|1966: The final episode of A TIME FOR US. 1968: David|
Selby debut on DARK SHADOWS. 1983: Chase found new
information about Falcon Crest in his grandfather's will.
1996: AW's Jake planned to steal the Lassiter Christmas tree.
- Winston Churchill
"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...
1957: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Dalton refused Mike's (John Larkin) resignation then argued that his leaving would be a disservice to the public.
1966: ABC aired the final episode of daytime soap opera A TIME FOR US (formerly A FLAME IN THE WIND). Jane Elliot, Conard Fowkes and Margaret Ladd were among the stars.
1968: David Selby debuted on DARK SHADOWS as Quentin Collins. Terry Crawford also aired for the first time as Beth Chavez.
In the episode, Amy Jennings had moved into Collinwood, with Liz hoping she'll be a playmate and good influence on young David. But while playing in the West Wing, the children discovered a secret room containing the malevolent spirits of Quentin Collins and Beth Chavez. Quickly putting the children under his power, Quentin ordered them to move his skeleton from the room and bury it in the woods. He then told them that they're to systematically kill members of the family. In the meantime, Liz told Roger that she's worried about Vicky, who's been despondent since the disappearance of Jeff Clark. As the episode ended, David acted on Quentin's marching orders by stringing a wire across the grand staircase. When Amy told Roger that she heard a prowler near the main door, he subsequently investigated and took the fall Quentin intended for him.
1977: On ANOTHER WORLD, John Randolph (Michael M. Ryan) and Evan Webster's (Barry Jenner) dispute evolved into a struggle over a gun. Evan was shot dead.
Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above. He adds the following details:
Note: This scene was replayed at the beginning of Monday, December 19. AW had a history of replaying especially dramatic "climax" moments the day (or Monday) after they originally aired, even lengthy ones like December 16. Ira Cirker was often the director of the most intense episodes.
Context: John Randolph had ended his long-term marriage to Pat (Beverly Penberthy) and wed duplicitous Olive Gordon (Jennifer Leak) in March 1977. At Olive's insistence, the couple began building an elaborate new house designed by slithery architect Evan Webster. Soon Evan and Olive were having a torrid, adulterous affair. The Dec.16-19 shooting took place at the newly-finished house. John was in shock after the event; it was only after Olive arrived home and discovered Evan's body that John realized his wife's deception. Her hysterical reaction ("You killed him!" "Evan..", pushing her husband away in rage & disgust) told John the truth.
Aftermath: John had a breakdown, became mute and was psychiatrically hospitalized. Eventually, he recovered and was cleared of charges. He and Olive divorced, but she ironically would cause his death in March 1979 (when he became trapped in a fire she set to kill Alice).
Jennifer Leak was an outstanding (and since unsung) soap villainess in 1977. Long-term AW viewers will remember her doe-eyed act with John and tormenting Alice (by denying Ray a divorce) and blackmailing Molly Ordway to do her bidding ("Do you want to go back to the cows & pigs in Chadwell?") Olive came to Bay City as Raymond Gordon's (Ted Shackelford) estranged wife. The neglectful mother of two sons, Olive enticed her way in to John Randolph's office and life. She drove the final nail into the Randolph marriage by ingratiating herself with John's daughter, Marianne. All niceties stopped on her wedding day to John.
1983: On FALCON CREST, Chase (Robert Foxworth) found a clause in his grandfather's will that gave him the legal right to get rid of Angela from Falcon Crest.
1985: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Jennifer (Melissa Brennan, now Melissa Reeves) was attacked at the hospital.
1986: Douglas Lambert (Eddie Weeks on GENERAL HOSPITAL) died of complications due to the AIDS virus at age 50.
1988: On THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Bill (Jim Storm) thought Stephanie (Susan Flannery) should encourage Ridge (Ronn Moss) to marry Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang).
1996: On ANOTHER WORLD, Jake (Tom Eplin) made plans to steal the Lassiter Christmas tree, knowing it would have special meaning to Vicky (Jensen Buchanan).
2003: Madlyn Rhue, who played Daphne DiMera in DAYS OF OUR LIVES, died at age 68.
2004: ABC aired the 9,000th episode of ALL MY CHILDREN. "Part of it is the script is different every day," Susan Lucci (Erica Kane) told the Associated Press about how the show had stayed fresh. "You have no choice. It's hot off the presses."
2005: John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry in THE WEST WING, died four days before his 59th birthday. THE WEST WING wrote Leo's death into the show.
2011: Dan Frazer, who played Lt. Dan McCloskey in AS THE WORLD TURNS for many years, died at age 90.
Celebrating a birthday today are:
Eugene Robert Glazer (ex-Peter, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 71
Ben Cross (ex-Barnabas, DARK SHADOWS) - 66
Larry Poindexter (ex-Justin, SANTA BARBARA; ex-Ben, DAYS OF OUR LIVES; ex-Greg, A NEW DAY IN EDEN; ex-Asher, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 54
Melanie Smith (Claire, GOTHAM; ex-Emily, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Celia, MELROSE PLACE) - 51
Benjamin Bratt (Jake, PRIVATE PRACTICE) - 50
Florencia Lozano (ex-Téa, GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Téa, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 44
Daniel Cosgrove (ex-Scott, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Chris, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Bill, GUIDING LIGHT) - 43
Matthew Mahaney (ex-Kurt, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 43
LaChanze (ex-Yvette, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 42
Paul Leyden (ex-Blake, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Simon, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 41
Jack Krizmanich (John, PASSIONS) - 35
Scott Bailey (Nathan, THE BAY; ex-Sandy, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Stan, UNDRESSED) - 35
Krysten Ritter (ex-Kay, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 31
Amanda Setton (ex-Kim, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Penelope, GOSSIP GIRL) - 28
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a piece of soap opera history for this daily column, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.