Home Television Drama Edge Of Night, The

Edge Of Night, The

1 9 5 6 – 1 9 8 4 (USA)
7420 x 30 minute episodes

A strange hybrid of daytime soap opera and mystery series, The Edge Of Night brought us the lives of the residents of the turbulent Midwestern town of Monticello (although the skyline of both Cincinnati and Los Angeles was used at various times in the opening titles).

The series aired on CBS from 1956 until 1975 before switching to ABC for the duration of its 28-year run, becoming the first soap to switch networks (The network change came about as a result of CBS extending As The World Turns to 60 minutes).

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The series was unlike any other daytime serial since most of its storylines during the early years involved various crimes and court trials. The main character was an assistant district attorney (and former police officer), Mike Karr. As the series progressed it became increasingly romance-oriented.

Mike Karr was played by John Larkin until 1962 when he was replaced by Laurence Hugo, who played the role until 1971. Forrest Compton then took over the role until the series left the air in 1984.

Karr’s wife, Sarah Lane Karr (played by Teal Ames) was killed trying to save her daughter’s life. This was one of the first deaths of a major character on a daytime television series, and because Sarah was such a popular character, the number of letters protesting her demise was unprecedented.

Both Larkin and Teal Ames appeared in front of the cameras at the end of one of the shows to assure viewers that only the character, Sarah, was dead, and not the actress, Teal Ames.

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Other characters seen in the early days were Sarah’s brother, Jack Lane; his wife Betty Jane; Mattie Lane (Jack and Sarah’s mother); Winston Grimsley, a wealthy businessman who married Mattie; Bill Marceau, Monticello’s chief of police; Judy Marceau, his daughter; and Martha, Bill Marceau’s secretary and later wife.

Many of these actors remained on the series until shortly before it left the air.

Humorist PG Wodehouse never scheduled an appointment that conflicted with the broadcast of The Edge Of Night, Eleanor Roosevelt sent an effusive fan letter, and Tallulah Bankhead once became so impatient with a man-troubled heroine that she called the show’s producer and shouted, “Why doesn’t she shoot the bastard?”

D.A. Mike Karr
John Larkin (1)
Laurence Hugo (2)
Forrest Compton (3)
Sarah Lane Karr 

Teal Ames
Jack Lane
Don Hastings
Betty Jane Lane
Mary Alice Moore
Mattie Lane
Betty Garde (1)
Peggy Allenby (2)
Katherine Meskell (3|)
Winston Grimsley 

Walter Greaza
Police Chief Bill Marceau 

Carl Frank (1)
Mandel Kramer (2)
Martha Spears Marceau 

Teri Keane
Judy Marceau
Joan Harvey
Dr Charles Weldon 
Conrad Bain
Senator Benjamin Travis 

William Prince
Dr Charles Weldon 

Ken Bruce Martin
Ada Chandler 

Billie Allen
Willie Saffire 

Jackson Beck
Brandy Henderson 

Dixie Carter
Draper Scott 

Tony Craig
Danny Micelli 

Lou Criscuolo
Dr Miles Cavanaugh 

Joel Crothers
Dr Jim Field 

Alan Feinstein
Detective Deborah ‘Red’ Saxon 

Frances Fisher
Joe Pollock 

John Gibson
Liz Hillyer Prentiss Field 

Alberta Grant
Dr Hugh Lacey 

Brooks Rogers
Elaine ‘Cookie’ Pollock Thomas Christopher 

Fran Sharon
Vic Lamont 

Ted Tinling
Cliff Nelson 

Ernie Townsend