Sunday, April 2, 2006


Today marks the fiftieth anniversary for 'As The World Turns', a soap opera on CBS which looks at life in Oakdale. (I'm not sure where Oakdale is supposed to be located - the Midwest, perhaps, - but I'm fairly certain it's not the one in Connecticut.)

Helen Wagner, who portrays Nancy Hughes on the show, is now in the Guinness Book of World Records for having played the role for more than fifty years. (But not continuously, as you'll see.)

In fact, she spoke the first words uttered on the show: "Good morning, dear." Perhaps they should tape some kind of scene so that, even if she should have passed away, her character of Nancy Hughes could also recite the closing lines on 'As The World Turns'. (And that may be far in the future, given CBS' hold on the ratings when it comes to soap operas. But Ms. Wagner is 87.....)

The following is the Wikipedia entry on Ms. Wagner, offered in salute to her long-running stint in the role:

Helen Wagner (born
September 3, 1918) is an American actress. She was born in Lubbock, Texas.
She has played matriarch
Nancy Hughes McClosky on the soap opera As The World Turns, with only a few interruptions, since the show's debut in 1956. This has earned her a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. [1]

She has taken some breaks, both voluntary and involuntary. After six months in the role of Nancy, show creator
Irna Phillips fired her because she did not favor the way Wagner poured coffee. After an overwhelming consensus was reached to hire her back, Irna did so begrudgingly.

Wagner left the show again in the early
1980s. Then-producer Mary-Ellis Bunim wished to take the show in a different direction; the show fell out of the top slot in the daytime Nielsen ratings, and Bunim wished to gear the show toward the younger generation by showcasing the Hughes family less. Wagner and co-star Don MacLaughlin walked away from the show after vocal dissent in the press. She returned to the role in 1985.

After many years of little to no part in story, she returned to the screen with a pivotal role in a
2004 storyline, revolving around her grandson's marriage to naïve teenager Alison Stewart (Jessica Dunphy).

Although she has played the role for almost fifty years, she has never won a
Daytime Emmy Award for her work. She was finally awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for her role on the show in May 2004.

Hopefully, we here at Toobworld Central will have no need to salute her with a "Hat Squad" tribute anytime soon!


No comments: