In the 1960s, at its ratings peak, ATWT was to become the pop culture equivalent of what American Idol was to more recent times. At its most popular the series had a fifteen percent share of viewers. Scripted television has rarely, if ever, scaled heights of cultural domination to that degree and it was the serial that did it first.
When the 1960s dawned, things were quickly shaken up in Oakdale with the arrival of the Miller family. This meant that Lisa (Eileen Fulton) arrived in town and quickly became the center of stormy romances, divorces, blackmail and other scandalous behavior that kept audiences glued to the screen. She was so popular that she even got her own show, "Our Private World," though it only lasted 38 episodes. Perhaps as even more of a tribute, the popularity of her character is said to have helped lead to 'Lisa' becoming one of the most popular baby names in America.
The first half of the decade continued under the sure hand of the show's creator, Irna Phillips. The second half of the decade coupled her with William J. Bell (before he would become a soap giant) and Katherine Babecki. Focus expanded to include the Holmes, Wade, Suker, Cole and Stewart families. The major storylines included Penny's romantic life, Nancy trying to meddle in everyone's lives, numerous affairs, failed business enterprises, broken engagements, a few deaths and Tom Hughes serving in Vietnam to return to Oakdale as a junkie.
Be sure to check out our Look Back At As The World Turns: The Beginning. (Video Included).
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