Veteran fans of The Young and the Restless are in for a real treat today. CBS is airing not only the first episode of the show, which debuted on March 26, 1973, but the second episode, too! The premiere introduces the character of Brad Eliot and also members of the Brooks family, including Leslie, played by original cast member Janice Lynde.
Soap Hub spoke to Janice Lynde about YR’s premiere, the show’s early days, and her thoughts on her nephew, Theo (Tyler Johnson).
Soap Hub: Do you recall if you’re in the second episode of YR as well as the first?
Janice Lynde: I’m not sure if I’m in the second one, but I’m so happy these are being shown. I recall the first episode. I’d gotten to Los Angeles on a Sunday night [back in 1973] and then taping five episodes on Monday. John Conboy, the producer, came to New York to get me. [Broadway director] Bob Fosse, whom I was working with, didn’t want me to do it, I remember.
In the first episode, you play piano and sing The Look of Love?
Yes. A few bars.
That song must have been a favorite of Bill Bell’s (YR’s creator/head writer/sr. executive producer) as it was one of Doug (Bill Hayes) and Julie’s (Susan Seaforth Hayes) love themes on Days of our Lives, which he’d also written.
I did not know that! Bill’s writing was so smart and character-driven. He wrote the most beautiful sensory monologue for me after Leslie’s first big concert. I talk about the “cacophony of applause washing over me,” such eloquent words for a young artist to say. Bill and Kay [Alden, co-head writer] were the wind beneath our wings.
Music And The Young and the Restless
Can you talk about the role music played on YR?
Bill had written that Leslie was a concert pianist. They wanted someone who could be plain and nerdy in the beginning and grow into a glamorous concert pianist. I hadn’t played [piano] in years until the day I played on YR. One of the things that made YR such a hit was that the music was elevated. It was so beautiful and classy. Each character had his or her own theme. It changed the face of daytime.
For a long time, I played a concert a week. It was such an exciting time. Looking back, I’m sorry I left the show as early as I did. Jeanne [Cooper, Katherine] begged me to stay. At the time, it seemed like I was there a long time.
Since that last time you and Jaime Lyn Bauer (Lorie) were on the show in 2018, the writers have created the character of Theo (Tyler Johnson), who is the grandson of Stuart Brooks (Bob Colbert) and Dina Mergeron (Marla Adams).
It was so much fun being back. I have seen [Tyler]. He’s adorable! Marla [Adams, Dina, Theo’s grandmother] and I have become friends. I’d had a fire [in my home] a while back and she said, ‘You can live with me.’ She was so kind to offer.
Would you be open for a visit to Genoa City for Leslie to meet Theo?
Absolutely! That would be great fun!
What are your memories of Lee Phillip Bell, The Young and the Restless co-creator who passed away earlier this year?
She was gracious and giving. I didn’t know her when I was one the show. She and Bill were living in Chicago. I had run into her in Los Angeles years later at a memorial for [CBS television executive] Bud Grant [in 2011] and we became ‘gal pals.’ I got to know her in a way I’d never would have guessed. She was profound and funny and would ask such great questions. I deeply love her.
The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes.