Picks and Pans Review: Critic's Corner

updated 10/23/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/23/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT


EVERY SO OFTEN AN AFTERNOON SOAP will festoon one of its studly leading men with a dress, wig and makeup. Ordinarily it's a flitting transformation played for laughs, as when Mac Scorpio (John J. York) of ABC's General Hospital disguised himself as matronly Eve Bromley last month to expose a phony psychic. So convincing was York that a male castmate backstage needed several minutes to see through the rouge. As York recalls, "He said, 'God! I thought you were Paula Abdul.' "

Lately, CBS's Guiding Light has been featuring a more sinister cross-dresser. The dastardly and presumed-dead Brent has disguised himself as kindly Marian to exact revenge on Lucy (Sonya Satra). To prep, actor Frank Beaty enrolled in Miss Vera's Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls, an actual school for transvestites in New York City. Beaty also requires pads, a corset and (to hide his Adam's apple) a rubber neckpiece. Made up as Marian, Beaty is at ease—except in his scenes with Satra. "She is literally half my size," he sighs. "But what can you do? I'm just a big woman." Amen, brother.

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