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UPDATED 03/05/1990 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/05/1990 at 01:00 AM EST

There they go again. When the bandages fly off Max on the ABC soap One Life to Live later this week, he'll be a carbon copy of daytime veteran Nicholas Walker. Funny, before that flaming car crash, Max looked distinctly like actor James DePaiva. It's the latest example of soap's most abused and ridiculous ruse: radical recasting via a disfiguring accident or plastic surgery. As our resident soap scholar Alan Carter points out, One Life helped initiate the practice two decades ago with a hospital fire that made it possible for Michael Storm to replace his brother James as Dr. Larry. Since then, just about everybody has used the device. Last year on General Hospital, Duke had plastic surgery and somehow lost his Scottish accent in the process. My all-time favorite occurred on Dynasty when Steven (Al Corley) got trapped in an oil-rig blaze overseas and came back (in the person of Jack Coleman) a head taller, 50 lbs. heavier and decidedly more interested in women. That must have been some fire.

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