Monday, September 13, 2010

CLASSIC ATWT Photo fo the Day: Kim, Dan & Susan

After giving birth to Emily and divorcing Dan to marry Bruce Baxter, Susan found herself unhappy in the marriage and divorced Bruce. Thereafter, Susan spent the rest of the 1970s on AS THE WORLD TURNS trying to win Dan back. But Dan had turned his attentions to Kim, who was trying to escape her loveless marriage to John after giving birth to Andy.

John and Susan, however, stopped at nothing to keep Dan and Kim apart. Kim had left John but lost her memory as a result of an injury incurred in a windstorm, and John convinced her that she should return to him. Kim ultimately regained her memory, and left an answering machine message for Dan telling him that she remembered that she loved him. However, Susan stole the tape and Dan didn't get the message. True love won out, and Dan and Kim ultimately married, but their happiness was short-lived as Dan died of a brain tumor in 1979.

Although Dan's death ultimately cleared the way for Bob and Kim to get married, I've long felt that it was a mistake for the show to have killed off this wonderful character. What do you think? What other characters do you think it was a mistake for the show to have killed off over the years? I'd also vote for Chuck Shea (Lisa's son), Melinda Gray (Barbara's half-sister), Bryant Montgomery, Rose D'Angelo and, most recently, Reid Oliver.


  1. Rob, I agree with you that they should have never killed off Dan Stewart. Come to think of it, they should have never killed off Paul Stewart, either! MY "rules" for soaps is that you should never kill off popular and/or legacy characters. SORAS I can deal with if I have to, but character death prunes any and all story possibilities because once the death story has played out, what do you do with the survivors? Do they constantly bring up the deceased or do they conveniently "forget" about them? Rather than "death" they should send characters out of town--even if it's "forever." Back in the '60s and '70s, I think Irna Phillips would sometimes kill characters as a way to get back at actors. This idea, of course, makes you scratch your head in confusion and wipe your brow with relief when you realize that Irna could have killed (but didn't) the departing Rosemary's Prinz's "Penny Hughes". Instead, she was sent to England--far, far away. If a character is thoroughly woven into the fabric of the show, DON'T KILL THEM OFF--send them out of town until you (or another writer) wants to bring them back!

    I agree with the rest of your list of characters killed off without thought--and would add Claire Shea (she was a contemporary of Nancy Hughes and would have added balance to the olde[st] generation on the show with her acidic qualities--despite the fact that if ATWT had kept Barbara Berjer, we wouldn't have had her 'Barbara Norris Thorpe' for the years we did) and, as tough as the circumstances were, I wouldn't have killed off Hal Munson.

    Wow, what a topic... :-)

  2. It is a tough subject - the killing off of significant characters. I think on occasion there are story line benefits (such as Brad Snyder), but all too often they are used as the easy way out or a quick fix. It seems that in the last ten years the shows are quick to kill a character rather than recast or back burner them. I think it is funny that ATWT must have decided they made a big fat mistake with Dusty and magically brought him back from the dead a couple of years back. GL was in a similar pickle and we had sooooo many Tammy comes back to talk with the living. If they had just recast her or put her in a coma (like Rosanna) they would have had an out. The desire for the quick dramatics gets those writers in trouble over and over again.

    The viewer becomes invested in a character and when you kill them off, that connection is gone. I agree with Dan about legacy characters, killing them should be very rare, they are the what helped these shows stay grounded.

    I couldn't agree with you more about Dan Stewart. I think this was as close to the big mistake GL pulled with killing off Maureen Bauer. The real Stewarts seemed to disappear one by one after that until within a few years all we were left with Susan and Emily and eventually their by product, Alison.

    Chuck (or Chuckie as Lisa used to call him) might have been an interesting character if soras'd. I'm on the fence with Melinda Gray, it seems that if she had stayed around it would have been harder to make Barbara as multifaceted as she became over the years. Melinda was a piece of work from the minute she arrived and never really changed, as a half sister, could they both have been scheming bitches? I suppose there are some possibilities there. How about Dee Stewart's love interest Ian McFarland? That was a joke. I realize it was used to set up the bigger story that would become Dee/John and the marital rape story, but he was an interesting guy who could have done more.

    More recently, I think killing off Jennifer wasn't a great decision, I agree with Bryant too. Rose had some great moments, and I think leaving town would have been fine, we did still have her twin. I think killing off Jake McKinnon was a huge mistake. Not an ATWT legacy character, he was a great P&G legacy and I loved him with Molly. He could have done so much more, but was wasted. As for Reid Oliver, that was the most gratuitous attempt at an emotional plot point in a very long time. It was not necessary to the story line in wrapping up the show. Someone goofed there.

    On a side note, these pictures and historical snippets have been so much fun - thanks for giving them space on the blog! I'm going to miss the show terribly, but this trip down memory lane has been great way to remember some great moments while gearing up for the end.

  3. I loved this storyline triangle from my mid-1970s college years! :-)

  4. Wow - a pic with John Reilly as Dan Stewart - thank you for posting this one!!