unemployed, he gives her $100 and she buys a crazy/far out outfit for a party that she's going to be attending with Ken Newkirk (Mark Hamill).
Seconds before Ken picks her up, Sarah and her mother start fighting and she learns that the date was set up by her. Sarah doesn't want to go to the party, but goes anyway.
At the party, Marilyn (Karen Purcil) flirts openly with Ken and tries to humiliate Sarah by having her sing the song she sang at the Glee Club audition. The kids think she did a far out job and they accept her.
Hosting the party is Ray Peterson (Steve Benedict) and he gives Sarah a drink which sets her off into a drunken night.
When Ken brings her home, he confesses that he let her get drunk and the next day, she's belittled by her mother since she caused embarrassment to the family by acting this way at Matt's boss' house. She's grounded for two weeks, but gets a reprieve when Ken comes over and takes her to meet his horse Daisy.
Sarah and Ken casually see each other and she starts to gain feelings for him, but he tells her that he doesn't feel the same way. He also tells her that he's not blind to the fact that she's not drinking like a beginner which concerns him.
After a night of drinking and babysitting, Sarah is forced to see a psychologist (Michael Lerner) and he wants her to admit that she's an alcoholic, which she doesn't, but does go to an AA meeting.
Again, she doesn't admit to being an alcoholic and leaves the meeting.
During a therapy session, her parents complain more about each other and it basically comes up that neither want Sarah, which cause her to beg for alcohol outside a liquor store.
She tries to steal a bottle but is caught and then promises a group of guys that she'll do anything if they buy her a bottle of vodka.
When she causes more destruction to herself and others, she finally admits to being an alcoholic and agrees to treatment.
While this is a cautionary tale, the best line in the movie comes from her mother when she still refuses to believe that Sarah is an alcoholic.
In the doctor's office, she says, "We didn't pick her up in some skid row bar."
That image to me is priceless.
The Cradle Will Fall (5-24-83)
If you were a fan of Guiding Light this was the MUST see movie of 1983 and as a fan, I was right there with everyone else.
My memory may be a little fuzzy regarding the soap, but from what I can remember, a new wing was being built at Cedars Hospital and the wing was going to be opened around the time this movie was made. It does make sense since prosecutor Kathy DeMaio (Lauren Hutton) finds herself there for surgery.
And Leslie Ann Monroe (Carolyn A. Clark, reprising her role from the soap) does mention that the wing is set to open soon as she's the nurse on duty and Kathy is the only patient.
But, prior to Kathy's hospitalization, she wins a case in court and later she and boyfriend Dr. Richard Carroll (Ben Murphy) celebrate at his house later that evening. Kathy's also been suffering from bouts of weak and dizziness and has been told on many occasions that she needs to slow down.
Also that night, Vangie Lewis (Debra Mooney) has been avoiding Dr. Edgar Highley's (James Farentino) phone calls. She decides to answer and tell him that she's leaving town but he convinces her to come to the hospital afterhours.
While at the hospital, he poisons her and after Kathy has been admitted for an overnight observation due to an accident, she wakes from a nightmare and from her hospital window, sees Dr. Highley put Vangie's body into her trunk.
Kathy panics and the nurses put her back into her bed.
The next morning, Dr. Ed Bauer (Peter Simon and soap actor) discusses her condition and tells her that she really should consider the operation. He tells her that she'll be much healthier following it. Kathy tells him that she'll think it over and she's released.
Her friend, Hope Spaulding (Elvera Roussel and Ed's niece) picks her up from the hospital and takes her home. It doesn't take but a few minutes before Kathy gets a phone call regarding a "suicide" at the Lewis home. Vangie's husband Christopher (Ralph Byers) reports the death. As a pilot, he tells Kathy that he was on a flight from Los Angeles all night and as Kathy looks around the bedroom, she finds a pad with a California phone number hidden behind a picture of Vangie.
She copies the number and goes to her office, where she spars with District Attorney, Ross Marler (Jerry verDorn, another alumn) and finds out that the phone number she copied belongs to Vangie's uncle.
Dr. Highley's receptionist, Edna (Doris Belak) takes the news of Vangie's death hard and gets a ride home with hospital volunteer Bert Bauer (Charita Bauer and I'm pretty sure Bert was a volunteer at the hospital during her time on the show). A drunken Edna calls Christopher and tells him about the slipper and Bert is confused as to what Edna's doing. She suggests that Edna go to sleep and she'll be better in the morning.
But Edna won't see the dawn of a new day as she's murdered and the prime suspect is Christopher Lewis.
He tells Ross and Kathy that he was at Edna's and found the body and he also confesses to having an affair with a flight attendant.
After being offered another job in Seattle, Richard quits his job since Kathy won't go with him and over a drink at Ross' office, they, along with Ben Duffy (W.H. Macy) are discussing the Lewis case and Richard says that something doesn't add up. He and Ben head back to the morgue to do some further investigation after Ross tells him that Vangie's uncle is coming to town.
When Dr. Emmet Salem (Michael Higgins) arrives, he mentions that Vangie was involved in an experiment with Dr. Highley about reversing aging and after digging deeper into Highley's past, Ben mentions that there's a trail of unexplained deaths connected to him.
Ross is able to get a search warrant and at Highley's house, Detective Larry Wyatt (Guiding Light's hardworking detective, Joe Ponazecki) finds evidence against him. Now the hunt's on to find Highley since he's no where to be found.
At the time this movie came out, it was probably the only crossover for a longtime soap opera and it's characters. For fans, it was a treat to see the characters outside the confine of the "Springfield, IL studios) and put them in actual locations with characters who were not part of the daily drama.
However, none of the movie characters appeared on the show (I think that would have been good if they had and the movie could have been built up more) but it was still fun to remember this movie.
Also, Mooney and Belak appear in Tootsie, with Mooney as an actress and Belak as the producer of the show.