The Opening Credits
Original Version: 1970-1990
The original version premiered with the show in 1970 and would last two
decades, until the 20th Anniversary in 1990. It is the longest lasting
All My Children Opening.
The Opening began with a leather bound book on a platform. A hand of a
woman would reach over and open the book. The identity of this hand would
remain a mystery. It is said to either be the hand of the late Kay Campbell
(ex-Kate) or Ruth Warrick (Phoebe).
The music was composed by Dina Paul and was a soft melody of flutes and
piano that sounded like a child's lullaby. The opening went through one
major transformation in its run. Rosemary Prinz (ex-Amy) was the only
character to be featured in the opening. She was on the show for only
the first six months. She was a very popular soap star at the time and
Agnes Nixon hoped to use her popularity to her advantage on the show.
When she left, no other faces would be featured; rather the book would
be opened to a page with the show's title and some flowers in the top
The original version of this opening would become a rare commodity as
a storage house fire damaged most of the episodes before 1976. The show
was always recorded in color, but the only surviving copies where on black
and white kinescope or emmy reels the various stars had at home.
Falling Pictures Version: 1990-1995
This version premiered with the 20th Anniversary of the show on January
2, 1990. Then Executive Producer Felicia Behr challenged conservatives
by jumping on the pop song bandwagon of other soap opera themes of the
time. Billy Barber and Bob Israel composed the song for the opening sequence.
It was a mixture of saxophone, key board, and the hot licks of an electric
guitar. It was in stark contrast to the soft spoken song of years past.
This sudden change was all in hopes to increase the ratings of the show
that was in a slump through most of the late eighties.
The visuals of the opening sequence where stunning, especially for the
day in which it was created. It always opened with a span across a mantel
of framed pictures with the "veterans" of the show starting
with original cast members Ray McDonnell (Joe) and Mary Fickett (ex-Ruth)
originally with their onscreen children, then Julia Barr (ex-Brooke),
then David Canary (Adam & Stuart), then original cast member Ruth
Warrick (ex-Phoebe) and the late Louis Edmonds (ex-Langley). Michael E.
Knight (Tad) would be the only cast member to be featured twice in the
same opening version. His first shot was the opening picture with the
elder Martins, and his second was shared with then onscreen wife Cady
McClain (ex-Dixie).The opening then pans to a series of pictures strewn
across a table followed by pictures falling from the sky. At the end,
Susan Lucci (Erica)'s picture falls from the sky onto the last page of
the family album, as it closes.
One very significant fact of this opening was the number of recurring
players that were featured. Since so many photos could be featured on
one screen, they where able to add pictures outside of the contract cast.
Also, the original version had many group and couple shots. With the ever-changing
relationships on soaps, this concept became extinct.
White Version: 1995-2002
Executive Producer Felicia Behr premiered a new All My Children opening
in time for their 25th Anniversary on January 5, 1995. It retired the
still very new Falling Pictures version, expanding on its theme of family
heirlooms and individual cast shots. It is also the show's first venture
into multiple openings so that each person could be featured for a longer
time. It also began the tradition of the openings being before the first
act of the show.
The music was composed by David Benoit. It was a loud combination of piano
and saxophone. It was much more upbeat than its predecessor. The music
underwent one change into toned down version that lasted from 1997-1998.
That summer, the original music returned. Eventually a new, even more
upbeat version premiered.
The opening garnered its name because of the white washed scenery that
moved around in the background of the opening. They were all interiors
and exteriors of famous places in Pine Valley including the Martin home,
Wildwind, and the Chandler Mansion. Various objects would fade in, including
a pen and ink well, chess pieces, leaves, and a pocket watch. The most
important of these objects was a string of pearls and a locket necklace
that indicated which version of the opening was being presented that day.
Throughout the opening, individual cast shots would fade in against the
white background. The first person was always Susan Lucci (Erica), who
was featured in a silver frame. When the opening began, all the shots
that opened horizontally had a black border around it. The pictures where
also taken from recent episodes and did not move. In 1996, the pictures
would be replaced by shots taken specifically for the opening. The pictures
would remain still until 1997 when the borders were dropped and the stars
were able to pose inside of them. At the end of the opening, Agnes Nixon's
handwriting wrote out the words from the All My Children bible, and a
book closed on the last picture.
There was only one special version made for the premier. It featured characters
from past and present including Laurence Lau (ex-Greg), Kim Delaney (ex-Jenny),
Debbi Morgan (ex-Angie), Darnell Williams (ex-Jesse), Taylor Miller (ex-Nina),
and Peter Bergman (ex-Cliff). The opening ended with a picture of Agnes
Nixon. It was for the 25th Anniversary Special hosted by Carol Burnett
Scrapbook Version: 2002-2003
This "Scrapbook Version" was in homage to the theme that premiered
on the show's 20th Anniversary under Executive Producer Felicia Behr.
This new modified version was done by Executive Producer Jean Daddario
Burke. The show continued to run 2 versions of the opening with half the
cast on one day, and the other the next.
The music was a toned down version of the 1990 theme composed by Billy
Barber and Bob Israel. The loud saxophone had been replaced by the soft
sounds of a piano. Many variations would be played through its tenure.
They sometimes changed weekly.
This version introduced an idea that most ABC soaps where adopting, they
added character names to the opening to help newer viewers pick up quicker
on who was who. However, they did it in a very innovative way. Rather
then just bold type the name like the other soaps, they had the characters
sign their name to the picture. Agnes Nixon's words that she used in the
All My Children bible are seen on the first page of the book.
There were basically 3 types of pictures upon the debut of the opening.
The first type is a Polaroid photo with a small black and white still
snapshot which appeared to be from actual episode footage. These pictures
would turn into color pictures by the third update in 2003. The second
kind was a basic photo frame with space for one character. The third form
was a double frame so two characters could share one screen. As characters
featured as "Polaroid" in the opening gradually left the show,
no new Polaroid style shots would be added, only single and double photo
frame shots. While the single and double frames are the only types of
framed images featured in the opening, they are still at varying angles
and distance from character to character. Some frames are angled diagonally
in one direction, some angled in the opposite direction, some are entirely
At the beginning and the end of the opening, there is a book with flipping
pages featuring past and present characters [1. Laura (Laura Allen) &
Brooke (Julia Barr); 2. Adam (David Canary) & Colby (Kathryn Newton);
3. Stuart (David Canary); 4. Hayley (Kelly Ripa) & Enzo (Scott or
Zachary Benes); 5. Trey (Sam Page); 6. Dixie (Cady McClain)]. Also is
homage to the 20th Anniversary opening, this one had Erica Kane end both
Family Album Version: 2003-present
All My Children premiered their new openings on May 30, 2004. Executive
Producer Julie Carruthers kept a remixed version of the Bob Israel theme,
and ensured the simplicity of updating the opening with new images. Unlike
other openings, the whole cast would only be featured in one version.
This opening had deep roots in the history of the show. The shot began
with a vintage picture of Susan Lucci as Erica Kane when she was just
a teen. The camera then panned over various old photo albums. One of great
notice was that for Ruth Warrick (ex-Phoebe Wallingford). It was filled
with a slue of her older pictures. The camera then went to a shot of the
open sky with many pictures falling from the sky, starting with that of
Susan Lucci in a current shot. This was obviously in homage to the falling
pictures version. Then, the barrage of individual shots began.
The images were characterized with three main types of pictures: one,
a full screen picture; two, pictures falling from the sky; and three,
full screen shots with a curtain layer over them. The last image was yet
again Susan Lucci. The flipping pages of an album remained; however, the
cover at the end was different from those in the past. It was still red
in hue, but had a different font.
This opening was accompanied by new, live action bumpers. This was an
all new aspect in daytime incorporated by all the ABC Soaps under President
Brian Frons. The bumpers were same the images as those in the opening
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Special thanks to David Smith and Jake Syapp for their
contributions to this section.