|As the World Turns Says Goodbye|
From launching the careers of such A-List movie and prime time television actors like Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei, Steven Weber, Dana Delaney, Jordana Brewster, Julianne Moore and Kevin Gibson, As the World Turns was also home for a time to James Earl Jones, Richard Thomas, Kathleen Turner, and Martin Sheen. Even Eddie Murphy worked behind the scenes as a stunt man for a time. Phyllis Diller, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Pearl Bailey, Edie Adams, Farley Granger, Robert Vaughan, Imogene Coca, David McCallum, Barbara Walters, Jane Fonda, Diana Ross, Nicole Miller, Bobby Short, Tony Bennett, Jermaine Jackson, Melba Moore, Brian McKnight to name a few, all made guest star appearances.
There have been oh so many weddings and almost as many funerals. There have been good times and bad. The show boasted intrigue, murder, mystery, mayhem, and oh the romance. As the World Turns was honored by the Daytime Emmys, the GLAAD Awards and others. It aired first in black and white then went to color in 1967. It aired live when President John F. Kennedy was shot. Ten minutes of the broadcast, Walter Cronkite interrupted the show with word of the shooting. The stars had to continue to complete the program, learning upon its completion that Kennedy had in fact died from his wounds.
According to Julie Poll in “As the World Turns, the Complete Family Scrapbook, 40th Anniversary Edition,” “It all began on a farm in Gilman, Ohio, run by a simple man named Will (“Pa”) Hughes. Pa didn’t question or analyze life the way his children or grandchildren will do in later, more complicated times. To him, ‘Things are the way they are, and they ain’t the way they ain’t.’”
The Hughes were the main family and continued to carry on through the end of the show. Other core families were the Lowells and the Stewarts. The Snyders arrived some time in 1986 when Douglas Marland took over as head writer. As Marland was born and raised on a farm at the end of a lane called Snyder Road, he named his new family after his childhood haunts, wanting to bring the show back to the grass roots that he believed were at the heart of American culture. Last but not least, there were the Walshes, led by Lucinda and were more of a “catch-all family, than a classic family,” according to Poll.
The love stories…
It would be near impossible to detail all the love that emitted from Oakdale over the years, so we’ll just remind you of many of the amazing super couples. ATWT’s first super couple was, of course, Penny and Jeff. There was also Betsey and Steve, Lily and Holden, Hal and Barbara, Stenbeck and Barbara, Rosanna and Mike, Carly and Jack, and Luke and Noah. Let us not forget Lisa and her many husbands: Bob Hughes, John Eldridge, Michael Shea, Grant Coleman, Whit McColl, Earl Mitchell and Eduardo Grimaldi. Did we miss anyone?
This is an easy one. Four words: John Dixon, John Stenbeck
There is such a wealth of story telling within the 54 years of this amazing broadcast marvel and there is only so much space here in which to attempt to honor it. Suffice to say As the World Turns took us into the lives, loves, loses and wins of the denizens of Oakdale every day and its legacy will live on and on within our hearts.
As the World Turns chronologically speaking…
As the World Turns debuts on CBS. The Edge of Night premieres on the network at the same time. They are the first 30-minute daytime soaps on television. At first, audiences are not accepting of the new, longer format.
In her role as Nancy Hughes, Helen Wagner speaks the opening line of As the World Turns: "Good morning, dear." She will play the part from then on. The actress has been cited in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for Longest Time in the Same Television Role – 54 years.
Just two years after its debut, ATWT reaches the top of the daytime Nielsens, tied with CBS's Search for Tomorrow with a 9.8 rating. ATWT keeps the No. 1 spot for the next 20 years, until ABC's All My Children
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