Articles and Interviews
A Reader's View:
Don't Be Alienated
"The article, A Reader's View, written by J.L.A. in Soap Opera Weekly's Jan. 8 issue, was very nice. The writer attributed Guiding Light's success to humor and contemporary character-based stories, as opposed to, among other things, aliens-from-outer-space type plots (as in General Hospital). I think it's time something was said about the alien story referred to- one of the most creative and touching storylines I've ever seen. Moreover, this storyline's success was based on the exact elements J.L.A. praised in GL- the funny, intimate moments that bond characters and viewers.
Technically, the story was extremely well done. Lasers and special effects (and later an explanation that the alien Casey took his name from one of the subjects in Anna Lavery's files) made the alien's presence acceptable. It was certainly as believable as characters coming back from the dead or being completely transformed by plastic surgery, etc. In the world of fiction almost anything is possible, as long as it's well presented and doesn't insult our intelligence.
But the technical aspects of the story were just the mechanics. It was Casey the "man" who made this story a joy, a special hour of the day for so many viewers. A gentle (and adorable) sweetheart of a super-intelligent being. Casey was played impeccably by Brad Lockerman, who gave Casey special alien characteristics, from his deliberate speech patterns and stiff posture to his steady eye contact. And the writers gave him wonderful idiosyncrasies like pet phrases (remember, "No problem?"), his love of apples, his healing powers and his sensitive hearing.
Yet, it wasn't Casey's cute foreign mannerisms that made him so extraordinary. The true key to the story's success was Casey's subtle growth into a being with human feelings. And only a soap, with its generous time allotment and traditional emphasis on human emotions, could handle this kind of story so well.
Casey first learned about human emotions from Anna's (Finola Hughes) adolescent daughter, Robin (Kimberly McCullough), in an endearing relationship that was as fresh and absorbing as anything you're likely to see on television or film. It certainly rivaled ET. His education continued with Anna and Frisco (Jack Wagner) in scenes that were alternately humorous and breathtakingly dramatic. In one of the funniest scenes ever, Lockerman and Hughes played off each other perfectly when Casey naively tried to take a shower with Anna. When Anna felt compelled to explain the birds and bees to her companion, the screen electrified with a startling combination of physical attraction and high comedy.
However, it's the Spoon Island scene, where Casey cradled Anna in his arms and cried human tears when he feared she was dead, that was the most touching. Casey really learned what it was to love, and in the process he finally realized his own humanity. What more can you ask? (It's a shame the new regime let an actor of Lockerman's caliber go. What a pair he and Hughes would've made, had their relationship been given a chance to sizzle!)
In short, the writers, actors and then-producer Joe Hardy executed the story perfectly from start to finish, creating a soap opera classic. Casey may have been born out of a sci-fi alien plot, but his faithful fans know how sensitive, warm and human he really was."