By Justin Gillis
September 23, 1984
Susan Abrames had a question for the dashing young cad named Tad holding forth on a stage Saturday at the Broward Mall in Plantation.
"Is Tad married in real life?" she scrawled on the back of a white, three-by-five card, passed to him through the crowd. "If not, is he a virgin?"
Michael Knight, the 25-year-old actor who plays the crass, selfish Tad Martin on the ABC soap opera ALL MY CHILDREN, said no to the first question.
He dodged the second. No matter.
They indulged in a collective wink, the hundreds of squealing 14-year-old girls and pregnant women and young couples and shuffling middle-aged fathers and smoothly coiffed grandmas
from all over South Florida who had gathered around the stage to look at stars. They knew the answer.
"Tad," demanded Nancy Adkins of North Lauderdale. "Who else are you going to get pregnant?"
"Michael," demanded a woman who wrote on the back of a 25- cent coupon for a three-pack box of Chipwich: The Original Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich. "Do you really like older women? Fran."
It was a day for fantasy.
Knight and costar Tasia Valenza visited the mall as part of its fall fashion festival, drew a crowd of the curious and the faithful, shook hands, kissed lips, accepted long-stemmed red roses and answered questions about the show.
Valenza plays Dottie Thornton, whom Tad once gave up chasing after she had refused to sleep with him. Tad, of course, is after only one thing. Dottie later had a change of heart and threw away her birth control pills and seduced Tad, hoping to get pregnant so he'd marry her.
She did, and Tad urged her to have an abortion. But she couldn't bring herself to do it. Now the big question for All My Children viewers across America is whether the heel will do the right thing and marry Dottie.
Tad, by the way, is the brother of the late, lamented Jenny Nelson, a good soul who was accidentally killed by her rejected suitor, who was actually trying to bump off her husband, Greg. Another big question for ALL MY CHILDREN viewers is whether Jenny is really dead. Greg keeps spying a woman who looks strangely like the demised.
At the Broward Mall, they asked over and over and over Saturday: Is Jenny dead? Is Tad the handsome cad going to marry Dottie? Will she have an abortion after all?
The stars refused to say. It's in their contracts, you know. About themselves they talked more freely.
She's an Aries. He's a Taurus. She's Italian and Russian and Polish. He's French and German. He really does kiss well, she says. When the plot calls for them to dive beneath the sheets, they do wear clothes. From the waist down.
The more they jabbered, the more rapidly came the questions, handed onstage time and again with a big smile or a little squeal.
Anonymous: "Does Erica love Adam or Adam's money? Is Tony's sister Judy really playing Jenny? Can I have your autographs?"
Jeff Shoostine of Sunrise: "What was the reason Kim Delaney who was great playing Jenny was written out of the show (killed off)? (She definitely was a favorite for male viewers.)"
Debbie Wilson of Fort Lauderdale: "To Dottie, why can't you leave Tad the hell alone?"
On the back of a business card from Smile Dental Centers: "Please come in for free cleaning."
In the end, the bloom faded a bit. Babies started to cry; the middle-aged men in the back shuffled faster. The stars had to catch a plane. To New York.
They didn't leave before Michael-Tad answered the question scratched on a dozen white cards and lingering on a hundred lips.
"Yes, I am in love in real life," he said. "With a real-estate broker."