And it would be 20 years before the shirts dropped and soap hunks were regularly put on display.
And they always made you feel guilty for wasting your time with opening shots that pointed out how little time we have on Earth:
"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."
Better get busy with something useful.
But in 1968 when my friends and I gathered at 3:00 every afternoon to watch Dark Shadows, we sometimes stayed put for the new soap opera One Life to Live.
How did this incessant, absurdly exaggerated search for heterosexist "true love" fade-out-kiss resonate with gay kids?
1. Every heterosexual relationship played out against a background of same-sex relationships. Larry and Vinnie discuss their desires for Meredith and Nikki, respectively. Vinnie and Joe discuss their desires for Nikki and Vicki, respectively.
2. Heterosexual relationships are doomed. In a week, or a month, or a couple of years, your "true love" will die or fall in love with someone else. But same-sex bonds are permanent.
We stopped watching in 1971, when Dark Shadows ended. But my mother remained a fan until the series ended in 2012, through 30 years of diseases, infidelities, and fade-out-kisses, and, eventually, when Dan Gauthier joined the cast, gay subtexts.