Remembering Woodbridge: A History of the Late, Great 'Secret Storm' (Part 3)

Ward Costello as Peter Ames and Lori March as Valerie Hill.
Remembering Woodbridge: A History of the Late, Great 'Secret Storm'

The Soap Box
Vol. III No. 13 December 1978
by John Genovese

(continued from Part 2)

1963-1967: The Jane and Ira Avery Years

When former ad executive and television producer Ira Avery and his equally talented spouse Jane took the reins, sweeping alterations were made.

Myra and her father Ezra left for Egypt, never to be seen again, and Peter became publisher of The Herald. Julian Dark's mother, a pathetic hypochondriac came into the picture to provide the character of Julian with a heretofore unexplained motivation for wanting the Tyrell family funds: he wanted Grace's beautiful home for his mother. Susan became attracted to Julian. Amy and Kip "came of age." And in 1964, after the customary layover period which followed Myra's tearful departure, Peter found his greatest love interest.

James Elward, who had previously written scripts under the late Carl Bixby in May of 1963, returned to write for the Averys in November of that year and was shocked (but pleasantly so) to find the new dimensions taken on by Storm. Elward eventually became the Averys' good friend and sole dialogue writer. It was under these three imaginative writers that The Secret Storm enjoyed its highest degree of popularity.


Jada Rowland as Amy Ames and Jed Allan as Paul Britton.
Kip was seduced by Nina DiFrancesco, the money-grubbing daughter of the Spanish professor, and made her pregnant. When Nina threatened to tell all about Kip unless he married her, they struggled and she fell, suffering a fatal concussion. Kip went to prison, and Amy swore her allegiance to him. But she soon learned that talk is cheap and became pregnant by her unhappily-married history professor, Paul Britton. Paul's shrewish wife, Terry, granted him a divorce after zillions of marital battles, and left town with their small son, but Paul's declarations of love to Amy were to fall on deaf ears. Amy gave birth to a daughter, Lisa, and accepted Kip's marriage proposal after his release from prison, all the while believing that Paul was motivated by guilt. Amy and Kip's marriage was weak and troubled, and Arthur reveled in that fact.

When Peter and Amy took a vacation in Nassau, they met a lovely, soft-spoken widow by the name of Valerie Hill. Peter instantly fell in love with this gentle human being and brought her back to Woodbridge where she eventually became his wife. Pauline took a long time to warm up to the "perfect" new Mrs. Ames, but in time the two became the closest of friends despite the difference in their temperaments. Susan, however, took much longer to accept Valerie. It was Valerie who was in the disadvantageous position of discovering Julian Dark's treachery and sending him to prison--among other such awkward positions. And Valerie's scheming socialite daughter, Janet Hill, had a decidedly negative effect on the Ames family when she moved to Woodbridge.

Arthur hated being the father-in-law of an Ames almost as much as Grace detested being the mother-in-law of an Arthur Rysdale. He never thought Amy was quite up to the standards of his Kip, and used the wiles of Janet to drag Kip away from Amy. Jerry had the hots for Janet himself and went to Paris after getting badly burned by Janet's attentions to Kip. Amy came to her senses and divorced Kip and married Paul, but Janet refused to marry Kip when her vanity was threatened by a breast cancer scare. Once Janet became totally convinced that Kip only loved her for her body, they came to a parting of the ways, even in light of there being no breast cancer after all. Kip left for Vienna, Arthur went on a European business jaunt, and Janet moved to New York. The spotlight once again was on the Dunbar household.

Alan entered politics and neglected Susan and Petey for his campaign. Petey idolized his father, but Susan suffered from the neglect and became an alcoholic. Alan slowly fell in love with Ann Wicker, a local TV personality who worked on his campaign, but there was never anything physical between them. Ann had a rather sad life. Ann had previously been married to a wealthy society figure named Tommy Wicker, whose mother's relentless insistence that Ann have children had led to numerous miscarriages which left Ann barren. Her doomed love for Alan, and her many visits to psychiatrist Joe Brownell didn't help matters any, and she gave Alan up to marry her New York psychiatrist! Susan became more hateful, and Alan fought her over Petey's custody. But once Susan got over her long-standing resent of Valerie and let herself be helped, she won Petey and embarked on a tragic romantic adventure.

The spread of dope on the Woodbridge University campus coincided with the arrival of Casey Arnold, a dapper playboy who had grown up with Valerie's family in East Hampton. Since his parents' death in a plane crash in Grand Corniche, Casey had lived many places and developed many interests. Although Valerie loved him like a son and Susan found herself hopelessly attracted to him, Peter sensed something wasn't kosher with Casey even though he made him a crime reporter at the Herald and assigned him a series of articles on the local dope doings. The truth was that Casey had been sent by his employer, a dope racketeer, to infiltrate the Woodbridge U. campus! Casey was incensed when Henry Hall, the brash campus pusher, got a serious and shy student named Jimmy Dobbs hooked--because Jimmy was Casey's trusted new friend. This friendship, coupled with his love for Susan, resulted in a tormented and guilty conscience for this former hedonist.

Continue reading Remembering Woodbridge: A History of the Late, Great 'Secret Storm' (Part 4)...

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