Bruce Campbell: Confessions of a Detroit soap opera star


Recently, Bruce Campbell has been taking his fans on a journey through his past via Twitter. Next stop, 1982 and his turn on the Detroit soap opera, Generations.

“God, please don’t let him come back.” – Beth DeWitt


Bruce Campbell continues his trip down memory lane with another Twitter post from his past. This time, we revisit his stint on a local soap opera in Detroit. Fans of the actor remember from his book “If Chins Could Kill” that he was in Generations.

This also happens to be the same program that Peter Stormare is watching in Fargo. According to Bruce, “It wasn’t exactly Harold Pinter, but they were paying thirty five bucks a scene – thirty five more than I had ever made before.”

In this series, he plays a teacher named Alan Stuart. Intrigued and wanting to know more about it, I did some research. This led me to an article by Mike Duffy in the Detroit Free Press dated Aug. 24, 1982. Generations aired on Channel 20 (WXON).

The setting for this melodrama was in the fake affluent suburb of Arbor Hills. Originally, Aben Johnson, the president and owner of the station planned to air the show every Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. It was supposed to run for thirteen weeks.

Visit Arbor Hills

Of course, like every other soap of the time, there was always a character whose motives were shady and unscrupulous. In the case of Generations, that role fell to actor Steve Pew, who played Taylor DeWitt. Taylor had a brother, Peter (Joe Baunoch), who was a respected physician and pillar of society to boot.

His wife, Beth (Lizabeth Brooks), on the other hand, was a closet alcoholic. To make matters worse, not only did Peter have to deal with his sketchy sibling, he also had a daughter Katy (Nancy Herta) who apparently was the cliché of the rebellious teenager.

Mr. Duffy’s assessment of the show was that it was filled with your typical shenanigans like sexy scenes, multiple deaths and questionable phone calls. The stuff ripe for parody. However, he did give kudos to the director, Laurie Johnson. He also believed the series could become a cult favorite.

Introducing Alan Stuart

More from Bruce Campbell

The particular clip Bruce shared was filled with what he calls “smoldering intensity.” In the scene, Alan is pounding booze in a bar when Beth enters the picture. She sits down next to him, orders a drink and the awkward encounter begins.

I don’t know what the particular storyline for Campbell was but judging by the exchange between the two actors, it seems they had an affair and got caught. Then Beth starts putting the cougar moves on Alan by telling him, “I need it tonight.”

When he starts protesting, she tells him, “Don’t start. I’m not in the mood.” Then again, maybe they are talking about her drinking. In any case, this is a hidden gem and a great share from Campbell. For those fans who can only see him as Ash Williams, it’s an eye opener.

Keep these clips coming, Bruce.

Did you know Bruce was featured in a soap opera? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.

Next: Bruce Campbell travels back in time to the 80s… again!

Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge as well as Instagram @convirgin. She is also featured on Friday Night Tights, the ultimate pop culture wrap up show at Nerdrotic Podcast every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. You can catch her weekly coverage on IFC’s Brockmire at TV Series Hub.