Soap History: Another World image

Back to Bay City.

For more than three decades, this Irna Phillips and William J. Bell classic focused less on the drama of everyday life that other soap operas focused on at the time and more on the major drama that existed between the families of different classes and philosophies. Phillips conceived it as a spinoff for "As the World Turns," but CBS did not have room so she sold it to NBC and removed all references to the "ATWT." Soaps.com takes a look at the history of "Another World."

Run dates:
May 4, 1964 - June 25, 1999

The families:
Many diverse families call Midwestern Bay City home, including the Matthews, Randolphs, Harrisons, Davises, Gregorys, Burrells, Corys, Frames, Winthrops, Loves and Hudsons.

Super couples:
Steve Frame (George Reinholt) and Alice Matthews (Jacqueline Courtney)
Jenna Norris (Alla Korot) and Dean Frame (Ricky Paull Goldin)

More: Soap stars who found love while working together, married in real life

Notable guest stars:
The people who launched their careers on "Another World" is a laundry list of some of the most famous actors and actresses around. They include Christine Baranski (Beverly Tucker), Morgan Freeman (Roy Bingham), Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Canard), Anne Heche (Marley and Vicky Hudson), Ray Liotta (Joey Perrini), Lindsay Lohan (Alli Fowler), Luke Perry (Kenny), Jane Krakowski (Tonya), Brad Pitt (Chris), Ving Rhames (Czaja Carnek), Kyra Sedgwick (Julia Shearer) and Janine Turner (Patricia Kirkland). Other incredible cameos came from Chris Noth, Ed O’Neill, Dick Cavett, Crystal Gayle, Liberace, Joan Rivers, Al Roker and Betty White.

The story:
The first episode of "Another World" revolved around the aftermath of the funeral of wealthy William Matthews. His widow Liz (Audra Lindley) did not like his low-brow family, especially his another-world-logo-nbcbrother Jim (Shepperd Strudwick), and fights between the two kicked off the series. As the '60s went on, the lives and loves of Jim's children (Russ, Alice, and Pat) took center-stage. Soon businessman Steve Frame was introduced and he became close with Alice – as well as the daughter of hairdresser Ada Davis (Constance Ford), scheming Rachel (Robin Strasser.) Their triangle, plus the addition of Rachel’s husband Mac (Douglass Watson) fueled the beginnings of the soap opera. By the end of its 35 year run, many families came and went but had always kept the focus on family drama and relationships.

The finale:
No soap wedding could go off without a hitch. Not even at the end. Lila (Lisa Peluso) and Cass (Stephen Schnetzer) were at the altar to get married when a escaped gorilla made off with Cass. In the end they became the last couple to get married in Bay City. Rachel reminisced with Carl then turned and ascended the staircase. The final frame was a picture of Mac holding up a toast.

Another World Trivia:
* Irna Phillips's original plan of crossovers with "As the World Turns" was finally realized after "AW" was canceled.

More: Actors who’ve switched from one soap opera to another

* "AW" was the first soap to talk about abortion, nine years before Roe vs. Wade legalized it.

* Spawned two other soaps, "Somerset" and "Texas."

* The show was renewed in 1993 instead of being cancelled so "Santa Barbara" got the ax instead.

* "AW" was the first soap to have a theme song appear on the Billboard Top 100, "(You Take Me Away To) Another World" by Crystal Gayle and Gary Morris in 1987.

* Won 24 Daytime Emmy Awards.

* Writers and producers on the show over the years included James Lipton of "Inside the Actors Studio" fame, Irma Phillips, William J. Bell, Agnes Nixon, Hardin Lemay, Paul Rauch, John Valente and Jill Farren Phelps.

Watch a clip of rocker Dean and Jenna going skinny dipping.

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Photo credit: NBC
Video credit: Suzanne Rees

- Hollie Deese

Originally posted August 30, 2012. Refreshed by Amy Mistretta September 14, 2017.