Ever since I began writing this column, parents have always asked me, "How can I get my child on a soap?" The answer was and still is "You don't" — for so many reasons. Acting is a job. Kids should be playing or going to school. Directors are on a time and budget schedule. They cannot let kids goof off on set. Kids cannot separate fact from fiction. When a young character must deal with the death of a character, it often takes an emotional and physical toll on the kid. Crying on cue. Take after take of eating oranges.
Judith Barcroft (Anne, "All My Children") thought it would be great to have her own infant son play her infant daughter. What could be better than being able to watch your child all day and work? She discovered, almost anything. If her child became fussy during a dramatic scene, the other actors in said scene would give her eyerolls and the "get rid of this kid" stare. There was a scene with eating oranges. By the end of the day, the poor kid had eaten about a dozen. At home, the issues created by ingesting that many oranges were very unpleasant and lasted into the night. That was it for Mom.
I have lots of actor friends. Believe it when I tell you actors can be a challenging bunch. They are into themselves. For the most part, they have no desire to play catch with a kid actor in between acts. There are some exceptions, but even at the end of the acting day, it can get to be more than they can take. Example: Steve Burton is the most kiddy- — heck, people-friendly — person on the "General Hospital" set. Years ago, the child actor playing Michael kept pulling his hair, crying, giggling, doing anything to make it necessary to do another take. Finally, Burton cried out, "After the show, I am getting a vasectomy!" Thankfully he did not; he and his wife, Sheree, have three kids.
Also, kid actors get fired. Being fired is tough enough on a 30-year-old. Imagine what it does to a 5-year-old. No need to imagine. T.K. Weaver who plays the adorable Danny on "General Hospital," last week was replaced. The show asked him to keep quiet for two weeks for plotline purposes and the surprise element. The afternoon his replacement, Porter Fussilo, took over, Weaver took to social media. He stated he had been recast. He was heartbroken. He praised the way his two on-screen dads (Jason and Drew) and mom (Sam) comforted him. They called him everything from a rock star to an amazing actor. Each reached out and offered how much they will miss him and told him to remember it was not his fault. T.K. and the adults all asked "General Hospital" fans to give the new kid on the block a chance and not post nasty comments on the replacement. Hopefully, the adults will grant that wish.
When Darryl Hickman was a baby, he and his brother would play the child versions of famous people, e.g., George Gershwin, Al Capone, etc. He did not recall it a fun time. When he asked his mother why this happened, she proclaimed, "You begged me to!" He told her he started acting at 3 months, long before he could beg for anything but milk. Even if he did, would a parent give in to their kid's pleas to let him drive a car?
To find out more about Lynda Hirsch and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: Victoria_Borodinova at Pixabay