'As the World Turns' and 'the Edge of Night' Celebrate 25 Years of Angst in the Afternoon

updated 04/20/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/20/1981 01:00AM

As the World Turns toward The Edge of Night, the afternoon stars come out. At least they did in New York, when the two soap operas, both of which first aired April 2, 1956, celebrated their 25th anniversaries. "Colmans" and "Stewarts" gathered in the Art Deco grand foyer of Radio City Music Hall for Worlds gala, while the "Karrs" and "Scotts" from Edge whooped it up at the distinguished Players club.

Although CBS' World, with its serial sex in the suburbs, regularly outdraws the mystery-suspense of ABC's Edge, its party would have been considered a dud in swinging Oakdale. Admitted Don Hastings, who plays Dr. Bob Hughes on World: "I think our affair is a little stiff." There were no such complaints at the Players, where fan Ethel Merman sipped drinks with the cast and Edge graduates Tony Roberts and Jack Gilford. "I got my start on Edge," reminisced Roberts. "I had one line to say to Larry Hagman. He looked at me for what seemed like forever and said, 'You're not going to act, are you?' Well, that was the last time I acted."

Hagman, who didn't show, is among famous Edge alums like Eva Marie Saint, Farley Granger, James Coco, Celeste Holm and John Travolta. "John was on this show?" shrieked his Saturday Gorney, his Saturday Night Fever co-star. "I think everyone and his brother has been on this show," answered Kim Hunter, who left Edge a year ago.

Over the decades many actors have done time on both shows. "I spoke the first line on The Edge of Night," announced World's Hastings. But last year, when he chose an off-camera bride, he picked a bit player, Leslie Denniston, from his current show. Soap actors' relationships can be more confusing than those in Monticello or Oakdale. As one guest quipped, "This party reminds me of All My Relatives."

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