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Page 40 text:
LOVE in the afternoon Soap opera addiction swept the country, leaving empty classes, crowded televisions and devoted college students in its wake by JOAN HOLLAND T WAS ANY OLD WEEKDAY. THE Tower clock read 1:55; the West Mall was deserted. Students released late from class were making a mad dash for the nearest building but not for another class. They were in search of a television, hurrying to get their daily fix, anxious to catch every single dramatic second of the opening scenes. The world turned around " General Hospital. " Across the country, college students scheduled classes around it and skipped lec- tures for it. Many even wrote papers on it and the incredible phenomenon known as soap opera addiction. There were records set in 1981 for soap audiences as the daytime dramas, once the province of the American housewife, became a narcotic-like necessity for almost 50 million people each day. A sizeable percentage of that 50 million were full-time college students and ABC ' s " Love In The Afternoon " theme song was as familiar as the alma mater. Countless research projects were launched to discover why more people, especially more students, were tuning in the soaps. Many students explained the addiction by saying that afternoons were the only hours available to watch any kind of television. Homework took up every minute in the evenings, they said, and as Demetria Willaims explained, " It gives you a chance to relax between classes. " Radio-Television-Film majors critiqued the shows while they watched. The " expert " soap watchers explained that in the late ' 70s and up to 1982, the quality of the acting, sets, and writing had improved tremendous- ly. " It ' s better than watching the idiotic pro- grams shown at night, " said Judy Canales, a fan of NBC ' s " Days Of Our Lives. " Soaring ratings were a reflection of the shows ' improving quality. Yet even with net- work brass pouring additional revenue into soaps for these improvements, daytime dramas were still the most economical source of revenue for the networks. The news that students were taking time to watch such soaps as " The Guiding Light " (CBS), " All My Children " (ABC), and " Search For Tomorrow " (CBS) was music to the ears of network executives. " General Hospital " alone produced half of the profits for ABC in 1980 and 1981. " General Hospital, " or " GH " as con- noisseurs called it, was television history ' s top-rated soap opera, averaging 15 million viewers daily. It was " GH " which started the pop culture phenomenon. Scripts for the 1980 and 1981 seasons had heroes being chased by mafia hitmen, faking insanity and amnesia, and of course getting themselves trapped on a desert island and saving the world from cataclysmic destruction. Classes 34 Soap Operas
Page 39 text:
Place UTDADEN)OYTHI ' THE CONSTRUCTION SMCE TO PUT UP A ITS TO CONDOMINIUM IYSHCTTIEBUS. ut began to feel that was too much money, even for the advantages of the condo. Northfork was being built when Habich ' s family chose it in June 1981 and were told it the unit would be ready by Sept. 1; she moved in on Oct. 1. " The wait was a hassle, but that ' s the way it goes with construction, " Habich said. Another disadvantage cited by condo dwellers was inconvenience. If a student couldn ' t get a condo on a shuttle route, he or she had to have a car, either to get to a shuttle or to drive into campus. Also, condo living was only recommended for students who had lived on campus, since condo- dwellers had few opportunities to meet new people in their complexes. But for other students, especially females, the feeling of security was the main factor in the decision to live in a condo. " We have a lot of neighbors here, " Habich said, " and we know most of them. College students tend to keep weirder hours than other people, so people are always coming and going. So- meone is always around. " Our complex is well-lighted and it ' s bet- ter built than the apartments that I looked at. The windows and doors are secure. Also, Hyde Park is a good neighborhood. " I feel more secure here, " said Sharon Sauve, who lived in a comdomium off of Hancock Drive in North Austin. " We have 10 units here and we own ours. Four of the units have students in them and most of the people here are under 30. We know everybody and have everybody ' s phone number. We all have a system where we look after each other and have signals in case something happens. " Since the unit is ours, I feel like I can put more locks around. I ' ve heard that apart- ments are easier to break into, " Sauve said. Like many parents of college students, Suave ' s parents bought the condo as an in- vestment. Sauve said her younger brother and sister would probably attend UT. " My parents are planning to keep the unit and lease it after we ' re all through with school, " Sauve said. " They insist that we all live on campus at least a year, though, because it ' s a good adjustment period and it ' s a good way to meet a lot of people, " she explained. Sauve lived about 10 minutes from the nearest shuttle stop, but she said it was no problem to drive in every day. Roane Puett, a builder in Austin, said that condos and townhouses were a growing business. Builders became interested in them because of the difficulty in obtaining long- term financing. " I had built apartment complexes, " Puett said, " but there just wasn ' t any money to be made there anymore. Financing was too hard to get and it was too expensive. I had to do something and condos were the answer. " Puett had completed two condominium projects in the past two years and he had plans for several others. " I built my condos with students in mind. For that reason, I find land as close to the shuttle routes as possible. Half of my units are bought by the people who will actually live in them and the other half are bought by people who lease them to students. " I prefer to sell to the people who will live in the unit, because they have more interest in keeping the place up and they really care about the condo, " Puett said. Most people would take interest in something for which they paid $70,000 the typical price for a two bedroom one bath condo in the Hyde Park area, according to Frank Reilly, an Austin realtor. " Depending on the size, location and the amenities offered, a condo could run anywhere between 50 and 120 (thousand dollars), " Reilly said, " Some condos have bigger pools; some offer covered parking; ,some have security systems. It just depends. " Security, investment, a feeling of home. For those UT students who could afford them, condominiums were the answer. hy Raff relaxes in her Greenwood Towers condominium at ISOoTT e of many in the Un.vers.ty .rra which c.trrs to studrn.s. 33 Condos
Page 41 text:
x Mid U " open " A group of faithful viewers takes time out from class to catch another episode of " General Hospital " in the Communications Building lobby : .: :- ' 10 U fe wk fl , W MX were forgotten the week of Nov. 16 as students stayed glued to their sets for the long-awaited wedding of Luke Spencer (Tony Geary) and Laura Baldin (Genie Fran- cis). The midsummer royal wedding of Bri- tain ' s Prince Charles and Lady Diana faded into mediocrity as thousands of UT students watched the hero and heroine say " I do. " The event garnered unprecedented ratings for daytime television and attracted the at- tention of network news. Soap addicts explained that one of the basic reasons students watched any soap was the feeling of camaraderie they got. " With 50,000 students on campus, it ' s hard to get to know anybody, " explained Tammy McMahon, " but when you watch ' One Life To Live ' with the same group for an entire semester, you get to know them. " Along with that feeling of camaraderie went the influence of peer pressure. Soaps were a fad, and new soap viewers ' most com- mon reasoning for watching was that their roommates watched them. The fad reached such proportions that even big names from the box office and stage made guest ap- pearances on their favorite shows. WHAT THEY WATCHED . Doug and Julie Williams star on " Days Of Our Lives. " NBC Luke and Laura finally wed on " General Hospital. " ABC Rock group the B-52 ' s appeared on " Guiding Light. " CBS Soap Operas 35
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