We don’t normally post submitted contest entries, but this one from Bill M., the winner of our SOAPS contest, certainly merits it.
He describes the mysterious disappearance of the All My Children teenage character Bobby Martin (played by Michael Bersell), who went up to the attic and never came out: a plotline that dates all the way back to 1970.
Remember, the contest question was “What is the worst act of treachery that has ever occurred on either One Life to Live or All My Children? Be convincing.”
Read Bill’s full, multi-faceted response after the jump.
The worst act of soap opera treachery occurred on All My Children. In 1970, just as Pine Valley was establishing its place on the map, Bobby Martin (portrayed by actor Michael Bersell) was sent upstairs to the attic to ‘get his skis’. While Joe & Ruth Martin continued to live comfortably in their home for many years until a deadly tornado demolished their home; Bobby was never seen again. Although there is no evidence that Joe & Ruth were complicit in Bobby’s disappearance, it is notable that neither of these caring and emotive individuals ever expressed concern that their son had disappeared.
Many years later, Opal Gardner was locked in the attic and discovered a pair of skis next to a skeleton wearing a ski cap with the name ‘Bobby’ on it.
This is a shocking example of double treachery. Within the context of the characters, two of the most beloved characters seem to have no concern that their son had disappeared. No photo on milk cartons in the 1980s, no help from John Walsh on America’s Most Wanted, no AMBER Alert in the late 1990s, nothing. Not even a storyline reference to Joe & Ruth’s selective amnesia. The second – and arguably greater – treachery comes from the decision of Agnes Nixon to callously write out 12-year-old actor Michael Bersell with no explanation.
Every other example of soap opera treachery has lengthy exploration of the topic and discussion of motivations of the suspects. This satisfies the needs of soap opera fans to understand the ‘dark side’ of their favorite characters. Ms. Nixon did not allow that exploration regarding the disappearance of Bobby Martin. A young lad cheerfully looking forward to a ski trip and then vanished from the face of the earth. This cruel plotline left fans of AMC to light candles in churches for years to come with no hope of resolution of the mystery. As each new mysterious man came to Pine Valley, I hoped it was a grown-up Bobby come to seek revenge upon his parents. I considered suing the producers of AMC for false advertising – the show was not All My Children but ALMOST All My Children. Perhaps Bobby may yet return to the Prospect Park reboot of All My Children.
Thanks Bill! It’s still uncertain what happened to Bobby, but actor Michael Bersell had a surprising career change that took him to the Culinary Olympics!