The History of The Young and the Restless: The 1970s
The Young and the Restless History
William J. Bell had established himself as a creative force in the world of daytime drama courtesy of his writing tenures at As the World Turns (under mentor Irna Phillips), as co-creator of Another World (along with Phillips), and as solo head writer of Days of our Lives. In the early 1970s, it was time for Bell to create his own series, a new daytime drama for CBS. Bill Bell and his wife, Lee Phillip Bell, a successful talk show host and documentarian in Chicago, give birth to The Young and the Restless.
OFF-SCREEN: Originally, the program had working titles of The Innocent Years and The Young and Restless Years before settling on the name The Young and the Restless – known to industry folks and millions of fans as simply “Y&R.”
The Bells visited Los Angeles at the invitation of John Mitchell, president of Screen Gems, Columbia’s (now Sony Pictures) TV division to talk out the creation of Y&R. A deal was struck. The couple started fleshing out the then-untitled show’s characters on cocktail napkins at the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills hotel. Bell remained a member of the DAYS writing team, but he and Phillip Bell were on a new journey, creating what would become daytime TV’s most successful soap opera.
One of the many ways Bell wanted to make Y&R unique was the way in which it was going to utilize music and he said so in his pitch to the network: “The dimension of music to enrich the moment…music mooded to the moment – either voiceover – or song very intimately by one or both of our principals.”
ON-SCREEN: The Young and the Restless debuted as a half-hour show on March 26, 1973, replacing CBS serial Where the Heart Is. In the first episode, drifter and mugging victim Brad Eliot wanders into Pierre’s Restaurant. Newspaper publisher Stuart Brooks pays Brad’s tab after overhearing he can’t afford the bill for his meal. Brad spies a newspaper story reporting that he was presumed dead in a car accident. He decides to stay silent about his reported passing so he can begin a new life and put his past as a surgeon behind him. We learn about Stuart’s family – wife, Jennifer; daughters Leslie (a pianist), Lorie, Chris, and Peggy.
Law student Snapper Foster was in love with Chris but her decision to remain a virgin till she was married led him into the bed of waitress Sally McGuire. Snapper’s mother, Liz Foster, is also mom to Greg, a law student, and daughter, Jill. Liz was left to raise her three kids alone after her husband Bill Foster walked out on the family.
The Young and the Restless addressed the issue of acquaintance rape after Chris was attacked by George Curtis. Alas, a jury failed to convict Chris’s assailant after the case went to trial. Later, Snapper and Chris announced their engagement, prompting Lorie, Chris’s sister, to return home from Europe. Liz’s brother, Dr. Bruce Henderson, came back to Genoa City to help his sister beat uterine cancer. He reconnected with Jennifer and was revealed to be the biological father of Lorie.
OFF-SCREEN: Bill Bell assembled a creative team for The Young and the Restless including producer John Conboy (who later went on to create his own show, Capitol) and director Bill Glenn.
ON-SCREEN: Lorie Brooks agreed to work for her father Stuart at the Chronicle – so that she could get closer to Brad Eliot. Lorie did her best to undermine Leslie and Brad’s relationship; she discovered his true origins as a doctor in Chicago and went to visit his ex-fiancée, Barbara.
Sally confessed to Snapper that she was the mother of his child, but she had agreed to wed Pierre. Chris and Snapper tied the knot. Alas, the bride having flashbacks to her rape prevented Chris and Snapper from fully enjoying a physically intimate relationship as man and wife.
Wealthy Kay Chancellor took a liking to Jill Foster and invited her into her home, never suspecting that her husband Phillip Chancellor II would fall in love with Jill. Kay’s son, Brock Reynolds, returned to Genoa City to help his mother with her alcoholism. Tragically, Pierre died after being beaten by a mysterious intruder. His sister Marianne came to Genoa City, sold Pierre’s restaurant, and returned to France with her brother’s body.
Lorie’s taunts of Leslie over Brad’s interest in her caused the pianist to suffer a breakdown. After her purse was stolen, Leslie ended up in a sanitarium in New York. Stuart found Leslie and brought his daughter to a private facility closer to home. Brad learned of Lorie’s duplicity and called off their engagement. Later, with Leslie’s encouragement, Brad faced up to Barbara, whose son died on the operating table with Brad serving as his surgeon. Brad also reconciled with his parents.
Also on The Young and the Restless, Brad proposed to Leslie and bought Pierre’s, renaming it The Allegro. Meanwhile, a pregnant Chris lost her child after finding out that Sally had given birth to Snapper’s son, who was named Charles (AKA Chuckie). Chris and Snapper temporarily split, but they soon reconciled. Liz’s nephew, Dr. Mark Henderson, came to town.
OFF-SCREEN: The Young and the Restless takes home the Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Lighting Direction for its January 11, 1974 episode. The show ties with Another World for Outstanding Art Director or Scenic Design, Tom Trimble, art director; Brock Broughton, set decorator. Y&R was nominated for Outstanding Technical Director and Electronic Camerawork.
OFF-SCREEN: Creators William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell and producer John Conboy win the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Daytime Drama Series for The Young and the Restless. Richard Dunlap is awarded the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Director in a Drama Series for Y&R’s November 25, 1974 episode. William J. Bell was nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Daytime Drama Series for head writing Y&R.
ON-SCREEN: Despite Kay getting her drinking under control by going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and being nice to everyone, Phillip could not return her feelings of love. He cared for Jill. Kay got Brock to propose marriage to Jill; the two shared a brief marriage that was never consummated. Jill became pregnant with Phillip’s son.
Phillip went to the Dominican Republic to get a divorce from Kay. Tragedy ensued when Kay met Phillip at the airport upon his return. Drunk, she drive her car off a cliff. Phillip died from his injuries. He wed Jill on his deathbed, but Kay convinced a court to rule that the marriage was invalid as Kay challenged her split from Phillip. Kay offered Jill a million dollars if she could raise little Phillip. Initially, Jill agreed to the deal.
Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer; she confided in Lorie that she’d had an affair with Bruce Henderson years earlier. Jennifer told Mark Henderson that he couldn’t be with Lorie as Bruce was also Lorie’s biological dad.
Brad saved Stuart’s life after he had a heart attack. Liz welcomed estranged husband Bill Foster back into the family as he was dying from lung cancer. Brad and Leslie wed; he arranged for them to honeymoon in Palm Springs so that visiting Maestro Fautsch would offer Leslie an opportunity to play piano in Buffalo. While in New York, Leslie returned to the sanitarium she was once held in to conquer some demons. The visit was traumatizing, but fortunately, Brad showed up in time to aid his wife.
OFF-SCREEN: The Young and the Restless scored three major nominations in key categories at the Daytime Emmys for Show, Writing, and Directing but walked away 0-3.
ON-SCREEN: Once Jill held her son in her arms, she realized she couldn’t take Kay up on her offer to give up her baby boy for any price – even Kay’s proposed one million dollars. The money was returned to Kay. Next, Kay went to court to keep Jill from getting any of Phillip’s money. Brock testified against his mom, but the courts still ruled in Kay’s favor.
Liz and an ailing Bill Foster renewed their wedding vows. Later, Bill, who had a DNR order (Do Not Resuscitate), went into a coma. Despite it going against her religion, Liz pulled the plug on her husband.
Lorie realized that Mark couldn’t marry her because they’re half-siblings. She’d lost both the man she loved and the man she thought was her father at the same time. Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Paris, Leslie ran into her old friend Lance Prentiss. He came back to Genoa City with her and began a romance with Lorie. Vanessa Prentiss, Lance’s mother, who wore a veil to hide a scar from a fire caused by her son Lucas, took an immediate dislike to Lorie.
Brad became blind. He wanted to divorce Leslie so as not to burden her with his impairment. He was stunned to find out she was pregnant. Leslie wrote a letter in Braille to Brad professing her love for him. Meanwhile, Peggy Brooks took up with Jack Curtis, a man who didn’t like that his wife Joann had put on some weight. Ron Becker, a client of Chris’s, raped Peggy. There was insufficient evidence to convict him of the crime. Also, Greg’s love, Gwen, a former prostitute, became a nun and went by the name Sister Magdalene.
OFF-SCREEN: David Hasselhoff (Snapper Foster) sang The Young and the Restless theme on the Merv Griffin Show.
ON-SCREEN: Vanessa Prentiss, Lance and Lucas’s mother, laid the groundwork to destroy Lucas and Lorie’s marriage. While Leslie believed that Lorie wouldn’t hurt her with a book she was writing, Vanessa hired a private eye to see if that was indeed the case.
Lorie had her mother-in-law’s number – she discovered that Vanessa could have had an operation to repair her damaged face years ago but chose not to in order to keep Lance close to her. Vanessa got Lance out of town and planned to “accidentally” shoot Lorie under the guise of thinking her daughter-in-law was a prowler. Ironically, Vanessa ended up firing her gun at Lance by mistake.
A blind Brad accidentally caused Leslie to miscarry their baby. Leslie tried to conceal Brad’s inadvertent role in the tragedy but he discovered the truth. Brad filed for divorce and underwent risky surgery to restore his vision. The surgery appeared successful.
Distraught over Bill’s death, Liz was comforted by meeting David Mallory, a young man who received her late husband’s eyes. Snapper was charged by authorities with his father’s mercy-killing; he kept quiet that Liz had pulled the plug on his pop. Liz confessed to Jill that she’d sent Bill to his great reward but then she suffered a stroke and lost memory of what had transpired. Snapper walked on a technicality as the State couldn’t prove what time Bill died. Suspended by the hospital, Snapper went to a poor part of town and opened up a clinic.
Ron Decker returned to Genoa City, announcing he wanted his daughter back with him. He had Nancy removed from the sanitarium and warned her that if she didn’t go along with his scheme, then she’d never see little Karen again. Ron’s schemes backfired so he tried to take his own life by swallowing some poison. Snapper saved him for Karen’s sake.
Ron’s near-death experience changed him; he agreed to let Snapper and Chris, who had taken Karen in, to keep her. However, that all changed after Nancy came out of her catatonic state and wanted her daughter back. A judge agreed that Ron and Nancy were better now. Karen opted to live with her biological parents; a devastated Chris left Genoa City.
Meanwhile, Peggy Brooks wed Jack Curtis against the wishes of her family. At first, their union was a secret but after a showdown with her father, Peggy moved in with her new husband. However, Peggy wasn’t quite ready to fully be Jack’s wife, so one night, he took her by force. She accused him of being no better than Ron Becker. Jack returned to Joann, who had slimmed down at this point, but she later regretted reconciling with him. Kay grew quite fond of Joann and lied to Jack that she’d grown interested in another man. Kay’s feelings for Joann didn’t last long; soon, Kay and Jill found themselves once more interested in the same man – Derek Thurston.
OFF-SCREEN: Director Richard Dunlap talks home another Daytime Emmy; awards also go to Steve Cunningham (technical) director and cameramen Fred Gough and Joe Vicens. Executive producer John Conboy and producer Patricia Wenig are nominated for Best Drama Series for producing The Young and the Restless.
ON-SCREEN: Phillip Chancellor was dead and buried but Kay and Jill soon found themselves competing against one another for another man – Derek Thurston, a hairdresser. Kay tricked Derek into marrying her, much to Jill’s dismay. Derek couldn’t leave Kay, however, after she attempted suicide. Later, Kay agreed to give Derek his own salon – The Golden Comb – and also set up a trust fund for Jill’s son Phillip IF Derek stayed with Kay for one year. Jill decided to move on and pursue a relationship with widowed Stuart Brooks.
Kay took a bullet meant for Derek thanks to his role in killing the brother of a mobster. Temporarily paralyzed, Kay kept secret that she was regaining mobility for fear of losing Derek. Brad regained his sight but he lost Leslie. Alas, their epic love story came to an end after she fell out of love with him. Meanwhile, Snapper took up with Dr. Casey Reed, a beautiful doctor. Their relationship hit a roadblock after Chris came back into Snapper’s life. In time, Chris was ready to be an intimate partner to Snapper only he asked for some time to mull things over. Chris and Casey struck up an unlikely friendship and agreed to let Snapper make up his mind as to which woman he’d choose. Snapper supported Casey after she and Nikki’s mother was killed in a car accident but he eventually reconciled with Chris.
Casey hoped to set her wild sister Nikki onto a more stable path. At Casey’s request, Brock gave Nikki a job at the Allegro. Nikki dated Paul Williams and contracted gonorrhea. Scott Adams, a young intern, offered Nikki a different life. Paul lost interest in Nikki after she became less wild; Nikki had a fling with her English professor, hoping to get a passing grade.
Lorie urged Lucas to come to Genoa City to see his mother Vanessa, who underwent surgery to deal with her scars from the fire. Vanessa, still no fan of Lorie’s, bought up all the copies of her book about her sister. Soon, Lucas fell for Lorie. He supported Lorie after Brad and Stuart expressed their fury over Lorie’s book about Leslie – In My Sister’s Shadow. Lance supported Leslie while she dealt with Lorie’s betrayal. While in Denver, Lance and Leslie made love. They shared a farewell kiss, which Lorie spied. Brock bowed out after learning Leslie was pregnant with Lance’s baby. Lucas wed Leslie, who vowed never to tell Lance she was carrying his baby. Maestro Fautsch offered Leslie his villa in Switzerland so she could fudge the baby’s birth date.
Widowed Liz Foster entertained the affections of two men – Stuart Brooks and Maestro Fautsch. Stuart also grew attracted to Jill, who, in turn, saw similarities between Stuart and the late Phillip. In Las Vegas, Stuart and Jill made love. They almost wed in Sin City but Stuart said he couldn’t get hitched unless his daughters were present. Liz got a makeover at the Golden Comb courtesy of Kay, unaware that Stuart was interested in her own daughter! Stuart decided to break up with Jill until she told him she was pregnant with his child.
ON-SCREEN: Derek’s ex-wife, Suzanne Lynch, came to Genoa City and learned that Kay could walk. She tricked her into revealing that she was able-bodied. Free from Kay, Derek didn’t return to Suzanne but instead asked Jill to marry him. Kay manipulated Derek into leaving town, prompting Jill to wed Stuart Brooks. Derek, unaware of Kay’s manipulation, went back to her upon returning to Genoa City.
Even though Stuart said he only wed Jill because she was pregnant, Jill was determined to hang onto him. She went to a fertility clinic in New York hoping to conceive for real. Greg schemed to get Stuart and his mother Liz back together after finding out Stuart and Jill had a shotgun marriage.
After Jill took a fall, Stuart learned that his bride was never pregnant with his child at all. He sought an annulment. Stuart told Liz that he’d made a mistake marrying Jill and that she, Liz, was the only woman for him since Jennifer died.
Kay’s world turned upside down after Suzanne poisoned her and Kay was institutionalized. Kay led people to think that a burnt corpse in her room was hers, but Kay put her ring on the decedent’s finger so that people would think she perished. Kay attended her own funeral and then snuck into the mansion to hear Derek defend her to Suzanne.
Jill continued to have her share of drama, too. She summoned Snapper to save Stuart’s life after he almost choked to death. Stuart offered Jill $100,000 in a divorce settlement but Jill wanted more – and also the Brooks home! Jill made a strategic error – she took nothing from Stuart, hoping to gain the ‘late’ Kay’s money now inherited by Derek. Kay revealed herself to be alive, which left Jill without a single cent.
Chris did an investigative piece for the Chronicle and uncovered a woman named Rose DeVille, who was running a prostitution ring. Rose planned to sell Chris and a young woman named Sharon to a ringleader in South America. Snapper and Brock rescued Chris and Sharon; Rose and her cohort Vince were arrested but viewers hadn’t seen the last of them. Later, Nikki applied to be a model at Rose’s Modeling Agency! A naïve Nikki signed a deal in which she owed Rose money but she thought she’d earn much more than what she needed to pay by becoming a successful model. Nikki fended off a businessman named Walter Addison, who had more on his mind than helping Nikki with her career. They fought and he died of a heart attack.
Chris was doubly blessed upon learning that she was pregnant with Snapper’s baby and that her exposure to German measles would not harm the child. Meanwhile, Nick Reed, Casey and Nikki’s father, made the scene. Casey recalled Nick violating her when she was a young girl; when Nick tried to put the moves on Nikki, she fought back. Nick died at the hospital and on his death bed, he professed to love both his girls. Nikki and Greg Foster wed despite Paul Williams telling Nikki he still loved her.
Vanessa went after Lorie with a vengeance. She got Lucas to come work at Prentiss Industries fully aware of the jealousy between Lucas and Lance. Vanessa hoped to undermine Lance’s position. Lorie figured out what Vanessa already knew – that Leslie was pregnant with Lance’s child and not Lucas’s. In Switzerland, Leslie gave birth to her son, Brooks Lucas Prentiss. Despite Leslie telling Lucas that he could go, he decided to stay with Leslie.
Lance and Lorie moved into a penthouse; Vanessa told Lorie that she’d have to divorce Lance in order for him to regain power in the family business. A despondent Lucas had a one-night stand with Casey. Leslie had a breakdown; she became a blonde singer named Priscilla and worked for a man named Jonas, who was kind but appeared rough on the outside. Lucas came upon Leslie but she had no recollection of him or their life together. This dramatic moment helped close out the 1970s on The Young and the Restless.
OFF-SCREEN: At the Daytime Emmys, The Young and the Restless is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Direction for a Daytime Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series but the show went home empty-handed.
Bill Bell was informed by CBS that the network was taking The Young and the Restless to an hour format following the lead of other daytime serials including Another World (which Bell had co-created) and Days of our Lives (which Bell had saved from cancellation with his innovative storylines).
The show’s airtime wouldn’t double to the following year but the decision had been made. Bell preferred the half-hour format but he said that CBS let him know the show would be going to 60 minutes with or without him!
The changes that Bell would ultimately make to The Young and the Restless in light of it going to an hour redefined the show into what many viewers know it as today. But before the Newmans and the Abbotts took center stage, Bell still had many stories to tell with the Brooks and Foster families.
The Young and the Restless (YR) airs weekdays on CBS. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Genoa City, check out all the latest that’s been posted on Y&R spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.