R.I.P. Donald May, star of Colt .45 and the daytime Perry Mason adaptation The Edge of Night
He played Sam Colt Jr. in the Wild West and crusading attorney Adam Drake. He was 91.
There were 7,420 episodes of The Edge of Night. That is not a typo.
The Edge of Night premiered on April 2, 1956. The initial pitch was a daytime version of Perry Mason. Mystery author and Perry Mason creator, Erle Stanley Gardner was brought in to craft the series. However, Gardner and CBS had a case of creative differences. The network wanted to give Mason a love interest. Gardner was against the idea.
After the beef, Irving Vendig was brought in to helm the show, which became a spin on Perry Mason scrubbed up with soap opera themes. The formula clicked, as the series ran for nearly three decades, on two networks.
The Edge of Night took place in the fictional Midwestern city of Monticello. Keen spotters of skylines might recognize the familiar buildings of Cincinnati in the credits. Procter & Gamble produced the show (there was a reason they were called "soap operas," remember). The show ran mostly around the 4 PM slot, making it a favorite of the after-school crowd. Even after 7,420 episodes, the story was not wrapped up. The series ended on a cliffhanger. Thousands of episodes no longer exist, long ago wiped from the tapes.
The drama centered around Mike Kerr (played by three actors over the years), the Perry Mason clone who was in love with Sara Lane.
From 1967–77, Donald May portrayed crusading legal eagle Adam Drake. It was a meaty role — one 1968 episode was comprised entirely of Drake delivering 42-pages of a closing argument. Near the end of his run on the series, he often teamed with Dixie Carter, who played the assistant D.A.
Prior to The Edge of Night, May had lead roles in The West Point Story, a military drama, and in 1959 assumed the lead role of Sam Colt Jr. in the Western Colt .45. For two seasons, he played Pat Garrison, a reporter chasing down gangsters, in The Roarin' 20s.
May had a string of "What If?" pilots that failed to get picked up. In Dream Wife, from 1965, he played the husband of a psychic, Shirley Jones. "County General" was a backdoor pilot of Bus Stop, hoping to set up May with a medical drama.
Throughout the Seventies, he turned up frequently in primetime, on titles such as Barnaby Jones, The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas, Falcon Crest, and Fantasy Island.
May passed away on January 28, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 91.
Watch Perry Mason on MeTV!
Weekdays at 9 AM
*available in most MeTV markets
Weeknights at 11:30 PM
Of Night st ,3:30 pm on CBS
And Dark Shadows at 5pm
On ABC over 20 years ago.
The Edge Of Night and Dark
Shadows were my favorite
Daytime TV shows a long
Time ago. I also liked the game
show called The Match Game
With Gene Rayburn as host and
Johnny Olson as the announcer
and the Theme Song of The Match Game was A Swinging
Match Game is on several channels BUZZR is one of them Pluto has BUzzr Channel 164 and Game Show Central Channel 167. One of those channels most likely shows it.
Was played by 3 Actors:
(Forrest Compton also played
Colonel Edward Gray on Gomer Pyle USMC)
What was the CLIFFHANGER
On The Edge Of Night when
The show was canceled by
ABC. If Mike Karr and Perry Mason had been Real Lawyers
Mike &Perry probably would
Have been good friends.
The name of Adam Drake
(Donald May)Might have come
From Paul Drake (William
Hopper) on Perry Mason.
In the person's post it said most pre- 1978 episodes were lost? There maybe some others out there somewhere?
Well the world of and history behind soap operas is a little more complicated than what this article suggests. True, youth (after-schoolers) *were* attracted to a certain (romance oriented) kind of soap, but that didn't mean they all flocked to The Edge of Night, which was a much more traditional type of storyline aimed at more mature viewers. Of course it didn't mean the Stars (actors) weren't wonderfully handsome and the women, glamorous, attracting their own individual fan bases. But it was the exception rather than the rule. Most classic TV viewers remember the highlighted romance of Luke and Laura and the escapades of General Hospital, (which I believe) did run after school so it could be aptly followed. But, in the day there were a TON of soap operas, aimed mainly for the housewife who usually wasn't a second breadwinner in the family, or the house-bound. And yet, they were looking for a little daytime excitement like a living roman novel.
If truly interested in the genre of Soap Operas be sure to check out the link above as a starting point, and remember that they were a staple of daytime viewing, *mainly* because they were serialized, with the cliffhanger always being on a Friday. Which kept them popular along with (don't forget) all the game shows!
TV has come a very long way since those decades!!
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