H I C A G O
R I B U T E
The "mother of
the soap opera," Irna Phillips
single-handedly created a unique form of entertainment
that began on radio but reached its biggest audience
Phillips's first radio
soap, Painted Dreams, made its debut on WGN in 1930. It was the first
fully developed daytime melodrama catering to women, and was sponsored by
soap manufacturers. Two years later she moved to WMAQ Radio and created
the highly successful Today's Children.
depicted the stuff of ordinary life and introduced techniques that would
become familiar to generations of soap opera fans. She was the first to
use organ music to segue from one scene to another, the first to employ
cliff-hanger endings to keep the audiences coming back, and the first to
develop white-collar characters, largely doctors, lawyers and other professionals.
Phillips created some
of the most popular serials in radio and television history, including Woman
in White, The Road of Life, The Guiding Light, The Right to Happiness, The
Brighter Day, The Edge of Night, As the World Turns, Another World, Days
of Our Lives, and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.
Although her shows eventually
were produced in New York, she chose to stay in Chicago, living here at
1335 North Astor Street.