As The World Turns: Love and Family in the Heart of America

newMy friend Ed Martin weighs in, too,  on the loss of As the World Turns in a new post immediately following this one.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

I broke into tears when I heard that As the World Turns was canceled yesterday. I’m sure many of you did, too.  ATWT has been a part of all our lives for so long.   ATWT logoI learned so much from it over the years about universal values of love and family.  Since its 1956 premiere, it has so reflected the true heart of all Americans.    

When I first started watching as a young teen in 1969,  I was growing up in Queens, where everyone in my neighborhood  was either Jewish or Italian (I was both!). My Italian immigrant grandparents, who loving fed me lasagna on holidays, knew little English.  My Jewish immigrant 

CBS President Les Moonves apparently doesn’t think TV is about the hearts and minds of Americans anymore.  Yesterday he had the gall to say that the day of daytime soap operas like ATWT is over. Well, to hell with you, Les Moonves.  Love, family and soaps will outlast you and your insults to those who have supported CBS for more than 60 years.  ATWT lives!

side all worked in a family movie theater chain and absolutely  lived for latest happenings in the entertainment world.   My own parents constantly yelled sotto voce over meals, whether  we were talking about Broadway or ball games — or me.   

To me, ATWT‘s Oakdale in 1969 may as well have been Mars.  It was a town full of nothing but WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants.)  The Hugheses usually had civilized meals and always conversed in moderate tones.  Father Chris Hughes wore a tie to breakfast and dinner!  (Not an undershirt or housedress!) Mother Nancy was an ever pontificating pain in the butt.  (I never liked her.)  Grandpa Hughes, strange and bald, would take little Tom down to his workshop (what? none of those in Queens) and lecture him on manners and life.  On national holidays, Grandpa raised the flag and talked about … America.  I don’t remember anyone ever doing this in Queens.

As the years went by, Oakdale and the show felt a lot more familiar.  I remember being shocked at first when teen Tom started buying drugs from a charismatic dealer (played by Gary Sandy, later of WKRP Cincinnati).  About two years later,  I was entering  college and Newsweek articles, and indeed the whole country,  were talking about drugs (I was a good girl.)  Then Tom was sent to Vietnam.  My male college classmates were in living fear of being drafted and sent.  Oh my God, I couldn’t believe this was being shown on a soap!

Of course, other things — magnificent personal drama — were happening in Oakdale circa 1969 back when I watched ATWT for the first time , and I was soon swept up and addicted beautiful Kim (Kathryn Hays) loved Dan, who was unfortunately married to snappy Susan (Marie Masters).  So Kim married a very bad guy, Dr. John Dixon, played a magnificent actor  (Larry Bryggman)  who stole the show every day.  No one suffered as beautifully as the magnificently beautiful Kim.  Meanwhile, a saucy divorced dame named Lisa (Eileen Fulton) spiced up Oakdale and also stole the show every day. Poor Dr. Bob Hughes, Lisa’s ever-noble ex!  He had to play Mr. Serious every single day.  (Only years later did I meet Don Hastings and find him the funniest guy in the soap world.)

Because ATWT was all about heart and love and emotions and family — real,  human drama —  the soap became a constant in my life over the subsequent four decades. Eventually, they added characters of all ethnicities and races. During the Douglas Marland years (1985-93), as I wrote in my Critical Condition column in Soap Opera Weekly, the show turned so deep, so beautifully written, to truly mirror the human condition. It was theater.   For more on the Marland years, see the multi part series Patrick Erwin and I wrote on the 15th anniversary of dear Doug’s death.

So many of us, especially those of us who knew him, thought of the late, dear Douglas yesterday when the news broke that the show was cancelled, and would air for the last time in September.  I also thought of Irna Phillips, who founded and guided it all.  And the lat   Bill Bell and Agnes Nixon, Irna’s  legendary original  sub-writers on ATWT , who went on to found their own soaps  and educated the whole next  generation of soap writers.  To write shows about love and the heart.  And America, a country where we are free chose our religions and families and elect our government and  to love whomever we want.

And so I was shocked yesterday when CBS and P&G literally unloaded ATWT before its time. Despite all its struggles and failed format  experiments in the last few years, ATWT  is  still a  traditional soap about family and love passed through the generations.  The Hughes and Stewart family still dominate the show years later.

CBS President Les Moonves apparently doesn’t think TV is about the hearts and minds of Americans  anymore.  Yesterday when he broke our hearts by cancelling ATWT, he had the gall to tell CNBC that the day of daytime soap operas like ATWT is over. Well, to hell with you,  Les Moonves.  Love, family and soaps will outlast you and your insults to those who have supported CBS for more than 60 years.  ATWT lives!

P.S.  Many of you know Italian-Jewish me many decades after my Queens teen years  married Moose, a Midwesterner.  Oh, the irony, a WASP!   Well, as ATWT taught me long ago, Midwesterners are all about universal love, too.  At Christmas, I will gather my living family, Moose and my Michiganian step-children and step grandchildren (the greatest gifts ever given me!) and feed them my Italian grandparent’s recipe for lasagna.  We are all Americans!   ATWT‘s Christmastime (oh the irony!) cancellation is so sad. Even so, I wish all of you, my beloved, readers a merry Christmas.  May 2010 be the year all surviving soaps continue to endure. 

Comments

  1. Tom Casiello says:

    What an incredibly moving column, my dear Marlena. I have been trying to put my own thoughts into words since I got the phone call yesterday morning, and have found it incredibly difficult. ATWT holds a very different place in my heart – it was where I cut my teeth. My first assistant job, my first breakdown as a “real honest-to-goodness writer,” my coming of age from rebellious teen to professional young man. Oakdale was where I made friends for life – whether it was the fictional friends in front of the camera, or the amazing production staff working behind the scenes. It was where I studied the long stories of Doug Marland, where I learned the fundamentals of writing soap opera, of collaboration. It was the first time in my career I experienced that rare moment when a strong team morale and a passion for the genre can unite a few hundred people into producing the best possible product. We were young, we were devoted, we were hard-working, we were fun-loving, and we happily spent 60 hours a week at the studio on 57th Street, and later in Midwood, to produce a show we were all so proud of. I have a fondness for every show I’ve worked at, but ATWT was truly “home” to me, and I know it is/was for many, many people – some still with the show, some who have long since left the studio on 14th Street. But Oakdale left a lasting impression on all of us, influenced us in ways we still see and feel every day. My heart is truly broken. Thank you for your kind words about the show. XO

    Marlena says: Thanks dear Tom for your loving view from inside the show and your heart. ATWT is so much a part of our all our lives! I was so busy thinking about how ATWT impacted my life I forgot to thank most of the creative writers, producers, techies, veteran actors and everyone who has had anything to do with putting this show together over the years. I feel very, very badly for all who are still working there now.

  2. Esther says:

    Thanks so much for putting into words (far better than I could) what was running through my head yesterday when I heard the news. I can’t say it was a shock. I think we all knew CBS was simply shopping for a show that could replace ATWT and it was just a matter of when, not if. Even so, the heartbreak is still there.

    I had watched this show for decades, but was turned off by the bonehead moves (too numerous to mention) made by Chris Goutman, the last straw being his firing of Scott Bryce. But I always had hope he’d be fired and someone better would fix the show. I’m sorry that won’t happen now.

    Doug Marland would be heartbroken. But then again, if he were still around, perhaps the show wouldn’t be in this position. Thank goodness for YouTube, where Marland’s ATWT still lives and entertains.

    I wonder how much longer soapdom has. :(

    Marlena says: Esther, at least we ATWT viewers all have each other to understand how we feel today. Awful!

  3. Simply lovely, Marlena.

    Marlena says: Thanks dear. Don’t miss Patrick’s multiple, passionate columns on the ATWT cancellation: http://1000worlds.wordpress.com/ His round up of The Usual Suspects TRULY responsible for this cancellation (the CBS/P&G TPTB) is a must read for all upset fans.

  4. Leona says:

    So many have spoken what I can’t….

    Just to add to your list of now famous legends who’ve been associated with the show, don’t forget director Ted Corday, who helped shape the look and feel of ATWT. His now famous line about not letting an Irna Phillips script touch the floor says so much about where soaps were and where they’ve gone.

    :(

    Marlena says: Leona, as always you are the ultimate soap historian. Ted Corday was so intrinsic to years of ATWT’s success! He was a soap genius. Thanks for reminding me to remember him.

  5. Raymond P says:

    Like the cancellation of GL, this news saddens me on many levels. I fondly recall those days of my childhood watching the show with my mother (Kim’s caught in a tornado and has amnesia!!). To those days in the late 70s and early 80s when the show tried gimmicks to steal the youth audience (John Dixon is dead! No, he’s alive!) To the golden years of Marland, the first few of which I would watch the show with my fraternity brothers (we all knew it was Douglas Cummings stalking Kim.)

    Much like GL, ATWT was a solid anchor for me over the years. No matter the drama in my life, I could always check in for a few minutes of “comfort food.” Many a lunch hour was spent watching the adventures of the citizens of Oakdale.

    It is also a shame that today’s younger viewers will never know the joys of long term storytelling with rich characterizations and true emotion payoffs.

    ****NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS OPINION AND MY OPINION ONLY AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF MARLENA DE LACROIX, CONNIE OR ANY OTHER VISITOR TO THIS SITE***

    Les Moonves, is a pompous, arrogant, condescending, cradle robbing, creatively barren, talentless hack of an executive.

    Hey Les!!!! While I enjoy the Big Bang Theory, I’m surprised you haven’t cannibalized it for yet another CSI/NCIS clone.

    The soaps may be dying, but you, you clueles *($&( aided and abetted the process by refusing to run promos for your daytime shows during primetime. Unlike your competitors at the other networks who found it to be unmined territory. Hell, you can’t go two commercial breaks in on the Biggest Loser without a promo for Days of Our Lives.

    RANT OVER

    Marlena says: My Ray! As always, xxxooooo from Contessa Marlena!

  6. Giada says:

    Wonderful column Marlena. I never really followed ATWT, yet I too had tears in my eyes when I heard the news. I didn’t think it could be possible after GL was gone, but this was in a way even more shocking. I was more taken by surprise. How sad, indeed.

    Happy holidays to you and all your family. :o )

    Marlena says: Grazie as always to you and Tania! Bon natale, my dear friend.

  7. JONNYSBRO says:

    Marlena my dear friend what a beautiful tribute. It is so sad about ATWT is I feel it had some years left. It was nowhere near as dead as GL was. GL being cancelled was sad but in reality the show was dead. ATWT I felt had at least 2-3 more years. The show was in better shape then GL was. Like GL was on a downhill slope.

    ATWT in 2001 had a resurgance when Hogan Sheffer became head writer won it’s first emmy for best writing/best show, and then they won again in 2003. I feel sad for everyone. I hope though with ATWT getting more time to write a finale that it’s one that does it justice. My big request is for CBS to do anything to get Martha Byrne back for the finale. She needs to finish her iconic ATWT role.

    Marlena you know OLTL is my favorite show of all time and is rumored to be next. Right now we need to really watch, write, and do whatever to keep Llanview on the air. We do nothing, we fall victim to the egotistical execs who will let it go. Big difference ABC owns all their shows. I just do not want this to be OLTL’s last year.

    Marlena says: Me neither, dear Johnny. Big Bri has to keep his hands off that show and let Ron write good consistent character-based stories. He does it before very well, he can do it again! Not Mitch rising from a coffin a la Dark Shadows or other horror film doozies. This is soap opera! Let there be love, romance and intelligence for everyone in Llanview!

  8. renee says:

    right now i just don’t have words. i’m sorry.

    Marlena says: That’s cool Renee. Love ya!

  9. DS0816 says:

    Dear Connie/Marlena,

    2009 is a devastating double whammy in cancellation of long-running, American daytime dramas.

    I’ve lamented the loss of “Guiding Light” — canceled April 1; last broadcast Sept. 18 — only for an early Christmas gift (and, yes, I’m being sarcastic!) that CBS is also booting “As the World Turns.” (Ten years ago, NBC handed down 1999 cancellations to “Another World” and “Sunset Beach” — but the only former ran for 35 years compared to just two for the latter.)

    I chalk these ’09 cancellations up to, more than anything else, a sign of the times. Any and all lucid, credible perspectives on individual serial cancellations seem to apply; but, at the same time, I think what’s been happening to the American soaps on television networks ABC, CBS, and NBC is overhwhelming. That’s it’s a reflection of a changing landscape.

    I am very sorry “World Turns” is the latest casualty — and I extend my sympathies to its viewers … and to everyone who has ever contributed to the production of this 53–year-old series.

    This is another terrible loss!

    Marlena says: Merry Christmas, my dear DSO!

  10. Jonathan Reiner says:

    Connie —

    Thank you for your eloquence, passion and perspective.

    I’m still speechless. ATWT is as American as Mom, apple pie and baseball. The fact that TPTB (whomever they are — I’m not pointing fingers, honestly) let it die like this (while Americans are in such tumult here and overseas) is unspeakably sad. My heart is breaking today.

    JR

    Marlena says: JR, remember when we went to all those ATWT set celebrations? You always seemed to enjoy yourself so and love the show. This is all so depressing, as is so much as what is happening all over the real world, as you cannily point out. Let’s all hug our doggies and hope for a better 2010!

  11. RENEE says:

    I guess I feel like people feel when they hear the house they grew up in or the elementary school they attended or the place they got married in is being torn down. Maybe you haven’t been to any of those places in a long time, but it’s sad nevertheless to see that which holds so many memories come down.

    With the cancellation of ATWT I seriously wonder whether the true agenda of the networks — particularly CBS — is to rid themselves entirely of the genre that served them so well for so many decades. I truly believe the shows are being purposely setup, one by one for cancellation. How else to explain what is currently happening to a show like The Young and the Restless which, I don’t care what anyone says, is in a total shambles at the moment. If TPTB at CBS and elsewhere truly wanted to save daytime serials like ATWT, Y&R and the rest, they could. But instead, they dismissively ignore fans who have all but written them a roadmap showing how to get the remaining soaps back on track. Fans are saying very loudly and clearly what they like and DON’T like, but it’s like whistlin’ in the wind.

    I figured out a long time ago that TPTB (and I am including among them many of the soap writers currently writing the recycled drivel passing as storylines) have little, if any, respect for the soap opera genre, never mind the soap opera viewing audience. They view these shows as relics of bygone generations. And they have no faith that a new generation will tune in if they offer the two basic, old school ingredients of the soap formula that have worked since the days of radio: FAMILY and ROMANCE. Not family and SEX. Family and Romance.

    I think the same cynical mindset that has made it increasingly difficult over the years to get the “women’s film” made in Hollywood today (unless it’s a “romantic comedy”) is the same thinking that’s killing soaps. Oh, and money. Let’s not discount the desire to either save money or make money that is coming into play in the network’s decision to pull the plug rather than resuscitate these shows. But someone, someday is going to figure out that there is a huge audience STARVING for love stories and tales that move them emotionally, and they are going to figure out how to deliver them (and make money, too). And, no doubt, CBS will be rushing in to get a piece of the action that they so blithely threw away years before. :-(

    Renee

    Marlena says: Without love stories, why would people read fiction or any literature–or watch TV or movies? These Twilight movies (which I refuse to see, as I already lived Barbabas on Dark Shadows) prove there is a huge audience for romance. Romance novels are still doing well! Why soaps had to die has nothing to do with money — IMO, the lack of REAL romance on TV says more about the materialist values of society — and about the crumbling of society. And a disregard for women (and men) of the heart in general. But don’t get me started …

  12. Levi says:

    This unfortunately was in the works before even Guding Light’s cancellation. I guess TPTB felt cancelling two soaps at once would alienate viewers further. And I figured if they couldn’t bring a few of Guiding Light’s characters to ATWT they knew it wouldn’t last past 2010. I feel for the ATWT fans. It is a hurting time to hear such devastating news. It is especially shameful to hear the “CBS President” say such condescending remarks to the establishment of daytime tv. Making another gameshow will not make the viewers connect to your network Les. The day will not be over. The new web series will continue soaps in a new way. Soaps will never die.

    I did skim the show over the years and know most of the characters. I felt CBS controlled all aspects of that show just like Guiding Light where the show could not be progressive enough like OLTL. However, ATWT will be remembered for the origins of the industry. It was the highest rated show for many years. And had some wonderful characters—-I did like Lisa and Lucinda. I think Elizabeth Hubbard is an acting legend.

    Save all the episodes and cherish them from here on out. Or use youtube to get you through! Shame on CBS again!

    Marlena says: Here here friend Levi! Soaps will never die!

  13. Michael Bird says:

    This was “my” show. The one I’ve watched practically my whole life.

    This show IS soap opera. Through good times and bad, this show never became a caricature. No matter what writer, director, plot device, cast change, or ‘new direction’, this show was carried by the Hughes and Stewart families from day one, and out of ALL the soaps, ATWT has respected its history and its veterans. Not as much as we longtime viewers might like, but they at least still had contracts at the end. Look at the decimated Quartermaines on GH, if you know what I mean. And who were the Hardys again?

    I guess soap operas, as we knew and loved them, have reached a critical point. No network suits care about how many generations have supported the shows; if they can make money by putting cheaper programs like game shows and talk shows on in place of soaps, so be it.

    I had hoped that ATWT would just return to 30 minutes to be matched up with B&B. This was a shock, because it came so quickly after the end of GL …

    Procter and Gamble is exiting a business they virtually created! On the morning of December 8, before this news dropped, I was reading up on some Bob and Lisa history on various websites, just for my own enjoyment, because I was wondering what would be done to commemorate their 50th anniversary with the show (not Bob and Lisa, but Don Hastings and Eileen Fulton).

    It looks like we found out they get pink slips instead of a gold watch.

    ‘Tis a sad day in Oakdale.

    “As the world turns, we know the bleakness of winter, the promise of spring, the fullness of summer, and the harvest of autumn.”

    Amen.

    Marlena says: Oh Michael dear friend — so sorry for you and your lifelong show!!! ATWT is soap opera, I agree! What a Christmas for us all!

    Love the line about Fulton and Hastings getting pink slips instead of gold watches. Excuse my total ignornace, but that ATWT quote is from the Bible, right — the real one? Not a made up poem (excuse me dear Agnes) that Mrs. Nixon wrote as the credo for All My Children?

  14. horselover says:

    I never watched ATWT a day in my life but I remember that my grandmother did. It’s sad. But it’s attitudes like Les Moonves’ that make it hard for daytime to survive. They are the “suits” and they don’t seem to be doing anything to make the soaps better. It makes me just as mad as sad.

    Marlena says: Everyone watches different soaps, everyone grew up on different shows. Even if you don’t watch ATWT, you sure got Moonves’ anti-soap watcher attitude down right, Renee!

  15. Matthew J. Cormier says:

    I am just so stunned and saddened. The 2000′s have not been a great decade for soap operas as it is and the death toll just continues— we’ve lost 4 soaps this decade and it looks like the deaths are going to keep on coming…

    I mourn the loss of “As The World Turns” as we mourned the loss of “Guiding Light” a few months ago and the loss of “Passions” before that and “Port Charles” even before that.

    Marlena says: … and Another World and Loving and Santa Barbara and Capitol and Edge of Night and Texas and so many others … back through soap time …

  16. Leona says:

    Connie, the ATWT quote that Michael so wonderfully reminded us of comes from Irna herself. It was her “philosophy” of the show, if you will.

  17. James says:

    Chere Marlena,

    What a lovely column.

    I only began watching ATWT regularly in 1999. Thus, I don’t have the decades invested that so many others do. I am truly sorry to have missed the Doug Marland years. But what I saw in my 10 years of watching was quite good at tiimes, quite boring at other times. But I did come to have favorite characters — Jack, Carly, Lilly, Holden, Simon, Luke, Craig, Lucinda.

    We all knew the end was coming. I just didn’t expect it to be so soon after GL. I honestly believed CBS would keep it on until at least April 2011 so that it could celebrate its 55th anniversary. As it is, it will go off just 7 months shy of that milestone. Such a shame. And a waste. .

    Maybe with this lead time of almost 9 months, P&G will have time to find another home somewhere on cable. But I certainly hope the writers create brilliant stories for the remainder of time they have left on CBS and bring back some old favorites.

    Marlena says: Hi James and thanks for your sweet words on the column. Glad you saw a decade of the show. Honest, I didn’t think the ending was coming at all.

  18. Michael Bird says:

    Thanks, Connie/Marlena, for responding so quickly! You are the best!

    Actually, I don’t think the “As the world turns…” quote wasn’t from the Holy Bible, but was written by Irna Phillips to describe her show.

    I guess the saddest part is that, although some of Irna’s legacy lives on in daytime (DAYS, in name only), ATWT mostly stuck close to her original creation and intent, if not the style of writing and production.

    In trying to survey what went wrong, I looked at the ratings for 2007, pre-Bryce and Byrne firing, and ATWT was a solid #3. There’s no way, two years ago, anyone could have predicted that ATWT would be cancelled – they were too strong. In 2008, despite positive press on the Noah/Luke coupling, they took a nosedive that has continued throughout 2009. There are bloggers out there who feel that the show lost something special when those actors who played Craig and Lily were shown the door around the same time.

    I hope the focus will be on wrapping up the show in an ‘organic’ way – meaning, use those great characters and give them stories that are worthy of the show’s heritage and history. No more dumb guest star stunts, either. Goutman has proven he cared about the show in the past (those Emmys were deserved), and now that he will be presiding over the end of another show (remember the last day of ANOTHER WORLD? Cass and Lila got married, and a gorilla showed up?), let’s hope that those veterans get a good treatment in the next nine months.

    The more I think about all this, the more upset I get! I’m afraid I have been over-dramatic in dealing with my middle school students the past couple of days!

    Marlena says: I am still upset too Michael — I really carried on about the cancellation of ATWT in my journalism class this morning!

  19. Kel says:

    I am at a loss. I was having a grand time with no laptop or my usual constant tied-in -ness last week in Las Vegas, and I am doubly shocked that I found out JUST a few mins. ago.

    People in all of my other ” lives” can make fun of just a soap.. or just a TV show.. but I mean ..my connection goes all the way back to my earliest memories. And hell, I am still in GL denial because I haven’t watched the last 22 eps. of it– still on my DVR. Hell, I also haven’t recovered from Edge of Night or Port Charles and if you want to go all the way back about it, my mother can still tell you about a very very angry 5 and 6 year old who had sort of a tantrum about losing Dark Shadows and Where the Heart is and Love Is a Splendored Thing.

    As you have dear Connie, I think I have just had such a difficult ” real life” 2009 too, that when the ” escapes/admirations” of your work/pop culture life start ” dying” too, it makes too many loss-connections and it all sort of erupts.

    I am sorry, this is probably terribly incoherent but my heart is broken. But I wanted to say something SOMEWHERE besides my facebook post and I thought I would say it here among people who will understand.

    Yes, it’s just a TV show, Yes I will fall apart here for an hour or so then remember I have a real-life to run.. but it hurts so much. I am tired of losing things in 2009.

    Thank you for posting what is probably going to look like some sort of incoherent rambling Connie. Much love to you. — Kel

    Marlena says: Kel, thanks for dropping me this extra note, and I send my love back to you, dear. What a year! I wish I was in Vegas as I write this. Hang in there—we are all in this together! xxoo

  20. Monique Roos-de Jong says:

    I live in the Netherlands, and lots of us overhere are very frustrated too.
    We are a year and a half behind, but in 2012 our World will stop turning too.
    I religously follow the episodes each day and I found a way to watch the American episodes also at ten at night.
    This blow will be devastating for all the fans overhere. the majority of people who whatch the show is stil high. Almost a million of us follow the show and we are only with 16 million Dutch.
    Monique

    Marlena says: Yes, I saw a clip of a TV show from your country! Didn’t know ATWT was so loved there. Thanks for writing to me Monique from so far away! Merry Christmas

  21. BL says:

    I wonder if Mr. Moonves knew that the CNBC reporter is married to the daughter of someone on ATWT. I feel for those who are losing their jobs, for those who watch today and in the past and for soap fans in general. Hope that the ATWT goes out respecting its history.

  22. tess says:

    Hi Marlena,

    Thanks for the article. I may enrage a lot of people with this comment, but for me, AS THE WORLD TURNS died around the time Hogan Sheffer became head scribe. And the title AS THE WORLD TURNS remained, but the show, I grew to adore over the years was dead and gone.

    I’m not criticizing Hogan Sheffer, but I watched a chunk of his WORLD and it didn’t fascinate me. He clearly had zero use for the vets.

    While I’m on the topic of vets, I felt the show was marvelous when Felicia Behr was producing it. Veterans like Lisa and John were mixing it up with Carly and her plans to get a bundle of cash for giving birth to a baby by a certain date.

    Lucinda and Barbara were also being used regularly. Rosemary Prinz, who many loved as the beleagured Penny was brought back for a few shows when her mother Nancy celebrated her birthday.

    Even Gillian Spencer who had played Jennifer, Kim’s sister, reappeared as a ghost.

    Andy returned to his dipsomaniac ways, running around with a middle-age boozer, Delores Snyder, Brad and Jack’s mother.

    Emily was trying to steal Tom from Margo and Em and Susan sparred regularly about Em’s perfidy. The scenes were remniscent of Susan’s spats with her mom about Susan trying to bust up Dan and Kim.

    LOVE it when the past is used.

    So, I was APPALLED when Felicia Behr was fired. The show was far from perfect, but it was enjoyable and Lisa, John, Kim, Bob and Susan were on. And the characters were interesting. They had a life. Molly wrote a romance novel and implored Emma to help her get it published. Camille was in medical school. Brad ran a construction company. Emily ran a newspaper and she gave Tom a few writing assignments. Lisa was involved in a number of enterprises, as was Barbara. Ben Harris was a physician and a religious man. The characters had oomph and dimension.

    Nowadays, for the most part, all soap characters do is talk incessantly about their problems. Rarely do they go to work. Or have goals. Their overwrought lives would be more interesting if they dealt with something besides their travails.

    Also, Behr and company introduced a number of black characters and some of them were involved in romances with white characters and I think that didn’t go over well with the Tiffany network.

    But anyway, I’ll miss AS THE WORLD TURNS. I hope Brandon of Brandon Buzz will snare an interview or two with vets who are willing to disclose juicy behind the scenes tidbits.

    Finally, Marlena, instead of CBS dumping GUIDING LIGHT and AS THE WORLD TURNS, they could have aired AS THE WORLD TURNS at 2:00 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And on Tuesday and Thursdays at 2:00, they could have shown GUIDING LIGHT.

    Think about those shows when they were well-written and featured captivating stories and engaging characters. And just imagine how great it would have been airing a few times a week instead of five days.

    Imagine at the end of Monday’s episode, the announcer saying, “Join us again on Wednesday for another episode of AS THE WORLD TURNS. And tomorrow at this time, be sure to watch GUIDING LIGHT.”

    Oh, well.

  23. Pila says:

    I agree with Tess about the quality of ATWT in the years when Camille and the original Brad were on the show. ATWT wasn’t perfect, but the characters had more dimension. I won’t say that the show died when Hogan Sheffer became head writer, but I never understood why his version of ATWT was heaped with praise — and Emmy awards. He had little use for the veterans, and characters were freqently isolated from family and friends (something that continues to this day). Sheffer had a few good stories, but a lot of what he did was not much better than what we’ve seen since he left.

  24. sherri says:

    There’s a chance that the world can keep turning before it’s finally cancelled for good. ABC kept Edge of Night on for quite a few years before it finally went off the air. NBC has only one soap, and five nightly hours of primetime that need filling. Just think of the publicity and ratings spark it could get from picking up ATWT!!!

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