Thursday, July 16, 2015

Remembering Woodbridge: A History of the Late, Great 'Secret Storm' (Part 5)

Judy Lewis as Susan Ames and Laurence Luckinbill as Frank Carver.
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 4)

1967-1969: The Late Winsor Years

With the Brittons in Wisconsin and the Porters newly settled in Woodbridge, the action once again shifted to Susan when another drastic change occurred in her life. Alan went into the Vietnam War and was declared Missing in Action. Susan took a long time to adjust to being a single mother for Petey, but two new admirers appeared in Alan's wake. One was Bob Hill, Val's attorney son, who had moved to town after divorcing his wife. The other was Frank Carver, an adventurous and good-natured Herald reporter. Frank's closest friend was Henry McGill, president of Woodbridge University, who was having a difficult time winning acceptance from his estranged son.

The Porter family structure fell apart at the seams when Kip Rysdale returned to Woodbridge and dated Wendy, arousing jealousy in Janet. The endless confrontations between Janet and Wendy led to a heart attack for Tony and a brief fling with Melissa Tyson, his English secretary. Wendy decided to ease the tension by moving into her own apartment, and it was there that she met and befriended a rather young neighbor. His name was Herbie Vail, and he displayed a violent temper, an unhealthy attachment to his late mother, and an obsessive hatred for his father, Henry McGill. Frank and Wendy reconciled father and son happily, Kip took a CIA job, and the Porters left Woodbridge.

Susan soon found herself unable to resist Frank Carver's winning personality and they fell in love. Once they became serious, however, Frank admitted he had an estranged southern-belle wife, Mary Lou, who was blackmailing him to remain her husband or otherwise let it be known that he killed a man in Mexico. Not long after his revelation, Mary Lou arrived to stir up unrest in Woodbridge. Following on her heels were her father, fat Texas millionaire Wes Glenway, and her menacing German paramour, Erik Fulda. Frank soon found himself accused of two more murders: that of his landlady, Mrs. Corinne Leland, and that of Mary Lou! Luckily, this mess was never brought to trial, for Frank's policeman buddy, Lt. Vince Firelli, was able to help him prove that it was Erik Fulda who was guilty on all three murder counts. Wes Glenway returned to his home deep in the heart of Texas, and Susan and Frank married. But an additional storm cloud had burst to rock Woodbridge: Peter Ames had died of a cerebral hemorrhage while on a Paris business trip!

Unbelievable but true: Peter Ames was suddenly a mere memory. Jerry returned for several months to ease matters at the Herald, leaving Hope in Paris. His neglect of Hope was understandable, for there was indeed a sorry and incredible state of affairs at the newspaper.

Peter had left his publishing position to his old friend, Charles ("Charlie") Clemens, who arrived in Woodbridge along with his young daughter Karen and his emotionally disturbed granddaughter Robin. Robin's mother was Charlie's elder daughter, Belle, an Acapulco jet-setter whom her upright father despised. Charlie, recognizing Karen's over-protectiveness of her niece, took Valerie up on her suggestion to place Robin at The Lenox Home, a home for such troubled children. Robin was placed in the care of Lenox employee Rose Latimer, an understanding spinster who also gave Robin piano lessons. Miss Latimer's neurotic sister, Lydia Reynolds, detested children and blamed Grace for the loss of her job at Tyrell's. Robin began to make real progress at the Lenox, despite Charlie's disapproval of the permissive methods employed by Miss Latimer, and a new development which Charlie feared would prove a setback for his granddaughter.

Returning in April 1968, Nicolas Coster as Paul Britton and
Jada Rowland as Amy Ames Britton.
In Acapulco, blonde bombshell Belle Clemens learned from her doctor that she didn't have long to live. Guilt-ridden over her neglect of her daughter, Belle dumped her boyfriend, Tony Coleman, and came to Woodbridge to make amends with the family. Befriended by Bob Hill and refused room and board by Charlie, Belle discovered she was not ill after all and planned marriage to Bob, but Bob left when it became evident that a marriage would never take place. Belle's real love was for her newfound friend, Paul Britton, who had returned to Woodbridge with Amy and Lisa. Belle certainly didn't appear the callous, selfish young woman her father had described. She became close to Robin and helped precipitate the child's recovery, and was adept at keeping her growing feelings for Paul under wraps. It wasn't until Amy took Robin out in a boat near the Ameses' summer home on Lake Morrison that Belle's devious true colors came through. Robin fell out of the boat and drowned, and Amy was unable to save her. A shattered Belle now set out to lure Paul away from Amy, and a menacing triumvirate formed against the Ames family.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Secret Storm began broadcasting in color on Monday, September 11, 1967.

Continue reading Remembering Woodbridge: A History of the Late, Great 'Secret Storm' (Part 6)...

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