It’s been nearly 30 years since "The Edge of Night" was seen on television, and still there hasn’t been a soap quite like the Daytime crime drama. Produced by Proctor & Gamble, "The Edge of Night" premiered in April 1956 on CBS as a live broadcast. The show was meant to be a Daytime version of the radio crime show "Perry Mason," and was even created by Irving Vendig, a writer from "Perry Mason." That show transitioned to Primetime the next year.
(April 2, 1956 – December 28, 1984)
Adam Drake (Donald May) and Nicole Drake (Maeve McGuire)
Schuyler "Sky" Whitney (Larkin Malloy) and Raven Swift (Sharon Gabet)
When the show first began in the fictional Midwestern town of Monticello, the focus was on the crime-fighting Mike Karr (John Larkin), a cop just finishing up law school – just like Perry Mason. All Daytime soaps up to that point had focused on dramatic family dynamics like cheating spouses and abortion, or centered around the hustle and bustle of a hospital. But almost throughout the course if its run, "The Edge of Night" kept its focus on bad cops, mobsters, drug dealers, blackmail, murder and international intrigue, all of which contributed to its high ratings among men.
Cast and characters:
The show's central character on the show was crime-fighter Mike Karr, who was played by three different actors throughout the course of the show – John Larkin, who played Perry Mason on the radio, Laurence Hugo and Forrest Compton. His first marriage to Sara Lane (Teal Ames) produced a daughter, Laurie Ann, who provided many plots during her teens in the 60s, and when she got married and had kids of her own in the 70s. Sara died early on, and Mike later married journalist Nancy Pollack (Ann Flood).
Actors who appeared on "Edge of Night" at some point over the course of its run were Marcia Cross ("Desperate Housewives"), Julianne Moore ("Boogie Nights"), Barbara Berjer, Scott Glenn, Dixie Carter ("Designing Women"), Larry Hagman ("Dallas"), Mariann Aalda, Lori Loughlin, Kim Hunter, Eva Marie Saint, Farley Granger, James Coco, Celeste Holm and John Travolta ("Grease").
After almost 30 years on the air, "Edge of Night" went all out and not only ended its run with a cliffhanger – it left viewers hooked on a whole new mysterious plot. This was because Proctor & Gamble had every confidence another network would pick up the show, or at the very least, a cable company would continue it on in syndication. Neither of those things happened.
In the final episode, and old enemy who was thought to be in prison returned to settle some scores. Meanwhile, Det. Chris Egan (Jennifer Taylor) followed Donald Hext (Ralph Byers) onto the previously unknown Wonderland Lane. There she saw Alicia Van Dine (Chris Weatherhead) stabbed in the back by her brother, her dying words "Off, off with her head." Egan barely escaped and stumbled by a street sign with a stuffed white rabbit propped against it. Later, she recounted her tale to Mike Karr (Forrest Compton), whose response was masked by a narrator who implied the story would continue. It didn’t.