When the series premiered, it was the first soap opera that CBS had premiered in nine years (at that time, Love of Life had just ended its run) and had premiered as a one hour special on March 23rd (following CBS's popular series, Dallas), which introduced the world of the Cleggs and McCandlesses.
The two main matriarchs were Myrna Clegg (played originally by Carolyn Jones, then later on by Marla Adams and then by Marj Dusay) and Clarissa McCandless (played by GH's Constance Towers). Myrna and Clarissa were former best friends whose friendship sundered when Clarissa married the man Myrna wanted to marry, Baxter McCandless (later played by Ron Harper). In retaliation, Myrna spread some lies about Clarissa's father, Judson Tyler (Rory Calhoun) being a communist during the McCarthy Era, which effectively ruined his political career. The two women had been enemies ever since.
The wicked and vindictive Myrna had four children, Samuel Clegg III, nicknamed Trey (actually her stepson from her husband by his first marriage); Julie, Jordy and Brenda. All four of the Clegg children were nothing at all like their mother. She was married to Sam Clegg, a high echleon Political Bigwig. Meanwhile, the kind-hearted Clarissa had four sons, Wally, a college student who was also a gambling addict; Tyler, an air force hero who was in love with (and eventually married) Julie Clegg; Matt, a handsome college athlete and Thomas, a doctor who had been crippled with polio. She had also taken care of her niece, Gillian.
Also in the series were the Denning family, consisting of Senator Mark Denning, his agoraphobic wife, Paula, and their daughter, Sloane, a television reporter who was torn between the wealthy Trey and the more heroic Tyler. Mark had been in love with Clarissa, until it was revealed that Jarrett Morgan (Ron Harper) was revealed to be Clarissa's supposedly dead husband, Baxter McCandless. Later on, to Myrna's discomfort, Sam's first wife, Laureen, the mother of Trey, came along and was more than willing to cause her own share of trouble.
Several famous names were a part of the series over the years, Jess Walton; Ed Nelson; Rory Calhoun; Carolyn Jones; Marj Dusay; Janis Paige; Tonja Walker; Kimberly Beck; Catherine Hickland; Constance Towers; Marla Adams; and Debrah Farentino are some of them. Most notably, Lana Wood played Fran Burke; Lola Falana played Charity Blake; and country singer Tammy Wynette played Darlene Stankowski.
Capitol replaced the venerable Search for Tomorrow on the CBS schedule (when Search moved to NBC) and in 1987 it was replaced itself by Bold and Beautiful, which is still running to this day.