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Series / Another World

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Title card from 1981-87
You are my way (You are my way)
To another world (To another world)
You are the one who lets me fly so high
You are the rain when my spirits run dry
You give my life (You give my life)
A hope that's real
'Cause when I'm with you, you take me away
To another world
*Doo do do do dee da do*

Long-running Soap Opera created by Irna Phillips and William J. Bell that aired on NBC from 1964 to 1999 as a Dramatic Half-Hour. Notable in the soap genre for several reasons: It is one of the few American soaps to engender a spin-off (two direct spin-offs, Somerset and Texas), and one indirect spin-off (Friends and Lovers/For Richer, For Poorer). Historically, it's was the first soap to expand to a full hour and, during an ill-fated ratings experiment, the only one to air for 90 minutes daily.

Set in the fictional Bay City, the show originally revolved around the super-wealthy Matthews and Randolphs. The show really hit its stride when it introduced the backstabbing social-climber Rachel Davis (originated by Robin Strasser, but most famously played by Victoria Wyndham) and her quarry, scion Steven Frame, and the love triangle between them and Alice Mathews. In the 1970s, the show moved its focus to the newly arrived Cory family, and discovered an unlikely super couple in Rachel and Mac Cory, which ignites a rivalry between Rachel and Mac's daughter Iris. The 1980s introduced several more long-running characters, including bon vivant writer Felicia Gallant, slick attorney Cass Winthrop, emaciated supervillain (and later Byronic Hero) Carl Hutchins, and the Love family (Donna and her twin daughters Vicky and Marley), with Rachel elevated to the top of the pantheon.

Another World had a tendency to reinvent itself quite a lot, even more so than other long-runners, as evidenced by the ever-changing titles (The lyrics above are from the faaabulous 1987 sequence.) Today it is most remembered for being replaced with Passions in the daytime slot, making it the very last soap opera on American television to be cancelled and replaced with another one.

This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: In the 1986/87 episodes, it was strongly implied when Donna's father Reginald came Back from the Dead that his adopted son, Scott La Salle, was actually a third child of Donna and Michael, supposedly a non-identical twin of Vicky and Marley. In fact, the soap magazines of that time stated that Scott was indeed their child in their spoiler sections. Why this was abandoned is unclear, but it is probably due to the fact that Philece Sampler replaced Anna Stuart (who bore a strong resemblance to the actor who played Scott) as Donna.
  • Absurdly Elderly Mother: Rachel gets pregnant—with twins!—when in her early 50's, an age at which most women are going through menopause, if they haven't done so already. Her own mother Ada was an example of this, having had her sister Nancy at a similar age.
  • Artifact Title: It was widely rumored that the show was originally envisioned as a spin-off of As the World Turns (with frequent references to Oakdale and cross-overs by ATWT's Hughes family), but that CBS didn't have room on in their schedule to air the show, and refused to allow the show to operate as a spin-off on another network. However, neither Procter & Gamble nor series creator Irna Phillips intended to sell the series to CBS, as P&G had already produced four serials for the network at the time Another World was being developednote  and wanted to sell a series to one of the other major networks.
  • The Atoner: Carl Hutchins tried to be this, with varying results.
  • Back for the Finale: Carl briefly turned heel again as a result of actor Charles Keating being shown the door (along with the other expensive vets) in 1998. He died again—and bounced right back up again to absolutely no one's surprise. He reunites with Rachel in the closing shot of the show, as the camera pays homage to Mac's portrait sitting nearby.
    • A mere stone's throw from the final season, Grant Harrison was shot in his office. Turns out, he retired to the tropics and is living like a maharaja, having faked his death and escaped justice with all of his money. That's our boy.
  • Best Served Cold: The layabout son of a wealthy businessman, Carl brokered a deal which folded his father's company into Cory Publishing. When the division was later shunted and the elder Hutchins discovered that his business had been sold for a pittance, he killed himself. Carl blamed Mac and set out to ruin him financially. When that didn't work, he tried to make Mac reenact his father's suicide.
  • Betty and Veronica: The long-running love triangle involving Steven Frame was an example, with Alice playing the Betty role and Rachel playing the Veronica role.
    • Marley and Vicky were twin versions of this with Vicky usually in the Veronica role and Marley as Betty. However, this was reversed late in the series.
  • Crossover:
    • After the show's cancellation in 1999, several characters (Jake, Cass, Lila, Vicky, Marly and Donna) became regular or recurring characters on As the World Turns.
    • And the character of Michael Bauer from Guiding Light appeared on Another World in the 1960s. Yes, a character from a soap on another network, CBS, crossed over.
    • Cass Winthrop also made appearances on Guiding Light as an attorney for the Santos crime family.
  • Fan Fic: Proctor & Gamble created an online continuation, called Another World Today, picking up the show and the characters 10 years after the show's cancellation. The continuation is written based on fan-submitted plots and stories.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: The show would end all its episodes like this in the eighties.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Carl was one-third of the criminal consortium CLH. Fredrick Chapin and Reginald Love were counted as members.
  • Harmless Villain: Business magnate (and onetime mayoral candidate) Grant Harrison. The show eventually gave up trying to make him a credible villain, and he became something of an inside joke. However he may have gotten the last laugh after all, as seen in the series finale...
  • Lovable Rogue: Cass Winthrop.
  • Love Redeems: Rachel's relationship with magazine mogul Mac was at the request of Victoria Wyndham, who was weary of playing the heartless foil to Alice's pure character. The real motivator was Wyndham getting attacked by outraged fans in department stores who mistook her for Rachel. Alternatively, however, some accounts claim that then head writer Harding Lemay actually came up with the idea on his own due to being very impressed with Wyndham's acting range, which was inspiring him to take the Rachel character in different directions.
    • Ironically this happened with reformed villain Carl Hutchins later in the series.
  • May–December Romance: Rachel and Mac/Carl. The age difference is less noticeable with the latter.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Felicia, the pulp romance writer, is based on Jacqueline Susann, author of Valley of the Dolls and something of a camp figure.
  • Pretty in Mink: Felicia Gallant.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The show's theme from 1987 through 1996 was a pop song performed by Gary Morris and Crystal Gayle; it is the only soap opera theme song to chart in Billboard's Top 40.
  • Spin-Off: As noted above, AW is one of the few soaps to engender a spin-off:
    • Somerset was created as a sister show to AW in the 1970s (in fact, the show was originally titled Another World - Somerset); however, ratings issues led to Somerset going off on its own direction (including becoming a clone of The Edge of Night for several years).
    • Texas was created as a vehicle for Beverlee McKinsey's character of Iris Cory Wheeler; the show never garnered good ratings (it originally competed against General Hospital at the height of its success), and lasted only two years.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Dying is practically Carl's nine-to-five job. Poison, bombs, bullets, it doesn't matter. Half the time no one even bothers to ask how he survived. It's just what he does.
  • Where da White Women At?: Marley and Tyrone towards the series end.