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Tube Tuesday: ABC’s “All My Children” celebrates its 40th anniversary today

Tube Tuesday: ABC’s “All My Children” celebrates its 40th anniversary today

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If you're a pop culture fan, you were fixated on “Doctor Who” this past weekend as David Tennant regenerated and then exited this long-running BBC science fiction program.

David Tennant as Dr. Who number 10 stands outside the Tardis
Copyright 2010 BBC. All Rights Reserved

While I myself have enjoyed Tennant’s take on the good Doctor, David’s four-series-stint on “Doctor Who” is nothing compared to the four decades that Susan Lucci has been playing Erica Kane on ABC’s “All My Children.”

Susan Lucci poses with pictures of Erica Kane's mother, daughters and best friend Myrtle on the All My Children set during the 40th Anniversary show
Susan Lucci as Erica Kane. Photo by Donna Svennevik. Copyright 2010
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It's hard to believe, but today is the actual 40th anniversary of the debut of this long-running soap. “All My Children” (AMC) first premiered on ABC back on January 10, 1970. And in honor of this milestone, ABC Daytime has produced two extra-special episodes. The last of which airs today on the Alphabet Network between 1 – 2 p.m. ET / PT.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos gladly came back to play Haley and Mateo Santos for All My Children's Fortieth Anniversary
Kelly Ripa as Hayley Vaughan Santos and Mark
Consuelos Mateo Santos. Photo by Heidi Gutman
Copyright 2010 American Broadcasting
Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The conceit of these specials is that Pine Valley (i.e. a fictitious suburb of Philadelphia, PA that serves as “All My Children” ‘s primary setting ) has been named “The Most Congenial Town in America.” This prestigious award gives Hayley Vaughan Santos (Kelly Ripa of "Live with Regis & Kelly" fame) and her husband Mateo (Mark Consuelos) an excuse to return to their old home town to produce and host a documentary which will air on Hayley’s television show, “The Wave.” So – during yesterday & today’s episode – Hayley has wandered all over town, interviewing friends and family members as well as other longtime Pine Valley residents.

Hayley (Kelly Ripa) interviews Adam Chandler (David Canary) and his new wife Annie (Melissa Claire Egan) for her TV show The Wave
(L to R) Kelly Ripa as Hayley, David Canary as Adam Chandler and Melissa Claire
Egan as Annie McDermott. Photo by Steve Fenn. Copyright 2010
American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And the scripts for these two extra-special “All My Children” episodes do a nice job of subtly acknowledging this important milestone in the show’s history. Take – for example – this piece of dialogue from yesterday’s show, where Adam is paying tribute to this long-running soap as well as his new wife, Annie.

“Annie is the embodiment of what it means to be Pine Valley. If you want happiness, you want love, you want a better life… Well, you’re in the right place. And that spirit is what’s driven this town all this time. It’s that spirit that makes this a very special place to live.”

The cast of All My Children laughs at something during a read through of Annie and Adam's vow renewal rehearsal
(L to R) Lucy Merriam, Melissa Clair Egan, Jill Larson, Susan Lucci, Adam Mayfield,
Mark Consuelos, David Canary and Kelly Ripa during a rehearsal for “All My
Children” ‘s 40th anniversary episodes. Photo by Steve Fenn. Copyright
2010 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved

AMC has gone through many changes over the years with some of the biggest coming within the past few months. What with the recent retirement of Ray McDonnell, who played Dr. Joe Martin – the longtime patriarch of Pine Valley – for 39 years …

Ray McDonnell (Joe Martin on All My Children) poses with AMC creator Agnes Nixon
(L to R) Ray McDonnell and “All My Children” creator Agnes Nixon. Photo by
Lorenzo Bevilaqua. Copyright 2010 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

… as well as the network’s decision to relocate production of this long-running soap to the West Coast. Truth be told, yesterday was the first day of shooting for the cast of “All My Children” in their new digs. A state-of-the-art studio that features two soundstages as well as HD production equipment. Which (ABC Daytime executives hope) will usher in a brand-new era of expansive storytelling on this Emmy Award-winning soap.

The "Welcome to Pine Valley" sign that used to appear in the All My Children opening sequence
Copyright American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Yeah, “All My Children” has come a long way from its very first broadcast back on January 10, 1970. ‘s first day of production. Here’s hoping that the cast & crew – once they settle into their brand-new production facility in LA -- have many years ahead of charting the comings & goings of the residents of Pine Valley:

The Great and the Least,
The Rich and the Poor,
The Weak and the Strong,
In Joy and Sorrow,
In Tragedy and Triumph,

You are ALL MY CHILDREN

The cast of All My Children threw Ray McDonnell a good-bye party when he retired after 40 years on the show
(L to R) Walt Willey, Agnes Nixon, Michael E. Knight, Ray MacDonnell, Susan Lucci, Lee
Meriwether, Jill Larson, Vincent Irizarry, Cameron Mathison, Rebecca Budig, Lucy
Merriam, Brittany Allen and Jenna Dimartini at a recent “All My Children” cast
party. Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua. Copyright 2010 American Broadcasting
Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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