Monday, January 11, 2010

All My Children 40th Anniversary Event at the Times Center

Yesterday, I went downtown to the Times Center for the All My Children 40th Anniversary event which was part of the NYT's Art and Leisure Weekend. I was tres excited for this event because I thought it was sold out. Thanks to Roger and Damon over at We Love Soaps for letting me know that there were still tickets available. I am a huge fan of AMC, having watched the show since the age of 7 when I had the chicken pox. It was the height of the love triangle between Phil Brent/Tara Martin/Chuck Tyler. I was so entranced by this show that I made my father buy another TV so that when I stayed at my grandmother's house during my school breaks, I could watch my own soaps instead of hers (She only watched CBS).

The line-up of stars from the show included Susan Lucci (Erica Kane), Cameron Matheson (Ryan Lavery), Rebecca Budig (Greenlee Smythe Dupree) and Debbi Morgan (Angie Hubbard), along with the creator Agnes Nixon and EP Julie Hanan-Carruthers. The program started at noon and was scheduled to run for a measly hour and fifteen minutes which is not enough time to do justice to 40 years of television. I also wish that a few of the other actors who have been on the show for awhile could have been there like Michael E. Knight (Tad Martin), Jill Larson (Opal Cortlandt), and David Canary, but I was happy with the stars that they had.

The moderator opened up asking Agnes Nixon a few questions about the gestation of the show. Unfortunately, Miss Nixon is in her late eighties and I don't think she really understood the question. The good stuff really happened when the floor was opened up for questions. Despite EW's recent article blaming the fans for the erosion of Daytime Drama, the fans were out in full force for this event. Almost everyone who asked a question had been watching the show for 30+ years. One of the common threads was that the show seems to have lost its way in courting new viewers, and neglecting the fans who have been watching since Day 1. I was pleased to hear EP, Julie Hanan-Carruthers state that the 40th Anniversary made them sit down and rethink the show, possibly taking it back to its roots. The rehiring of Julia Barr who played Brooke English, firing of Head Writer Chuck Pratt, and putting Jill Larson on contract as Opal certainly gives me hope. Now if they just bring Walt Wiley back on the show as Jackson Montgomery as DA to spar with Liza Colby I will be a happy girl. Oh and hire Ted King as Kendall's new love interest.

The best moment was at the end when a man stood up and told Debbi Morgan about a scene that she had played as Angie over 20 years ago. Angie was in medical school and one of her teachers wanted sex for grades. Angie stood up to him and when he asked her to keep quiet, she told him that she was going to "Shout it from the rooftops." Well that became a catch-phrase for this guy and his friends. And when one of them died recently, on his death bed, he told this guy that he was going "Shout it from the rooftops" when he got to heaven. There wasn't a dry eye in the house after that. It was a fitting ending to the program.

You can read a much wittier recap of the event by Mallory over at Serial Drama here.

The only thing that really bugs me is that SOAPNET which is owned by ABC is not doing anything so far to celebrate AMC's 40th other than rerunning the episode of The View that featured the show. Why not run an all day marathon of classic episodes from however far back the network has them? It's not like they haven't had enough time to prepare for this.

Here is some clips from the ABC web-site:

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