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Joe and Siobhan:

Will Tragedy Lead the Bride
to Her Brother-In-Law's Bed?
Afternoon TV Magazine, May 1980
by John Genovese
Article Provided By Sabrina

           The love saga of Siobhan Ryan and Joe Novotny is a classic soap opera case of blind, stubborn determination to find happiness against all odds…and despite dangerous warning signs!
           When spunky, vivacious Siobhan returned to her parents’ home after an absence of several years, she turned the occasion into a real production.  She had  only recently been bailed out of jail for rioting, she had a bum leg, and she brought with her a huge Irish wolfhound named Finn McCool.
           Johnny Ryan was all too delighted when his youngest daughter returned to the fold, and he was twice as ecstatic when he learned that Siobhan’s four-legged Irish companion was a special gift for him.  When Johnny wasn’t fawning over the dog, he and Siobhan shared jokes and stories by the hour, in order to make up for  lost time.  It was obvious that Siobhan was Johnny’s favorite child.
           But while Siobhan was welcomed openly by her “da,” as well as her two elder brothers, Frank and Patrick, the Ryan women were somewhat less than  thrilled with their reunion with this prodigal fireball.  Maeve, Siobhan’s mother, had never approved of Siobhan’s free-wheeling lifestyle which seemed to always get  her in trouble.  Maeve was also furious with Siobhan for bringing a “monstrosity” of a dog to the Ryans’ New York apartment.  Maeve and Siobhan had never gotten along as well as Maeve and Mary, the older Ryan daughter.  Maeve tried to explain that she loved Siobhan as much as her other children, but Siobhan was aware that the “edge” that had always colored her relationship with her mother was still there.  And Mary had always resented Siobhan for being Johnny’s “pet” and for  getting away with more mischievous deeds than did Siobhan’s older siblings.  When Siobhan reestablished friendly ties with Delia, the destructive scatterbrain who  had had disastrous marriages with both Frank and Patrick, the battle lines in the Ryan household were clearly drawn.
           Siobhan would have packed up and left had it not been for Jack Fenelli, Mary’s husband.  Jack, a down-to-earth reporter, sought out Siobhan’s platonic  friendship, while Mary was so busy working at a television station that Jack and his daughter Ryan were feeling lonely and neglected.  Jack saw the gentler side of  fiery Siobhan, and he advised her on her relationships with the Ryan family because he had once been on the “outs” with the clan himself when he first dated Mary.
           When Siobhan’s former boyfriend, Wes Leonard, reentered Siobhan’s life and proposed marriage, it was Jack who made Siobhan realize that Wes wasn’t  the man she was destined to spend the rest of her life with.  During this time, Jack and Siobhan became so close that they admitted they felt a “special,” strong  attraction for each other.  Jack loved Siobhan’s warmth and openness—qualities he had known in Mary before their turbulent marriage.  And Siobhan was struck by Jack’s sensitivity—something he revealed to very few others.  And yet, both were mature and sensible enough to realize that what they felt emotionally toward each  other could not be consummated physically.
           Jack still loved Mary, despite her stubbornness and obsession for a career.  He knew that his place was with Mary and Ryan.  And Siobhan, desperately  trying to rebuild a relationship with her sister, chose not to rock the boat.  She and Mary did come to a brief parting when Siobhan involved Jack in a slumlord  investigation and almost got him killed.  But once a relative state of normalcy returned, Siobhan finally began telling herself that any possibility of a life with Jack would  be a mere dream.
           Enter Joe Novak, Jack’s buddy of some fifteen years, a dark and brooding man whose fishing business was rumored to be controlled by his close uncle, notorious gangster and Brooklyn restauranteur Tiso Novotny.  Jack truly believed in Joe’s total innocence of gangland involvement, and he wrote a series of  newspaper articles to this effect.  Unfortunately, Mary did not share Jack’s opinion of Joe.  She found him to be abrasive, flirtatious, and potential racket “material.” As might be expected, Siobhan was instrumental in making more sparks fly when Jack fixed her up with Joe.
           Siobhan and Joe were unsure of one another at first, but they gradually came to enjoy each other’s company—immensely.  The beautiful climax (in more ways than one!) came when Joe took Siobhan on a romantic ride on his fishing boat, and announced in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that this was to be a  three-day jaunt!  Siobhan did not know what to make of his boldness, but nonetheless she let herself fall.  The two were in love.
           Upon Siobhan’s delayed return, the Ryan family enemy camps were slightly reorganized.  Maeve had become much closer to Siobhan in recent months and  was genuinely happy with her daughter’s new relationship.  But Johnny reverted to his over-protective self and berated Jack for getting his baby daughter involved with a possible criminal.  Joe, feeling very guilty for estranging Siobhan from her family, suddenly broke off the romance. He told her that he was not as interested as she believed and that they should end it rather than risk her being hurt.  Siobhan was destroyed that this man who had just a week ago professed his love, could  suddenly turn so callous.  Luckily, they worked out their problems more honestly in time, and they took another trip, this time to a lovely beach.
           The romantic aura was suddenly shattered when Siobhan was pursued by a shark while swimming alone in deep waters.  Like a true hero, Joe spotted the  scene just in time and rushed in with a motorboat to save her life.  Wet and shaking with fright, Siobhan clung to this strong man as she had never clung to anyone in  her life.  And Joe felt the sense of worth and belonging he had lacked for so long.  With the real-life “Jaws” scene a mere memory, Siobhan and Joe became engaged  after he hired an airplane to fly a sign with his proposal written on it for all the world to see.
           Soon after, Johnny Ryan was puzzled when two men the size of King Kongs entered his bar and proceeded to case the joint.  They were followed by an  elderly, smiling man who had a drink at the bar and struck up a conversation with Johnny about his family.  Delia happened to be nearby and recognized this jovial gent as Joe’s infamous uncle, Tiso Novotny.  Johnny realized that this was the characteristic fashion for a gang boss to “check out” a family that might marry into  Tiso’s family.  Johnny had several violent arguments with Siobhan, which only worsened his mild heart condition.
           Mindful of Johnny’s distrust of him, Tiso threw a lavish party at his Brooklyn restaurant to celebrate Siobhan and Jack’s (sic—this should have read “Joe”)  engagement. Tisa (sic) used this occasion as a vehicle to try and reassure the Ryans (particularly Johnny) that he was no longer in the rackets and that Joe never was  involved in any way with crime.  The party only reinforced Johnny’s fears, once he caught sight of the guns protruding from the pockets of the waiters, and he stormed out.
           Tiso explained to the other Ryans that the waiters were mere bodyguards which he needed for his own protection against former rivals.  But by then it was  too late.  None of the Ryans could fully accept Joe as the next member of their family, without suspicions lingering in their minds.  Siobhan was crushed that none of  her nearest and dearest seemed jubilant about her approaching wedding.  Maeve had been flattered by Tiso’s gentlemanly ways, but she couldn’t erase her doubts.  Frank suggested to Siobhan that it might be best not to rush into marriage.  Johnny, of course, was vehemently opposed to the union.  And the strongest blow came when Jack, the person whose opinion Siobhan most valued in the world, admitted that he, too, had fears about this marriage.
           After Johnny appealed to Siobhan one last time to break away from Joe, Siobhan made a tearful break from her beloved father by going against his wishes and moving in with the man who was about to become her husband.  Johnny and the other Ryans realized that there was no way they could convince Siobhan to change her mind.  So, in order to maintain peace within the family, everyone, including a reluctant Johnny, gave their blessings, as well as best wishes that everything would work out for Siobhan and her new husband.  Siobhan thought everything would be uphill from now on.
           But something else was happening which would affect Siobhan’s future.  Mary had never stopped investigating Joe’s possible mob connections.  On the same  day that Siobhan was tying the knot with Joe, Mary got a tip and searched a fishing warehouse where Tiso’s associates were stuffing fish bellies with packets of  drugs!  The smugglers discovered Mary and hushed her up…permanently!  They made it look like a car accident.
           But while Mary was being bumped off, no one even suspected that she was in danger.  Jack and the Ryans were attending Siobhan’s wedding which was almost postponed because of Mary’s mysterious absence.  Jack and Siobhan had confessed to Mary only days earlier that they had once come awfully close to falling into each other’s arms.  They had assured Mary that nothing ever came of their tentative desires, because Jack loved only Mary and because Siobhan had soon  thereafter met Joe.  When Mary didn’t appear at the nuptials, Jack and Siobhan assumed that Mary was “teed off,” and the wedding took place as planned…minus Mary.  Later, Jack became suspicious of the circumstances of his beloved’s death, and he resumed the investigation that had cost Mary her life.
           Siobhan and Joe’s honeymoon was interrupted by the news of Mary’s death.  And suddenly the blissful dream began to resemble a horrible nightmare.
           For all intents and purposes, Siobhan and Joe would seem to be a perfectly beautiful couple.  Both are strong-willed. Both have sparkle and personality in abundance.  Both have more love to give each other than they’ve ever allowed anyone else to touch.  But now, so many nagging questions keep presenting  themselves:  Is Joe really as disconnected from organized crime as he claims?  Is his Uncle Tiso a harmless has-been or a dangerous liar?  Was Tiso involved in the  drug operation or were his underlings working without his knowledge?  Will Johnny suffer a more severe heart attack over his anxiety concerning Siobhan?  Will  Siobhan and Joe be in danger from the syndicate?  Does Siobhan really know the man she married? (Remember, even he once remarked, “there are so many things you don’t know about me, Siobhan(“)).  Will the newlywed realize that her marriage was perhaps too hasty (after all, she only knew Joe for several months)?  Will Siobhan wake up one day and shake with fear that the man she married is a total stranger?  And, most importantly, will the bride run to her brother-in-law (and his  bed!) should she discover that Joe was even remotely involved in the death of her sister?  And will Jack whisk up Siobhan in his arms, to take her away from the danger of living with a potential gangster?
           Time and events will tell.  But one thing is certain:  Siobhan and Joe Novak are in for it…but good!

Magazine Cover


Siobhan and Joe strike up a
happy pose here, but their
future may end up anything
but happy for the smiling duo.


Siobhan and Jack worried about Mary's
non-appearance the day of the wedding
but Mary's death was indeed a shock.


Johnny warned daughter Siobhan that
her marriage could be a mistake, right
down to the time of the actual ceremony.


Joe is obviously the apple of his Uncle
Tiso's eye, but is Joe also involved in
Tiso's mob connected background?


Bridesmaids, Jill and Faith, discussed
Siobhan's impending marriage with her
brother Frank who checked into Tiso's past.

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