Was an All My Children Storyline Cut Short by the Oklahoma City Bombing?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: All My Children cut a storyline short in the middle of it because of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The horrific April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK by Timothy McVeigh, was one of the most tragic days in United States history, with 168 dead and over 800 wounded.

As horrific as the day was, you can only imagine what the producers of All My Children were thinking when they realized that their April 19th episode had to do with a bomb plot!!

The popular soap opera (home to Susan Lucci’s famous character, Erica Kane) had a plot where Janet Green (played by Robin Mattson – see the picture below) makes a homemade bomb and sends it to the father of her child (the father, obviously her former lover, is getting married that day to another woman).

On the following Monday, Robin Mattson opened the show with a message to the audience that, due to sensitivity over the plot, All My Children decided to re-edit, re-write and re-shoot the episodes with that plot and excise anything bomb-related.

Which is exactly what they did.

Instead, I believe Janet was struck by lightning before she could do anything to the wedding (she, of course, survived the lightning and returned to do other mischief – Mattson stayed on as Janet Green until 2000).

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Thanks to reader Joe M. for recommending this story to me! And you don’t have to make excuses for watching All My Children, Joe! You like what you like – it’s all good!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is [email protected]

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4 Responses to “Was an All My Children Storyline Cut Short by the Oklahoma City Bombing?”

  1. From what I remember, Fox soap “Melrose Place” had to alter its third season finale a bit due to the Oklahoma City bombing. That season was supposed to end with Dr. Kimberly Shaw (played by Marcia Cross) planting explosives and blowing up the apartment complex where the series was set. She had indeed set up the bombs in the season finale (aired in May, 1995 – one month after the Murrah building bombing) which was supposed to end with the complex blowing up. However, the actual explosion was not shown until the fourth season premiere the following September.

  2. Correct on Melrose Place.

    General Hospital also had to scrap a storyline where the fictional New York city of Port Charles was held hostage by terrorists, shortly after 9/11. The storyline (crafted by Anthony Geary, who plays Luke Spencer) had already begun and had to be hastily tied up.

    Man, there’s so many crazy soap storylines you could address here — from a real alien on GH following the success of the STAR MAN movie, to the time traveling of One Life To Live, to the vampires of Port Charles….

  3. The craziest part about all of these crazy soap storylines is the fact that so many have been scrapped due to them being too similar to real-life events. They’re soap operas, they’re not supposed to be realistic in that way. They are meant to be entertaining BECAUSE they are so dramatic and outlandish through events assumed to never actually be able to happen but alas, with the way our world is, somehow far too many of those crazy plot-lines that are meant to stay just plot-lines to a show actually do end up playing out in reality. As I always say: at least once in your lifetime, you will experience some kind of event that makes you sit there and think, “How can this be happening? This can’t be real. This is the kind of stuff that belongs in soap operas.” Soap operas unfortunately are a lot more on the money of human realism than one would think or hope.

  4. Unfortunately, I do know a family very well whose “soap opera” moment was unfortunately losing one of their children in that very bombing and of course, the impact is very real and raw even decades later. That part of the situation tends to be the part that soap operas fail to present realistically. Of course they’re meant to be mainly about the shock-factor, but with such hard-hitting tragic stories to create those “shocking moments”, they should be following it up with the correct display of responses to the trauma so watchers who haven’t [luckily] been in any similar situations can understand the true never-ending tragedy of it. I am ashamed to admit that even I have noticed becoming numb to the realization that these very real happenings aren’t just some story from a show. They really do entirely change actual lives (+ other aspects within our world and how it functions) and I subconsciously would never have thought how deep those changes and trauma truly are until literally seeing it through my friends. Perhaps we as human beings would be a lot more understanding and supportive if we were to see those sides being displayed in entertainment? They’re of course not fun to watch, but very necessary to know in respect to all of those who certainly aren’t having fun with dealing with those real events they never chose to be a part of. Just food for thought 🙂

    And on that note since it just so happens to be so close to the anniversary: rest in peace to all of the beautiful souls lost in this tragedy and any other tragedies. They should have never had their lives stolen from them, but they will be remembered and efforts need to continue to be made to make sure they are always remembered. Also remember their loved ones who are stuck here on Earth forever living with the pain of no longer having them and going through the aftermath or even having to experience it in person firsthand. They are just as much a part of the victim count as those we lost. And if you do work in entertainment, journalism/media, or anything like that: please remember that there are still so many of those loved ones traumatized by living through it/losing so much due to them still living among us. Remember that these things unfortunately aren’t just a plot point and shouldn’t be treated as one. It’s understandable to want to add some flare to a storyline w/ something shocking (if you can tell, I’m a storyteller myself so I get it lol) but if you must a tragedy as a plot point, make sure you’re doing it with a purpose and as humanistic as possible with the real-life victims (including those still alive who went through it) in mind if that makes sense.

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