Another World, abbreviated as AW, is an American television soap opera that aired on NBC from May 4, 1964, to June 25, 1999. It was created by Irna Phillips with William J. Bell. Also, it was produced by Procter & Gamble Productions at NBC Studios, 1268 JC Studios in Brooklyn. It was a crucial contributor to the history of American soap operas. It was filling the early years of radio and television series for the public.
The soap opera had a lot of common in the daytime dramatic predecessors and it was a creative limit pusher. Another World challenged the storytelling conventions by telling stories in a new and different way. Also, the innovating types of characters and experimenting with the forms, Another World changed the soap opera genre for the years to come.
The Interesting History Of The Soap Opera – Another World
In 1963, NBC Approached PGP for Irna Phillips to create a new series for them. She decided to base it on the concept of not only living in real life but simultaneously living in an alternate world of desires and hopes. Lawyer Mitchell Dru, played by Geoffrey Lumb, who had previously been a character in As the World Turns, became a character in Another World during the series’ early years such as 1964 to 1971.
Two characters from another CBS soap opera, Guiding Light, attorney Mike Bauer and his daughter Hope, crossed paths in 1966 and stayed for a year before returning to GL. Another World sold six weeks of advertising in advance because expectations were too high.
On November 22, 1963, a group of executives including, executive producer Allen M. Potter and director Tom Donovan gathered at the VMLY & R advertising agency to discuss the opening story of the show; the death of William Mathews. It was the time when they heard the news of another death in Dallas: the assassination of President Kennedy.
After starting with death in the Mathews family, Irna planned to continue with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, a septic abortion, a shooting, and a murder trial.
The first episode was the sequel to the funeral of wealthy William Matthews. His widow Liz (Audra Lindley) did not like his working-class brother Jim (Leo Janney and later Shepperd Strudwick) or his family. The fights between her middle-class in-laws and upper-class Liz started the show. There was considerable rotation in the cast during the series’ first year.
In the first year, the show had a controversial story in which Pat had an illegal abortion after getting pregnant. It was the first time that American television covered the subject. In the story, the abortion made her sterile. As a result of the shock from the news, it led her to reunite with her ex-boyfriend, Tom Baxter played by Nicholas Pryor. But she shot him in the cold blood.
Pat was then brought to justice and acquitted. Later on, she fell in love and married her lawyer, John Randolph played by Michael M. Ryan. In 1967, Trustman left the role of Pat and Beverly Penberthy her role. Another notable first story revolved around the star-studded romance of Bill Matthews played by Joseph Gallison and Melissa Palmer by Carol Roux.
Liz didn’t consider Melissa good enough for her son and constantly interfered with their relationship. After many tribulations and trials, Bill and Melissa finally got married but their happiness was short-lived because Bill drowned in a boating accident.
The 90-Minute Experiment
The sensational, effects-laden episode coincided with the switch to 90-minute episodes each day of the week. The details of the episode were to be kept secret from the press but were leaked a month before the scenes were aired. It was decided by The Edge of Night and Guiding Light to counter with their shocking episodes aired.
The reason for the change was that AW’s ratings had jumped to no.1 in 1978 and to retain the top spot. The change led to Lemay resigning after eight years. At first, the rating received a slight uptick, but most viewers did not like the idea of longer episodes. The length of the episode allowed a lot of new characters to introduce themselves. On the other hand, some were not able to gain the attention of the public.
The soap opera began to face competition from ABC General Hospital, which saw a significant resurgence in ratings from mid-1978 under Gloria Monty’s direction. These were action-packed and youth-oriented stories.
After Finale Episode
In 1999, NBC decided not to renew Another World but keep the young foam Sunset Beach, to cancel it six months later. Its last episode aired the last full week of June. After a series of 35th-anniversary episodes, Rachel remembered Carl and the show ended with a picture of Mac Cory. The show was commemorated in the print twice in 1999.
Another World, Julie Poll’s 35th birthday celebration was a coffee table-style book. It chronicled the history of the show on- and off-screen. The Ultimate Another World Trivia Book, by Gerard J. Waggett, listed several interesting facts about what happened behind the scenes and the stars of the show.
In July 2003, SOAPnet, an American satellite channel began broadcasting the old episodes of AW from July 1987. The Another World Reunion aired on the channel on October 24, 2003. It was hosted by Linda Dano. The special show brought together the fan favorites such as Sandra Ferguson, Stephen Schnetzer, Alicia Coppola, John Aprea, Ellen Wheeler, and Kale Browne.
On the show special, Dano interviewed the reunited cast members one by one interspersed with classic AW clips. Before and after commercial breaks, Another World quiz questions were asked from the audience. They mentioned their favorite moments from AW.
The Uniqueness of AW
While AW has touched on important topics, but most of them were never leaned on the plot. Unlike other popular soap operas of this era, General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, AW was written with the stories of characters in mind. This formula was maintained until the later years of the series when the switch to plot-based stories aired.
Another World – Innovating Soap Opera
Another World is one of the longest-running daytime soaps, it was the first soap opera to talk about in 1964 when such topics were taboo. It was the first soap opera to cross with the character of Mike Bauer from Guiding Light who came from Springfield to Bay City. It was the first to leave the one-hour episode, then at 90-minutes, and then back at one-hour long episodes.
It was the first opera to launch two spin-offs such as Texas and Somerset. Also, there was an indirect one named Lovers and Friends that was renamed For Richer For Poorer. Another World was strange in some aspects such as it was the first American soap operas that told stories about characters, as opposed to characters that were placed in absurd and embarrassing situations. To your surprise, AW depicted all stories that anyone in America has faced till 1995.