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‘All My Children’ is gone

October 2, 2011
By KATHRYN SPIRA , For The Leader Herald

On?Sept. 23, "All My Children" ended with a bang and a cliffhanger just in case the series gets reborn on the internet.

I was a devotee of this soap for many years starting when I was in high school and kept watching as I pursued my acting career. In fact, one of my dear friends played Silver Kane, the sister of Susan Lucci's character Erica Kane.

Susan Lucci has played Kane since 1970 when she was just 23. According to Wikipedia, the show has always been broadcast in color, although a few early episodes were preserved in kinescope in black and white when it was just a half-hour long. I've been watching it so long I remember all the theme songs and how differently the credits would roll with each new makeover for the soap.

About two and a half years ago, I stopped watching the series when my aide Terry finally talked me out of watching because she was able to predict story lines and plots successfully, showing how predictable the show was. I was also watching more primetime comedies and there was no comparison with the poor quality of the daytime soap.

Still, I tuned in for the final show out of nostalgia and curiosity.

In an interview with Michael Knight, who played Tad ("the cad") Martin on the show, he said the demise came about due to lower viewer ratings and budget constraints.

Herman has long derided the soap, but admitted liking an April Fools Day show a few years back when everyone vamped and spoofed their own characters. Tad had continuous sexual relations with all the female leads one after another as part of that spoof.

I have to admit that some of my acting friends used to deride me for watching the show, especially since I was trained as a method actor.

There's really no room for method acting on a soap.

I did get a couple of walk-ons with the soap "One Life to Live" as a nurse in a hospital scene, really just an extra part. However, on my resume I listed my role as a featured extra, which couldn't be further from the truth. It was just one more way to pad my resume.

I had hoped to be in plays such as those authored by the greats such as Strindberg, Ibsen and Chekhov. However, as I moved further away from training into auditions I became focused on film and TV roles.

Lucci was nominated 19 times for an Emmy before finally winning in 1999 with the MC screaming, "The streak is over!" The audience applauded wildly at the long last win.

On a thoughtful and reflective note, the cast members were obviously emotional in their last shows. For many of them, "All My Children" had been home, job and family for most of their acting lives. Whatever you think of soaps, it was a steady job in an industry known for instability.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website at



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