|1951: LOVE OF LIFE premiered on CBS.|
― Edmund Burke
"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...
1951: LOVE OF LIFE debuted on CBS, three weeks after SEARCH FOR TOMORROW. Both shows started as 15-minute serials but LOVE OF LIFE would expand to 30 minutes in 1958. LOVE OF LIFE aired its final episode on February 1, 1980. None of the original actors stayed from beginning to end but director Larry Auerbach did. He went on to direct several other New York soaps before retiring the late 1990s. He was among those interviewed by Dustin Hoffman for the soap opera comedy, Tootsie. He's still alive today at age 89.
The first episode, with approximately six members in the cast, was produced live at Liederkranz Hall in New York City (it later became Studio 54). The show told the story of two sisters, Vanessa Dale Sterline and Meg Dale Hart, their family and friends in Rosehill. Sammy Davis Jr. was a vocal LOVE OF LIFE fan. Some of the biggest stars that game from the show include Warren Beatty, Peter Falk, Jessica Walter, Marsha Mason, Bert Convy and Richard Coogan.
1970: David Henesy aired for the final time as David Collins in DARK SHADOWS. In the 1990 TV movie and 1991 revival series, David Collins was played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In the unaired 2004 pilot, he was played by Alexander Gould. Gulliver McGrath played the role in the 2012 film adaptation directed by Tim Burton.
1979: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Doug (Dennis Romer) and Annie (Julie Ridley) kissed and declared their love for each other. Kim (Kathryn Hays) decided to move back home. Barbara (Colleen Zenk) offered to stay with Tom (Tom Tammi), who took care of Sheila Winston (Martha Lambert) out of guilt.
1980: Paul Keenan debuted as Tod Chandler in DAYS OF OUR LIVES, a role he would play for just over a year. Keenan died in 1986 at age 31.
1981: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Alan (Stuart Damon) asked Susan (Gail Ramsey) to marry him.
1985: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Brother Francis (Brian Matthews) rescued Hope (Kristian Alfonso) while Richard (Rod Arrants) were determined to find her.
1987: On the Season 9 premiere of KNOTS LANDING, five weeks had passed since anyone had seen Ben. Meanwhile, the crack in the cement at the Lotus Point playground got worse. Abby (Donna Mills) just wanted it patched, but Gary (Ted Shackelford) and Karen (Michele Lee) out voted her. The workmen removed the cement and found Peter's body. The show also debuted the painting version of its opening by Sandy Dvore, who also drew the opening sketches for THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS in its first 15 years as well as the Y&R logo that came after them.
2002: On GUIDING LIGHT, Cassie (Laura Wright) enlisted her friends' help in getting the Beacon Hotel ready for the arrival of a Baroness.
2008: Irene Dailey, best known for her portrayal of Aunt Liz Matthews on ANOTHER WORLD, died at age 88. She also starred on THE EDGE OF NIGHT. At 8, Dailey was dancing in vaudeville, and at 18 she was working in summer stock. With consistent bad luck, she kept winning parts in what she once said were 13 of Broadway’s worst shows. “Miss Lonelyhearts,” for example, had a nine-day run.
Celebrating a birthday today are:
Sheila MacRae (ex-Madelyn, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 89
Kristina Wayborn (ex-Greta, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 63
Larkin Malloy (Henry, TAINTED DREAMS; ex-Sky, THE EDGE OF NIGHT; ex-Kyle, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Travis, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Dr. Weston, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 59
Kevin Sorbo (ex-Frank, THE O.C.) - 55
Paul Michael Valley (ex-Ryan, ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Cal, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Josef, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 47
Stacy Galina (ex-Kate, KNOTS LANDING) - 47
Megan Ward (ex-Kate, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 44
Michelle Ray Smith (ex-Ava, GUIDING LIGHT) - 39
Justin Bruening (Chef Jeff, SWITCHED AT BIRTH; ex-Jamie, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 34
Erin Chambers (ex-Melanie, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Siobhan, GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Lacey, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 34
Ross Mathews (Chris, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 34
Nicholas Galbraith (ex-Zac, AS THE WORLD TURNS)
Jessica Lucas (ex-Kimberly, 90210; ex-Riley, MELROSE PLACE) - 28
Spencer Treat Clark (ex-Steven, ANOTHER WORLD) - 26
Grey Damon (ex-Brian, THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING; ex-Hastings, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) - 26
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