One Hundred Greatest Moments
Soap Opera Weekly, September 30, 1997
Article Provided By Carol

10. The Final Episode of Ryan's Hope

Virtually all of the main characters, and the unique spirit that was RH's trademark throughout its 14 years on the air, were in full, glorious presence in the show's finale. The episode began fittingly, as did the premiere, with Kate Mulgrew's Mary Ryan Fenelli, now a spirit, who returned to give her blessing to her husband, Jack, before his marriage to Leigh Kirkland. Later, Maeve Ryan did likewise; her words of love and view to the future took on added significance because they applied as much to the real-life passage for many who had been part of RH for years. By the end of the episode, virtually every character had staked a claim to a future of - appropriately - hope. And, as it had to be, with all gathered 'round the bar where they had loved and laughed and cried, the show's closing moments were of Maeve, sitting on the bar, singing Danny Boy. "I was so emotional that I couldn't sing," Helen Gallagher (Maeve) recalls. "I got so choked up that I made the cast sing with me, because it wasn't coming out. Then I ad-libbed, 'Have a good life.' That was the legitimate end of it."

12. The first episode of Ryan's Hope

The spunk, charm and individuality of this remarkable soap was apparent from the first moments of the premiere episode July 7, 1975. The camera tracked the path of Mary Ryan as she strode up Columbus Avenue on Manhattan's Upper West Side and entered the bar that was home, hearth and meeting place for the Ryans and their extended family, which throughout the years included the ethnic mix of New York. The opening moments of the first episode were noteworthy for two main reasons: RH was the first soap set in a real city, and the camera had to just go outside the studio door to show it; and the strong and enchanting Kate Mulgrew made an instant impression as a star.

28. Mary is murdered by the mob

Investigative reporter Mary Ryan Fenelli discovered Joe Novak and his uncle, Tiso Novotny, were involved in the mob. Desperate to keep his dope-smuggling operation a secret, Tiso rigged Mary's car so it would crash. Mary died in her husband Jack's arms, and the Ryan family was devastated. Mary's death tragically ended one of Ryan's Hope's best-loved romances.

59. Johnny and Maeve split up

Ten years after Ryan's Hope's debut, the unthinkable happened: Johnny and Maeve Ryan, the series' patriarch and matriarch, separated. The long-married couple had a severe falling out when it was revealed that Dakota Smith, who had recently entered their lives, was Johnny's illegitimate son. Helen Gallagher (Maeve) recalls an episode during which Maeve and Johnny got into an awful row after Johnny stayed out all night. "At that time, in his private life, Bernie (the late Bernard Barrow, who played Johnny) was having trouble with his own son, and something clicked that was just beyond anything that was on the written page, and he was just astounding. I think that was the day the characters broke up." Maeve and Johnny eventually reconciled.

75. Mary and Jack visit Ireland

Jack and Mary

While most fans of Ryan's Hope tend to think of Mary Ryan and Jack Fenelli's fall trip to the Emerald Isle as their honeymoon, in fact it was their reunion after a brief separation (Their actual honeymoon was spent on a Mississippi riverboat). This also marked the first time a daytime drama went out of the country on location. As Kate Mulgrew (Mary) once told SOAP OPERA WEEKLY, "That trip really fit into who Mary Ryan was. She had a kind of delicious madness. My memories of that trip are of dancing and laughing and running all over the place. What I remember of that trip is wanting it never to end. I think that was probably the last of the truly, completely happy memories of my life."

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