I was less than a month old when AW premiered, but I think I remember my mom and grandmother watching the show from the very first black & white episode.
When I was old enough to understand what a TV was, I think I was mesmerized by the updated color opening titles. The interlocking circles in various shades of purple and blue was both pretty and comforting. Here, see for yourself:
This opening and theme song were a constant during the 1970s when AW was at its peak of popularity. They were replaced in 1981 by an odd science-fiction inspired opening that lasted throughout most of the 80s.A new theme song sang by country music diva and AW fan Crystal Gayle and Broadway star Gary Morris debuted in 1987 along with flashy new graphics featuring cast members. It was updated occasionally as new actors joined the show and others left.
The final opening from 1996 was bold attempt to make AW look like the primetime hit, ER.
I have watched other soaps over the years (mostly on NBC), but somehow no matter how bad AW got (and boy, did it get pretty bad) – I never gave up on it. I guess it was part of my life for so long that it kinda had a life of it's own. There are some days when I wonder whatever happened to the folks of Bay City, characters who felt like family to me. Then I remember, it was just a TV show with actors who got paid to perform scripts written by a team of writers...and then I get sad.