the Buzz for August 2013


Air — “Redhead Girl” (from Pocket Symphony) —

“I screen-tested with Bob Woods. There were two other girls: a dark-haired girl, a redhead, and then me, and at the time, I was sort of light-brown hair with blond streaks in it. . . . And I’m doing the screen test, and the director — we called him ‘The Maestro,’ David [Pressman] — we did it once, and then he walked out [on the floor] and said, ‘I want you to look at me.’ And I looked at him and he goes, ‘Can you see the camera lens?’ I said yes, and he said, ‘Can you see the light on on that camera lens?’ I said yes, and he goes, ‘Great. Do me a favor and nod your head up and down.’ I nod my head up and down and he says, ‘Great, thank you,’ and he turned around to walk back in [to the control room], and I said, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, what?’ And he came back and he said, ‘They asked me to give you a note that I don’t agree with, so we’re just gonna do it again, and they’ll think I gave you the note, and you’ll be fabulous.’ We did the scene again, and I got called up to Linda [Gottlieb, then One Life‘s executive producer]’s office, and she said, ‘Well, I don’t. . . I don’t really get you.’ She said, “Maybe. . . how would you feel about being a redhead?’ I said, ‘Well, if you think we’re all the same, you have a redhead down there. Why don’t you just hire her?’ And she said, ‘That’s not the point. How would you feel about being a redhead?’ And I said, ‘I have no problem being a redhead.’ I left there and [said to myself], ‘I think One Life to Live is safe from me. I’m not gonna get this job!’”

— the dazzling and divine Hillary B. Smith, detailing to me (in a forthcoming exclusive interview for Brandon’s Buzz Radio) how the role of a lifetime — that of brilliant defense attorney Nora Hanen Gannon Buchanan on the classic soap One Life to Live — fell into her lap in the summer of 1992. (Twenty years ago this very day — August 6, 1993 — was a red-letter day for an entire generation of us rabid One Life fans, as that was the day that the show’s ‘A’ story that summer — the gang rape of confused co-ed Marty Saybrooke, and her ensuing brave quest to make her attackers accountable — came to a big climax, courtesy of the ravishing Ms. Smith. A couple of weeks prior, Nora, who was defending the boys whom Marty had accused of rape, had stumbled upon evidence which strongly suggested that her clients were indeed guilty, and, caught between doing her job and doing what was right after a series of situations in which she tried to coax the unrepentant jocks into confessing their crimes, a guilt-ravaged Nora chose to stick with her principles and threw the case during her summation, in a last-ditch lunge to ascertain true justice. Smith’s intense, incendiary performance capped what I continue to insist was the strongest summer in One Life‘s regal and impossibly rich history, and the scenes in question — which can be seen here, if you don’t mind the less-than-stellar video quality — helped to land her the Outstanding Lead Actress Daytime Emmy Award the following year and instantly catapulted her into the pantheon of daytime’s absolute best. To mark the aforementioned twentieth anniversary, I have been hard at work for most of the summer trying to pull together a number of principals involved with the show during that magical summer, in an attempt to create for Brandon’s Buzz Radio some sort of aural history detailing how all of the disparate pieces of the show’s canvas clicked brilliantly into place. I had a thrilling and exhilarating 90-minute chat with Smith a couple of weeks back, in which we covered everything from the rape trial to the infamous cabana incident to her hilarious stint as a contestant on Celebrity Family Feud, and I will be deciding how best to share that conversation with you guys just as soon as I hear back from the last couple of people to whom I have submitted interview requests. In the meantime, this fun anecdote felt like a mighty fine way to mark the true anniversary of one of the greatest pieces of television — daytime, prime time, any-friggin’-time — that I’ve ever laid grateful eyes upon.)


Mandy Moore — “The Whole of the Moon” (from Coverage) —

For much of the summer, I’ve been working on a special tribute project for Brandon’s Buzz Radio — watch this space soon for further news on that front — and it has turned into a soul-sucking endeavor that has seemed to monopolize my every waking second for the past few weeks. Luckily, it’s a slow day at work today, so I can spend a few moments tending to my poor, neglected baby here. I snapped the photographs below on my iPhone a couple of Friday nights ago while waiting (rather impatiently) for my two dogs — particularly Miss Kelly, whose occasional crotchety tendencies have led A to refer to her, affectionately, as “The Diva” — to take care of their business before bedtime. In reality, it was so bright and clear that I swear I could make out individual craters with my naked eye, but in case you can’t tell from the sadly hazy pictures, that glowing blob in the center of the frame, shining without flaw through the tree limbs, is the moon.