‘One Life’ Transforms La Boulaie Into ‘Grey Gardens’

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‘One Life’ Transforms La Boulaie Into ‘Grey Gardens’

By Scotty Gore

Friday, July 17, 2009 2:48 PM ET | By Scotty Gore

(SoapOperaNetwork.com) — “One Life to Live” channels a pair of deceased reclusive New York socialites for an upcoming fantasy sequence involving two lovelorn characters.

Llanview aristocrats Dorian Lord and her niece Blair Cramer are two women who have recently found themselves in a place they never thought they would be — totally alone and utterly miserable. Further adding salt to the wound is that fact everyone else they encounter appears happy and serene.

Blair recently lost the ‘love of her life’ Todd Manning to his old flame Téa Delgado, while Dorian’s new love interest, Ray Montez, hightailed it back to his native Columbia after his psychotic daughter confessed to killing her own mother in cold blood.

Friday, July 31st, the two aging debutantes make an attempt to drown their sorrows by indulging themselves in fancy drinks of the alcoholic nature, and pricey massages and beauty treatments.

But by the following Monday, Blair’s mind begins to drift away to thoughts of what her life, as well as her Aunt Dorian’s, would be like if neither were to ever find love again. As she daydreams, she pictures the two of them in a scene straight out of the cult film “Grey Gardens,” becoming eccentric old women who have let the outside world pass them by.

For those who may not understand the reference, “Grey Gardens” was a 1975 Albert Maysles documentary starring Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (aunt of former First Lady Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis), and her daughter of the same name. The feature film depicted the everyday lives of the reclusive socialite mother/daughter duo as they lived in the dilapidated Grey Gardens mansion in an affluent neighorhood in East Hampton, New York.

For several decades, the two women lived alone in the old home, surviving on little money and in near total isolation. The elder Beale (referred to as “Big Edie”), was married to Phelan Beale, who purchased the home, built just before the turn of the century, in 1905. Following their divorce only a few years later, mother and daughter kept possession of the mansion, while Phelan moved to another part of town. For nearly fifty years, the duo would continue to call Grey Gardens home.

By the early 1970s however, the Beale’s faced eviction by the Suffolk County Health Department, which was aghast to learn that the house was infested with fleas, overrun with cats and raccoons, had no running water or indoor plumbing, become a dumping ground for garbage, and was nearing collapse. However, Big Edie’s nieces Jackie Onassis and her sister donated the necessary funds to help bring the home up to code. Around this time, Albert and David Maysles were granted special permission to interview the ladies and tell their story on camera.

Big Edie died 1977, and Little Edie finally sold the home two years later (she would survive until 2002). The home was purchased by Ben Bradlee, former editor of the Washington Post, and his wife Sally Quinn, who eventually had Grey Gardens completely restored to the mansion’s original grandeur.

Following the release of the original film, several other theater and film adaptations were released. Among them was the 2009 dramatization of the original 1975 film for HBO, and starred Brew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, and Daniel Baldwin.

For more information on “Grey Gardens,” click here.

As for “One Life to Live,” look for the fantasy sequence involving Kassie DePaiva and Robin Strasser as Blair Cramer and Dorian Lord to air on Monday, August 3rd. The scenes will not encompass the entire episode however, as other characters and storylines will also be featured.  To view larger versions of any of the pictures, click here.  

Photos: Heidi Gutman/ABC

“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

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