Ryan's Hope: An Oral History of Daytime's Groundbreaking Soap (Hardcover)

Ryan's Hope: An Oral History of Daytime's Groundbreaking Soap By Tom Lisanti Cover Image

Ryan's Hope: An Oral History of Daytime's Groundbreaking Soap (Hardcover)


A behind-the-scenes look at the show that changed daytime drama, an in-depth, intimate and entertaining cultural history, told in the words of its cast, crew, and creators.

From the opening scene of its first episode, in which Mary Ryan walks jauntily down a New York City street to her family’s neighborhood bar, it was clear that Ryan’s Hope would be unlike every daytime soap that had come before. Indeed, from 1975 to 1989, the Emmy Award-winning ABC TV serial drew viewers into the world of Maeve and Johnny Ryan, their children, friends, and extended family. This page-turning chronicle gathers memories and exclusive interviews to reveal the show’s fascinating origin story—and explore why it’s missed to this day.

Ryan’s Hope was set in a real city, within recognizable communities. The working-class, Irish-Catholic, immigrant Ryans were the core of a show that credibly tackled such topics as infidelity, addiction, religious faith, and women’s rights. There was melodrama, to be sure, but also heart, depth, grit—provided by co-creators and head writers Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer.

Labine and Mayer were also the executive producers in the early years, which gave them full control over their creation, from character backstories to lighting and costume. But there were also some missteps along the way, from the constant recasting of fan-favorite characters to ABC’s ill-judged attempts to infuse the homey, family-oriented show with intrigue and adventure.

Featuring the words of stars including Helen Gallagher, Malcolm Groome, Ron Hale, Ilene Kristen, Michael Levin, Ana Alicia, Roscoe Born, Catherine Hicks, Geoff Pierson, Andrew Robinson, and Gordon Thomson, along with writers, producers, production crew, and family members—plus never-before-seen photos and plot synopses—soap opera fans will find this insider account as captivating as the beloved show itself.
Tom Lisanti (New York, NY) is an award-winning author of 11 books about film and television. His books include Carol Lynley: Her Film & TV Career in Thrillers, Fantasy & Suspense (BearManor Media, 2020); Talking Sixties Drive-In Movies (BearManor Media, 2017), and Hollywood Surf and Beach Movies: The First Wave, 1959-1969 (McFarland and Company, 2005). In 2010, he co-wrote, with Gail Gerber, her memoir Trippin' with Terry Southern: What I Think I Remember (McFarland and Company), which won the Independent Publishers Book Awards 2010 Silver Medal for Best Memoir/ Autobiography. He appeared on Turner Classic Movies co-hosting with Ben Mankiewicz a week of 1960s spring break/beach movies and he is featured in the documentary The Green Girl about actress Susan Oliver and an upcoming documentary about novelist/screenwriter Terry Southern. His bylines have appeared in Cinema of the ‘70s, Films of the Golden Age, Scary Monsters, and Cinema Retro magazines.
Product Details ISBN: 9780806542911
ISBN-10: 0806542918
Publisher: Citadel
Publication Date: October 24th, 2023
Pages: 432
Language: English
Praise for Ryan's Hope 

“Its scope, its attention to detail, and, in the end, the love that shows through on every page is what makes this oral history a must-have for Ryan’s Hope fans, all soap fans, television fans, and future writers of books about soaps — to show how it should be done!” ―SoapHub
“Tom Lisanti’s amazing new book on Ryan’s Hope is a gift to soap opera fans everywhere. Tom’s love for Ryan’s Hope is evident in his detailed and thorough research. There hasn’t been a soap book put together this well done since Christopher Schemering’s groundbreaking The Soap Opera Encyclopedia in 1985.” ―Marlena De LaCroix, Soaps for the Thinking Fan