'As the World Turns': Kathryn Hays, a.k.a. Kim Hughes, reflects on final day of taping

as-the-world_turnsImage Credit: David M. Russell/CBSEW obtained this exclusive shot of Kathryn Hays (Kim Hughes) and Don Hastings (Bob Hughes) from As the World Turns‘ last day of taping in June. In preparation for the soap’s series finale on Sept. 17, we talked to Hays about those final hours on the soap’s Brooklyn set and what it was like to say goodbye:

“The last day was poignant, and what was so incredible about it was how we shot pretty much in order that day. As each group finished with a scene, that would be the end of their involvement. But it wasn’t like tomorrow was another show, so the studio got really full. By the time they got to our scenes with Don and myself, there was hardly any room for cameras or the boom. In a way, it felt like being in a theater. We don’t normally have an audience. The stage manager asked if it was going to be a problem for us, but we both said no. It was  like everybody’s arm was around us. It was absolutely incredible, there was not a sound. It was like everyone was holding their breath. In a way, we were all doing it together. When we finished, Don and I both spoke a little bit to everybody, and the whole As the World Turns family moved to the other end of big studio where they had the world’s longest table set up, covered with champagne glasses.

“On the way home, I said to my daughter that if you are gonna go out, this is the way to do it. We had been talking about making changes for a long time, so it’s not like this was a major surprise. We had been given six months warning, and our executive producer Chris Goutman absolutely insisted that we drive story all the way to the end. And I cannot begin to say how hard people were working. The writers must have felt as if they had fallen into some hellhole.  Everybody worked their buns off. When it came to the end, it felt that we had done our best.

“I think if you look beyond soap operas, you’ll see that people like to have an ongoing story. They love to read sequels of books. They like to see sequels of movies. Maybe soaps will be changed in some way. Or maybe at some point, someone will come along and say that nobody wants to watch reality shows anymore and that maybe we should try telling stories again. Soaps will come back in some way. As far as I’m personally concerned, I feel it was a major privilege to be part of this family.”

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  • Art

    It’s nice that they taught them how to drink champagne… or did you mean champagne glasses?

    • Jerank

      explain your comment, I don’t understand it.

      • Art

        The original post said it was a table filled with champagne classes. It’s been updated.

  • Jack Johnson

    I’m gonna miss this show. :(

  • Stella

    Where will I get my CarJack fix? This show as truly the best. A class act all the way.

  • Christy

    I had the honor of meeting Kathryn Hays, Don Hastings, and the late Helen Wagner several years ago at an event celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary. I was so impressed with the way that Mr. Hastings watched over the then very frail Ms. Wagner (who portrayed his mother, Nancy). I will never forget seeing Mr. Hastings gently help the elderly Ms. Wagner up the stairs and into her seat. It was very clear that the years of working together had created a special bond between the three. What I will always take away from that evening is the respect, kindness and love of the show that each one of the cast members displayed. In this day and age, it is unusual to stay at one job for more than a few years, especially an acting job, but most of these actors have been on the show for two, three, and in the case of Helen Wagner (5 decades.) Simply an amazing cast, show, and it will be sorely missed.

    • Ronnie1

      Thanks for sharing this story!

  • Carrie Ann

    It’s going to be very sad when that last episode airs. I still can’t believe they’ve canceled ATWT after all these years. It’s the only soap I’ve kept up with. Other soaps get on my nerves, while ATWT has always had a genuine, almost earnest quality that’s kept me watching.

  • Rick

    I really am going to miss this show.

  • Dorothy

    I feel that I have lived with the Hughes all my married life, (55 years) so I’m really going to miss them. It was a really classy soap. The family had good moral values which we don’t get with reality shows. I for one am so sorry to see this soap taken off the air. SO LONG CAST I’LL REALLY MISS YOU ALL.

  • L

    Still can’t believe it has been cancelled. Thanks to all of the cast who have done such a stellar job all these years. You will be missed.

  • MiaS

    Sad to see it go.
    I grew up with ths show.

  • wg

    Class. Act…ress.

  • Pisces228

    I first watched the show when I was 11, in 1981, because my mother had it on. Dr. John Dixon (the fabulous Larry Briggman) was terrorizing his wife, Dee Stewart. I didn’t quite understand it all at that age, but I knew it was incredibly interesting! A few years later, when I was a fresh-faced teen, they introduced me to Holden and Lily, and I was HOOKED. Have watched the show on and off for years, and will miss it as much as I miss my beloved Guiding Light. Cheers to a groundbreaking television program.

    • Merry Bear

      Well said, Pisces. I’m the same age, and began watching at the same time (and am also a Pisces). Lily, Holden and Dusty were riveting stuff at the time. I digress, but Dusty’s eyes were amazing. I, too, enjoyed the show on and off for many years, but finally quit watching for good when the original Lily left. Even though I no longer watch, I’m very sorry it’s gone. I went to see the A-Team this summer just to see my first love, my dear Dusty, light up the big screen. He was still worth the price of admission.

  • AJ

    I’ve “only” watched for 20 years. It was a great show. I will miss it.
    Thanks for the memories ATWT!

  • t.g. pierson

    I am really going to miss seeing Elizabeth Hubbard and her amazing creation Lucinda Walsh. Lucinda is quite possibly the best character on television. I have an idea that Elizabeth Hubbard should go to Damages…imagine the fireworks of Hubbard going head to head with Glenn Close…match made in heaven.

  • Karen

    My late Mother started watching ATWT from the very first episode aired, and I have kept up over the years. It is sad that the show is ending. We will all miss the ATWT family.

  • Ronnie1

    Along with “Guiding Light”, ATWT was a soap I learned to enjoy as I watched along with my mom. The “racier” stuff went over my head as a kid, and as I grew up, I kept watching it at college and then again with Mom. Now she has Alzheimer’s, and she may have forgotten some things, but she still remembers the characters! We sit and watch it together, and it’s a nice, poignant hour we can share. We are both going to miss it so much…we hate game and reality shows! Farewell, ATWT…you have given this mother-daughter team some great stories and great acting…thank you so much!!

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