As the World Turns celebrates it's 53rd birthday today. On April 2, 1956, it was one of two shows that were the first to air in a 30-minute format. Helen Wagner (Nancy Hughes) is credited as being the longest running character played by one actor on television. She also spoke the first words of the show, "Good morning, dear". ATWT's Lisa Miller (Eileen Fulton) served as a prototype for many soap villainesses. The show has the good fortune to retain many long time characters and actors. Here's hoping for many more years of ATWT.
As the world turns, we know the bleakness of winter, the promise of spring, the fullness of summer and the harvest of autumn--the cycle of life is complete. What is true of the world, nature, is true of man--he too has his cycle. -Irna Phillips, creator of As the World Turns
(The Edge of Night debuted the same day, but was cancelled in 1984 after transferring to ABC in 1975.) Watch some classic moments from YouTube after the jump.