The focus in on the upper class Hughes and Stewart families plus their tribulations in Midwest Oakdale. The Stewarts fade away eventually to be replaced by the rural Snyders and wealthy Luci... Read allThe focus in on the upper class Hughes and Stewart families plus their tribulations in Midwest Oakdale. The Stewarts fade away eventually to be replaced by the rural Snyders and wealthy Lucinda Walsh with her many intrigues.The focus in on the upper class Hughes and Stewart families plus their tribulations in Midwest Oakdale. The Stewarts fade away eventually to be replaced by the rural Snyders and wealthy Lucinda Walsh with her many intrigues.
The classic soap opera
This show, the first half-hour soap opera, had the classic soap opera setting - a suburb with two families who were good friends. Three and later four or five generations of these families were featured. The two families were the Hughes (middle-class) and the wealthier Lowell family. Chris and Nancy Hughes had a more secure marriage than did Jim and Claire Lowell. In fact, Chris's sister had an affair with Jim, who later divorced and was killed. The show was the first to offer the teen romance of Penny and Jeff. Penny's friend Ellen, after being rejected by Don Hughes, had an affair with a married, older doctor and bore an illegitimate son The Hughes family's storylines were more conventional and less plot driven, but those of the Lowell family were daring for their time. Penny and Jeff eloped, but the marriage was annulled. Later, they had a grand wedding to which the viewers were actually invited to attend at the end of the program. The show moved very slowly in the early days. The ratings were not the greatest, but eventually this show became the number one rated soap opera. 1960 proved to be a good year for the show. Don Hastings, Henderson Forsythe, Patricia Bruder, and Eileen Fulton all joined the show that year. Ms. Fulton, as Lisa, was the first great bad lady who was hated by the public. The role was originally intended to be a minor, short role, but the performances of Ms. Fulton insured that the audience would immediately notice the character. In 1965, the production company and network spun-off Lisa to a twice-a-week primetime soap opera called Our Private World. Irna Phillips, the show's creator and headwriter, left the show in the late 1960s. The show struggled creatively. Eventually Ms. Phillips returned, but the ratings had suffered. Ms. Phillips killed off a lot of the Lowell relatives during a short period of time. She was eventually fired from the show herself. Two other headwriting teams (Robert Sonderberg and Edith Sommer, Ralph Ellis and Eugenie Hunt) were able to keep the show interesting. (Others had failed.) But, later, a former actor from the show, Douglas Marland, became the headwriter on two occasions. By the time of his second term, the show had lost so many of the previous characters and had failed to add any new, interesting ones that the show seemed lost. Mr. Marland allowed the unthinkable to happen when the sister-in-law of the show's leading physician (Kim) who had once had an affair with the doctor, was allowed to marry him after the death of her sister. The show continued its downward slide while Mr. Marland and his successors wrote the show. Helen Wagner (Nancy), Don Hastings (Bob), and Eileen Fulton (Lisa) continue on the program today. And the show lights up whenever these performers are given occasionally good storylines or even scenes. But the show has continued to stray away from the core families - always a bad sign for a soap opera.
- Jul 23, 2002
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content