Saturday Matinee #103: Disney Music in "As the World Turns" (December 25, 2009 & September 17, 2010)
Published December 22, 2012
by Albert Gutierrez
Editor's Note: Due to technical problems, we are still attempting to get the pictures that go along with this weeks Saturday Matinee up online. Please keep checking back, but until then, enjoy!
Happy Nopocalypse, everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed Kelvin's excellent Alice in Wonderland article last week. I was extremely busy with school papers, but knew I could entrust Saturday Matinee to our resident "Once Upon a Time" reviewer. In celebration of the Mayan Calendar reaching its conclusion while the world continues to turn, we'll take a look at a rather interesting use of Disney in non-Disney media. One of my earliest articles (Saturday Matinee #24), looked at Disney character appearances in non-Disney movies, such as Mickey Mouse as a guest in Hollywood Party (1934). This week, we'll take a look at not Disney characters, but Disney music. More specifically, we'll look at how Disney music is used in two landmark episodes of the CBS soap opera, "As the World Turns." Both these episodes are from the show's final year, and both use the Disney music in bittersweet ways from their original intent.
On December 8, 2009, CBS had announced their intention to end "As the World Turns" the following September. The announcement, while shocking, also was inevitable. Three months earlier, CBS had broadcast the final episode of "Guiding Light," the longest-running soap opera in broadcast history. It was only a matter of time before CBS decided to cancel "As the World Turns." By the time of the cancellation announcement, the show had already recorded and edited its Christmas episode, which was broadcast on Christmas Day, 2009. Don Hastings, the show's second longest-running cast member (he played Dr. Bob Hughes since 1960), provided occasional narration throughout the episode, which focused on Christmas at the Snyder Farm. Towards the end of the episode, he said the following during the closing scene:
"This is where we leave you. I know what you're thinking, there's still so many questions. What's going to happen to Faith? To Luke and Noah? And what about Holden and Molly, Lily and Damian? If you're thinking this isn't really the end of the story, you're right. The story goes on, because this is Oakdale, and we wouldn't have it any other way."
Throughout this narration, an instrumental version of "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins plays in the background. Needless to say, the use of this music only heightened the bittersweet nature of this voiceover. Disney music always has a very calming effect for me, it's usually my go-to music whenever I want to feel better. And songs like "Feed the Birds" definitely help uplift the spirit. It was the most appropriate music for such a poignant moment in "As the World Turns" history. Soap operas, by their very nature, are not meant to end. The story goes on, as Dr. Bob said. For the viewers, it is very bittersweet to watch such joyous moments between beloved characters and knowing that one day, their story will be coming to an end for viewers. This makes "Feed the Birds" all the more potent. Its very theme is that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Christmas episodes are often my favorite ones to revisit in soap operas, because they often take that theme to heart. Characters who are bitter rivals might call a truce for that day, couples who are having trouble may get back together again. It's that little bit of kindness within the season that allows the story to keep on going.
The next use of Disney music in an "As the World Turns" episode was from the show's final episode, which aired September 17, 2010. Like the Christmas episode, this one featured narration by good Dr. Bob, who was reflecting on his last day of work before his retirement. The entire first act of the episode is Dr. Bob narrating as we see various residents of Oakdale having a normal morning, with all the drama and strife of the past 54 years now behind them. Most notably, young Dr. Chris Hughes (son of Dr. Bob and Kim) has been recovering from his heart transplant, with his girlfriend Katie Peretti taking care of him. As the scene plays, we hear a soft instrumental piece to highlight the tender moment between the couple. It's a soft flute, strings, and piano which should sound familiar to Disney fans. Immediately, I recognized it as the instrumental version of "That's How You Know" from 2007's Enchanted. More specifically, this is the score titled "Robert Says Goodbye" on the film's soundtrack.
Giselle: I'm so sorry. You've been a very kind friend to me when I had none. And I would never want to make you unhappy or cause you any trouble, so I'll go. I wish you every happiness.
In Enchanted, the music plays while Robert and Giselle are trying to say goodbye to each other shortly before they walk in Central Park. As Giselle leaves, Robert watches her. We can tell that he's falling for her, especially as the "That's How You Know" melody in the underscore is foreshadowing it. Thus, this "goodbye" is not really the end for them.
Likewise, when we heard this piece of music in "As the World Turns," it was a subtle reminder that this goodbye is not really the end. As was the case with "Feed the Birds," the use of a Disney song in "As the World Turns" is both fitting and bittersweet. I wasn't always keen on the Chris and Katie pairing (I shipped Katie/Simon and Chris/Abigail), but the two had grown up together on the show. Thanks to his heart transplant (from the late Dr. Reid Oliver), Chris has been given a new lease on life, a chance to finally have a mature and loving relationship with someone he's known all his life. "Robert Says Goodbye" is the show's way of assuring viewers that everyone - not just Chris and Katie - will still have a world turning, even if we no longer get to be a part of it.
Much of the music from the final episode of "As the World Turns" was from both Enchanted and 1991's The Prince of Tides. Unfortunately, international and syndicated versions of the episode replace the beautiful scores from both films with generic stock music from the show. Honestly, I was surprised that CBS allowed the higher-profile Mary Poppins song "Feed to Birds" to remain on the Christmas episode, but removed Enchanted's "Robert Says Goodbye" from the final episode.
Since "As the World Turns" is no longer broadcast, there's no way for you to catch the series anymore. For some time, SoapClassics (via Broadway Video Digital Media) released several DVD sets for "As the World Turns," which included the episodes mentioned here. However, all their DVDs (including sets for "Guiding Light") are now out of print. But, if you still want some kind of soap operatic fix with Disney music included, there is always the memorable soap opera scenes from Enchanted, which features Paige O'Hara (Disney's Belle from Beauty and the Beast) and Danny Mastrogiorgio as "Angela" and "Jerry" - named after Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach, also from Beauty and the Beast.
Jerry: I've always been in love with you.
Angela: Don't you have any self-respect?
Jerry: I don't need self-respect. I just need your lips against mine.
Angela: How could I love a man who doesn't even like himself? Get away from me, Jerry, you disgust me.
Jerry: I can't help my feelings for you, Angela. It's love that makes me act crazy.
Angela: This isn't love, this is infatuation.