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|Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, editor|
|Shopping the Parks: "ABC SoapLink" at DCA - 05/04/01|
|Events can be difficult to cover
when you have no interest in the subject matter. Take the dedication ceremony
for the ABC Soap Opera Bistro, held during the press event for the grand
opening for Disney's California Adventure (DCA). There I was, sitting on
a press riser, surrounded by people who had an extreme interest in soap
operas. Across the way, a crowd of invited ABC soap fans lined the red carpet.
They oohed and ahhed as each star was introduced, hung on their every word,
and snapped photo after photo. Later, many of them gossiped about who wore
what, who looked or didn't look like their character, who was taller than
expected. Don't even get me started about "reporters" cornering
stars in elevators for autographs.
I, on the other hand, was desperately looking for the guy selling programs. "Programs! Get your programs! You can't tell the stars without the programs!" My entire soap opera exposure consisted of one season's worth of watching a soap I can't even recall the name of. I was studying sign language at the time, and one of their characters was deaf. It seemed like a good way to practice. As soon as she regained her hearing, I stopped watching. With such an auspicious background, I was totally out of my league amid a crowd of soap fanatics.
So, what can I tell you about ABC Soap Link, the tiny store attached to the front of ABC Soap Opera Bistro? Surprisingly, quite a lot. If I were a soap fan, I think I would need to check my wallet at the door. Husbands, let this be a warning to you. Some of the items you'll find in the store are truly one of a kind, and a collector's dream.
ABC Soap Link is a cross between a museum and a store. The first thing you may notice as you enter the store is the glass display case, containing the most recent (and seventh!) wedding dress of Victoria Lord Riley Burke Riley Buchanan Buchanan Carpenter Davidson from One Life to Live (OLTL). [Does anyone else think that this looks like a pneumatic tube? I keep waiting for the tube to go whoosh and deliver the dress into the store across the street.]
The dress was designed and manufactured in just three weeks by the OLTL customer director and her assistant. It is truly a lovely gown, covered with lush custom embroidery and hand- applied beadwork. The dress is also extremely well constructed, with no visible hook, zipper or tie. A common question of guests to the shop is, "How on earth did she put that on?" Look really closely, and you'll figure it out.
The store has a plate glass window looking in on the seating area of ABC Soap Opera Bistro. You get the impression that you are in a sound booth, looking down on the set. Below this window stands a row of display cases, each containing props from ABC-TV's daytime shows. These props were donated to the shop at the dedication ceremony by the stars themselves.
Trinkets in the case include Luke and Laura's wedding rings from General Hospital, Lucy's crystal ball and tarot cards from Port Charles, the infamous flask of Libidizone from All My Children, and a Viet Nam photo of One Life to Life character Bo Buchanan. Each item is accompanied by a little card listing its origin and significance. It is interesting to note that the Viet Nam photo is a real- life photo of Robert Woods, the actor who portrays Bo Buchanan, taken during his tour of duty in the war.
A floor- to- ceiling display of video screens covers a side wall. A montage of clips from the ABC daytime soaps plays on these monitors throughout the day. Personally, I think they should just broadcast the shows throughout the day -- that video loop is way too short. It must drive the Cast Members (CMs) nuts listening to the same loop over and over again.
ABC Soap Link sells three collections of souvenirs. T-shirts, baseball caps and lapel pins are available with the ABC Soap Opera Bistro logo. You can also buy T-shirts and mugs from the ABC daytime shows.
Some of you may remember the "TV is Good" promotional campaign that ABC ran last year, with ugly yellow billboards and silly slogans. In case you didn't get enough, you can find an entire collection of the merchandise. There's quite a variety: mugs, Frisbees, yo-yos, Post-It notes. Gee guys -- I wonder why all this stuff is still here a year later.
Lounge in style
One of the nicer items in the store are these souvenir scrubs from General Hospital. They have a GH / DCA logo on the pocket, and are reversible like authentic scrubs. These would be a nice alternative to sweats for the devoted GH fan.
Some of the props in the store are actually for sale. For a mere $100, you can own a pair of shoes first worn by GH's Gertrude or Monica. Interested in divorce papers of AMC's Liza and Adam? They're yours for $20. How about those scandalous headlines from OLTL's Banner, or the Port Charles Herald? Newspapers are popular items, and sell for around $30. You can even buy a shirt from the GH Nurses Ball 2000, an on- show charity event. The shirt was signed by 24 actors from the show, and is framed.
Some items are a little pricier. Anything that AMC's Erica Kane has touched seems to worth its weight in pure gold. A pair of Stuart Weitzman pumps go for a mere $200. A cosmetics case from her "Enchantment" product line is offered for $65. I was fascinated by this. The case actually comes from a real make- up line, and includes quite a collection of (used) makeup in a compact that works like a tackle box. While the logo on the top of the case was covered by a large "Enchantment" label, the original manufactures labels are still visible on the bottom of the case. It's an Italian cosmetics company -- I may have to track it down!
So, you're on vacation, away from your TV, and you just must catch up on your ABC soap. Whatever will you do? Just pop into ABC Soap Link, and ask to see the update book. The store maintains a binder on each of the ABC soaps, and updates them with the prior day's show summary. These updates are pulled from on- line summaries at the ABC Daytime Web site. You can also find show summaries, storyline explanations, and cast bios. The regular store CMs are soap fans themselves, and love to chat with guests about the twists and turns of daytime life.
Daytime soap fans will love this shop, and may even find a must-have souvenir to take home. After all, wearing a pair of Erica's shoes around town will certainly spark some conversation. If you're like me and bewildered by the whole soap opera thing, stop by anyway. You're sure to find at least a few minutes of entertainment... even if it's just observing the other visitors!
Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix is the super-shopper behind MouseShoppe, your personal and unofficial shopping service for the Disneyland Resort, and the owner of CharmingShoppe, a Disney collectibles store located in Anaheim.
In addition to scouring the park to find you the latest and greatest merchandise, she keeps you updated on all of the merchandise events happening in the parks.
If you want to talk to her about this column, merchandise, or events, contact her here.
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