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Today in Soap Opera History (August 26)

1980: Emily wanted to end it all on EDGE OF NIGHT. 1996: ESPN
premiered PLAYMAKERS. 1996: 7TH HEAVEN made its debut.
1997: Reva got revenge on Annie on GUIDING LIGHT.
"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times."
-Machiavelli

"Today in Soap Opera History" is a collection of the most memorable, interesting and influential events in the history of scripted, serialized programs. From birthdays and anniversaries to scandals and controversies, every day this column celebrates the soap opera in American culture.

On this date in...

1946: Prolific radio soap opera writer Elaine Sterne Carrington (PEPPER YOUNG'S FAMILY; ROSEMARY) was featured in TIME magazine.

1980: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Emily (Margo McKenna) threatened to jump from a 6th floor ledge at the hospital.



1982: On TEXAS, Lurlene (Tina Johnson) was miserable apart from Joel. At KVIK, Stella Stanton (Virginia Graham) was in danger.



Julie Stevens in a CBS promotional shot for THE
ROMANCE OF HELEN TRENT.
1984: Julie Stevens, who played Helen in THE ROMANCE OF HELEN TRENT radio soap opera during its final 16 years, died at age 65. TROHT was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.

1986: Ted Knight, who made an early appearance in DAYS OF OUR LIVES as George Becker, died after a battle with cancer at age 62. He was best known for roles in THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

1991: On THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Brad (Don Diamont) offered to take Traci (Beth Maitland) to dinner as compensation for her great feedback on the Jabot ad campaign.



1991: On THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) assured Eric (John McCook) that the extra time he spent with Stephanie didn't bother her.

1994: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Alan held Sami (Alison Sweeney) and Carrie (Christie Clark) hostage.

1996: On ANOTHER WORLD, family and friends sad goodbye to Frankie at her funeral. Cass (Stephen Schnetzer) encouraged everyone to still go to the hospital gala that night. Gabe, Josie, Gary and Morgan all found proof that Fax was the murderer.



1996: 7TH HEAVEN premiered on The WB.

1996: Sports channel ESPN entered the world of serial drama with the premiere of PLAYMAKERS. The show depicted the lives of the Cougars, a fictional professional football team in an unidentified city. Often referred to as "a soap opera for men," its popularity quickly grew, and the the New York Times would report that it was the highest-rated program on ESPN after the network's Sunday Night NFL and Saturday college football games. However, not everyone was pleased, and it was also reported that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, had personally complained about Playmakers to Michael D. Eisner, then chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ESPN's parent company. When ESPN canceled the show after 11 weeks, the speculation was that the NFL had threatened to end its programming relationship with ESPN, if the show wasn't yanked. Watch Episode 1, Part 1 here. (All episodes are available at that YouTube channel.)

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in this item.

1997: On GUIDING LIGHT, Reva (Kim Zimmer) made it seem as if Annie (Cynthia Watros) had attacked her.



2008: On GENERAL HOSPITAL: NIGHT SHIFT, a quarantined couple made Patrick (Jason Thompson) view Robin's (Kimberly McCullough) HIV status in a new light.



2010: John Callahan aired for the final time as Dr. Richard Baker in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Brett Cullen (Michael, DEVIOUS MAIDS; ex-Mark, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT; ex-Goodwin, LOST; ex-Ted, UGLY BETTY; ex-Dan, FALCON CREST) - 57
Wanda De Jesus (ex-Santana, SANTA BARBARA; ex-Gomez, ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Iris, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 55
Jon Hensley (Dr. Meade, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL; ex-Holden, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Richard, BEVERLY HILLS 90210; ex-Brody, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 48
Christopher Douglas (ex-Antonio, PASSIONS; ex-Dylan, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Sean, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 44
Melissa McCarthy (ex-Sookie, GILMORE GIRLS) - 43
Erik Valdez (ex-Trey, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 34
Shannon McGinnis (ex-Ginger, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Megan, LIPSTICK JUNGLE) - 33
Dylan O'Brien (Stiles, TEEN WOLF) - 22

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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