Today in Soap Opera History (July 26)

The cast of Young Widder Brown.
"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...

1938: Young Widder Brown premiered on NBC Radio. The popular Frank and Anne Hummert radio soap opera told the story of young Ellen Brown, a 30 year old mother, who struggled to raise her children without the small town mentality that came with living in Simpsonville. The show ran for nearly 18 years, until June 22, 1956.

1972: On As the World Turns, Tom Hughes (Peter Galman) and Carol Deming (Rita McLaughlin) were married. The wedding was shot on location at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church in Riverdale, New York.

1976: One Life to Live and General Hospital each expanded to 45 minutes. Up until this point, One Life to Live had aired right after General Hospital, but would air before GH  for the remainder of its run on ABC (January 13, 2012).

1976: On Another World, Mac Cory (Douglass Watson) accused his wife, Rachel (Victoria Wyndham), of neglecting her son, Jamie Frame (Bobby Doran).

1985: On Santa Barbara, Barnaby "Brick" Wallace (Richard Eden) and Amy Perkins (Kerry Sherman) held a crossbow on Jerry Lee (Joel Crothers) and Jack Lee (also Joel Crothers), with both men claiming to be Jack. Julia Wainwright arrived and kissed them both to figure out who was the real Jack. Later, Jerry and Jack battled in a sword duel.

1991: On Another World, Vicky Hudson (Jensen Buchanan) surprised Ryan Harrison (Paul Michael Valley) with her return to Bay City.

1993: On Days of our Lives, Vivian Alamain (Louise Sorel) watched nervously as Dr. Carly Manning's (Crystal Chappell) casket was opened one last time at the cemetery before she was buried alive.

1994: On One Life to Live, Rebecca Lewis (Reiko Aylesworth) showed up at the hearing about Todd Manning's potential release from prison to testify in his favor.

1999: MTV soap opera Undressed premiered. The series, created and executive produced by British director Roland Joffé, opened with three main story lines:

“Batteries Not Included” involved Kiki (Sommer Knight) and Gina (Mimi Rose), college freshmen thrown together in the confines of a dorm room. Kiki had no qualms about having sex with one of her various conquests on the top bunk, while Gina struggled with the mechanics of a new vibrator.

“Look What the Kate Dragged In” followed the sex life of college sweethearts transplanted from Minnesota to L.A. A mere six months into their relationship, Katie (Caroline Keenan) complained that excitement had worn off, and proposed an open relationship, much to Dave's (Nick Stabile) dismay.

“Er, Um, Love,” was a tender nod to the awkward ritual of teenage dating. Rory (Jeremy Maxwell) may or may be officially dating Jana (Sam Doumit), his best friend’s former girlfriend. And Jana may or may not be in love with Rory. Communication, not sex, was their biggest obstacle.

2001: On The Young and the Restless, Colleen Carlton (Lyndsy Fonseca) asked her father, Brad (Don Diamont), to explain why he and Traci divorced.

2004: On As the World Turns, Jack Snyder's (Michael Park) car plunged into the river.

2004: On As the World Turns, a comatose Lily Snyder (Martha Byrne) gave birth to a baby boy, Ethan.

2005: On As the World Turns, a recovering Rosanna Cabot (Cady McClain) suffered a seizure when she awoke to find Craig hovering over her. Ben later told Paul that Rosanna slipped into a coma.

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2006: On Guiding Light, Jonathan (Tom Pelphrey) donated bone marrow to help his mother, Reva Shayne Lewis (Kim Zimmer).

2012: British soap star Mary Tamm died at age 62.

2012: Actress Lupe Ontiveros died at age 69.   Ontiveros was nominated for an Indie Series Award in 2012 for her work in Los Americans.  She also memorably played Carlos' mother, Mama Solis, in Desperate Housewives.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Kathryn Hays
Robert Colbert (ex-Stuart, The Young and the Restless) - 84
Kathryn Hays (ex-Kim, As the World Turns; ex-Leslie, Guiding Light) - 82
Darlene Love (ex-Judy, Another World) - 77
Nicholas Walker (ex-Frank, Santa Barbara; ex-Jimmy, General Hospital; ex-Jason, The Young and the Restless; ex-Max, One Life to Live; ex-Trey, Capitol; ex-Brad, The Doctors) - 62
Nana Visitor (ex-Nancy, Ryan's Hope; ex-Darcy, The Doctors; ex-Georgina, One Life to Live; ex-Georgina, The Colbys) - 58
Olivia Williams (ex-Adelle, Dollhouse) - 47
Cress Williams (ex-Lavon, Hart of Dixie; ex-Ornette, Friday Night Lights; ex-Tucker, Grey's Anatomy; ex-D'Shawn, Beverly Hills, 90210) - 45
Monica Raymund (ex-Dana, The Good Wife) - 29
Miriam McDonald (ex-Emma, Degrassi) - 28
Francia Raisa (ex-Adrian, The Secret Life of the American Teenager) - 27
Taylor Momsen (ex-Jenny, Gossip Girl) - 22

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

1 comment:

  1. Nicholas Walker's first soap role was playing Brad Huntington on The Doctors from 1980-81.