Today in Soap Opera History (December 23)

1981: GH's Rick and Lesley were married. 1987: GL's Amanda
returned to Springfield. 1988: RH's Sister Mary Joel made
a decision about her future.  2002: Y&R's Brittany was
advised by a homeless woman named Sylvia.
"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."
- 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...

1963: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Winston told Phil his complicated plan which would likely keep the Warrens from leaving town. Emory and Lyn (Gillian Spencer) discussed their soon-to-be monetary situation and why they both had to be in superior physical and mental condition for their plan to work. Lyn was worried that Emory would leave her shortly after the baby was born, but Emory assured her that he was not going anywhere.

1964: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Gerry McGrath (Millee Taggart) awaited trial for the murder of Dave Hansen.

1971: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, the Horton family celebrated Christmas.

1973: Legendary soap opera creator and writer Irna Phillips died at age 72. Here are some of her career highlights:

Speech and Drama Teacher (1924–30); Radio Creator, Writer, PAINTED DREAMS (1930–32), TODAY'S CHILDREN (1932–38), THE GUIDING LIGHT (1937–56), THE ROAD OF LIFE (1937–59), THE WOMAN IN WHITE (1938–48), THE RIGHT TO HAPPINESS (1939–60), THE BRIGHTER DAY (1948–56); Television Creator, Writer, THE GUIDING LIGHT (1952–58); Co-creator, Writer, AS THE WORLD TURNS (1956–70; 1972–73), ANOTHER WORLD (1964–66); Co-creator, DAYS OF OUR LIVES (1965)

1976: On ALL MY CHILDREN, Tara (Karen Lynn Gorney) had a heart-to-heart chat with Ruth (Mary Fickett) before her wedding to Phil.

1981: SEARCH FOR TOMORROW debuted a new opening title sequence. It ran until February 25, 1986.



1981: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Rick (Chris Robinson) and Lesley (Denise Alexander) were married.



Thanks to Tricia for sending in the item above.

1983: On SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, Sunny (Marcia McCabe) and Hogan (David Forsyth) toasted Christmas with two milk cartons followed by a special closing with "O Holy Night" playing in the background.



1987: On GUIDING LIGHT, Amanda's (Kathleen Cullen) return surprised Ross (Jerry verDorn).



1988: On RYAN'S HOPE, Jack (Michael Levin) and Ryan (Yasmine Bleeth) tried to come to terms with Sister Mary Joel's decision to remain in the order.



Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the item above.

1992: On THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Jack (Peter Bergman) had a Christmas Eve warning for Victor (Eric Braeden).

1992: On ALL MY CHILDREN, Opal (Jill Larson) gave birth to baby Petey.



1994: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, a possessed Marlena (Deidre Hall) levitated over her bed. Watch here.

1994: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Holden (Jon Hensley) impressed Tracy by teaching J.R., her deaf son, a holiday song in sign language and performing it with the church choir. Lily (Martha Byrne) was there to see it and it made her reminisce about Holden. When Lily returned home, she lied to Damian (Paolo Seganti) about where she had been.

1999: Legendary casting director Betty Rea died at age 82.

2002: THE JEFFERSONS star Isabel Sanford guest-starred on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, the final TV role before her 2004 death. Sanford played Silvia, a homeless woman that gave Brittany (Lauren Woodland) advice about the importance of family and told her to call her parents.



2003: Actor George Pentecost died at age 64. He played Tony the Tuna on ANOTHER WORLD off and on from 1984 to 1995.

2009: On ALL MY CHILDREN, the presumed dead Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) turned out to be alive in a Massachusetts clinic under David's care.



Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2011: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) and Lulu (Julie Marie Berman) were married.



Jonathan Jackson aired for the final time as Lucky Spencer.



Celebrating a birthday today are:
Susan Lucci (Genevieve, DEVIOUS MAIDS; ex-Erica, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 67
John Callahan (ex-Mackenzie, THE BAY; Dr. Baker/ex-Artie, DAYS OF OUR LIVES; ex-Edmund, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Craig, SANTA BARBARA; ex-Leo, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 60
Allison Argo (ex-Cindy, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW; ex-Robin, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) - 60
Martha Byrne (Alexis, ANACOSTIA; Catherine, GOTHAM; Janice, PRETTY; ex-Andrea, GENERAL HOSPITAL; ex-Lily/Rose, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 44
Robert Benvenisti (ex-Kevin, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 40

CBS Daytime exec turned soap opera producer Paul Rauch would have been 80 today.  He passed away on December 10, 2012.

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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