the 100 most memorable moments in soap history
Budget cuts for AW in 1996 caused then-executive producer Jill Farren Phelps to create a serial killer storyline, culminating in the gruesome murder of fan favorite Frankie Frame (Alice Barrett). The original story had actually called for another character (Donna) to be offed, but massive fan protest caused Phelps to retool those episodes. Phelps decided to then kill off either Frankie or Paulina, and when a focus group responded lukewarm to Frankie but warmer to Paulina, Phelps gave the green light to axe Frankie. Frankie's car broke down and a whistling figure, the serial killer, approached her. After a struggle, a sobbing Frankie was violently strangled, her body left lying on the cold floor of the cabin. The decision to kill Frankie caused another massive rampage of upset protest from loyal viewers of the show, and Phelps quickly asked then-head writer Margaret DePriest to rewrite Frankie's exit so that the character would at least still live. DePriest, eager to satisfy her wish to see Cass return to his former rogue ways, vehemently refused and left Frankie's death as written, and another beloved soap character was slain at the hands of Jill Farren Phelps.