SOAPS IN STRANGE PLACES
As The World Turns was mentioned on the most recent episode of Mad Men and, rather than being a time-defining, scene-setting throwaway, it was a reference of great significance:
Speaking of her fill-in work for Harry, the inclusion of the 1962 storyline for As the World Turns brings some interesting parallels to the Drapers as well. The story that summer followed the daytime soaps' first super couple, Jeff Baker and Penny Hughes (Rosemary Prinz), who had a marriage that had survived several tragedies and always bounced back. Actor Mark Rydell (Jeff) wanted off the show to direct (he eventually would go on to direct The Rose and On Golden Pond), so they had to kill him off in an auto accident, which also left Penny with amnesia following a short coma, allowing for them to cut free of the Jeff Baker character completely. Aside from parallels to the Draper marriage, the amnesia solution certainly reminds us of how Don, Peggy, and to some extent Joan (suppression of her unexpected ambition) have coped with their own problems. Joan is right about the show being on the verge of a major breakthrough with the upcoming episode (aired August 23, 1962), as even TV Guide called it "the automobile accident that shook the nation." All the letters, telegrams and phone calls to CBS proved just how beloved the character actually was to the viewers.
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