Over the weekend, news that legendary soap scribe Sam Hall had passed away at the age of 93 on Friday September 26th, began to circulate in a very quiet way via his son Matthew’s personal blog!
Hall was responsible at coming in to ABC’s Dark Shadows at a critical juncture in 1967 and giving the Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) storyline a much needed lift where many say he saved the show at that point from cancellation!
Hall was married to actress Grayson Hall, who eventually would find her way to Dark Shadows as s Dr. Julia Hoffman, an eccentric blood specialist who would discover that Barnabas was a vampire! Grayson died in 1985 at the age of 62. Sam was with Dark Shadows until 1971. “I’ll never escape Dark Shadows,” he said in a June 2005 interview. “Never, never!”
Later, Hall joined former Dark Shadows scribe Gordon Russell over at One Life to Live in 1978 and remained a head writer there until 1984. Gordon and Sam wrote one of One Life to Live’s most memorable story; Viki Lord’s (Erika Slezak) 1979 trial for the murder of Marco Dane (Gerald Anthony). During the trial, housewife Karen Wolek (played by Judith Light) revealed, in a heartbreaking emotional meltdown, that she was working for Marco as a prostitute. The episode earned Sam and Gordon a Daytime Emmy nomination, and Judith Light won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress. The duo also created the Buchanan family which remained prominent for decades after Hall left One Life to Live.
In January 2014, Sam Hall filed a lawsuit against ABC in New York state court claiming he had not been paid the weekly royalties he was owed for the showing of Prospect Park’s online reboot of One Life to Live via iTunes, Hulu and other services. According to the complaint, ABC made a deal in 1984 with Wildercliff, Ltd. for Hall’s writing services. The agreement was said to have entitled Hall to a weekly royalty “as long as the One Life to Live series is broadcast.”
Hall went on to also write for General Hospital, Santa Barbara and even started his career in the soaps with The Brighter Day!
So share your thoughts on the passing of Sam Hall below …. and on his contributions to One Life to Live and Dark Shadows!