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A story by a CBS affiliate in Little Rock
April 22, 2006

Kendra and I were at the studio the day this film crew did the story!  Click here to see the video.


Big Lips In The Big City: 'As The World Turns'

It’s been entertaining daytime television viewers for 50 years. Craig takes you behind the scenes of the CBS daytime drama, “As the World Turns.”

Back in 1956, a handful of actors made history by becoming the first soap opera to get an entire half-hour of airtime. Before that, daytime serials, as they were called, only lasted 15 minutes.

The stories of doctors and lawyers and the clergy who counseled them wasn’t an immediate success. It took two years for the soap to reach No. 1 in the daytime drama ratings, but once it was there, it stayed there for 20 years.

The last names may be the same, but the characters have changed. Now, the storyline is about the kids and grandkids of the original characters from Oakdale, Ill.

For Michael Park, who plays detective Jack Snyder, being a part of the cast is a dream come true. Not just for him, but for his grandmother as well.

"One of the proudest moments of my life was to call my grandmother and tell her that I'm a Snyder on ‘As the World Turns,’” says Mike. “To be a Snyder boy though, I mean that says a lot, I was so proud to be a Snyder boy because I remember Holden and Caleb and all those guys and Josh; I remember all those guys from growing up."

“As the World Turns” was a daily tradition in Michael’s family.

"My great grandmother watched this show. So, and then, my grandmother watches the show, but she pretends not to watch the show. But, if you ask her, she'll know everything that's going on.

“I didn't see it last week but I hear that Dusty and Meg are so on and so on. So, she pretends not to watch the show but she can't, get herself away from it," says Mike.

Trent Dawson who plays Henry Coleman says there have been times on the subway that he's been recognized by an entire family.

“I’ve had the daughters come up then the parents, then the grandmother comes up and it's extraordinary. People have just grown up with the show, multiple generations of it, and that's just an amazing part of television history to be a part of," says Trent.

Some viewers watch soaps to take their mind off their own problems and believe me, there's never a shortage of drama and fantasy in Oakdale.

"He's so disgustingly good and judgmental and the only thing that he's done that is just stupid is that he's gone into a hostage situation without a gun. Now, I'm knocking down a door saying, ‘Stop, police!’ with nothing in my hand,” exclaims Mike. “He's got a gun and I have nothing, so I think it's odd that they pick and choose where Jack’s going to have a gun and where he's not going to have a gun."

The daily scripts are thick and the number of lines these actors have to memorize is overwhelming. There are no Teleprompters here. And even though soaps are considered a little melodramatic, the actors say it's not that different from other acting experiences.

"It's like doing a one act play every day,” says Trent. “And yeah, there can be some outlandish stuff sometimes, but I look at lot of other drama - I look at a lot of primetime television and I don't see that much of a difference to be honest with you."

We are allowed to watch rehearsals, but when the bell to roll tape sounds, our camera must be turned off. So, I decided to record my own scene with Mike’s help.

"I'm your father,” Craig says.

“I don't know what to say, my father was hit by a car when I was 12 and he died. My father was hit by my mother who was drunk at the time and my brother took the blame for it, so I don't think it's possible,” Mike responds.

Craig counters, “Well, they're rewriting it, and I'm up for a soap Emmy.”


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