Today in Soap Opera History (January 23)

"A page of history is worth a pound of logic."
― Oliver Wendell Holmes

"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...

1939: Time magazine published a story about radio soap creators, Frank and Anne Hummert, explaining their prolific serial production operation (Blackett-Sample-Hummert Inc.). "By hiring dialogue writers, and not creators, the Hummerts save lots of money. Most serial writers in radio command $200 to $400 a week. For The Goldbergs, Gertrude Berg gets about $2,000. The Hummerts pay a minimum $25 per 15-minute script. Since most Hummert ghosts are glad to add caviar to bread-&-butter from other jobs, they have seldom squawked." Read the entire article here.

1968: On The Doctors, the Hope Memorial Hospital board met to discuss Bunker's allegations against the hospital published in the morning newspaper.

1968: On Another World, Dru (Geoffrey Lumb, who also played Mitchell Dru on both As the World Turns and The Brighter Day) advised Alice (Jacqueline Courtney) not to conjure up trouble between Russ and Rachel.

1976: On Ryan's Hope, Kenneth (Ty McConnell) showed Faith (Faith Catlin) the room that he had dedicated to her and she realized that he was her secret admirer.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the item above.

1980: On As the World Turns, Lisa (Eileen Fulton) visited the site of the burned Wade Bookstore.

1980: On The Edge of Night, Mrs. Hinson (Lori March) told Draper the truth about Margo.

1981: On Guiding Light, Amanda (Kathleen Cullen) was devastated to learn she had lost her baby.

1985: On Santa Barbara, a suspicious Joe (Mark Arnold) confronted Peter about his motives.

1987: Larkin Malloy aired for the final time as Kyle Sampson on Guiding Light.

1992: Child actor Fred "Freddie" Bartholomew, who became executive producer of As the World Turns in the late 1970s, died at age 67. He was the EP of the 1980 ATWT episode featured above.

1994: Search for Tomorrow actress Sherry Mathis, who was a fan favorite during her seven year run as Liza, died at age 44 after a battle with cancer. She came to New York in 1971 and made her Broadway debut in the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Little Night Music." She also appeared in "Music Is," a 1976 musical by George Abbott, Richard Adler and Will Holt, which was based on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Mathis graduated from Memphis State University and returned to Memphis at the end of her life where her brother, William, was living.

2001: A Passions-themed book, "Hidden Passions: Secrets From the Diaries of Tabitha Lenox," was released. The book revealed new details about the residents of Harmony.

2003: On Days of our Lives, Salem celebrated Alice Horton's (Frances Reid) 90th birthday.

2006: Telenovela La Fea Más Bella ("The Most Beautiful, Ugly Girl") premiered, produced by Televisa as the second Mexican version of the popular Colombian telenovela Betty La Fea. The U.S. version of this show was ABC's Ugly Betty.

2006: On General Hospital, Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) tore into Tracy (Jane Elliot) after Tracy insulted Lucas (Ben Hogestyn).

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Francesca James
Chita Rivera (ex-Melody, One Life to Live) - 82
Gil Gerard (ex-Alan, The Doctors) - 72
Francesca James (ex-Kitty/Kelly/Evelyn, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Marcy, One Life to Live; Producer/Director) - 66
Richard Dean Anderson (ex-Jeff, General Hospital) - 65
Richard Gilliland (ex-Brent, Desperate Housewives; ex-Congressman Morganthall, Torchwood) - 65
David Patrick Kelly (ex-Noah, Gossip Girl; ex-Jerry, Twin Peaks) - 64
Antonio Villaraigosa (Guest Star, All My Children) - 62
Robert Funaro (ex-Eugene, The Sopranos) - 56
Peter Koch (ex-Harry, Dallas) - 53
Gail O'Grady (ex-Anne, Desperate Housewives) - 52
Mariska Hargitay (ex-Carly, Falcon Crest) - 51
Tiffani Thiessen (ex-Valerie, Beverly Hills, 90210) - 41
Geoffrey Wigdor (ex-J.J., Loving; ex-Eli, One Life to Live; ex-Ryan, Guiding Light) - 33
April Pearson (ex-Michelle, Skins) - 26
Brennan Bailey (ex-Andrew, Miss Behave) - 18

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a soap history entry for this date or a future date, email

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