Irna Phillips created AS THE WORLD TURNS in 1955 and a pilot was shot in November of that year. AS THE WORLD TURNS debuted on April 2, 1956. In Part 1 of the original story bible for the soap, called AS THE EARTH TURNS at that point, some background details on the concept of the show and the locale were provided. In Part 2, the character of Christopher Hughes was described in detail. In Part 3, we found out more about Chris, his family and career. In Part 4, the original vision for the character of Nancy Hughes was explained. In Part 5 below, the character description for Edith Hughes, who would be played by Ruth Warrick, is revealed.
EDITH HUGHES is quite attractive at thirty-three. There's no strong tie to her brother Chris or her sister-in-law Nancy. As a matter of fact there has been no strong tie to anyone in Edith's life for some time now. Edith's frustration and bitterness became a part of her as she grew into womanhood. Her twin brother John - well, it was different with a boy, he could just up and leave, and he did. Later, perhaps too late, when Chris became what his family thought successful, there were monthly checks, but these were eaten up by the farm.
Five years ago when her mother died, Edith left the farm. Chris gave her enough money for a course in beauty culture and today a woman of poise, she is a beauty operator in the very swank salons of Margo, not too far from where her brother practices law.
She's an infrequent visitor at her brother's home in the suburbs, and sees her father just as rarely. Edith can never forget the great investment her parents had made in just one of their children, nor can she forgive Nancy for having everything she, Edith, ever wanted...an education, marriage, a family, a home of her own. Yes Edith always felt that she had been deprived of so much. Even Chris himself would admit anyone might say, I wonder why she never married. That's been said of many attractive women, and there is always a reason Mr. Right hasn't come along? Mr. Right did come along for Edith when she was twenty-three.
During the Second World War an Air Corps training base was built not far from the Hughes farm. Because they needed the money, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes had no arguments to offer when Edith got a job as a switchboard operator at the base, and when she met Lt. Frank Rice, Edith knew she had found the man she could love.
In civilian life Frank was a construction engineer and the position would be waiting for him when he got out of the service. Frank seemed to love Edith as deeply and genuinely as she loved him, and the six months of their romance was a happy, wonderful time. The only marring element was that Edith could not persuade Frank that they should be married before he went overseas. His reasons were logically and wholly unselfish. He said he would like to marry her and he meant it, but suppose something should happen to him?...No, it wasn't fair to her. No matter how she pleaded, he was not going to do that to her.
He gave her an engagement ring and flew with his squadron to the European theatre. But eight months later Edith received a letter -- he was sorry, he hated to hurt her, but he guest it wasn't the real thing between them - he had married an English girl. Edith Hughes has never loved another man.
And so resentments and bitterness grew within Edith. When her mother died, she left the farm and developed a philosophy which she's going to make work: Take all and give nothing. That's a hard philosophy and a cold one and can be seen reflected in the veneer that Edith has built around herself.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The next part will focus on the character of Fred (Grandpa) Hughes.