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Those Were the Days: When Soaps Went On Location & Why It Doesn’t Happen Anymore!

Soap Opera Location Shoots Soap Opera Location Shoots

On Days Of Our Lives (DOOL), some very sexy (and often shirtless) castaways have washed up on a deserted island. That looks like a plastic sandbox.

Meanwhile, the pretty people of Genoa City briefly forsook their hometown for the starry streets of Los Angeles. Which means the cast of The Young and the Restless more or less stepped outside their studio doors.

But, oh, soaps weren’t always that way!

The Way We Were
Once upon a time, when General Hospital’s Luke (Anthony Geary) and Robert (Tristan Rogers) needed to sneak aboard The Ice Princess (it belonged to the Cassadines then), they had to go hand over hand along a real rope, which was tied to a real boat from a real dock.

Now, Port Charles’ docks are three wooden walls, a stage-hand with a mirror to reflect the light, and the sound of a splash.

When Bo (Peter Reckell) rode his motorcycle into Hope’s (Kristian Alfonso) wedding – the first time – on DAYS, we saw roads, trees, a church, and then a dramatic getaway.

The second time, there were bushes. And a gate. We saw Bo and Steve (Stephen Nichols) coast out of a garage. That was… something.

History Lesson
Due to a combination of advances in technology and bigger budgets, soaps began regularly venturing out of the studio in the late 1970s. Ryan’s Hope went to Ireland in 1978, and All My Children headed for St. Croix a few months later.

Guiding Light staged a spectacular death in the Dominican Republic in 1979, and Search for Tomorrow hit Hong Kong in 1981. A decade later, Santa Barbara became the first American soap allowed to shot in Moscow, even as the Soviet Union collapsed.

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And Here We Are Today
Now, the only soap that really commits to location shoots is The Bold and the Beautiful. They go to the (real) beach, they go to Italy, to Amsterdam, and, most recently, to Australia.

Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) and Liam (Scott Clifton) pledged their troth – for the umpteenth time – Down Under, and Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) caught Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) and Quinn (Rena Sofer) kissing there.

But here’s the big question: Do you care where your soaps take place, or do you only care about how compelling the plots are?

When we talk about soaps going on location in the “good old days,” were those days good because they were prettier, or because the stories they told were better?

Tell us your thoughts!

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