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.

In the past when we've asked you if you remember a show, we've highlighted obscurities, short run curiousities such as Holmes & Yoyo and 240-Robert. Those hardly lasted a season.

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.

 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

5 Comments

Post a comment
Jon 4 months ago
I've read that the show was named THE EDGE OF NIGHT because it was aired in late afternoon.
Kramden62 4 months ago
I distinctly remember my Mom watching this show.

In fact, she stayed with it even after "The Edge of Night" defected from CBS to ABC (remember that?). I don't think any of the ABC tapes survived, either.

I heard somewhere before reading this article "Edge of Night" was where Kate Capshaw (Mrs. Steven Spielberg) got her start as an actress.
McGillahooala 4 months ago
Loved this show. A high school age Lori Laughlin can be seen in the later years.
SusanSurlesTaylor 10 months ago
I remember Edge of Night but got into it way after the Perry Mason part. If I was with my grandmother, I watched all of her Soaps, one of which was Edge of Nighy.
Stoney 32 months ago
Seems like I vaguely remember my mom watching this when I was a kid (late 70s, early 80s).
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?