Reporter Says Goodbye To TV Family

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The last episode of As the World Turns, which has been on the air for decades, aired Friday. Lara Pellegrinelli has a dream in which a character in the show shares her life story. Sort of.

"As the World Turns" was broadcast for the last time yesterday. It was a chance for the soap opera's loyal fans to get their last glimpse of the fictional town of Oakdale, Illinois. For 54 years, Oakdale's been the setting for over-the-top tales of romance, intrigue, backstabbing. So many episodes that for some viewers, the place became real. Lara Pellegrinelli took a fantasy trip to the fictional Oakdale to say goodbye.

LARA PELLEGRINELLI: Ive lived in Fair Lawn, New Jersey; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Richmond, Virginia. But Ive always gone home to Oakdale.

(Soundbite of TV show, "As the World Turns")

Unidentified Man (Announcer): And now for the next 30 minutes, "As the World Turns."

PELLEGRINELLI: My mom started visiting there as a sophomore in high school. And when I was born, she started taking me with her.�

(Soundbite of music)

PELLEGRINELLI: Even when I got tired of the people in Oakdale, I knew them - and it was easy to imagine that they knew me.�

(Soundbite of music)

PELLEGRINELLI: In my mind, I could always find a friend like Lisa, the proprietor of the Lakeview Hotel, to commiserate at the bar in the lobby.

Ms. EILEEN FULTON (Actor): (as Lisa): Lara, my darling. What is wrong? Nobody drinks at the bar in my hotel alone.

PELLEGRINELLI: Oh, Lisa. Id always dreamed that Id be married here, here at the Lakeview. How am I ever going to move on with my life?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. FULTON: (as Lisa) Oh, I think you have to get back out there, honey. It doesnt matter if youre young or old. You find love again, or it finds you. Ive been divorced so many times and widowed - oh, at least four. But still, I dont think romance is finished with me. And I know you. Youre resilient, too, or my name isnt Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Hughes Shea Coleman almost Haley McColl Mitchell Grimaldi Chadwick.

(Soundbite of music)

PELLEGRINELLI: But shes also the actress Eileen Fulton.

Ms. FULTON: Did I get the part?

PELLEGRINELLI: I think you get the part.

Shes played the role of Lisa on "As the World Turns" for 50 years.�

I might be losing Lisa, but its comforting to know that Eileen Fulton, the dedicated professional behind her all these years, will go on.

Ms. FULTON: I feel like Ive been let loose. Free to fly, to do. Sorry, thats how I feel.

PELLEGRINELLI: I cant wait to see her next role. It will have to do, now that Ive said goodbye to my TV family. Yesterday, I cozied up with the late edition of the Oakdale Intruder at the Java caf�, and headed over to a picnic at the Snyder farm. I made it over to the Lakeview Hotel just in time for last call.

For NPR News, Im Lara Pellegrinelli in Oakdale.�

(Soundbite of music)

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