‘All My Children’ Stars Recall Their First Day on the Show

This week, “All My Children” airs its final episodes on ABC. It is slated to relaunch as an online show in 2012, but nobody knows which actors will be involved or what form it will take. So these final five episodes are a farewell to a series that has been a part of the fabric of American culture for the past 41 years.  At a recent junket, members of the cast reminisced about their first day in Pine Valley.

Susan Lucci (Erica Kane)
I remember my audition scene. I kept my audition scene and I remember it very well, immediately recognizing that this character had such potential… It was before the Brat Pack so there weren’t that many parts for 15 year old kids that was more than just, “Go do your homework and your father’s coming home, clean up the dishes.” So she had a real part, and there were four of us like that. So that was already amazing.Having said that, my first day, we, the four of us who were the kids, were actually on probation. We were told we were on probation for the first five shows, so they could change their mind at any time. It was my first professional job. I had wonderful, wonderful training, the best, and I will say that I still turn to that every day. But I didn’t open my mouth. I didn’t come out of my room for a year.

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Walt Willey (Jackson Montgomery)
I was around here for a long time before Jackson. I was an extra. I was Adam’s jet pilot. I was Palmer’s driver. I was the maitre’d at the Chateau. I rented Chuck and Donna their skis when they got into the avalanche and made a baby. I was already kind of part, although a very minor part, of the tapestry here. So to actually have a full role, a contract role as Jack, I have a hard time separating those moments from the moments when I was here 6, 8 times a year anyway. I was here more often as Jack. I remember the first days. I just remember thanking God because I had left “Ryan’s Hope” a little sooner than my contract said I should. I got a job on a thing called “Our Group” on Lifetime. It was a horrible little soap opera about a therapy group. But it gave me this wonderful six week tune-up. Working that way and coming back in to do soaps I just remember being so grateful that I didn’t come in rusty because I got to work with [Susan Lucci] and David Canary and Larkin Molloy one right after the other.  I was just insinuated immediately into story. I can remember being very scared and almost giddy with the fright and the fun and feeling like, Wow I can actually do this.

Thorsten Kaye (Zach Slater)
I know I started with Lucci. I really thought there was going to be me and Lucci hitting it for a little while.

Alicia Minshew (Kendall Hart Slater)
My first day was with Susan Lucci and she slapped me across the face. I was in a courtroom. I said hello to her. It was the first time we’d seen Kendall in six years since Sarah [Michelle Gellar] played her. Then in walks this girl. Who’s this chick? Well, it’s the new Kendall. And I remember just being slapped by Susan Lucci and then there was a whole scene in the courtroom with Kendall and Erica.

Rebecca Budig (Greenlee Smythe)
I worked with Abigail Spencer and Forbes March. I came into WCRW, Liza’s station, they were working there. And I walked in and I’m like, “Scott Chandler, la la la la. It was goofy. I was totally ignoring Becca, Abigail’s character.

Cornelius Smith (Frankie Hubbard)
It was actually a location shoot. I was out in the woods. It was a little nippy. I was nervous. I was prepared. I knew every line. We did the scene once and [the director] was like, “Great job.” I had like maybe four scenes and I messed up on one of thelines and I was like, “Yeah, that was bad. I’m sorry.” It was a little change. He was like, “Oh, it’s no [big deal].” I was like, “But it wasn’t the line. Are you sure?  We’re all okay?”

Debbi Morgan (Angie Hubbard)
Back in the day, we didn’t shoot by segments. We shot in continuity. We’d have a morning dry rehearsal. We’d have a rehearsal upstairs with all the actors. Then we’d have another rehearsal on the set with cameras. Then we’d go to lunch. We’d come back. We’d have a complete dress rehearsal. Then we’d tape the show late in the day. So if you were in the prologue and not in again until act six, you could be there from 7 in the morning until 7, 8 o’clock at night with all this time in between. So my first day, was sort of like that. I was wandering around, went and got something to eat, and I got kind of bored and lay down and I fell asleep. I remember it was kind of warm in the room. It was during the winter. The heat was on and I had on this little flimsy undershirt with no bra under it and a big sweatshirt. So I pulled the sweatshirt off. I fall asleep and the next thing I know I hear them calling my name to get to set. I jumped up, didn’t have time to change into my costume or anything, ran on set, titties falling out. Darnell [Williams] eyes got this big and everybody just fell out. They laughed so hard.  I looked down. I was mortified.

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