Right, I’ve been dubbing the same soap opera for about 15 years. It’s called Guiding Light, in Italian, SENTIERI. I think it’s high time I paid respect to the only source of regular income I’ve ever had.
I haven’t always dubbed the same character in the soap. My first “taster”, back in the early 90s was Lacey. I can’t remember her surname but she did gymnastics and I think was somehow related to the Coopers… A cousin perhaps? She didn’t last long.
Then along came Samantha Marler.
Sam I remember very well, and not only because she was the split image of Ugly Betty (without braces). I feel bad saying it because I’ve seen recent photos of the actress who used to play her, Suzy Cote, and she’s so pretty now! But back then the GL stylists really must have conjured up to make her look like a total nerd, awkward, clumsy, always wearing pink ribbons and huge glasses… Poor thing! I loved her, the way you love a slightly retarded friend. Samantha was lawyer Ross Marler’s niece – I’m prepared on this – and also the daughter of Justin Marler, who is actually Phillip Spaulding’s REAL father. Ahaaaah… Phillip Spaulding is the (adopted? fake?) son of Alan Spaulding, the richest man in Springfield (which is where the story takes place). But we’ll come back to the Spauldings later.
Samantha at first fancies Frank – lost cause – but eventually falls in love with Dylan, a sort of Bon Jovi “dei poveri” without the sex appeal. Sam’s family is against Dylan, who’s already got Harley Cooper pregnant and who is poor, ignorant and unemployed (even though he’s later discovered to be Reva’s son, one of thousands. When a young guy in Springfield is an orphan, sooner or later it’ll appear he’s Reva’s child, she’s forgetful like that).
Anyway, Dylan takes Sam’s virginity and runs away with her – who in the meantime has been restyled and de-glassified – in a car. Pity they have an accident and Sam is left paralyzed. And this – please forgive me – is when the funny bit began because Sam had the most ridiculous wheelchair EVER. Basically it wasn’t a wheelchair. Sam was strapped on a wheeled platform, STANDING, and would move everywhere, quite fast, commanding this thing with a sort of joystick. Hilarious. The sound engineers in the recording studios used to call her ROBOCOP. The gruesomest thing of all was when Dylan tried to make love to her while she was paralyzed in bed. Yuk!
Sam wasn’t a very popular character on the show. At some point she started walking again (miracle!) and fell in love with her doctor, Daniel St John, who of course couldn’t care less about her because was in love with Holly. Now, no man in his right mind back in 1992 would EVER consider leaving Holly for Sam, as Holly was the sexiest, funniest and most intelligent character ever appeared in the soap (why is she not there anymore? BRING HOLLY BACK!!!).Maureen Garrett, who played her for over 20 years, is the best actress that’s ever appeared on American daytime TV, an incredibly intelligent woman and even if she must be approaching 60, I could consider becoming a lesbian to be with her (which apparently she’d appreciate as she’s said to be gay. Maureen, call me, my luck with men has run out ages ‘ago).
After a few months poor Sam disappeared without warning, she went to college, they said, without even saying goodbye, and since then NOBODY has EVER mentioned her Name.
Then it was Lucy’s time. Lucy was fun! Pretty, cool, loud…
She was a Cooper, and a total nutter, and how could it be otherwise when your dad is called “Buzz” and your sister HARLEY DAVIDSON? The Coopers are Greek and run a diner, called “Company”. The moment she arrives in Springfield she’s into trouble, so I truly enjoyed dubbing her, this until she met Alan Michael Spaulding (REAL son of Alan). The problem with Alan Michael wasn’t just that all romances in soaps are a bit… well… soapy… But that I started a sort of romance myself with the actor who dubbed him, which was a HUGE mistake because he was a NIGHTMARE. And can you imagine dubbing bed scenes moaning next to somebody you’ve planned to dump? No good. At some point Lucy meets a stalker. He rapes her and gives her HIV. Terrible stuff. But then, instead of running away, the perv starts dressing up as a woman – looking basically like Tootsie – and is hired by Lucy’s father in law as his receptionist… How come nobody noticed he was a tranvestite, God only knows. I think he eventually dies.
The scene of the rape was horrible, the first time I dubbed it I got really emotional and produced a very effective scream, but the director stopped me: “too short” she yelled through the interphone, “you’ve left her with her mouth open and no sound coming out, do it again.” I had to do it five times and by the fifth time not only I had lost my larynx but I couldnt care less about Lucy being raped, I just wanted to break for lunch.
Lucy and Alan Michael got married and left town. For Europe, which is the GL code for “nevercomeback land”.
I thought my life in GL was over when I was asked if I could still dub children. You must know that I began my career dubbing only characters not older than 8 years. It took me a while to be considered for voices old enough to buy a drink. Anyway, it turned out there was this little girl to dub, about 7 or 8, not a big character, Phillip Spaulding’s daughter…
My dear Lizzie, I love you. Yes, Lizzie Spaulding saved my (financial) life. I’ve been her Italian voice for 10 years now. When she arrived she was played by Hadyen Panettiere (now starring in Heros), who was so weird people in the studio called her “the dwarf”.
Basically, imagine her the way she is today =>
Now cut off her head and place it on the body of a 7 years old. That was little Lizzie: a totally grown up woman with a child’s body. And not only because her face and hair were always made up and styled. The way she spoke and acted weren’t child-like. She was so good she was spooky. Her being so talented was a blessing, because the writers gave her an enourmous part.
But lets talk about Lizzie’s story: She was born in Arizona, the daughter of Phillip Spaulding and his long time sweet heart Beth. The Spauldings are notorious for only caring about money and having such low moral standards the Borgias in comparison were boyscouts.
Aged 4, Lizzie’s parents get divorced, ok, it happens. Aged 5, she kills her mother’s lover, Karl. Nice. When she moves back to Springfield she gets leukemia. She is undoubtly a lucky girl. She almost dies but then doesn’t. Her parents go back together, then split up again. Then get back together then split up again, producing in the process several other kids whose name I cant remember, but I think there’s a James somwhere. There’s also another complicated storyline involving two princes, Edgar and Edmund (wasn’t that King Lear???) and a weird country you’ll never find on a map, called Saint Cristobal. At some point Lizzie’s mother, Beth, disappears, has amneasia, and becomes a prostitute named Lorelei, as one does. Lorelei writes a diary – intellectual prostitute, ha – that gets promptly published and circulated as soon as Beth regains her personality. And I thought MY family was weird…
Lizzie gets sent to college, disappears for a few months, comes back aged 16, played by Crystal Hunt, who’s my favourite Lizzie. At first I thought she was too chubby and Barbie-like, but she grew on me. And I’m so sorry she’s going to leave soon and being replaced by a new Lizzie… You get so attached to the actors you dub, it’s sad when they go. You identify with them, they become a part fo you. Luckily I’m too young to dub Maureen Garrett because I could have had a lesbian romance with myself and it woud have been weird (in fact, wouldn’t that be masturbation?)
This is Lizzie/Crystal by the way. Ciao!!!
Back to the story… Lizzie’s father and her grandfather have been sleeping with the same woman, Olivia, who’s now pregnant. Lizzie doesn’t appreciate that. She sets her school on fire. I mean, you can’t deny she has got some good reasons to be pissed off but doing drugs would have been less dangerous.
Once back at the Spaulding’s mansion, Lizzie tries to kill Olivia pushing her down a staircase, fails, tries to kidnap Olivia’s baby, fails, tries to sabotage her best friend’s school play, fails, tries to steal her best friend’s boyfriend Joy Lupo (THE UGLIEST actor on daytime TV), fails, tries to “rape” Joy Lupo by drugging him, fails, tries to run her best friend over with a car, fails…
Poor Lizzie, let her at least commit ONE succesful crime!
Of course all this doesn’t make Lizzie very popular in town, so she’s sad because she’s so rich and lonely and everybody hates her. She sees a therapist. When she’s about to recover a bit, her father, Phillip, is sectioned in a psychiatric ward because he’s crazy. Really? The whole family is not really “there” if you ask me, they could have offered them an “en suite” at the clinic. As soon as Phillip’s released, he gets killed.
Lizzie is desperate.
Phillip had been involved in a long legal nasty fight with the Coopers, and had managed to expropriate their diner. Lizzie, looking for sympathy, decides to appoint herself owner and manager of the diner, fires the Coopers and paints the place pink. She’s crazy like a horse. But we love bitches, especially screwed up bitches with a heart. Because Lizzie does have a heart, not only she loves her dead daddy but she’s also in love with Coop, one of the Coopers (great fantasy with the names here!)
Coop is CUTE and FIT, I just want Lizzie to get laid but she doesn’t, silly cow. As I don’t seem very succesful in finding a British man I should probably go to NY and check Coop out, even though I suspect he’s 10 years younger than me. Hold on, didn’t Coop have a British accent at some point, being Jenna’s son? (Jenna was English). Oh well, if Coop is British I’ll call Maureen Garrett.
Anyway, that’s where we are with the story in Italy. In the US Lizzie has already forgotten Coop and got pregnant with Jonathan, who is a Lewis, a family that had never got anything to do with me, so I’m a bit shocked. The good news is, in the US they’re 2 years ahead of us, so I’m going to have at the very least two more years of Lizzie.
My mortgage officially thanks Procter and Gamble and all the Guiding Light Production Team and Writers. Thanks.
And now, if music is the food of love, play on… But the ITALIAN way…