Fourteen Years After the Murder That Broke Daytime’s Heart, We Look Back Enraged All Over Again at the Events That Preceded It
ABC/Courtesy of the Everett Collection
The end of January in 2007 was also the end of the line for All My Children’s beloved Dixie Martin. For a while, anyway.
As we all know, daytime television is an anything-goes genre. You can make a supercouple of cousins like Guiding Light’s Jonathan and Tammy. You can make a rapist your comic relief like One Life to Live did with Todd. You can even recast an actress with an actor like Days of Our Lives did when Alison Sweeney was on maternity leave.
But ya know what you can’t do?
You can’t freaking kill off All My Children’s Dixie Cooney Martin, that’s what. You might as well cut out the heart of the audience, toss it on the ground and stomp on it.
Yet the ABC soap, which you may have heard is being rebooted for primetime as Pine Valley, did exactly that as January came to a close in 2007. How? Why? And also WTH?!?
The Drama On Screen
In late 2006, the girlbosses of Fusion Cosmetics began meeting their maker at the hand of a serial killer called the Satin Slayer — in reality, Alexander Cambias, the not-as-dead-as-everyone-wished father of Zach Grayson. Among his intended victims was Dixie’s sometime daughter-in-law, Babe Carey, who slid a plate of poisoned pancakes intended for her over to…
Well, you know — Dixie — to disastrous effect. (You can watch her shuffle off this mortal coil below, as well as take a tear-stained trip down memory lane, via the clip below.)
The Drama Off Screen
In reality, Dixie, whom Emmy winner McClain had played off and on since replacing Kari Gibson in 1988, wasn’t so much the victim of the Satin Slayer but a spiteful scribe. During an installment of EW’s Cast Reunions in 2020, McClain revealed that her character’s syrup-soaked demise was intended to be “a dig at me by one of the writers that very much wanted to put me in my place. I had stepped out of line, and they wanted to put me back in line, and I was going to eat those pancakes and I was going to learn my lesson, and I certainly did.
“I’ll never live those pancakes down,” she added. “It was a very strange way to go out.”
There was a silver lining, though, for McClain. “My revenge I guess was that I really love pancakes,” she said. “And they were absolutely delicious, so I enjoyed every bite. I was like, ‘This doesn’t bother me, because I’m gonna eat ’em all.'”
And the Sin She Had Committed… ?
McClain has never named the writer in question, but it’s been much observed that it was Megan McTavish who was All My Children’s headwriter from the summer of 2003 to the spring of 2007. (And who else would have that kind of power but the big kahuna?) McClain, who now plays Jennifer on Days of Our Lives, did, however, reveal what what she’d done that had so enraged the scribe.
In the wake of husband Tad’s murder of Greg Madden, the unscrupulous doctor who’d convinced Dixie to give up their daughter Kate for adoption, “I was asking the writer for a scene where [the Martins] take their kids aside to make sure they know that their dad killing someone was wrong,” she tweeted. “I thought this would be OK. Turns out it was a bad day for an ‘ask.’”
No one asks me what I did! Lol. I was asking the writer for a scene where Tad and Dixie take their kids aside to make sure they know that their dad (Tad) killing someone was wrong. I thought this would be ok. Turns out it was a bad day for an “ask”! 🤣
— Cady McClain (@CadyMcClain) May 27, 2020
Needless to say, Dixie was “resurrected” a few years later. And perhaps not coincidentally, McTavish ceased to be headwriter not long after the heroine’s demise. While you’re here and clearly in a Pine Valley state of mind, why not peruse the below photo gallery that takes us through All My Children’s entire run on ABC… and perhaps sets the stage for the reboot!