Do you remember the show 'The Edge of Night'?
What was meant to be a daytime version of Perry Mason turned into three decades of moody Midwestern soap opera.
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There were 7,420 episodes of The Edge of Night. That is not a typo.
The Edge of Night premiered sixty years ago, on April 2, 1956. The initial pitch was a daytime version of Perry Mason, and author Erle Stanley Gardner was brought in to craft the series. However, Gardner and CBS had a case of the ol' creative differences, as the network wanted to give Mason a love interest, against the wishes of the character's creator. After the beef, Irving Vendig was brought in to helm the show, which became a knock-off of Mason washed over with soap opera themes.
The formula clicked, as the series ran for nearly three decades, on two networks.
The Edge of Night took place in the fictional Midwestern city of Monticello. Keen spotters of skylines might recognize the familiar buildings of Cincinnati in the credits, however. Procter & Gamble produced the show (there was a reason they were called soap operas, remember).
Tons of familiar MeTV faces appeared on the afternoon half-hour, everyone from Frank Gorshin to Amanda Blake. Even names like Julianne Moore, Kate Capshaw and Bebe Neuwirth got their start on the moody soap, just to name a few.
When Teal Ames's character was killed in 1961, CBS became flooded with phone calls. Ames came on the air the following day to assure viewers that she, the actress, was alive and only the character had perished.
The show ran mostly around the 4PM slot, making it a favorite of the after-school crowd. Even after 7,420 episodes, the story was not wrapped up. The series ended on a cliffhanger.
Thousands of episodes no longer exist, long ago wiped from the tapes.