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ATWT Stars Recall Assassination of JFK And How It Interrupted Them Live On The Air!

Courtesy/NYTimesP&G

Courtesy/NYTimesP&G

All this past week, America had been remembering the horrific events, and how the country changed because of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago on November 22nd, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

But it was the beloved and iconic soap opera, As the World Turns that has a very special place in history!  It was ATWT that was the only live network show going when Kennedy was shot.  The episode was only ten minutes into it, when the voice of Walter Cronkite broke in with his CBS News bulletin on the shooting.

In this fascinating piece from the New York Times over the weekend they relate, “ATWT was the only regular program being broadcast nationally by a major network — specifically, throughout the Eastern and Central time zones. In Washington, the NBC and ABC affiliates were scheduled to present TV Beauty School and Divorce Court. In Dallas, a discussion of winter coats with hidden zippers was the focus of The Julie Benell Show, a local effort by the ABC affiliate WFAA. ”

Don Hastings, who played Bob Hughes related to NY Times on what went down that fatal day: “Phil Polansky, our cameraman, said, ‘Don’t tell the actors what? The president’s been shot?’ He had headphones on, and he was talking to the control room. We got our cue and we just kept going, because no one else knew what to do.”  But the Times added that, “Mr. Hastings was unaware that the news was already blacking out the first half of his scene.”

Eileen Fulton, who played Lisa Hughes related her story in which she had no idea what was going on while she was performing her scene with her on-screen mom Elma (Ethel Remey): “I had a very emotional scene.“When we finished, my cameraman, Joe Hallahan, had tears running down his face. I said, ‘I’m good, but I didn’t know I was that good.’ ”

Later, when the cast got together on the Monday, to try to time and rehearse Tuesday’s live show, Don Hastings kept ducking into the control room to watch the funeral cortege.  He said about rehearsals, “They kept coming to get me, because I was just destroyed at that point.”

But it was Rosemary Prinz, who played Penny that gave the most insightful news of all to NY Times! Prinz had hoped for some mention of the assassination of JFK on the next episode.  But ATWT creator Irna Phillips, wanted nothing of the sort to happen to disrupt her fictional town of Oakdale and its citizens.  Prinz stated, “She was the meanest bitch on the planet, and you can quote me!”

However, Prinz recalled how she got an opportunity to work it in on her own in a scene with Grandpa Hughes (Santos Ortega):  “I was supposed to go on about Tom and his father,” she recalled, “and I said instead: ‘Oh, Grandpa, here we are talking about little Tom. My God, after what the country has gone through, it seems so out of proportion. But, of course, we have to go on.’  An infuriated production team promptly descended on Ms. Prinz.  Prinz added.  “I said, ‘I just went blank and said the first think I could think of, and then I got back to the script.’ Everyone knew I was full of it. But I made the point.”

So, what did you think about Prinz’ statement on Irna Phillips? The recollections of Don Hastings, Eileen Fulton and Prinz?  We thought it was pretty terrific that the N.Y. Times remembered how historic ATWT was, and how it played into American history on that fateful day of November 22nd, 1963.

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Mr MikeKolstenRICKIERoddChip Coffey Recent comment authors
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jimh(leave it to beaver)
jimh(leave it to beaver)

That horrible tragic moment in history i still remember but its a little fuzzy: i was 3 years old at the time…my mother and i were at a local department store…many customers were near the tv sets including me and my mother when JFKs assasination was announced…i didnt clearly understand what really happened but i remember moms sad look on her face and gasping, ‘Oh, dear God, no!’ It would be a few years later when Robert Kennedy was killed when she told me what happened that day and where we were at when President Kennedy was shot…imo it seems are country slowly went downhill after that: before there were plenty of jobs and factories, and i lived on a treelined street that was a mix of middle class and poor but most neighbors were friendly and kept their yards clean, and you could keep your doors unlocked…there were some problems in and outside our house but things were still better then than now. By the 1970s to the present factories closed or moved to China, my old neighborhood is rundown with drugs and troublemakers, and people are more rude, violent and vulgar than ever before…we’ve become trashier and more anti family(its hard to sit down and find something the whole family can watch together…there is very few choices but not much plus kids and adults have too many distractions that seperate them…its hard to get everyone together. After the loss of Kennedy things were and never wil be the same again…meanwhile, anyone who hadnt seen the moment when ATWTs was interupted for JFKs assasination report can find it on youtube.

Mark in FLA
Mark in FLA

I love reading about what Ms Prinz said live on the air that acknowledged the grief the country was going thru. Good for her. Too bad Irna Phillips did not want to acknowledge what happened. Glad that Rosemary Prinz ignored her wishes to keep reality out of Oakdale!

Lew S
Lew S

Love it!!

Lin
Lin

Good for Rosemary Prinz! I know nothing about Irna Phillips, but i’d say from what i read above, Ms. Prinz is probably right. I think bringing in what the country was feeling could only have helped the viewers feel better about their soap. I agree this was a terrific that the NYT included ATWT in their coverage of that horrible time in our history.

lenafreed
lenafreed

I was a 16 year old HS student in November 1963 and my HS Social Studies teacher had the same reaction as Irna Phillips. As soon as we took our seats for our first class after the assassination he announced we were not going to discuss it. How sad!
This assassination was a terrible turning point in our country’s history. Rosemary Prinz did the right thing!

Michael (not Fairman)
Michael (not Fairman)

Irna was so “into” her shows that she apparently insisted on referring to the actors by their character names, rather than their own names, when she spoke to them.

She must have been a creative genius, to have been largely responsible, single-handedly, for creating and evolving the soap genre, but from everything I’ve seen, she was pretty much certifiable.

I know that Rosemary Prinz had serious ongoing issues with Phillips and the other PTB practically the whole time she was playing Penny. This is a particularly telling anecdote in regard to what Phillips was like to work for–and that quote is just priceless!

I think Lisa’s (long-suffering, with a daughter like that) mother was “Alma,” not “Elma.”

What a great article, and it’s so nice to hear news about the ATWT vets. I miss them and ATWT (even as dreadful as it was for the last five years or so of its run).

Chip Coffey
Chip Coffey

Back in 1986, I attended the 30th anniversary party for ATWT at the Palladium in NYC as the guest of Joe Rothenberger, a former ATWT executive producer. While chatting with Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes), I recalled my mother telling me that she was watching ATWT when the show was interrupted with news of President Kennedy’s shooting. I asked Ms. Wagner about this and she recounted that she was in the middle of a live scene with Santos Ortega (Grandpa Hughes) when the announcement was aired. The actors continued on, finding out a few minutes later that the President had been shot. Ms. Wagner was a gracious lady and will always remain an icon of daytime television.

Kolsten
Kolsten

I also got to meet Helen Wagner, but much later. I met her in June 2009 after she returned to the show after her husband died in real life. She was the most gracious woman I had ever met. I was on the set as part of an undergraduate school project that the National Braodcasting Museum and my school set up. She was by far my favorite interview. I also got to ask her about that fateful day in 1963 and her incredible scenes a decade earlier with Mac suffering from Alzheimer’s. Her actual scenes that day with actors Billy and Marnie were spot on!

Rodd
Rodd

I think it’s terrific that the NYT called upon the ATWT stars for their piece. It was a significant part of the nation’s context for that terrible tragedy; more so than we can realize today with a million channels to watch.

I loved Ms. Prinz’s comments about Irna Phillips. It reflects the strong color of the early days of television. What fascinating stories these stars must have to tell!

RICKIE
RICKIE

I adore Rosemary Prinz! She’s always been so starkly honest about everything — this, and her calling out Agnes Nixon for taking credit for All My Children’s Amy Tyler being a peace activist (the actress herself insisted on this when she agreed to sign a short-term contract to help launch AMC). Ms Prinz doesn’t go along to get along — I love that about her!

Mr Mike
Mr Mike

A.T.W.T. one of the best soaps ever.
Real stories, about real life, without the need
for Dracula’s, people coming back from the dead, etc.
Just great story lines performed by wonderfully talented actors.

All My Children

TAINTED DREAMS Season 2 To Bow December 21st!

Tainted Dreams is back with a second season offering from Daytime Emmy-winning director and series creator, Sonia Blangiardo!

Beginning December 21st, the next chapter of Blangiardo’s the soap behind a soap, will be available for streaming on Amazon and Amazon Prime. (season one is also currently available on Amazon)

This series, which was nominated for five 2017 Daytime Emmys, follows the behind-the-scenes drama of a fictitious soap opera titled Painted Dreams.  Many soap opera notables have roles in the online series including: Alicia Minshew, Michael Lowry , Austin Peck. Terri Ivens,  Walt Willey, Kelley Menighan, Grant Aleksander, Bobbie Eakes, Natalia Livingston, Marnie Schulenburg, Nathan Purdee, Colleen Zenk, James DePaiva, Tonja Walker, Ilene Kristen, and the late Larkin Malloy . In addition, Jessie Godderz of Impact Wrestling and Big Brother fame, and Dina Manzo of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, also appear.

In a statement, Sonia Blangiardo said that she is “excited to take everyone along these characters’ journeys in Season 2, as they evolve and deal with ever increasing professional and personal turmoil.”

Fore more on Tainted Dreams visit their official website here.  (more…)

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As The World Turns

Crystal Hunt, Donna Mills, Antonio Sabato Jr & Michael Swan Star In New Faith-Based Soap Opera, HILTON HEAD ISLAND!

Some longtime soap opera notables are featured in a new 22 episode faith-based soap entitle, Hilton Head Island.

The series debuts this Friday, November 10th with the first eight installments, and is from the Christian entertainment company, PureFlix.com.

The soap opera is available by subscription, but the service offers a one-month free trial.  In story, Hilton Head Island, revolves around the lives of the fictional Trisk family, who own the a television network.

Hilton Head Island features: Antonio Sabato Jr. (ex-Jagger, General Hospital), Donna Mills (ex-Abby, Knots Landing), Michael Swan (ex-Duncan, As the World Turns), and Crystal Hunt (ex-Lizzie, GL). PureFlix.com specializes in “family-oriented” content and shows. The plan is for Hilton Head Island to be rolled out in two subsequent seven-episode blocks in the coming weeks.

Watch the first official trailer for the soap after the jump.  Then let us know your thoughts in the comment section below! (more…)

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As The World Turns

EastSiders Season 3 Starring Van Hansis and Kit Williamson Kickstarter Campaign Underway!

EastSiders is on its way back for season three, which is great news since the LGBT series starring former As the World Turns star Van Hasis (Ex-Luke) as Thom and creator/writer/producer Kit Williamson as Cal.

Over the last few seasons, the funny, poignant, and extremely well-written series tells the tale of a couple who go through the struggles of their relationship while living in Silver Lake, California.

With many twist and turns and featuring a supporting cast that includes: Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat)Brianna Brown (General Hospital, Devious Maids, the upcoming Dynasty), Stephen Guarino (Happy Endings, I’m Dying Up Here), Willam Beli (RuPaul’s Drag Race, Nip/Tuck) Traci Lords (Crybaby, Zach and Miri Make a Porno), Matthew McKelligon (You’re Killing Me), Jonathan Lisecki (Gayby) and John Halbach (Producer, EastSiders), the series third season looks to be one of its most intriguing yet.

This time Thom and Cal (Hansis and Williamson) end up on the great American road trip after moving from L.A. to the Big Apple and then trying to get back home! The journey home to Silver Lake was shot on-location in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and  California over 35 days last fall.

The production has now launched their Kicktstarter campaign to finish up the series and is hoping for some funding for additional shoot days, and post-production costs. The campaign is set to run until June 6th, by which time the producers must have attained their goal of $60,000, or if you contribute and they have not met their goal, it is refunded. (more…)

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Video du Jour

This week, Nick lost temporary custody of Christian leading to a defiant and emotional turn by Joshua Morrow (Nick) as he has to say farewell to the little boy he has come to love as his own son, and give him to his father, Victor, who wanted and was granted custody of the child. Watch the hankie-inducing moment! Leave A Comment

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