As All My Children celebrates its 40th anniversary, it's time to take a look back at what has made the show so successful. In this, part two of a special report, we look at memorable characters and furry villains.
For a small town, there sure seem to be a lot of murders. A devious doctor was buried alive, a reformed embezzler was accidentally gunned down by someone wanting to kill her gay brother, a lovely princess was killed because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many Pine Valley residents have died suddenly and unexpectedly.
A character with an outerspace nickname not only tossed her sister into a well, but she also was the murderer in one of daytime's most memorable whodunits. Janet "From Another Planet" Green secretly desired her pretty, well-to-do sister's life, so she threw her sister, Natalie, into a well in an abandoned mineshaft and proceeded to take over her sister's life. Of course, Janet got pregnant by her sister's man -- but that didn't stop her from taking a crowbar and pummeling Will Cortlandt to death.
As a general rule, you can't have a gathering in Pine Valley without at least one shocking surprise. Just as Natalie was getting over being trapped in that well, she found herself knee-deep in something else. Her husband-to-be, Dimitri Marick, wasn't quite as single as she'd thought. As they announced their plans to marry, Dimitri's housekeeper (and mother-in-law) Helga Voynitzeva rolled out a supposedly dead Angelique Marick for all the world to see. Or at least everyone in Pine Valley. Helga would eventually lose her grip on reality and she plummeted off of a castle wall.
Not everything on All My Children has been as dramatic. After all, this is the same soap where Erica Kane infamously stared down a grizzly bear with the line, "I am Erica Kane, and you are a filthy beast!" There have been fairytale weddings. Men have donned chicken costumes to win their loves' heart.
What makes All My Children fans keep tuning in tomorrow? It's the families, the romance, the characters that they love and care about. For its 40th anniversary, All My Children revisits its past, bringing back veteran performers to help fete the celebration. Despite all of its zaniness, Pine Valley has been named "Best Town In America." Hayley Vaughan returns home to Pine Valley to film a documentary about life in Pine Valley. The documentary allows the residents to reflect on the past and share some of the memories -- including classic clips from the show's history.
Now, All My Children is set to make history again. The show recently relocated from New York City, its home for the past 40 years, to Los Angeles. The show will begin broadcasting in high-definition later this year and a new head writer is being sought to take AMC through, hopefully, its next 40 years.
All My Children's two-part anniversary airs on January 4 and 5, 2010.