This is a bittersweet week for everyone who loves “All My Children.” Production company Prospect Park finally announced its first deals with actors for the on-line version of the series, assuring fans that the show will continue on the web. But that does not make saying good-bye to a show that has been a part of the ABC line-up for 41 years any easier. At a recent press junket, cast members shared their feelings about shooting the final television episodes of AMC.
Michael Knight (Tad): We’ve had a very, very tough year in that we’ve got to get a certain number [of episodes] ahead so we can shut down, sometimes seven or eight a week, so to get to the end of this, I don’t think the emotional “Oh my God, this has been my family for 30 years,” has set in, but there is definitely a sort of physical reaction where you’re like, “I’m going to be able to breathe if I can just make it through this.” I think that last week is going to seem pretty surreal. We have these shows coming up where there’s a Chandler day and a Martin day. People like Ray [McDonnell] and Justin [Bruening] and Alexa [Havins] come back. When you see them, and they walk back in the door with their history and you remember personally what they meant to you, I think for me personally there will be a shocked reaction probably about a month [later.] I’ll look back on the past 30 years and think, “What the hell was that?”
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Rebecca Budig (Greenlee): I just got this script with Alicia [Minshew]. I think it’s our last one-on-one scene and I got really teared up. I called her and I said, “We have these scenes and they’re so sweet and we tell each other we love each other.” It just made me realize how long we’ve been friends, not only on the show, but in real life we’ve gone through so much together. It’s just so weird because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know where the show’s going to end up. You don’t know who they’re going to ask to do it. You don’t know anything… When you’re on a soap, it’s such a family environment. It’s not season to season. It’s year round. I think it just leaves an indelible mark. The reason why people want to come back and say goodbye and have their peace with the show is because it really does make an impact in your life.
Cady McClain (Dixie): Everybody’s trying to do their best work because you know it’s going to be your last work. I think everybody’s happen that the legacy of “All My Children” will continue in some way but, other than that, we don’t know anything about the future, so it’s very strange.
Debbi Morgan (Angie): This has been happening for the last year or so, “Guiding Light”, “As the World Turns”, so everybody was sort of seeing the handwriting on the wall that it’s becoming a dying genre. I think the most shocking part for me was really not the fact that we were getting canceled but the short notice. I would have thought we would have been told a year or at least six months before. When we were told four months, that was really shocking.
Bobbie Eakes (Krystal): I think if I knew for sure it would be the end I would be really starting to go up to people, “Love you man,” but now I’m going, “Well, we’ll see.” [After the last scene] I’m sure I’ll be very emotional because I love the people I work with. But I think oddly some people are going to be a lot more emotional than me because I’ve been there before. I think for some of the ones, this is all they’ve done their whole lives, it’s going to be more devastating for them.
Thorsten Kaye (Zach): I wanted to be part of the end. And I am. It’s nice to see everybody. It’s like anything else, a team breaking up or something. You want to be there for the last day.
Jill Larson (Opal): I think that the last week it’s going to hit us hard. I think that fact that it’s ending has been tempered a bit by the possibility of our going forward on-line and on cable. I think we’re all hopeful that something can be arranged… [The last scene] is going to be brutally difficult, I think.
Vincent Irizarry (David): I’ve never been with a company where every time they call a meeting I’m like, “What now?” The last meeting in New York we find out after 40 years we’re moving our entire show to Los Angeles. The first meeting we have here was our 40th anniversary. It was the day of our 40th anniversary the first day we started at the studios and we’re having a meeting with the entire new crew and taping new scenes with that crew and then we have a meeting that we’re being canceled and then we have another meeting that psych, we’re not canceling you, you were punked, we have another production crew that’s going to be buying your company. My head is spinning from it all.
Susan Lucci (Erica): It hasn’t sunken in, I must say. There’s nothing that I feel here, or in the work, that feels like it’s ending…. The announcement was made, everyone was sad, and yet it has never once touched a day here. People come in, they come in on time. Everyone has a smile on their face. They’re firing on four cylinders or eight cylinders or however many it takes. But it would be a company of professionals: actors, crew, the works that anybody would be really lucky to have.