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, we saw the character description for Edith Hughes, who would be played by Ruth Warrick. In Part 6, the characters of Fred (Grandpa) Hughes Bobby Hughes were described. In Part 7, Chris and Nancy's other children, Penny and Don, were fleshed out. In Part 8, Part 9, Part 10 and Part 11, the first six months of projected story started to be revealed. In Part 12 below, read Irna's final thoughts on AS THE EARTH TURNS.
What about Penny? How does she feel about her aunt when Ellen confides in her? These two young girls, who are growing into womanhood, somehow are unable to understand the real relationship that existed between Edie and Jim. Love? They hardly know the meaning of this word; but can only think how this kind of information, and how they interpret it, can influence their individual lives. This is their secret, a secret which unites them as it separates them.
The emerging of the Lowell story, emphasizes the contrast which must be obvious: A poorly adjusted couple played against the backdrop of Chris and Nancy Hughes, two people who were, who are, who always will be in love one with the other, and who thru this love can solve almost any problem which presents itself. The audience will find in Chris and Nancy identification, great identification. In the Lowell family we hope the audience will not only find compelling drama, but in some small way, just maybe, it will keep one mother or one father from rearing another Jim Lowell.
This, then, is the broad base of our storyline. We would like to stress the point that "AS THE EARTH TURNS" is not a melodrama. It is the story of people. It might as well be said that the life of each one of us is a serial story. Heredity and environment shape our destinies. As it is true of us, so it is true of the Hughes family and the Lowells. The experiences of these people are as predictable as the changing seasons, and as unpredictable as nature itself. What happens to them happens to so many of us who are subject to the many influences, pressures, of everyday living in this particular era - an era that is breeding insecurity, fear, almost futility. But as long as there is a springtime and a harvest, as long as the earth turns, nothing is futile.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We hope you have enjoyed reading this fascinating document. To think, 55 years after it was written, AS THE WORLD TURNS is still on the air, Nancy Hughes is still going strong, little Bobby has grown up and is still around, and Ellen Lowell's granddaughter, Emily Stewart, is a key member of Oakdale society (FYI...there is no "Stewart" blood in anyone named Stewart on the canvas today but there is a Lowell - Emily's father was Dan Stewart who was actually the son of Ellen and Tim Cole and born in 1958. He was born Jimmy Lowell but given away for adoption to the Stewart family and his name was changed to Danny Stewart - the original core family with the Hughes family).
I hope someone at ATWT has seen this and understands the importance of Ellen and Penny to the history of this soap and will bring them back before the end. When you are dealing with 54 years of history, it is precious, and the entire run deserves to be honored. Patricia Bruder was not the original Ellen but joined in 1960 (same year as Eileen Fulton and Don Hastings) and played the role for decades. Please call her!
Much love and thanks to Martha Byrne for sharing this bible with us.