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All My Children

Cady McClain Relives AMC’s Most Unforgettable Proposal (EXCLUSIVE)


It’s been 30 years since ALL MY CHILDREN’s Tad first popped the question to Dixie. To mark the occasion, Soaps In Depth caught up with her portrayer, Cady McClain, who recalled that in the storyline leading up to the proposal, Dixie had been a “housekeeper who got knocked up by and married to Adam, the man of the manor, only for him to then gaslight her into thinking that she was trying to harm their baby.” The conniving tycoon went so far as to have Dixie sent off to the funny farm, but fortunately, McClain said, “Tad, Cecily, and Nico broke in and got her out of there!”

While it was a relief to then land back under her domineering Uncle Palmer’s protection, what Dixie wanted most was to get her child back and pursue a real relationship with her hero, Tad. She got the promise of both during a formal dinner party shared between their two squabbling families. The first surprise of the night was that Tad had arranged for the meal to be chicken fingers! “Dixie had introduced them to Tad during this really cute scene in the park,” McClain explained. “It was one of the first moments where their friendship was turning into something more.”

While a good laugh was had by all — except curmudgeon Palmer, of course — Dixie remained melancholy over missing her son. Fortunately, Tad wasn’t done. When the doorbell rang, Dixie opened it to find her love standing there, dressed in a chicken suit! Even behind the scenes, McClain had not laid eyes on him until that very moment. “I tried to keep [my reaction] very real… And you know, Michael [E. Knight, Tad] was and is hilarious!” the actress shared. “What was key for me in playing it was to find not only the surreal kind of reaction to being taken by surprise by somebody showing up [dressed like that], which was just so silly and ridiculous, but also the love that was behind him doing it to jar her from her sorrow.”

AMC Tad Dixie proposal
“As an actor in that moment, you’re just like, pinching yourself,” McClain declared.Cathy Blaivas/ABC

Tad handed Dixie a bucket, which instead of being full of finger-lickin’ goodness, contained an engagement ring. The former cad’s faith in Dixie and their love made her believe that the past could be overcome. “For him to say that she still had something in her that was so good and that it brought out the better man in him was like an acknowledgement for both of them of why they were good together,” McClain maintained.

Near the soap’s conclusion on ABC, there was a throwback to this pivotal scene, indicating that the popular duo would still do anything to make each other smile. “That was when I [as Dixie] showed up at a restaurant, dressed in a chicken suit!” McClain says. “I still have the photo somewhere.”

This story originally appeared in our print magazine

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