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As The World Turns started on my birthday in 1956. I was in high school and since the show was only 1/2 hour, I was able to watch it on my lunch hour. I have watched it all these years and really love it. ATWT has produced some great actors and actresses. I loved Meg Ryan as Betsy and Julianne Moore as Franny. I thought Brian Bloome was terrific as Dusty. I was very saddened when the Judge and then Christopher Hughes died. I feel I have grown old with Bob, Kim and Lisa. I wish some of the older actresses could be brought back. I really miss Frannie and Betsy. This year (April 2, 2006) I will have been watching this show for 50 years. So, happy birthday to me and to As The World Turns.
If you have never watched ATWT, do yourself a favor and check out this
wonderful program. I have been a faithful viewer of this show since 1986
when the legendary Douglas Marland penned those well-crafted stories that
incorporated the show's history and kept the viewer glued to the
set. Actually, if you count the time that my mother watched when I was a
little kid, then I have been watching a lot longer than that! Incredibly,
there are still many talented actors (and their characters) whom I
from that time who are still on the show today: Helen Wagner (Nancy), Don
Hastings (Bob), Eileen Fulton (Lisa), Kathryn Hays (Kim), Larry Bryggman
(John) and Marie Masters (Susan). There have also been many great actors
who have appeared later who are equally as brilliant and have been on the
show for more that 10 years: Elizabeth Hubbard (Lucinda), Colleen Zenk
Pinter (Barbara), Benjamin Hendrickson (Hal), Tamara Tunie (Jessica),
Holmes (Tom), Ellen Dolan (Margo), Kelley Menighan Hensley (Emily), Jon
Hensley (Holden), and Martha Byrne (Lily/Rose). Other notable actors who
just grab your attention in the current storylines include: Maura West
(Carly), Lesli Kay (Molly), Michael Park (Jack), Mark Collier (Mike),
Lamman Rucker (Marshall), Scott Holroyd (Paul) and Hunt Block (Craig).
The entire cast is great and the stories are more rooted in reality than most other shows (no aliens, demonic possessions or stereotypical mobster types here!) and this is exactly why I watch this show! Yes, there have been people coming back from the dead (remember James Stenbeck?), the premature aging syndrome of children (Bonnie is supposed to be 11 years old in "real time"!) and some things that seem odd to the very astute viewer (I must have missed the episode where Ellen Stewart left town and entrusted her home to Susan Stewart, her ex-daughter-in-law with whom she never really got along!), but, for the most part, things make sense and characters behave in ways that are logical and therefore help to maintain their integrity. Hogan Sheffer is doing a fine job of writing and developing stories. Actors Marie Masters and Courtney Sherman (Dr. Susan Stewart and Dr. Lynn Michaels, respectively) are also on the writing team.
Another thing I appreciate as a longtime viewer is characters who come back for brief visits and are played by the original actors. Caleb Snyder and his wife Julie recently came to town to visit their son Aaron and the rest of the Snyder clan. And Iva Snyder returned when the Lily/Rose story was initially unraveling. It would be great to see other old favorites come back to visit or permanently move back to town. It was a real disservice when Patricia Bruder, who played Ellen Stewart, was let go in 1995. She joined the show in 1960 and was the last remnant of the Lowell/Stewart family. She should move back (and reclaim her house!) and then get involved in the life of her granddaughter, Emily. She might even help Alison (she needs it!) who would be both her step-granddaughter and great-granddaughter. (Too long to explain here!) It would be great if the other Snyder family members would return. Or, perhaps, the other lost members of the Hughes family--they've been in fictional Montega long enough! Personally, I would like to see these actors and their characters again: Allyson Rice (Connor Walsh, Lucinda's despised relative & a great business foil for Lucinda); Greg Watkins (Evan Walsh, Connor's brother & Rosanna's old beau); Scott DeFrietas (Andy Dixon, son of Kim and John & Paul's cousin); Lindsay Frost (Betsy Stewart Andropoulos, Ellen's other granddaughter and Emily's half-sister); Anne Sward (Lyla Montgomery Peretti, mother of Margo, Craig, Cricket and Katie); and Robin Morse (Pamela Wagner, John's niece who was a no-nonsense, independent student nurse trainee). Allyson Rice (Connor) and Daniel Markel (David Allen/Stenbeck) should never have been let go! It would be great if Trent Dawson (Henry Coleman) and Anne Sayre (Mitzi Matters) were given contracts and more air time--their characters are really outrageously funny!
So, watch this soap opera that will soon be turning 47 years old this year. What other program--daytime or nighttime--can boast that it has a character (Nancy Hughes McClosky) that's been played by the same actress (Helen Wagner) since the premiere episode for the last 47 years??? Not one!
There's also a book called "As the World Turns: The Complete Family Scrapbook" by Julie Poll that was written to coincide with the show's 40th anniversary in 1996. This will help new viewers get the entire storyline (up to 1996) of the members of the Hughes, Lowell, Stewart, Montgomery, Walsh and Snyder families and all of their friends and enemies.
As the World Turns is a piece of Americana culture. Cast members like Helen Wagner, Bob Hastings, Eileen Fulton, Kathryn Hays, Colleen Zenk Pinter, Marie Masters, Elizabeth Hubbard, Larry Bryggman etc. have really helped make my days sometimes. The show was created Irna Phillips, the creator of daytime television. From her ideas, she created the world of Oakdale, Illinois. Helen Wagner should be given many honors besides a Lifetime Emmy Award. Next year, she will be celebrating 50 years of playing the same character on daytime television. Where are the accolades that go with such an achievement? She deserves a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and even to be an honoree at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Center Honors. Don't stop there! She should be inducted into the television hall of fame for her contributions to television. I think CBS is the best, most supportive network of the three. While Guiding Light needs ever viewer, this year will determine both Guiding Light and As The World Turns future. If you want to know where Desperate Housewives' ideas came from, this is the place and it has been there for most of our lives. I just wish more people would appreciate the fine quality of work that these cast of brilliant actors do for daytime. I would like to see prime time players do the hectic schedules of any daytime player. It goes unappreciated. The story lines have not been the same since Douglas Marland's death but his legacy is his creative contributions to the show like the Snyder family. I will never forget the Angel incest storyline as the most shocking entertaining informing and brilliant portrayal ever anywhere else. Marland weaved stories like his predecessors Irna Phillips, Agnes Nixon, Bill Bell, etc. He is sorely missed even now. I hope As the World Turns and Guiding Light live on television forever so please give daytime a try. You might like it better than prime time, I usually do and I have watched it for 20 years.
For me, ironically enough, it was '84, when Meg Ryan left and was replaced
with Lindsey Frost, that I started watching.
Doug Marland became the writer and suddenly this show was truly different from the other soaps.
We got the Snyder farm family and Lily Walsh was recast.
The standout situation to me was Lucinda Walsh shoving Susan Stewart into that Christmas tree and injuring Susan's back. Susan is in the hospital and the gloating Lucinda pays her a visit.
Susan, a recovering alcoholic, becomes addicted to the pain killers for her back. Kim Hughes is helping her son, Andy Dixon, deal with his alcoholism after the bad girl he loved, Julie, has dumped him for Tonio Reyes.
Turns out it was Lucinda who brought Julie to town to begin with.
Kim's husband, Bob Hughes, feels ignored by Kim. He aids Susan with her withdrawal, and next thing you know, the pristine Bob Hughes is having a one night stand with Susan, whose husband Dan had had an affair with Kim decades earlier.
But the fun didn't end there.
Bob and Kim learned they had a long lost daughter, Sabrina Fullerton (originally played by Julianne Moore).
Sabrina (later played by Claire Beckman) was not the most welcoming person. She would feel sorry for the villianous Tonio Reyes (Peter Boynton), giving him all her inheritance from her adopted parents.
Bob would learn of Tonio's evil deeds, and attempt to stop him.
Tonio shot Bob in the back, then fled to South America with Sabrina.
As they drove across the outback, Tonio began confessing to Sabrina all he had done; the lies, the thievery and even shooting her father.
Tonio would say very calmly "Don't try to escape"
Sabrina would respond "I have no where to run to. You've seen to that."
I couldn't believe I had just heard such a powerhouse line in a soap opera.
There would be more, with Julie on the rebound from Caleb Snyder and Holden broken up with Lily, Julie and Holden would have the infamous one night stand that would rebound throughout the show with Julie getting pregnant.
Andy would deliver the baby with Snyder sister Iva, who would adopt the baby.
It was all amazing to watch.
Then Kim would have to trust Bob and Susan again when they went to South America to do medical duties and they vanished. Turns out they had been kidnapped and had to operate on the wounded Tonio Reyes!
When Conor Jameson was recast, and Neal Alcott (Mary Kay Adams) left the show (she was murdered), it was losing its fun.
Doug Marland would die as the murderer was revealed, but it wasn't exciting.
Then Iva Snyder would suddenly marry and leave the show, and so did I.
Ah well. The moment was gone.
But what a moment it was!
This show, the first half-hour soap opera, had the classic soap opera setting - a suburb with two families who were good friends. Three and later four or five generations of these families were featured. The two families were the Hughes (middle-class) and the wealthier Lowell family. Chris and Nancy Hughes had a more secure marriage than did Jim and Claire Lowell. In fact, Chris's sister had an affair with Jim, who later divorced and was killed. The show was the first to offer the teen romance of Penny and Jeff. Penny's friend Ellen, after being rejected by Don Hughes, had an affair with a married, older doctor and bore an illegitimate son The Hughes family's storylines were more conventional and less plot driven, but those of the Lowell family were daring for their time. Penny and Jeff eloped, but the marriage was annulled. Later, they had a grand wedding to which the viewers were actually invited to attend at the end of the program. The show moved very slowly in the early days. The ratings were not the greatest, but eventually this show became the number one rated soap opera. 1960 proved to be a good year for the show. Don Hastings, Henderson Forsythe, Patricia Bruder, and Eileen Fulton all joined the show that year. Ms. Fulton, as Lisa, was the first great bad lady who was hated by the public. The role was originally intended to be a minor, short role, but the performances of Ms. Fulton insured that the audience would immediately notice the character. In 1965, the production company and network spun-off Lisa to a twice-a-week primetime soap opera called Our Private World. Irna Phillips, the show's creator and headwriter, left the show in the late 1960s. The show struggled creatively. Eventually Ms. Phillips returned, but the ratings had suffered. Ms. Phillips killed off a lot of the Lowell relatives during a short period of time. She was eventually fired from the show herself. Two other headwriting teams (Robert Sonderberg and Edith Sommer, Ralph Ellis and Eugenie Hunt) were able to keep the show interesting. (Others had failed.) But, later, a former actor from the show, Douglas Marland, became the headwriter on two occasions. By the time of his second term, the show had lost so many of the previous characters and had failed to add any new, interesting ones that the show seemed lost. Mr. Marland allowed the unthinkable to happen when the sister-in-law of the show's leading physician (Kim) who had once had an affair with the doctor, was allowed to marry him after the death of her sister. The show continued its downward slide while Mr. Marland and his successors wrote the show. Helen Wagner (Nancy), Don Hastings (Bob), and Eileen Fulton (Lisa) continue on the program today. And the show lights up whenever these performers are given occasionally good storylines or even scenes. But the show has continued to stray away from the core families - always a bad sign for a soap opera.
The number of nominations this soap opera received at the 2001 Daytime
Emmy Awards is just one indicator of how excellent this show has been
lately. The writing has been especially good, and the acting seems much
better than most daytime fare. Of particular interest is the dual roles
of long-estranged twin sisters Lily/Rose played to perfection by the
talented Martha Byrne. Her scenes opposite herself are brilliant.
This soap opera's best feature, though, is the pace at which story lines move along. There is no spoon-feeding the audience. You have to watch consistently to get involved in the plots: there are no recaps of the past month's twists. Conversely, there have been incredible flashbacks and memories using real original footage from as far back as the series first season (1956). This really adds a warm sense of continuity for characters like Nancy Hughes, played since the beginning by Helen Wagner.
I am an aspiring soap writer, and I have watched most of the shows on
the air as research. Somewhere along the way, I discovered As The World
Turns. When I first caught glimpses of it, Carly was just home from The
Spa, found in a carnival fun house after Hal was brainwashed by James
Stenbeck. Emily was being kept in a trunk. Bonnie was a duchess.
Molly's family was being threatened by an evil babysitter, eventually
resulting in Jake's death and the near-death of Oakdale's neighbor, Bay
City. It was sort of weird and awful at first, but I would tune in just
to see the Oakdale hunks, especially Jack Snyder. Woof!
I can't remember when the tides really turned with this show. All I know for sure is, I discovered Ben Harris when Bonnie finally came home. Not only Grade A prime soap beef, but he and Jessica were electric on the screen. These were clearly two people who deserved much more screen time, and eventually got it. Margo, a staple character for years according to the ATWT scrapbook, got to be on the front burner for a week or two when she discovered she had hepatitis, contracted during a rape she was now being forced to relive. It would take a while, but eventually she moved back to the front burner again as well. In short, this show has an incredible pool of talented actors, and the writing team, receiving back to back Emmys for their work, have a knack for utilizing the vast talents of their cast.
It's not always perfect. The Oakdale 3 were awful. But from that terrible plot we eventually got a (somewhat) reformed Allison, who is now one of my favorite characters on the show. And, as with most shows, an emergency rewrite for a departing or pregnant actor can yield some substandard plots. Of course, I blame a lot of that on the soap fans, who can be pretty unwelcoming of temporary recasts (and that means you especially, Passions fans!) But As The World Turns is honestly the best soap on TV, and that includes the primetime dramas, and reality shows which are nothing more than soaps with real people for characters. I would love to see another attempt at Our Private World, a primetime spin-off featuring the amazing Eileen Fulton, following Lisa Hughes as she moved from Oakdale to Chicago. Imagine a revamped Another World, where Molly goes back to Bay City to fight for her daughters Bridget and Michelle. With enough shared writers, I'd watch both series faithfully. In the meantime, I will have to settle for the five hours a week of ATWT I have now and hope a few other writing teams can tune in and take a few notes.
I'm a long time viewer and enjoy the show. However, at this time I am
very disappointed with the writers. The story line with Carly and Jack
has always kept my attention. They have wonderful chemistry and should
be together, and never been parted. Problems with their marriage and
getting back together has always kept me watching them. Carly and Jack
should have remarried, and absolutely not married to other people. They
still love each other and belong together. Carly does not have to marry
Craig for security, because she should be reminding him that he owes
her a million dollars for paying the ransom to the kidnappers to get
his son (now deceased) back years ago. The writers seem to have
forgotten this. Carly's horse died and the insurance money was the
million dollars that she loaned Craig. This needs to be brought to the
attention of the show's writers. I think they need to review the show
over the years before they write their TV show segments. To a long time
viewer it is distressing to watch mistakes that are so obvious. Thank
you for the opportunity to give my views about one of my favorite
Kay Newsome Baier, Duncan, SC
We all know how soaps are. Over dramatic, cheesy and completely unrealistic. But this is one soap, I find, that does it in a more clever way. It's actually enjoyable to watch, and sometimes even funny. I never liked day time drama. Sure, I'd watch for the sake of laughing at the awful writing and acting. But then I watched an episode of As The World Turns. And then the next day. Soon, I was addicted to it. The characters intrigued me and there story lines often made sense and were logical. The Luke and Noah story line made the show for me. Not many times do you find a day time drama with a gay couple on it, and the fact that ATWT took the risk, really impressed me and I enjoyed the show ever more. If anything, watch this show for them. I am a new viewer of this show, as new as they come. 1 months to be exact, but I've heard many people say that it's not as good as it was back then, when it first began. Well, I wouldn't know. As I see the show right now, I would say it is the best day time drama on television today.
I am an ATWT Lifer as well, though I missed the First 28 years due to being in the womb, a toddler, childhood, resenting my Gramma for taking over my TV to watch ATWT, But Enter Brian Bloom as Dusty Donovan & I was Hooked, Just like Mom & Gramma! I have seen all the greats, Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei, Julianne Moore, Steven Weber, Laryn Hill, Jason Biggs, Parker Posey, Jordana Brewster, etc..... I Love this show for better for or for worse, For Richer & For Poorer, In Sickness & in Health, Forever & Ever Amen!!!!!!! it is the one thing that always brings the joy back into my life after a rough time, To grow up with these characters & see their day to day exploits, it really takes you away from the problems you may be dealing with on any certain day & I am grateful that a show like this is still on the air!
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