Inside the Soaps
By Paul Denis (Citadel Press, Secaucus, NJ, 1985). Reprinted without permission.
- When Robin Strasser was playing the nasty Rachel on AW, her husband, Larry Luckinbill,
always escorted her when she left the NBC studio. Since she was pregnant at the time, they
feared somebody might punch or kick her and endanger their unborn child. They also kept their
home address and phone number a secret.
- Fred J. Scollay, as Charlie Hobson on AW, was supposed to say in one scene, "I'm ready for
the wedding tomorrow." But he made what could have been a Freudian slip: "I'm ready for the
funeral tomorrow." Then he ad libbed madly to cover up the fluff, and his ad libs were so cute
that the director let them stay in.
- Jered Holmes, when portraying Brian Blake on AW, once got confused with the names in his
dialogue. "Rachel is the father of Steven's child... er... I mean Steve is the father of Rachel's child."
- Roberta Maxwell, a fine actress, had trouble playing lawyer Barbara Weaver on AW. In one
scene with Mac Cory and Zach, she had to describe events and began with, "I've talked to Zeke,
... no, Zack,... no, I mean Mac..."
- Even columnist Cleveland Amory, writing in TV Guide, caught Constance Ford (Ada on AW),
in a fluff. He reported that Ada in one scene had said, "I don't know how Louise feels about it,
Iris... I mean, how Iris feels about it, Louise."
- On AW, Constance Ford (Ada), Robin Stasser (Rachel), Sam Groom (Russ), and Val Dufour
(Walter) were involved in a dramatic scene. Miss Ford, frustrated because she felt she had
goofed up her lines, exited the scene and boomed out, "Shit!" The other three actors, finishing
the scene, pretended they did not hear her. Fortunately, the show was being taped, and the bad
word was cut out later.
- Jacquie Courtney always worries about having the right bra when she's in costume. She
remembers the time as Alice on AW she had a passionate scene with Steve (then played by
George Reinholt). Wearing a bra that hooked in front, she had to lean back against the sofa as
Steve kissed her madly. She felt a ping, and knew that the bra had become unhooked. "Yes,
yes, Steve, I love you!" she kept muttering, not daring to glance down her bosom. Fortunately,
the camera wasn't showing her bosom.
- Deborah Hobart, Amy on AW, didn't mind when the director decided that her poolside scene
should end with her diving into the pool. But when she hit the water, she was shocked, it was
ice cold. Later, she found out that the crew had not been notified to heat up the normally frigid water.
- Laurence Lau (Jamie on AW) had a hard time getting started as an actor, so he sold newspapers
on Fairfax Avenue in Hollywood, while throwing out one-line gags at customers. One customer
asked, "Are you an actor?" and Lau asked, "Why? Are you an agent?" The man was indeed an
agent, and later that day he lined up Lau's first professional acting job.
The Wonderful World of TV Soap Operas
By Robert LaGuardia (Ballatine Books, New York, 1974). Reprinted without permission.
- Judy Garland was performing one night on stage at the Palace when her exodus from the stage
was brought to a grinding halt. She cried out to someone sitting in the theater, "I know you. I
see you every day on television. You're Connie Ford... Ada!"
- A nurse at a cancer ward wrote in to find out what lay ahead for the characters, since many of
her patients feared they would never find out. The producer wrote back and wanted the nurse
to assure the patients that everything would turn out fine.
- When Alice and Steve finally met after nearly a year of separation and misunderstanding, the
scene was so beautifully moving it was replayed weeks later on The Mike Douglas Show and
received quite an ovation.
- Harry Belafonte was in a TV studio one day when in walked Virginia Dwyer. "Mary
Matthews, Mary Matthews!" shouted the calypso artist. "What are you doing here? This is
such a thrill."
The Genesis of "Another World"
- On November 22, 1963, a group of executives, including Allen Potter and Tom Donovan, met
in a room of the Young & Rubicam advertising agency in New York to discuss a series of
fictional tragedies in a newly projected soap. Planned among the first month's troubles was the
death of an important member of the Matthews clan of Bay City. During the meeting, news
came of an eerily similar tragedy, the assassination of President Kennedy.
- Irna Phillips came up with the idea for her new soap while writing As The World Turns, which
was so successful Phillips conceived her new soap, as yet untitled, as a spinoff. Bay City was
only supposed to be a stone's throw from Oakdale. In the original scripts and story outline,
various friends and members of ATWT's Hughes family came to visit the Matthews family.
- When CBS was unable to acquire the new show because their lineup was full, ratings-starved
NBC was happy to take it. Unable now to bank on the popularity of ATWT, Phillips still
exploited it by naming her new show Another World.
- The first stories were pure melodrama, very much against Phillips' traditional approach. Says
Allen Potter, the show's first producer, "Irna just didn't want to take a chance on waiting for
the ratings. She felt that with this kind of showy story she could build an audience more
- Says Tom Donovan, the show's first director, "In constructing [AW], Irna was attempting to
follow the structure of ATWT. Irna would never conceive of a story not based on a family.
But the story and characters didn't always work together. Irna had Virginia Dwyer, as Mary
Matthews, playing a kind of Nancy Hughes. But Mary never had the importance of Nancy and
tended to stagnate, mostly because Irna's melodrama didn't allow Mary Matthews the same
range as Nancy Hughes."
- The opening epigraph, according to Phillips, represents the difference between "the world of
events we live in, and the world of feelings and dreams we strive for."
- Phillips (herself adopted) created the character of orphaned waif Missy Palmer to represent
herself. The producers were so impressed by Carol Roux's audition that they hired her on the
spot, without the usual procedure of sending the audition tape to Phillips.
- When Phillips had hired Sarah Cunningham to play Liz Matthews, her hair was long. When
Cunningham cut her hair short, and Phillips saw her short hair on screen she had her fired.
- Says Jacqueline Courtney, "I was playing Alice [Matthews] as sort of a teenybopper kid. Well,
after all, I was only seventeen, and that's the way I was and played on other shows. I kept
getting these notes from Tom Donovan... 'Don't move your face so much. Stay still.' I was told
that Irna didn't like my acting, so I got very upset because I didn't know what she wanted or
what I was doing wrong. I decided what to do. The next day I didn't move a muscle during air.
It was extremely unnatural for me, and I'm sure it looked unnatural, but Irna loved me. Later I
found out that the camp Irna was sending me to was supposed to burn down, with me in it! At
a party she came over and threw her arms around me. 'My Alice," she gushed. She never
called us by our real names.
- Phillips was ecstatic over Susan Trustman's portrayal of Pat Matthews and worked her very
hard. Trustman asked to be released from her five-year contract but Phillips refused. Says
Jacqueline Courtney, "She [Trustman] would do little things in the middle of scenes to annoy
them, like chew gum." A year later Trustman was released.
- In the evenings, many of the actors would attend a prerehearsal at a studio at Central Plaza
(located at 111 2nd Avenue) and sometimes not finish until quite late.
- Says Tom Donovan, "We did so poorly [in the ratings] while Irna was writing that at the end
of the second year, Bob Short's boss at Procter & Gamble said, 'You're going to cancel it, of
course.' And Bob said, 'Oh, no! Give it a chance. It's got great possibilities!'"
- Because Phillips' plot had been so out of line with her fictional Bay City, she depended almost
entirely on the actors' personalities for the show's real interest. Thus, she had originated the
soap world's first genuinely star-oriented show.
- Says head writer Agnes Nixon, "I envisioned Steven Frame as a young Cash McCall. I may
have been thinking of a football hero here in Philadelphia who would have attracted the
beautiful Alices and the beautiful Rachels." The character floundered for almost a year before
Nixon paired him with Alice.
- Bette Davis loved the show so much that when she missed an episode, she phoned a friend to
find out what had happened. Says Val Dufour, "She was watching the week that I [Walter
Curtin] died. And then she called me to tell me how sorry she was to see me go. She said,
'Your last days were just beautiful, Val!'"
- When Lena Horne was visiting the Brooklyn studio, she told Val Dufour, "You stop being so
mean to Lenore!"
- Jered Holmes, playing Brian Blake, once tried to correct a mistake during taping but only made
it worse. He said, "Rachel is the father of Steven's child... er, I mean, Steve is the mother of
- In one scene, Jordan Charney (Sam Lucas) was supposed to be lying ill in a hospital bed being
comforted by Ann Wedgeworth (Lahoma). Charney got so relaxed during taping that he fell
asleep. Wedgeworth delivered her line, and got no response. She tried again, and still no
response. Says Virginia Dwyer, "Ann managed to wake Jordan up, and Jordan, startled from
sleep, managed to realize what was happening, that the cameras were rolling. And then he
delivered all his lines perfectly."
The Soap Opera Book
By Manuela Soares (1976). Reprinted without permission.
"... It's a busy, relatively sophisticated show with some of the best dialogue on daytime, and
probably the most realistic storylines.
"Another World has more characters than most soaps. Although the Frame and Matthews families
continue to be important, there are many unattached characters, young people who are not related
to anyone. And there are characters from different economic classes. In Bay City, we find rich and
beautiful people, with mansions, pools, stables, (and some of the most luxurious sets on daytime);
and we find house-servants, poor artists, and hardworking rural types. "I wanted the jet set," says
Harding Lemay, "and I also went down one notch below middle class to pick up the Frames off
the farm." A sense of class and social mobility is essential to this show. So many of the characters
are motivated by a need to get into that other world- the next highest social class (where the people
are every bit as troubled).
"Another World is, most importantly, a show that pays attention to character and psychology. It
does not hint darkly at psychiatric concepts (as does Days of Our Lives); instead it deals with
ordinary motivations in interpersonal relationships. Oedipal conflicts and all the rest come out in
dialogue- not in bizarre and soapy situations.
"In the storyline, traditional soap devices are minimized. There is no hospital drama (except
incidentally, when someone gets sick and is admitted). There are no amnesia victims, no
melodramatic murders or trials. There are also- strange to say- no mysterious illegitimate babies.
Lemay's idea of a good twist is to deliver a baby of middle-aged parents (Ada and Gil). Like
many situations on Another World, this one allows for gentle comedy and poignant relationships
between the generations.
"The storyline does not rely heavily on Fate. Little happens that cannot be explained by reference
to characters' strengths, weaknesses, or backgrounds. Villains (such as Iris or Willis) are
understood, and usually forgiven. Good characters too suffer from ordinary flaws (the chief one
seems to be jealousy). Far-out things happen here, as on other soaps, but they are more believable.
For example, when Beatrice kidnaps granddaughter Sally, her motives are clear every step of the
way, and her explanation at the end is not only convincing- it is beautifully moving. Stories do not
seem to have been created merely as a means of exciting the viewer; they grow out of characters.
"Because the tole of Fate is minimized, and people are made to take responsibility for their lives,
there is a strong sense of right and wrong in this soap. Characters often discuss the principles on
which they act, or the ways in which they have failed one another. People who act on the wrong
motives are shown to be unhappy. Over the long-run, characters undergo changes in the moral
personality. The most famous example is Rachel, for the many years the evil lady of Bay City; she
has been transformed into a lovely woman, with a strong regard for what is right and wrong. Willis
seems to be undergoing a similar transformation.
"As for the setting, it is generally more cosmopolitan and sophisticated than that of other shows.
Characters deal in corporate mergers, architectural contracts, art showings, and other glamourous
business beyond the experience of most viewers. There are long business lunches and stylish
cocktails parties, as well as the more usual coffee confrontations.
"The pace of the show is busy- busy in the manner of a big Bach fugue. Instead of one strong
melody or storyline, there are themes in imitation. A scene between older characters will be
followed by a complimentary scene between young people. Characters seem to be rushing about
delivering advice and gossip ("Would you like to talk about it?" seems to be the most common
line.) The show does lack the focus that would be provided by one dominant, heart-rending
storyline. But it offers continual stimulation, whether or not one watches every day. One doesn't
watch in order to see what will happen, but rather because one enjoys seeing what does happen.
"Visually, Another World is very chic. Most of the wealthy characters are also "beautiful people"
with a youngish look. The large cast, and the spread in age and social situation, adds to a visual
impression of variety. Clothes and furnishings are chosen with fine attention to detail; there is
hardly a scene in which there are not interesting textures and objects in background and
"Another World reaches about seven million households daily. It is the only soap which seems to
appeal equally well across all age groups."
Dennis Carrington: "A good boy who has difficulty coping with his meddlesome mother."
Iris Cory Carrington: "Wealthy and insecure troublemaker with an insatiable need for her
Mac Cory: "Kind, generous, and very good; his only weaknesses are jealousy, and an inability to
Rachel Cory: "Strong, stubborn, intense, and loving."
Jamie Frame: "A good boy."
Sally Frame: "A very sweet and honest child."
Sharlene Frame Matthews: "Naive and insecure, and because of her past, vulnerable."
Willis Frame: "A once-slick, villainous young man who is learning the error of his ways."
Dave Gilchrist: "Witty and sensitive."
Louise Goddard: "A king, gentle woman who understands Iris's insecurities, and in her own
sweet way copes very well."
Beatrice Gordon: "A good woman who cares too much, worries too much, and is sometimes
stifling in her affections."
Olive Gordon: "A schemer who is both money-hungry and class-conscious."
Raymond Gordon: "He will have to acquire a personality - or leave Bay City."
Clarice Hobson: "A dumb blond with a heart of gold; the kind of person everyone wants to protect."
Alice Matthews Frame: "Strong and determined, but sometimes finds it difficult to cope."
Jim Matthews: "A caring sort with strong moral values."
Liz Matthews: "A meddlesome type who always means well and always causes trouble."
Russ Matthews: "An attractive, but temperamental man"
Ada McGowan: "A hard-working middle-aged housewife with a strong sense of right and wrong."
Gil McGowan: "Gruff but good-natured, straightforward hardworking man who turns to his wife
for much of his strength."
Keith Morrison: "Honest, good, and kind."
Rocky Olsen: "A thoroughly nice person."
Emma Ordway: "A farm-town woman with good old-fashioned values."
Molly Ordway Randolph: "A spoiled young girl who's interested in the good life and won't let
anyone get in her way."
Ken Palmer: "A serious artist."
Gwen Parrish: "Independent-minded and aggressive, but certainly not malicious."
Angie Perrini: "Traditional Girl Next Door."
John Randolph: "A complex and intelligent man, at times stubborn and emotional."
Marianne Randolph: "A beautiful young girl who has paid for past mistakes, but will make others."
Michael Randolph: "A headstrong young man; spontaneous, likeable, but maybe a little too intense."
Pat Randolph: "A beautiful, believable woman who is rethinking her life in midstream, with
some sense of humor."
Daryll Stevens: "A nice college boy."
Jeff Stone: "An ambitious lawyer without many scruples."
Evan Webster: "A bright and ambitious architect."
(Front cover: Back cover: ]
A romance novel co-written by Linda Dano as Felicia Gallant.