The Edge of Night (1956–1984)
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The murder of fan favorite Adam Drake in 1977, was perhaps the show's biggest shocker.
The radio show ran from 1943 to 1955, five days a week, on the CBS radio network.
It was part soap opera and part detective story.
When the radio show moved, with most of the cast and the production staff, to TV, it was renamed Edge of Night.
The cast members were given new character names.
The Perry Mason character was dropped. On September 21, 1957, CBS aired a new show, Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr.
Murder mysteries were EON's forte and the one effect they did better than any other daytime drama was the quick fade to black. There was no slow resolve to black. The music would swell, then suddenly the screen goes black. I loved it!!!!!!
The character names were straight out of period pieces
Just to name a few: Adam Drake, Nicole Travis (Drake), April Cavanaugh, Preacher Emerson, Miles Cavanaugh, Margo Huntington Dorn, Elliot Dorn, and two of my favorites villains Molly Sherwood and Winter Austin.
My favorite Friday cliffhanger occurred at the WMON studios. Winter had reached wits end and decided to confront Nicole in the news studio. The mad chase lead to the catwalk and the overhead in the studio. They both wore a white button-up blouse and blue jeans. There hair were a similar honey hue. When the railing broke, one of the two flipped over the railing and fell face first onto the floor below.
It was awesome, but the kicker was, they waited until Tuesday to pick up the story. They sure don't make'em like they used to.
A grand murder mystery serial. A brilliant whodunit leading to the causes of the scenes and the stark reality of the culprit who committed the unthinkable. And the innerworkings of both the police and the courtroom which fought on the side of the law. The show was so great it really boosted a strong alumni that went through its door including Dixie Carter,Larry Hagman,Richard Dreyfuss,Jon Voight,and even John Travolta played a delivery man in one episode. Not to mention Julianne Moore,Richard Thomas and even Hector Elizondo were part of the cast. It was just that brilliant.
"The Edge of Night"-The CBS Years from 1956-1975. The Black and White episodes: 1956-1967. The Color Episodes: 1967-1984.
"The Edge of Night"-The ABC Years from 1975-1984. *When ABC cancelled this brilliant show in May of 1984,the network replaced it with the greatest travesty of the worst kind..The Gary Collins Show.
Former stage star/dancer James Mitchell is just one of many well known actors to have had a role on the show, episodes available to view him playing a crooked cop. Split personality Serena/Josie was played by the Emmy Winning Louise Shaffer, giving an intense performance that was equally as deserving. The D.A. in her trial was played by none other than that feisty "Designing Woman", Dixie Carter, equally as terminating here as she was as Julia Sugarbaker. Her boss was none other than "Ryan's Hope's" Johnny Ryan, Bernard Barrow. Another future T.V. star, Holland Taylor, gave a scary performance as the evil Denise Cavanaugh, the bitchy wife of the show's final romantic hero, Dr. Miles Cavanaugh (Joel Crothers).
Of the thousands of stories I would have loved to have seen unfold, the most interesting appears to be the early 70's saga of the Whitney family, especially as seen through the eyes of its sardonic matriarch, Geraldine. The wonderful Lois Kibbee would definitely have won an Emmy for her performance for this storyline where she reveals the secrets of her psychotic son who committed murder while disguised as a drugged out hippie and fell to his death while trying to kill Mike Karr's daughter, Laurie. This storyline was obviously based on scandals of the Kennedy family, with Geraldine definitely a fictional version of matriarch Rose who may not have been in public power but certainly ruled the roost behind the scenes. Geraldine mellowed thanks to the humanity of Kibbee, and her character became beloved, not only by the Monticello townspeople but by even the youngest of fans who felt a kindred spirit with her. Somebody in Hollywood must have liked the comic undertones of her character, casting her in an important role in the comedy classic "Caddyshack" as Ted Knight's uppity wife.
Of course, the show's longest running heroine was the gorgeous redhead Ann Flood, playing Mike Karr's second wife, Nancy, a hard-working reporter. A second major heroine, Nicole Travis (the equally beautiful Maeve McGuire), was also very prominent, and at times, Nancy and Nicole seemed like sisters, even though Nicole was originally brought in as a vixen. Recasts of Nicole after McGuire left the show seemed to youthen the character and made her seem like somebody different altogether. But when McGuire was there, cast opposite the handsome Donald May (Adam Drake), the show had two major couples for the audience to root for as they all went after the various criminals. The mid 1970's saw a major mob story, and this attracted a male audience who enjoyed the murder and mayhem of the daily drama which replaced the organ music and sappy romance on the other soaps.
Those "Another World" pals Constance Ford and Irene Dailey had separate stints as knife wielding murderesses, and Nancy Pinkerton, the original Dorian on "OLTL", had a rather lengthy stint as well. Major soap names as Gillian Spencer, Elizabeth Hubbard, Barbara Berjer, Conrad Fowkes, Millette Alexander, Nat Polen, Dorothy Lyman and Richard Schoberg were on for stints lasting usually six months to a year. Lyman's stint was a pre-cursor to her Emmy Winning role as Opal on "AMC", playing a hillbilly character with murder on her mind who got tossed out of a moving vehicle (with a stunt man wearing a wig), while Schoberg (also of "AMC") played her more worldly brother.
By the time I started watching, Mike and Nancy were still prominent, but the focus was on Sky Whitney and Raven Alexander. Larkin Malloy and Sharon Gabet became soap superstars as the dynamic couple. Malloy's Schuyler was revealed to be an impostor, but he was so popular that they brought him back as the real deal. While Malloy went on to popular hero roles on "Guiding Light" and "All My Children", Gabet wasn't so lucky, her characters on "Another World" and "One Life to Live" below expectations when compared to the memory of the much married vixen Raven. Veteran soap viewers name Gabet as one of the most missed actresses on daytime, but roles like Raven come along usually only once in a lifetime.
During its later years, "Edge" suffered in low ratings yet tried very hard to maintain its dignity even though the story lines often resembled the science fiction nonsense of "General Hospital". Even so, a long spy storyline and the mass hypnosis of Monticello through cable T.V. were entertainingly presented, the later storyline almost eerily representative of what is happening today through the obsession with social media and hand held devices. "Edge" is a show that certainly has not been forgotten, and its legacy is one of timeless entertainment, especially those episodes written with great care by the great Henry Slesar who obviously was influenced by the classic film noirs of the 1940's and 50's.