Daily TV Serials
January 1976
Backstage at
by Jon-Michael Reed
The Ryan clan gathers around Frank's hospital bedside. (left to right) Helen Gallagher (as Maeve Ryan), Bernard Barrow (Johnny), Ilene Kristen (Delia), Malcolm Groome (Pat), Kate Mulgrew (Mary), and Michael Hawkins (the unconscious Frank). 
     Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Ryan's Hope is the strong sense of family among the Ryans. This kind of relationship is not unique to soapland, but their individuality is. 

     An especially well-chosen cast contributes enormously to this individuality. The specific qualities that actors bring to their roles (with minor exceptions) are impeccably tuned. If we didn't have a Kate Mulgrew, a Bernard Barrow, or a Helen Gallagher (as Mary, Johnny and Maeve Ryan, respectively) commiserating with Frank's condition, there would have been absolutely no reason to endure Frank's recovery. 

Simply stated, there is no better actress working in the medium today than Kate Mulgrew. Michael Levin's stubbornly hard-driving Jack Fenelli is a perfect match for Kate's idealistically determined Mary: a great and unique romantic soap couple has been born.  Michael and Kate join Malcolm in an example of the interminable "waiting it out" scenes, leading up to character Frank's recovery. 

Mulgrew & Levin
Sylvia Sidney, a renowned stage and film actress (shown here with Kate & Michael), made a guest appearance on the show.  Photo taken on the set during an "un-guarded" moment. 
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