Happy 60th Anniversary, Another World

I’d like to dedicate this column to my hard-working friend Karen McKenny, who spent the past few months organizing a 60th birthday party for our beloved NBC soap Another World, so sadly missed since it went off the air in 1999. The anniversary tribute took place in Tarrytown, N.Y., and was attended by many of the soap’s stars. I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to be there.

I loved Another World from the minute I discovered it at age 13. Every afternoon, I ran all the way home from junior high school, hoping to get in front of the TV before I missed anything important.

The show was set in a Midwestern town called Bay City, which really was Another World compared with the working-class Queens neighborhood of my upbringing. Bay City was a solid community inhabited by finely etched characters who seemed to be quite comfortably off. Some were very wealthy.

One of its love stories was so heartrending it hooked me on soap operas for life. Alice Matthews (played by the late Jacqueline Courtney) was a fair-haired nurse who fell in love with a rich businessman with a handsome, extremely sculpted face. His name was Steve Frame, and he was played by the late George Reinholt.

The two were to be wed, but their plans were derailed by a 19-year-old girl from the wrong side of the tracks named Rachel Davis (in an astonishing portrayal by a 22-year-old Robin Strasser). Rachel was married to Alice’s brother Russ (played by Sam Groom), but that didn’t stop her from going after Steve for herself. She seduced him and became pregnant, delivering a son she named Jamie and, at the same time, shattering Alice’s dreams.

Rachel didn’t stop there. After Strasser left the show, the role was recast, and Rachel found romance again, this time in the greatest of all of AW’s love stories. A very sophisticated Victoria Wyndham took over, and Rachel was paired with the wealthy Mac Corey, played by a lion of an actor named Douglass Watson. Their marriage lasted for years, surviving plenty of butting in by Mac’s selfish daughter Iris (played by Beverlee McKinsey), who famously whined “Daddy” whenever she wanted Mac’s attention.

While all this was happening, I grew up and had a dream of my own come true: I became a soap opera journalist, writing about AW and the wealth of soap operas that filled the afternoon air waves in that glorious era. It was a daily treat to watch the characters evolve and the actors grow with them.

For example: In the ’70s and ’80s, most soap actors were required to occasionally take off their shirts and show off their musculature. AW had an impressive cast of hot young men. One day, I was at the Brooklyn studio with a photographer for the magazine I then edited, Afternoon TV. All the young actors were posing for the camera. And keeping pace with them was none other than Doug Watson, by then a very distinguished and attractive 60ish gentleman. Peeling off his shirt, he said with a laugh, “Don’t leave me out, boys.” We ran the photo in the next issue, of course.

Another World during its lifetime was the brainchild of many amazing headwriters, including its renown co-creators, Irna Phillips and William J. “Bill” Bell, and later the great Agnes Nixon. But the show really entered its golden era when the highly skilled Paul Rauch, whom Marlena has always called a genius, became executive producer, bringing to AW his great taste in actors and exquisite production values.

Working with as him as the headwriter was the very savvy Harding “Pete” Lemay, later the author of a memoir titled Eight Years in Another World. The intelligence of their work was so deep that in 1975 AW became the first soap opera to be expanded to an hour. In 1979, it was expanded to an unheard-of hour and a half. It reverted to an hour a year later. By then, ABC’s General Hospital had established itself as strong competition.

So vivid are my memories of Another World and the sterling creative teams that brought this classic soap to life that it sometimes doesn’t seem possible it has been gone for more than 20 years.

It lives on in the hearts of its legions of devoted fans.

I’m seeing that she was born in May 1945, which would make her 22 (or 21 if the role began before May 1967) and that she had been in “Secret Storm” before “Another World,” so it wasn’t her debut.



  1. Lee Fryd says:

    Connie, you remember more than I do! And I so enjoyed just refreshing my memory of the seven years I spent as NBC pubicist for the show.

    • Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a Connie Passalacqua Hayman says:

      Oh Lee-ee! We had so much fun back in the AW days! Sending you much love as always!

  2. Beautiful tribute to a wonderful, much-missed soap. Thank you for this walk down. Memory Lane!

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