Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Oakdale IL

I have to admit, I came late to the game. I didn't start watching As the World Turns (ATWT) until I was 5, and the show had already been on for two full years. At that time it was a black and white, 15 minute lunchtime program focussed on the Hughs family; Nancy and Chris and their kids Penny and Bob. When I started watching this soap, Penny and Bob were in high school, Bob was falling in love with the southern belle femme fatale Lisa. They got married and had a son, Tom. Tom was born right at the same time as my younger brother, who irl is 44. Tom was in Viet Nam while my brother was in elementary school. Evidentally Tom was very precocious.

I've been watching ATWT most of my life. I missed a bit in college, and I stopped watching for a while a few years back when the storylines got silly, but otherwise it's been a constant in my life. There have been actors I couldn't stand, and actors that remain on the show from the beginning to today, 50 years later. Can you imagine having an acting role for 50 years? It's a wonder they don't turn into their parts.

Some of the moments stand out forever as classics. Tom and Margo's 'come as you are wedding' was a riot. You never see the citizens of Oakdale dressed in anything other than business clothing. But at this wedding, characters came in bathrobes and curlers, spattered with paint, and dressed for cleaning out the garage. I wish they would replay that in the flashbacks, but the actors that play Tom and Margo have been each replaced several times over, so we'll never see it again.

One of my favorite things about this show are the characters you love to hate. Almost always men, these are the evil manipulators that pull strings behind the scenes to disable the peace in Oakdale. James Stenbeck (played by the brilliant Anthony Herrera) is the arch villian of the show, a rich 'foreign born' crook with connections worldwide, he had died several times over only to resurface when you least expect him, wreaking mayhem on the citizens of Oakdale.

Dr. John Dixon is another favorite, although he disappeared from the show some time back, much to my chagrin. I once saw Larry Bryggman, who played John, in a Chock Full o'Nuts in Manhatten and almost plotzed I was so excited. John could be pure evil one moment and a really sympathetic character the next. His love life was truely twisted, being involved with every matriarch of Oakdale's prominent families.

One of his ex-wives, Barbara Ryan (also an ex-wife of James Stenbeck, this woman obviously has trouble choosing good men) has taken over the mantle of evil lately. She's always been horrid, but she's gone overboard obsessing about her grown children, all of whom dislike her intensely. She's a piece of work, our Babs (played by Coleen Zenk).

When my kids were in utero they must have learned the ATWT theme song, because they recognized it as infants. As soon as the show came on, both heads would whip towards the TV and listen quietly to the theme song. I have them doing it on videotape and they crack up when they see it.

Now the Girl likes to watch it when she's home, and could easily become a third generation watcher if she's not careful. But that's OK, because I love snuggling up with her and watching the brave citizens of Oakdale conquer car accidents, kidney disease, bad adoptions, and wife swapping. It's all American!

Some amazing actors got their start on ATWT. Meg Ryan, Juliana Moore, Marisa Tomei, Steven Weber, Parker Posy, Ming-Na Wen, and Scott Bryce all had featured parts on ATWT. This soap supplies much of Law & Order's guest stars, and some actors have dual roles, like attorney Jessica Griffin (Tamara Tunie) who also plays the forensic pathologist on Law & Order, SVU.

Fifty years is a long time to stay on television, especially in a well-rated and much loved soap. Congratulations to all the cast and crew at As the World Turns for bringing 50 years of classic soap entertainment into our lives.
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Blogger Debby said...

It's the only soap I watch and don't anyone get between me and the tv when it's on. Gotta have me some World every week day.

3/4/06 9:01 PM  
Blogger Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

Hi. I'm just delurking (I was always more of a "Days" person, when I could still watch grown up tv).

I hope you get your BlogHer funds. I have a million questions on how you made it this far with twins.

4/4/06 12:47 PM  

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