First appearing in 1938, Mary Worth is one of the longest-running continuity strips or "comic-page soap operas" — a genre dedicated to the millions of readers who thrive on continued stories told in brief daily episodes with cliffhanger endings.
Contrary to popular belief, Mary Worth is not a continuation of the Depression Era favorite Apple Mary. The strip was created as a replacement feature offered to newspapers when Martha Orr, who created the dowdy apple peddler, retired. The only thing the new title character had in common with her predecessor was a first name. She appeared as she is today: a well-spoken gentlewoman with a knack for quoting proverbs and surrounding herself with interesting people whose lives reflect the daily concerns of society.
Past stories have confronted social issues, such as juvenile delinquency, unwed motherhood, drug addiction, spouse abuse, alcoholism, infidelity, concerns of the elderly and the generation gap.
The reader is asked to remember that Mary Worth stories are not about Mary. They are about a continuing parade of people who enter Mary's life. If you look closely, you may recognize one of your neighbors — or even yourself.