Today in Soap Opera History (May 21)

1984: Guiding Light's Nola gave birth. 1986: Dynasty's Alexis
took over Blake's possessions and he was not happy.
1999: Another World's Alli face a ticking time bomb.
1999: Susan Lucci finally won her for Daytime Emmy Award.
"History never looks like history when you are living through it."
― John W. Gardner

"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...

1964: On Another World, Jim (Leon Janney) convinced Russ (Joey Trent) to attend summer school.

1971: The first episode of Upstairs Downstairs was re-recorded in color after the original recording, which was in black and white, was lost.

1981: On Texas, Joe Foster (Tom Wiggin) arrived at the Lone Star Cafe and pulled a gun on Elena Dekker (Caryn Richman). He later took Elena on the Sea Serpent freighter.

1981: At the 8th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, winners included General Hospital (Drama Series, Directing), Douglass Watson (Lead Actor), Judith Light (Lead Actress), Larry Haines (Supporting Actor) and Jane Elliot (Supporting Actress).

1984: On Guiding Light, Nola (Lisa Brown) gave birth.

1985: On Santa Barbara, the wedding of Cruz (A Martinez) and Eden (Marcy Walker) was interrupted when Marcello stumbled in to announce the hotel was on fire.

1986: On the sixth season finale of Dynasty, Blake (John Forsythe) and Krystle (Linda Evans) arrived at the Carrington mansion and were greeted by a gloating Alexis (Joan Collins), who told Blake that she had bought all of his holdings, including the house; a vengeful Blake lunged for Alexis' throat.

1992: The Real World, from longtime soap opera producer Mary-Ellis Bunim, premiered on MTV. Bunim asked the question, "What if you could do a soap opera with no actors and no writers?" Read the story of the show's origin here.

1997: At the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Michelle Stafford won her first statuette as "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" for her work as Phyllis Summers Romalotti on The Young and the Restless. Stafford had exited the role some three months prior to the ceremony.

Other winners included General Hospital (Drama Series), Justin Deas (Lead Actor), Jess Walton (Lead Actress), Ian Buchanan (Supporting Actor), Kevin Mambo (Younger Actor) and Sarah Brown (Younger Actress).

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

1999: On Another World, Jordan Stark (David Andrew Macdonald) left Alli (Alicia Leigh Willis) in the Lumina building with a live bomb.

1999: At the 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, Susan Lucci finally won her first Emmy after 19 consecutive nominations. The Young and the Restless star Shemar Moore announced her win: "The streak is over…Susan Lucci!" Lucci then gave one of the best acceptance speeches ever.

Other winners included General Hospital (Drama Series, Writing), Anthony Geary (Lead Actor), Stuart Damon (Supporting Actor), Sharon Case (Supporting Actress), Jonathan Jackson (Young Actor) and Heather Tom (Younger Actress).

2004: At the 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, winners included The Young and the Restless (Drama Series), Anthony Geary (Lead Actor), Michelle Stafford (Lead Actress), Rick Hearst (Supporting Actor), Cady McClain (Supporting Actress), Chad Brannon (Young Actor) and Jennifer Finnigan (Younger Actress).

Ten longtime soap actors received the Lifetime Achievement Award: Rachel Ames, John Clarke, Jeanne Cooper, Eileen Fulton, Don Hastings, Anna Lee (accepted by her son), Ray MacDonnell, Frances Reid, Helen Wagner, and Ruth Warrick.

2005: Actor Stephen Elliott died at age 86.  His soaps included Dr. Jerry Stephens in As the World Turns, Jack Condon in A World Apart, Douglas Channing in Falcon Crest, Professor Paul Ailey on Love of Life, Ben Lassiter in Beacon Hill, and Scotty Demarest on Dallas.

2006: 24.2 million viewers watched the second season finale of Desperate Housewives in which the show wrapped up its Applewhite storyline.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Richard Hatch won an Indie Series
Award last month.
Alice Drummond (ex-Susie, Ryan's Hope; ex-Loretta, Where the Heart Is; ex-Nurse Jackson, Dark Shadows) - 87
Richard Hatch (ex-Steven, Santa Barbara; ex-Dean, Dynasty; ex-Harmon, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; ex-Phil, All My Children) - 70
Carol Potter (ex-Joan, Sunset Beach; ex-Cindy, Beverly Hills, 90210; ex-Beverly, One Life to Live; ex-Betsy, The Doctors) - 67
Mr. T (Himself, WWF/WCW) - 63
Olga Sosnovska (ex-Lena, All My Children) - 43
Brett Tucker (Harry, Mistresses; ex-Daniel, Neighbours) - 43
Marnie Schulenburg (Peyton, Tainted Dreams; ex-Jo, One Life to Live; ex-Alison, As the World Turns) - 31

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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