Another World premiered on NBC on May 4th, 1964. The new daytime drama premiered to an audience of approximately six million. It was soap created by daytime legends, Irna Phillips and William J. Bell. Irna Phillips originally wanted Another World to be a spin off of then popular As The World Turns. However, CBS did not have any room in the schedule. So, Irna got a hold of NBC and William J. Bell, they wrote the first scripts—and the rest is history.
The pilot of Another World focused on the death of extremely wealthy William Matthews. The first episode was the aftermath of the funeral of wealthy William Matthews. His widow Liz did not like the company of William’s working class brother, Jim. The fights between upper class Liz, and her middle class in-laws started the stories for the show.
As the 1960’s continued, the lives of Jim’s children, Russ, Alice, and Pat took over the show. Jim’s wife, Mary, usually intervened in the the children’s lives when crisis occurred. Which was most of time, considering this was a soap opera.In the first year of the show, Irna Phillips and William J Bell began some controversial storytelling, in an effort to bring up ratings.
One such story involved the character of Pat having an illegal abortion after becoming pregnant. This was the first time that an American television series covered the hot button issue. As the story played out, it was revealed that Pat had become sterile. The shock of the news caused her to shoot and kill her boyfriend, Tom Baxter. She then fell in love with, and married her lawyer, John Randolph.
Another notable story revolved around the super couple Bill Matthews and Melissa Palmer. Liz did not consider Melissa to be well-suited for her son, and she was constantly in the middle of the two. After several trials and tribulations, Bill and Melissa finally married. However, their happiness was cut short, when Bill drowned in a boating accident.
After a one year run on NBC, the soap opera was expected to get cancelled due to failing ratings. James Lipton came on as a writer. His ideas included pushing the Matthews family to the backburner, and introducing the newly created family with the last name of Gregory. Agnes Nixon, then the head writer of Irna Phillip’s popular CBS soap opera, The Guiding Light, was hired to help write the program. Beverly Penberthy replaced Susan Trustman as Pat Randolph, under Agnes’ tenure. As Agnes Nixon’s tenure as head writer progressed, Trustman had been on nearly every episode, and she became terribly exhausted.
In 1967 Agnes created the most popular roles that Another World would ever have. They were the roles of hairdresser Ada Davis, and her daughter Rachel. Down-to-earth Ada could sit in her kitchen, and be perfectly content with life. Rachel was a schemer who hated her much-lower-class background. Rachel would always fight to become wealthy, in the characters early years. Ada would provide Rachel solace when Rachel’s plans would not work out. Rachel trusted her mother, because she was the only one who could get through to her.
In 1968, wealthy Steve Frame was introduced into Bay City life. Steve was a highly intelligent yet brusque businessman. He and Rachel had an instant attraction to one another. They bonded closely, because both of them fought to get out of the poor backgrounds they had come from. However, Alice Matthews stepped in, and stole Steve’s heart. Alice was extremely sophisticated, shy, and demure—everything Rachel was not.
Steve and Alice courted one another, and were engaged in 1969. However, the wedding was called off, when Rachel, who was married to Alice’s brother, Dr. Russ Matthews, crashed the engagement party. Rachel made everyone aware that she was carrying Steve’s soon-to-be child. She gave birth to a son by the name of James Gerald. James would later be referred to as Jamie.
WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED PT. 1 OF THIS SPECIAL ANOTHER WORLD TRIBUTE. COME BACK NEXT WEEK WHEN WE DISCUSS ALL THE JUICY HAPPENING OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE 1970s!
By Casey Hutchinson
Edited by Akbi Khan