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Today in Soap Opera History (December 4)

On this date in...

1933: Radio soap MA PERKINS moved to the NBC Red network. It had debuted on August 14 on WLW in Cincinnati. The show was produced by Frank and Anne Hummert, the prolific team responsible for numerous radio dramas including JUST PLAIN BILL, BACKSTAGE WIFE and YOUNG WIDDER BROWN.

In his New Yorker essay “O Pioneers!,” James Thurber discussed how the Hummerts recognized the potential that the serials that aired in the evenings would have if they were broadcast during the day instead. This simple move acknowledged that women at home were the primary decision makers when it came to purchasing, and rightly recognized that a women’s household routine might be supplemented with narrative escapism. Radio historian and biographer Jim Cox noted that the pair did even more: they “intended to seize the housewives’ attention and alter the pattern of their daily existence.” For sponsors and the female audience, it proved a match made in heaven.

1950: THE FIRST HUNDRED YEARS premiered on CBS. It was the first show on television to use the new invention known as a teleprompter. Pictured to the right are two stars of the early TV soap, Nana Bryant (Mrs. Martin) and Olive Stacey (Connie Martin Thayer). The show was replaced in 1952 by a TV version of radio soap THE GUIDING LIGHT.

1974: On ANOTHER WORLD, Ada (Constance Ford) told Sam (Jordan Charney) she wasn't sure Rachel would ever get over Steve.

1981: FALCON CREST premiered.  The show's cast included Jane Wyman, Robert Foxworth and Susan Sullivan.   DALLAS moved to the Friday 9 p.m. ET timeslot (one hour earlier) to provide a strong lead-in for the new primetime soap.



1986: Shannon Tweed aired for the final time as Savannah Wilder in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

2000: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Simon (Paul Leyden) tried to escape the INS. Elsewhere, Vicky's ghost tried to communicate with Molly.



2000: PORT CHARLES kicked off its thirteen-week story arc format with "Fate."



2009: Crystal Chappell's indie soap VENICE premiered.



Celebrating a birthday today are:
Dena Dietrich (ex-Katie, SANTA BARBARA; ex-Carlotta, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 84
Bernie McInerney (ex-Mark, THE EDGE OF NIGHT; ex-Father Richards, RYAN'S HOPE; ex-Will, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Rex, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 76
Donnelly Rhodes (ex-Phillip, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 75
Katherine Woodville (ex-Marie, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 74
Patricia Wettig (ex-Holly, BROTHERS & SISTERS; ex-Nancy, THIRTYSOMETHING) - 61
Denise Galik (ex-Rhonda, PORT CHARLES/GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Cindy, GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Christine, FLAMINGO ROAD; ex-Linda, KNOTS LANDING) - 61
Daniel Markel (ex-David, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Sam, ANOTHER WORLD) - 49
Marisa Tomei (ex-Marcy, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 48
Anthony DeSando (ex-Grant, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 47
Kevin Sussman (ex-Walter, UGLY BETTY) - 42
Arielle Renwart (ex-Leah, GUIDING LIGHT)
Charity Shea (April, SINGLE LADIES) - 29
Nafessa Williams (ex-Deanna, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 23
Lauren Boles (Ciara, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 9

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a piece of soap opera history for this daily column, please email it to editor@welovesoaps.com.

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