Having provided 13,661 episodes since its’ debut on April 2, 1956, As The World Turns, “ATWT” is no longer. Producers pulled the plug on the long running soap opera on September 17, 2010.
The first year of ATWT wasn’t a very popular one, but ratings during the second year, racing to the top spot in the Nielson Ratings. As the World Turns was the most-watched daytime drama from 1958 until 1978, with ten million viewers tuning in each day. On August 21, 1967, ATWT made two drastic changes to its’ program. The show was now visible in color, and was extended to an hour-long time slot.
CBS announced on December 8, 2009, that the series was canceled because of low ratings. Featuring a dramatic and sad finale, the final episode was taped six months later on June 23, 2010.
Looking back over the interesting and individual characters that made up Oakdale, I most remember Holden and Lily. The on-again-off-again, rich-girl and poor-boy love dilemma of the 80s and 90s. It has been a year or so since I last tuned in, but at that time, I believe they were married and had a teenage son. Am glad that those two characters were together for so long, and I compare them to Bo and Hope from “Days of our Lives”.
Also etched in my memory was the controversial relationship of Duke and LeAnn. Duke was a “wild guy”, while LeAnn was the quiet Vietnamese daughter of Tom Hughes. I don’t remember a lot of this storyline, however, the van wreck that Duke had, causing LeAnn’s spleen to rupture is still a storyline I remember.
Kim and Bob, Tom and Margo, Betsy and Craig…..these television couples are memorable to me still, having viewed them as a young adult stage of life.
Other comical characters were Lucinda Walsh, Lily’s mother; the Snider Clan, consisting of Momma Snider and the six children; and Duncan, the Scottish castle-dweller who always made me think of “The Count” from Sesame Street. Many kinds of characters were produced along the run of the show, and the show did keep up with the times, producing daytime’s first gay male couple. This concept had mixed emotions, and didn’t really boost the ratings very much, and it wasn’t enough to save the show from soap opera extinction.
A tidbit of trivia, As the World Turns is notable for having been produced in New York City for all of its time on television (its first 43 years in Manhattan, and from 2000 until 2010 in Brooklyn).
This long-running drama was and will continue to be a part of television history, and is sure to missed by its’ numerous fans. CBS plans to replace the hour long time slot with a talk show comparable to ABC’s “The View.”