The Secret Storm
February 1, 1954 – February 8, 1974
The Secret Storm is a soap opera which ran on CBS from February 1, 1954 to February 8, 1974. The series was created by Roy Winsor, who also created the long-running soap operas Search for Tomorrow and Love of Life. Gloria Monty of General Hospital fame was a longtime director of the series.
The story follows the Ames family, a prominent clan in the fictional Northeastern town of Woodbridge (eventually identified as being located in New York). The Ames family consisted of Peter, his wife Ellen, and their three children: Susan, Jerry, and Amy. Ellen was killed in the first episode and subsequent stories focused on Peter raising his three children. Lending a hand, however dubiously, was Peter's sister in-law, also his former fiancée, Pauline Rysdale (Haila Stoddard).
Despite Susan and Pauline's efforts to derail any new romances in Peter's life, he eventually remarried two more times. His first re-marriage was to Myra Lake (June Graham), one of Amy's teachers, but that ended in divorce. His second and most successful re-marriage was to divorcee Valerie Hill (Lori March) and was married to her until his death.
Later the villainous Belle Clemens (Marla Adams) was the main source of trouble for Woodbridge, taking over from Aunt Pauline, the show's original villain. Originally due to die of kidney disease, the writers had Belle's daughter drown in an accident. Belle blamed Amy for the death.
Amy was allowed to age in real time and did not undergo rapid aging as used on many younger soap opera characters. Jada Rowland played the character, minus a few breaks, for the duration of the show's run.
Actress/writer Stephanie Braxton and actor Dan Hamilton met while performing on the show. They later married in real life. Lori March, who played Valerie Hill Ames for many years, later played the wife of her real life husband Alexander Scourby. Actress Diana Muldaur married her co-star, James Vickery, in real life.
Actress Diane Ladd played the role of Kitty Styles from 1971-1972, after actress Diana Millay left the role in 1971.
In 1968, Joan Crawford, at the time over 60 years old, filled in for her ailing daughter, Christina Crawford, who played the role of Joan Borman Kane, a character aged just 28. The episodes aired on October 25, 28, 29, and 30, 1968. Although no full shows with Joan Crawford are known to exist, clips from some episodes have appeared on YouTube. The 1981 film Mommie Dearest portrayed Crawford's appearance without specifying the name of the series.