"We do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand other worlds. And now...Another World!"
When soap queen Irna Phillips and her protégé Bill Bell first developed Another World, it was meant to be a spin-off of her hit CBS sudser As The World Turns. After the Tiffany Network said there was no room on their air for a new daytime serial, Procter & Gamble Productions pitched the series to NBC where it ran from 1964–1999.
AW initially centered on the feelings of animosity upper class widow Liz Matthews (first Audra Lindley, most notably Irene Dailey) felt her for late husband's poor relations. The majority of the early stories were driven by Russ (first Joey Trent, most notably David Bailey), Alice (most notably Jacqueline Courtney) and Pat (most notably Beverly Penberthy) Matthews, the offspring of Liz's working class brother-in-law Jim (most notably Hugh Marlowe).
In 1965, Agnes Nixon, another Phillips student, took over as head writer of Another World. She replaced James Lipton, who would go on to host the iconic Inside The Actors Studio television program.
Two years into her stint at AW, Nixon created hairdresser Ada Hobson (Constance Ford) and her morally bankrupt daughter Rachel Davis (Robin Strasser). The new additions to fictional Bay City proved a smash hit, especially man-eater Rachel who set her sights on self-made man Steve Frame (George Reinholt), despite his undying love for fragile Alice Matthews.
Nixon later revealed she borrowed the characters of bitch goddess Rachel and tough-talking Ada from her unsold story bible for All My Children. She left AW and P&G to create her own serials for rival network ABC. One Life to Live debuted in 1968. AMC followed in 1970 featuring a mother/daughter combo very similar to AW's Ada and Rachel — single mom Mona (Frances Heflin) and her insurmountable nymphet daughter, Erica Kane (Susan Lucci).
Nixon may have been gone, but the Alice/Steve/Rachel triangle she originated at AW continued to drive story for several years. Rachel remained the soap's central character for decades to follow.
In 1971, memoirist and playwright Harding Pete Lemay took over as head writer of Another World. He was joined by new executive producer Paul Rauch in 1972. The Lemay/Rauch years proved to be the most successful in the soap's history, but not without controversy.
The duo made the shocking decision to fire Reinholt and Courtney, at the time daytime's biggest stars, and shifted Rachel (played from 1972 on by Victoria Wyndham) from vixen to heroine. Rachel's against-all-odds romance with publishing tycoon Mac Cory (Douglass Watson) helped facilitate the taming of one of television's most notorious shrews.
Lemay also created a new rival for Rachel, Mac's socialite daughter Iris (Beverlee McKinsey). This new "love triangle" proved just as popular as the one Rachel previously found herself in with Steve and Alice. The Lemay/Rauch years were such a hit, NBC decided to extend AW to 90 minutes. The experiment failed and the soap returned to the one-hour format for the rest of its run.
Lemay left Another World in 1979. He documented his experience writing for the P&G soap in the memoir every soap fan must purchase, Eight Years In Another World.
Rauch, with whom Lemay created the short-lived NBC soap Lovers and Friends (aka For Richer, For Poorer) stayed on board as showrunner through the early 80's. He also co-created AW spin-off Texas, which transplanted the glamorous Iris Cory Carrington Wheeler from Bay City, Illinois to the Lone Star state.
The early 80's saw AW add exotic location shoots and lethal villains to try to compete with General Hospital, Days of Our Lives and other soaps who were having huge successes with more larger-than-life storylines. Glitzy primetime serials like Dynasty and Dallas also impacted the soap's casting and story decisions.
Luxurious romance novelist Felicia Gallant (Linda Dano) and society queen Donna Love (Anna Stuart) were featured in popular arcs. as was a pre-227 Jackee Harry as Lily Mason. Promiscuous legal eagle Cass Winthrop (Stephen Schnetzer) drove women mad and ruthless-yet-sexy villain Carl Hutchins (Charles Keating) caused all sorts of problems.
Many of the aforementioned characters were in constant, and often, comedic opposition to Cecile DePoulignac (most notably Nancy Frangione), the daughter of a countess who drove a wedge between stepbrothers Jamie Frame (too many actors to list!) and Sandy Cory (Christopher Rich). Cecile's chief rival during those years was Blaine Ewing (Laura Malone), with whom she battled for the affections of Jamie and Sandy, much to Rachel's dismay.
Cecile followed up her feud with Blaine by squaring off against spirited newspaper reporter Kathleen McKinnon (Julie Osburn) over Cass. During this time period on the soap, the Matthews and Frames took a backseat to the Ewings, Loves and McKinnons.
The year 1985 saw the debut of a character who would eventually replace Rachel Davis Cory as AW's central female character. It was that year Ellen Wheeler began playing the dual role of Vicky Carson and Marley Love. Wheeler debuted as virginal Marley the previous TV season. However, it was Marley's street smart twin sister Vicky, and her lover/partner-in-crime Jake McKinnon (Tom Eplin), who would prove to be the most dynamic characters introduced during the soap's last decade and a half on the air.
As AW entered the mid-to-late 80's, the Hudson brothers, millionaire Michael (Kale Browne) and Vietnam War vet John (David Forsyth), proved popular newcomers. Michael had been the stable boy on the Love estate when Donna was a teenager. He sired twins Vicky and Marley, yet never even knew Donna was pregnant. Sinister patriarch Reginald Love (John Considine) gave Vicky away, while he forced Donna to pretend Marley was her sister, not her daughter.
In 1986, All My Children veteran Laurence Lau became the ninth actor to play Rachel's son Jamie. Previously a writer, Jamie was reintroduced to the canvas as a doctor.
Sandra Ferguson (now credited as Sandra Dee Robinson) joined in 1987 as a SORASed Amanda Cory, the sole biological child Mac and Rachel shared. The following year, Matt Crane assumed the role of a teenage Matthew Cory (the biological son of Rachel and Mitch Blake), effectively creating a new Cory family.
The three adult Cory children began driving the lion's share of young adult storylines for AW. Jamie was caught between Felicia Gallant's psychic niece Lisa Grady (Joanna Going) and man hungry Vicky Hudson (now played by Anne Heche). The love triangle was meant to mirror Rachel/Steve/Alice.
Cub reporter Amanda Cory fell hard for limo driver-turned-starving artist Sam Fowler (Robert Kelker Kelly), half brother of Rachel's old flame Mitch Blake (William Grey Espy). Meanwhile, Matt entered into a Romeo and Juliet scenario with Josie Watts (Alexandra Wilson), the daughter of Sharlene Frame (Anna Holbrook), who still held Rachel responsible for the death of her unstable sister Janice (Christine Jones).
Speaking of Janice, her son Evan Bates (Charles Grant) arrived in 1988 hellbent on making the Corys, specifically Rachel, pay for what happened to his mother. Evan wormed his way into Cory Publishing—scheming alongside a newly-returned Iris (now played by Australian actress Carmen Duncan)—to seize the media conglomerate from Mac. As a bonus, Evan seduced Amanda and wrecked her marriage to Sam.
Evan found a kindred spirit in Vicky Hudson Frame. Once Jamie and the rest of the Corys learned of Vicky's duplicity regarding Baby Steven's paternity (for a time it was believed Jake was the father), a lengthy custody battle and divorce drama began playing out.
Much of the credit for AW's successful late 80's reboot was afforded to the return of Lemay in 1988. However, plans for him to permanently reclaim the soap's writers room proved short-lived, due to the Writers Guild of America Strike of 1988. Donna Swajeski, who wrote the serial during the strike, remained on as head writer through 1992.
AW received a devastating blow in 1989 when leading man Douglass Watson died. Many soap critics at the time believed the show wouldn't survive the loss of Watson and Mac Cory.
AW struggled to find its footing in the years following Watson's passing. In story, Mac left his shares in Cory Publishing equally to Rachel, Iris and Amanda creating a power struggle that ran for years. Disgraced Cory daughter-in-law Vicky got into the fray when it was revealed her grandfather left her a significant block of stock. Vicky tried to use her new power base as leverage to regain custody of Steven. Per usual with Vicky's schemes, the plan backfired.
The murder of Jason Frame (General Hospital veteran Chris Robinson), Sharlene's vile brother, was a red-hot umbrella story during 1989. Jason's crimes included pimping out a teenage Sharlene to his friends, blackmailing Iris with the knowledge that she was "The Chief" behind the Cory Publishing takeover attempt and threatening to kill Cass.
In the end, Jason's niece Frankie (Alice Barrett), a clairvoyant private detective, proved fashion designer Nicole Love (Anne Howard) was the murderess. Nicole had allowed Cass's best friend Felicia Gallant to stand trial for the crime.
The year 1990 saw another whodunit confound the citizens of Bay City. Jake McKinnon, the bad boy from Lassiter, Pennyslvania who slept his way through the entire Hudson family, was gunned down at his studio. Suspects included: twins Vicky and Marley (Jake raped Marley the night in question), their mother Donna (Jake was blackmailing her over their tryst), Iris (Jake was threatening to tell Rachel Iris hired him to prove Paulina wasn't Mac's illegitimate daughter) and Paulina (he claimed he knew she wasn't a Cory).
Although Marley was arrested for the crime and stood trial (that is when Vicky wasn't pretending to be her!), it was Paulina (first Cali Timmons, then Judi Evans) who popped the videographer at his studio. Jake blackmailed his assailant into marriage, fashioning one of the last great supercouples of the show. Two other couplings bubbled up from the foam of "Who Shot Jake?" Vicky fell head over saddles for blue blood cop Ryan Harrison (Paul Michael Valley) and Marley's sweet flirtation with Vicky's ex-husband Jamie became a full-on love affair.
Heche won the Outstanding Younger Actress in a Drama Series Daytime Emmy for her work in the storyline. By the time she accepted her trophy, she'd already left the daytime serial for Hollywood.
One Life to Live veteran Jensen Buchanan was chosen to recreate the roles of Vicky and Marley. Much like Rachel Cory eventually morphed into a heroine, AW decided to de-claw Vicky with Buchanan in the role. The character was re-purposed as a spunky damsel in distress. The root of said distress was more often than not politician Grant Harrison (Mark Pinter, who assumed the role after Dack Rambo exited).
Buchanan and Valley turned out to be one of the most successful soap pairings of the 1990's as Vicky and Ryan. Fans were stunned when Grant killed his brother to protect their psychotic mother, Justine (Wyndham in a dual role)—a dead ringer for Rachel—during Jill Farren Phelp's tenure as executive producer.
The following year, the insanely popular character of Frankie Frame was also killed off. By 1996, both the mega popular Cass and Frankie and Ryan and Vicky pairings gutted, AW was a shell of its former self. There were bright spots, however, Timothy Gibbs was a sexy addition as gruff, alcoholic cop Gary Sinclair opposite police cadet Josie Watts (now played by Amy Carlson).
Robert Kelker Kelly returned, though not as Amanda's beloved Sam Fowler. This time around he was playing Bobby Reno, a race car driver who received Ryan's corneas in a transplant.
Vicky fainted at the sight of Bobby, later revealed to be Dr. Shane Roberts. Loving actress Lisa Peluso was introduced in 1997 as Lila, Shane's Southern Belle first wife, who instantly hated Vicky. Phelps exited as executive producer in 1997. The following year, Kelker Kelly and Kale Browne were both fired. Michael Hudson and Bobby/Shane died in an icy car accident.
Donna Hudson was so angry at her daughter for her role in Michal's death—Vicky's father was en route to get her to stop cheating on Jake with Shane when he died—she tried to kill Vicky at Michael's funeral. Instead, Donna mowed down her other daughter, Marley. This marked the end of Buchanan playing the dual roles of Vicky and Marley.
While recovering in the hospital, an explosion took place burning Marley beyond recognition. When the bandages came off, Marley was once again played by Ellen Wheeler, who was several inches taller than Buchanan. A deranged Marley kidnapped Vicky and almost let her die.
Christopher Goutman, by now serving as executive producer, continued to orchestrate one desperate plot after another in an attempt to spike ratings. He even introduced a time-traveling, century's old villain who was obsessed with Amanda Cory. In Goutman's defense, AW's NBC lineup mate, Days of Our Lives, was experiencing sustained ratings surges in a post-OJ era largely on the strength of similar supernatural and/or over-the-top plots.
AW was cancelled in 1999. The iconic soap opera ended its 35-year run on June 25, 1999.
Image stills courtesy of Procter & Gamble Productions