Thursday, August 20, 2015

FLASHBACK: 'Another World' The Story of Steven, Rachel & Alice (Part 1)

Another World's Alice Matthews (Jacqueline Courtney) had a long and
complicated relationship with Rachel Davis (Robin Strasser), which started
with Rachel's interest in Alice's brother, Dr. Russ Matthews (Sam Groom).
ANOTHER WORLD: The Story of Steven, Rachel & Alice

The Soap Box
Vol. IV No. 7 July 1979
by Bryna Laub

When Rachel Davis regained consciousness in the Emergency Room at Bay City Hospital she couldn't help noticing, despite her total confusion over what had happened to her, that the young doctor bending over her was very handsome. Flashing a reassuring smile he explained that she had fainted while modeling at Bryant's Department Store. Then he introduced himself as Dr. Russell Matthews and indicated the lovely blonde nurse assisting him was his sister, Alice.

Bells rang in Rachel's head as she excitedly breathed, "You mean you're BAY CITY MATTHEWSES?"

"Well, we live in Bay City, if that's what you mean," Alice replied somewhat uncomfortably.

That wasn't quite what Rachel meant. One of the ways Rachel escaped from reality was to avidly devour the society pages of the local paper and then daydream herself into the parties and charity balls that filled the columns. The Matthews name was constantly mentioned although almost all of those references were to Mrs. Liz Matthews, Russ and Alice's widowed aunt. But Rachel knew all the Matthews in Bay City were related so, as far as she was concerned, they were all rich, important and to be envied.

Rachel lived in the poorest section of Bay City with her mother, Ada, a hairdresser, who had been abandoned by her husband, Gerald, when Rachel was a baby. Ada had scrimped and sacrificed to do everything she could for her daughter. But Rachel had nevertheless grown up feeling like an outsider as she watched the other little girls with fathers and mothers and lots of pretty clothes and the right kind of homes. And later college, too, was out of the question. The best Ada could do for her was charm school. But the modeling lessons did get her job at Bryant's.

Robin Strasser as Rachel.
Not that she wanted that much out of life, Rachel believed. All she wanted was to be somebody. Somebody like Alice Matthews. It really wasn't fair, Rachel thought, that some girls should have everything. Alice was beautiful, like a Dresden doll, and she had a good education and she was a Matthews to boot. Not that being Alice Matthews just meant social position. No, it also meant that she had a father. A father to cuddle her when she was little and to tuck her into bed and to say he loved her. And now that she was grown, a father to talk to and share the kinds of things she couldn't explain to her mother. Yes, Alice had it all, and she probably didn't even realize it.

From that first moment in the Emergency Room neither Alice nor Rachel ever felt really comfortable with each other. To Rachel, Alice represented all the things she'd ever wanted, all the things she'd been cheated out of in her life. And Rachel, to Alice, was an object of pity, for Alice could see how desperate Rachel was for both material things and acceptance. But more important, Alice instinctively sensed that Rachel was a threat--Rachel came first and last and it didn't matter who got hurt as long as little Rachel got what she wanted.

And what Rachel wanted was Russ. Dr. Matthews. Dr. Matthews of the Bay City Matthewses. When Russ had to tell Rachel her tests showed a slight heart involvement and she'd have to stay in the hospital for a few weeks, her delight at the golden opportunity fate had dropped in her lap completely overshadowed her concern over her condition. But she didn't let Russ see this.

Rather she took advantage of the situation by pretending the hospital routine terrified her and only his constant and reassuring presence made her believe she would get well. And Russ, who had gathered stray and wounded creatures to his heart since childhood, quickly succumbed to Rachel's apparent helplessness as well as her dark exotic beauty. He spent all his free moments in her room and soon asked the rest of his family to visit his beautiful and defenseless young patient.

Continue reading Part 2 of a very detailed flashback series, Another World - The Story of Steven, Rachel & Alice...

- INTERVIEW: Robin Strasser Reflects On Constance Ford