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October 4, 2015

'As the World Turns' Finale Tribute: The Soap Opera's Top 20 Moments

by Michael Maloney, posted Sep 15th 2010 3:00PM
As the World TurnsNarrowing down the thousands of memorable moments to a mere 20 from 54 years of 'As the World Turns' is no easy feat.

It's especially tough to do since actors on the show are still turning in powerhouse performances. (Note to Kathryn Hays: Your performance as Kim dealing with her son Chris' heart condition on Sept. 2 was Emmy-worthy. Consider submitting yourself next year.)

There were many shocking moments and storylines that didn't make the list: Hal and Barbara's love story, Jack accidentally killing Brad, Bob and Kim finding Sabrina, John and Lucinda in the hot tub, Shannon's "shrunken head," Tom and Margo battling Mr. Big, Tad Channing's murder ... well, you get the idea.

Read on for a list of 20 memorable favorite moments from the beloved CBS soap opera, which will exit the airwaves on Fri, Sept. 17.

20. Chris and Nancy's 50th Anniversary Party (1986)
'ATWT' used the show's 30th anniversary to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of mainstay Oakdale duo Chris and Nancy Hughes As the World Turns 30th anniversary(played by original cast members Helen Wagner and Don MacLaughlin.) The show pulled out all the stops for the lavish gala thrown on board "Diana's," the nautical restaurant. Past favorites including Penny, Donald, Annie, Dee, Susan (!) and Grant returned for the festivities. Tom Hughes was in the midst of a marital crisis, but his estranged wife Margo agreed to attend the celebration anyway for Chris and Nancy -- a reminder that 'ATWT' was always about family, conflict and love. Watch the episode on YouTube.

19. Ellen Lowell Finds Her Son (Early '60s)
What are the odds that the little boy you're babysitting turns out to be the son you gave up for adoption? Pretty darn good if your name is Ellen Lowell and you're watching over Dan, the adoptive son of David and Betty Stewart. Ellen failed to regain legal custody of her boy, but after a series of trials and tribulations, she wed a widowed David and went on to have two daughters with him, Dee and Annie. Ellen and David were one of Oakdale's more stable duos until his untimely death in the early '90s. Alas, neither Patricia Bruder (Ellen) nor Ellen's former trademark bouffant hairdo returned for 'ATWT's' finale.

18. Luke and Noah's romance (2005-10)
'ATWT' was the first soap to introduce a regular gay male character, Hank Elliot, in 1988. His lover, Charles, however, lived off-screen in New York. The show broke new ground in the 2000s with Lily and Holden's son, Luke, who came out and had his share of storylines. Luke fought going to a reprogramming camp that would "cure" him of his sexuality. Later, he fell in love with fellow WOAK-TV intern Noah Mayer. A romance developed and the two young men faced the soap maladies experienced by their heterosexual counterparts. After Luke and Noah split, Luke fell for Dr. Reid Oliver, who was tragically killed while trying to help Chris Hughes get a new heart. His untimely death paved the way for a Luke/Noah reunion.

17. Sierra's alive! (1989)
The presumed-dead Sierra Esteban Montgomery was the most-talked about character currently not on the canvas back in the late '80s. When Scott Bryce, who played her TV husband Craig, decided to leave the show, the writers brought Sierra back from the dead and sent her and Craig off to live happily ever after (well, at least for a while.) Sierra fought her way from the jungles of Montega to her mother Lucinda's drawing room in Oakdale. At first, Lucinda couldn't believe it. Soon, Craig was likewise struck speechless by Sierra's return. Faster than you could cue up Billy Ocean's 'Suddenly,' Craig and Sierra were on a plane back to Montega.

Lyla and Casey, As the World Turns16. Lyla says goodbye to Casey (1994)
Sadly, severe cast cutbacks began taking place on 'ATWT' after head writer Douglas Marland passed away in 1993. One of the toughest causalities was Anne Sward, whose Lyla was a staple on the show for over a decade. However, the writers gave her a touching send-off at the grave of Lyla's husband Casey, who died in 1989. 'ATWT' had plenty of love stories during its 54-year run, but Casey and Lyla's was among the most romantic. She was older than he was, so today she'd probably be called a "cougar," but the word that best summed up Casey and Lyla's relationship was "love." Watch their New York engagement here.

15. Lisa's Phantom Fetus (Early '70s)
Lisa Miller was dating her former brother-in-law Donald Hughes and began developing pregnancy symptoms. She went to see Dr. Eric Lonsberry to get confirmation that she was expecting. The doc informed Lisa that she had an ovarian cyst and that she wasn't really pregnant. This story gave Lisa the famous line: "I'm pregnant and I don't know how it happened." Eileen Fulton's lively performances in outlandish storylines like these made Lisa a fan favorite. Trivia buffs take note: Lonsberry was played by future 'ATWT' head writer Douglas Marland.

Craig and Lucinda, ATWT14. Lily walks in on Lucinda and Craig making out (1986)
Savvy businesswoman Lucinda Walsh was like crack cocaine to ambitious Craig Montgomery. She wanted him, and he, at times, couldn't help but want her. A machete was often needed to cut the tension between these two powerhouse players. Lucinda caught Craig at a vulnerable moment and was this close to seducing him in her stables. Alas, that's when an emotional Lily, Lucinda's daughter, burst in, seeking aid with her latest teen drama. Craig ran after Lily, leaving a partially disrobed Lucinda frustrated, fearful and unsatisfied. Watch the steamy scenes here.

13. Joyce shoots her husband Donald Hughes (Late '70s)
Adulterous Joyce Hughes had a plan to get rid of her lover Ralph Mitchell: She invited him over to her house while Don was out of town. Prepared to say she thought that he was an intruder, Joyce shot "Ralph," only to be shocked to see that her victim was Donald, who had returned home unexpectedly. When her mother-in-law Nancy asked if Joyce was going to an event (the Hughes' annual Memorial Day barbecue perhaps?), Joyce showed her contempt by saying that she had to "stay home and take care of Donald," now paralyzed. If looks could kill, Nancy would have gone on trial for murdering Joyce.

Lisa Miller, ATWT12. "We need more Lemon Pledge" (Early '60s)
Lisa Miller's wicked ways made her a precursor to 'All My Children's' Erica Kane. Spoiled, willful and ambitious, Lisa dipped into the household funds to hire a maid to clean the house while she went shopping. Later, she let her hard-working medical student husband Bob think that she'd done all the work. While this sounds tame by today's standards, Lisa was living the ultimate fantasy of every stay-at-home wife/mother then watching 'ATWT' when she pulled off this stunt.

11. Penny and Jeff's love story (Late '50s/Early '60s)
'ATWT' has had plenty of super-couples over the decades -- Holden and Lily, Mike and Rosanna, Steve and Betsy, Jack and Carly, Tom and Margo -- but before all of them young lovers Penny Hughes and Jeff Baker battled their parents and the odds to get married. They succeeded, but their happiness was short-lived. Jeff's mother urged him to work in the family business despite the fact that he was happier as an entertainer. Tragically, Jeff died in a car accident that left Penny with temporary amnesia.

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I miss ATWT. Watched it from its beginning to the last day it played when Dr. Bob said "Good night". Best Soap there ever was!

July 04 2014 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Terrific list! I love Luke and Noah and I wish they had reunited before the show ended. The ending was disrespectful to Nuke fans and to Luke.

April 03 2013 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a terrific list! I love Luke and Noah and I only wish the show would have shown their reunion on air before it ended.

April 03 2013 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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