A day filled with tears, laughter, and hugs erupted into applause when the last scene of One Life to Live finished taping in its ABC studio Friday. Today saw scenes moving along at the famously whiplash-like speed common for daytime soaps, but with increasing fanfare and emotion. Then the studio quietly began to fill up in the late afternoon as Erika Slezak (Viki Lord) and Jerry vern Dorn (Clint Buchanan, right) started to shoot that last scene (which is not the last one that will be seen on the show’s finale in January) in Viki’s Llanfair living room.
Ever the pro, Slezak was determined not to break down and cry as the time approached, but even as she blinked back the tears, she had hugs for everyone who wanted one, such as Melissa Archer, who played her daughter Natalie and who went straight in for this embrace as soon as the scene was wrapped. “Why bother say goodbye?” said Slezak, who sees this as just closing a chapter. “We will see each other again, someplace, somehow, somewhere.”
One Life to Live has been on the air since 1968. ABC announced the show’s cancellation in April, along with that of All My Children, and then licensed both shows to Prospect Park, a media and production company founded in 2009 by Jeffrey Kwatinetz and former Disney Studios head Rich Frank, for an Internet version. Slezak has signed on to follow the show online, along with many others such Ted King (Tomas Delgado), Michael Easton (John McBain), and Kassie DePaiva (Blair Cramer).
“You were all a part of something so extraordinary,” said exec producer Frank Valentini (above, left) to the cast and crew gathered around when the applause died down after that final scene. He’s also signed on for the online show. “I count us all so lucky and so blessed to be a part of this.”