One of the best - and the worst - things about life in a small town is that eventually everyone knows everybody else’s business. When we first entered the world of Pine Valley in 1970, we found out that everybody did indeed know everyone else. We were the strangers in town, but it didn’t take long before we settled in and became familiar with and fascinated by the residents and their stories.

View Complete Summary for "All My Children" 1970

Most of those stories were love stories. The first lovers we met were young Phillip Brent and Tara Martin, solid, dependable, likable kids busy with classes, sports, hobbies and plans for college during their senior year at Pine Valley High. In the midst of this activity, Phil and Tara were also experiencing the first blush of love. It was soon clear to every one that these two were meant to be together. Even Chuck Tyler, Phil’s best friend, accepted what seemed the inevitable, despite his long standing crush on Tara. Their classmate, Erica Kane, who’d had her eye on Phil for some time, was not quite as understanding. After all, Phil was the most popular guy in school, and in Erica’s mind she was the prettiest girl. She couldn’t fathom what a guy like Phil could see in a plain Jane like Tara Martin. So Erica set out to break them up.

Phil and Tara’s romance had the support of both their families. Tara had moved from California with her father Dr. Joe Martin after the death of her mother. They lived with Joe’s mother Kate, whom Tara called "Gran." Tara could always turn to Kate for words of wisdom and motherly advice. Tara’s older brother Jeff, like Gran, was supportive of Tara’s newfound love. Jeff was home for summer vacation from Stanford Medical School. When he found love of his own that summer, his plans for returning to Stanford would become a distant memory.

For the first eighteen years of his life, Phillip had brought Ruth and Ted Brent much joy. But if Ruth was pleased to see their son so happy in love it was soon clear that her relationship with her husband was falling apart. Ted Brent was a former professional football player who, after an injury, was forced to give up the game he loved. Eventually Ted made a new career selling used cars. But with his passion thwarted, he grew into a bitter man who began to resent Phil’s youth and his promise of a birght future. Combined with the truth he faced every day about Phillip's real father, this sent Ted to the bottle for comfort.

The Brents’ marriage also suffered because of Ted’s resentment toward Ruth’s job as a nurse at Pine Valley Hospital. He felt neglected when her work schedule took away time he felt she should be spending at home with her family. For her part, Ruth realized how little she and Ted had to talk about these days and how much she enjoyed her time with Dr. Joe Martin. They shared a common interest in their work, as well as their children’s budding romance. Regardless of this growing connection, Ruth remained devoted to her marriage, determined to tough it out with Ted.

Ted’s intense dislike of Ruth’s younger sister Amy added to the tension in the Brent home. He was galled by Amy’s constant presence in Phil’s life and felt inferior to her polished, wealthy husband, Lincoln Tyler. Despite their differences, Ruth sided with Ted about Amy’s involvement in Phillip’s life. Phil and his Aunt Amy had always been close, but it soon appeared that things were getting out of hand. Amy was obsessive in her attention to Phillip’s everyday activities. She worked hard to keep her husband Linc from finding out why. Amy truly loved Linc, Who she felt was the kindest and most understanding man she’d ever known. But not even Linc could understand or forgive Amy for the true reason she bonded so strongly with Phillip. Amy struggled to be a good wife to Linc and tried to make him happy. She also did her best to put up with Linc’s intolerable mother, Phoebe Tyler.

While Linc accepted Amy’s liberal politics, Phoebe considered her daughter-in-law’s anti-Vietnam War activities vaguely unAmerican. Phoebe felt Lincoln had married beneath him. They were, after all, Tylers, the pinnacle of Pine Valley society. It galled Phoebe to think her son had tied himself to someone so clearly unworthy of him. That her husband, Dr. Charles Tyler, could tolerate, even like, Amy was beyond Phoebe’s comprehension.

Charles and Phoebe had three children. Their older son, Charles Tyler II, died in an automobile accident with his wife many years earlier, leaving them a grandson, Chuck, to raise. Chuck, who hoped to become a doctor someday, had become more son than grandson to them. Their younger son, Lincoln, had become a fine attorney, and Phoebe hoped that he would run for office one day - provided Amy’s politics didn’t get in his way. Their only daughter, Anne, was in New York City pursuing a fashion career. All the Tyler children were level-headed and down-to-earth, attributes which bespoke Charles’s influence far more than Phoebe’s.

Life with Phoebe Tyler, perennial busybody and society snob, had never been easy for Charles. But he remained loyal to her and learned to tolerate her faults. He also had an escape at Pine Valley Hospital, where he was chief of staff . As Phoebe’s meddling antics increased, he began spending more and more time at the hospital. That meant his secretary was putting in more and more overtime. But Mona Kane didn’t mind. She loved the way Charles had come to rely on her over the years. She seemed to be the only one who could cajole him out of a black mood and soothe him after a bout with Phoebe. She wouldn’t dare admit it to anyone but she was falling in love with Charles Tyler. She simply loved him. Before long, this unspoken emotion had become mutual.

Mona had divorced her philandering husband Eric after he deserted her when their daughter Erica was only nine. While he found fame in Hollywood as a film director, Mona dedicated her life to raising their child. going out of her way to please Erica. But no matter how much attention or how many gifts Mona lavished on the child, it was never enough. A true “Daddy’s Little Girl,” Erica blamed Mona for her father’s departure, a rejection that left Erica filled with insecurity. No matter how pretty she had convinced herself she was, she was driven by the fear that someone else was prettier. She was consumed by a need to be better in every way than everyone else. She wanted to be Somebody! if she wasn’t, It was only because she was stuck in this stupid small town with her dull, drab mother. Or so she told herself. Erica thought she was meant for more than the life her mother had carved out for the two of them, and she never stopped letting Mona know how dissatisfied she was.

Although she was vain and self-centered, Erica’s popularity with the boys never suffered. For the most part, her steady was Chuck Tyler, who came from the social register she longed to enter. But Erica was well aware of Chuck’s grandmother’s feelings toward her. To Phoebe, Erica was the daughter of “that Kane woman” who worked for her husband and thus was unfit for her precious grandson. Erica vowed to show Phoebe Tyler and everybody else in Pine Valley that she was someone special. At school, the person she wanted most to prove this to was Phil Brent.

Erica was relentless in her efforts to get close to Phil and take him away from Tara. Erica appealed on numerous occasions to Phil’s chivalry and played damsel in distress to lure him in. Tara confided to her father and Gran that she didn’t trust Erica. She saw what Erica was up to and warned Phil to wake up. Phil reassured Tara that there was nothing to fear where Erica was concerned, and they began to discuss marriage. Phil also told Erica he was through coming to the rescue after her contrived calls for help.

Mona, trying to spare Erica heartache, encouraged her daughter to give up chasing Phillip. This only ignited Erica’s rage and increased her feelings of rejection. She demanded that her mother stay out of her life. When Mona’s friend Nick Davis reprimanded Erica for her disrespect, the girl lashed back that Nick would be just the sort of lowlife she’d expect her mother to have as a friend.

Nick Davis had left Pine Valley nineteen years earlier to join the Navy. He had just returned to town with what little he had managed to save to open his own dance studio. Nick, the ultimate charmer, wasn’t above sweet-talking the “right people” to get what he needed. When Phoebe Tyler entered his orbit, Nick felt his ship had finally come in. Here was a wealthy society dame who needed someone with panache to help her organize a charity ball. Nick wasn’t about to let her or her money get away. With Charles spending so much time at the hospital, Phoebe was sorely missing male attention, and Nick wasted no time filling that void.

While Nick was charming Phoebe, he renewed his friendship with Mona, thereby getting to know Erica and her friends. He seemed to take a special liking to young Phil Brent and couldn’t understand why this young man seemed so strangely familiar to him. Phillip's friendship with Nick upset his Aunt Amy, who alerted her sister Ruth that Nick was back in town. Neither had ever expected to see him again. Nick had been Amy’s first love, the one she never told her husband Linc about, the one who left town one morning leaving her nothing but a “Dear Amy” note, the one who left her alone and pregnant with Phillip. Ruth didn’t think Amy should worry about Nick. She reminded her sister that she and Ted had become Phillip’s parents. They had agreed that Phillip must never know that Aunt Amy was really his mother. Amy also agreed Nick must never find out Phillip was his son.

For Amy, the sight of Nick and the sound of his apologies weren’t enough to rekindle their past romance. But his presence still upset her. Linc sensed a distancing from Amy but was met only with her silence when he questioned the reason for it. Her silence increased the rift in their marriage. Linc began to wonder and realize how much Amy’s world revolved around her nephew. Even her anti-war marching seemed to stem from her obsessive fear that Phil could be drafted and sent to Vietnam.

Phil faced a more immediate peril the night there was a gas leak in the Brent basement. He was home alone studying when the fumes knocked him out. Nick Davis drove up to return a notebook Phil had left at his studio. When Nick arrived, he saw lights on in the house, but no one answered the bell. He became alarmed when he looked in the window and saw Phil lying unconscious on the floor. Finding the door unlocked, Nick entered and smelled gas. Panicked, he rushed Phil to Pine Valley Hospital.

Hearing what had happened, Ruth, Ted and Amy joined Nick at the hospital and kept vigil until Joe brought the news that Phillip would be all right. When Joe suggested that perhaps Phil’s mother might like to see him. Ruth and Amy both stepped forward. Amy would not be denied anymore, not after almost losing Phillip a second time. Linc walked into the waiting area in time to hear Amy proclaim that she was Phillip’s mother. Ruth was aghast. Ted was livid. Linc and Nick were in shock. In that moment, with one look between Linc and Amy, they both knew their marriage was over. Nick was overwhelmed by the knowledge that he had a son and wanted to go to Phillip tell him. Ted threatened that he would kill Nick first. The decision was made that Phil was in no condition to be told anything now. If and when he ever was told would be up his parents, Ruth and Ted.

Bursting with the need to tell someone, Nick went to the one person who knew about his long-ago affair with Amy–his best friend Mona Kane. As Nick recounted the story of Phil being his son, neither he nor Mona noticed Erica eavesdropping. Erica couldn’t believe her mother and Nick would keep such a secret from her friend Phil. She privately decided the best way to show him just how good a friend she was would be to share this secret with him.

Phil reminded Erica of his decision not to see her anymore, but she was determined. She had news for him about his parents–his real parents. Erica hurriedly told him that his Aunt Amy and his friend Nick Davis had been lovers and Phil was their son. She waited for Phillip to be grateful. After all, Erica was the only person with courage enough to tell him the truth. Instead. Phil stormed out to confront the woman who had lied to him his whole life, the woman who decided that being his aunt was more convenient for her than being his mother. He was angry and confused, but mostly hurt. In Phil’s mind, the woman who had pretended to love him had only done so to ensure no one would ever know about her dirty little secret.

Amy wept as she tried to explain and apologize, but Phil wouldn’t listen and wanted nothing to do with her ever again. Her life in shambles, Amy left Pine Valley for Switzerland, where she joined an international peace organization dedicated to making the future safer for all the world's children. Once again, Phil was the motivating factor behind her devotion to this cause. She never returned to Pine Valley.

Then Phil confronted his parents over the lie they’d all lived with for eighteen years. Ruth was devastated. But Ted, who’d already been drinking went ballistic when he was told Phil had learned the truth. He had warned Nick Davis he would kill him if Phil was told. A drunken Ted ran out of the house and into his car before Phil could explain it was Erica, not Nick, who had told him. Ted never reached Nick’s. Unsteady at the wheel, too drunk to see clearly, Ted swerved to avoid a car and crashed into oblivion. In the hospital, Ted told Phil how much he loved him, how proud he was to have a son like him. Then he died.

Graduation day came for Phillip, Tara, Chuck and Erica. But their world had already changed. In the end, Erica had succeeded in breaking up Phil and Tara by revealing his family secret. But in doing so Erica had ruined any chance she might have had with Phil herself. Tara’s brother Jeff was the only person she knew who wasn’t angry at her for telling Phillip the truth. Jeff sympathized with Erica’s friendless plight and became smitten with her. When Erica realized how much nabbing Jeff Martin would anger his sister, she charted a course to do just that. Erica entered Pine Valley University with her own agenda. According to her, books wouldn’t give her anything she didn’t already have–but being near Jeff Martin would. In the face of Tara’s warnings, Erica worked her magic on the unsuspecting Jeff and won him over.

Phil had come to blame himself for all the pain and hurt in the lives around him, from the destruction of Amy and Linc’s marriage to his adoptive father’s death. He felt he would only bring hurt and pain to Tara if he married her as they’d planned. So Phil broke their engagement and announced he was leaving town. Tara insisted she would wait for him, but he asked her not to. Phil left Pine Valley determined to lose himself in New York City. And lose himself he did, when an accident caused him to suffer amnesia.

With Chuck feeling the loss of his best friend Phil almost as much as Tara, he did his best to lift her spirits. Tara had hoped to hear from Phillip, but when no letters or phone calls ever came from him she began to lean on Chuck for support. He encouraged her to enter Pine Valley University with him that fall. The crush he had long tried to suppress began to blossom into something more.

With the death of her husband and the absence of her son, Ruth inevitably grew closer to her friend and colleague, Joe Martin. Their time together became more important to each of them, and they were happy to have found each other during such trying times. Joe had another reason to feel blessed. His brother Paul, presumed missing in Vietnam, turned up alive and returned to Pine Valley.

Phoebe Tyler’s relentless harangue about Amy only succeeded in driving away her husband and son. With the dissolution of his marriage, Linc needed to get away from reminders of Amy, so he left town. Meanwhile, Charles became more involved with his work at the hospital. During this time, Phoebe and Charles’s daughter Anne returned to Pine Valley. While it appeared she had moved back to open a fashion shop called The Boutique, other factors were drawing her home. She had become intrigued by a Pine Valley man she had met in New York: Nick Davis.

Nick had gone to New York City to find Phil and bring him back. During this search for his son he met Phoebe Tyler’s daughter Anne. While his attention to Phoebe had been a means of acquiring money and gifts, his affection for Anne was genuine. Nick was changing. He wanted to be the kind of a man who would make his son proud.

Nick found Phil. When he learned Phil had amnesia, Nick talked him into returning to Pine Valley with the idea that perhaps, in familiar surroundings, Phil’s memory would return. Nick also hoped Phil would revisit his past with Tara. He was convinced they could still have the life together that they’d planned. When Phil returned to Pine Valley, Tara was devastated that he didn’t know her. She continued to seek consolation from Chuck, and their relationship finally became romantic. Grateful as Tara was to Chuck, and though she had grown to love him, she would never feel for him what she had felt for Phillip.

Source: All My Children: The Complete Family Scrapbook

1970 Episodes / Clips: