Today in Soap Opera History (July 5)

1976: Ryan's Hope's Delia talked her way around Frank's suspicions.
1999: Passions premiered on NBC.
2001: As the World Turns' Simon found Katie on an island.
2002: Stephanie Gatschet debuted as Tammy on Guiding Light.
"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...

1966: On The Guiding Light, Bert (Charita Bauer) met Leslie Jackson (Lynne Adams).

1966: New head writer William J. Bell's first Days of our Lives script aired. By this point NBC had canceled Ted Corday's other two daytime soaps launched in 1965, Morning Star and Paradise Bay, but gave Days another chance to increase its ratings, and it slowly did. Sadly, Ted Corday passed away a few weeks later though before seeing Days reach its ratings peak over the next decade.

1968: On Another World, Rachel (Robin Strasser) was rushed to the hospital.

1976: On Ryan's Hope, Frank (Michael Hawkins) questioned Delia (Ilene Kristen) about the necklace she wore to Mary (Kate Mulgrew) and Jack's (Michael Levin) wedding.

1989: On Guiding Light, tension was in the air at the Bauer Barbecue between Ed (Peter Simon) and Maureen (Ellen Parker).

1995: On Another World, local television station KBAY held a special "Match Dare Telethon" on the Fourth of July, and many Bay City residents performed on the program, which benefited a new pediatric wing at the hospital. Morgan and Felicia challenged Cass to sing as his alter ego, the bombshell "Crystal Lake". Crystal's lip-sync performance of "Natural Woman" was interrupted when Frankie informed Cass from the wings that she was pregnant. Note: Christine Tucci and Hillary Scott aired for the final time as Amanda Cory and Alli Fowler.

1996: Soap opera pioneer Anne Hummert died at age 91. Hummert, with her husband, Frank, created dozens of radio soap operas including 18 separate 15-minute serials running at the same time. In her New York Times obituary, the newspaper wrote:

Although a short-lived 1930 program, Painted Lives by Irna Phillips, is regarded as the first radio soap opera, it was Just Plain Bill, which began at night in 1932, that created the cultural juggernaut that would eventually be nicknamed for the product that often sponsored it.

1999: Daytime soap opera Passions debuted on NBC. Created by James E. Reilly, Passions was the story of the Crane, Lopez-Fitzgerald, Russell and Bennett families living in a town named Harmony.

2001: On As the World Turns, Simon (Paul Leyden) found Henry (Trent Dawson) and Katie (Terri Conn) on the island.

2002: Stephanie Gatschet debuted as Tammy Layne Winslow on Guiding Light.

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Katherine Helmond (ex-Jessica, Soap) - 86
Shirley Knight (ex-Phyllis, Desperate Housewives) - 79
Louise Shaffer (ex-Rae, Ryan's Hope; ex-Serena/Josie, The Edge of Night; ex-Stephanie/Emily, Search for Tomorrow; ex-Goldie, All My Children; ex-Judge Tillman/Mrs. Humphreys, Guiding Light; ex-Alison, Where the Heart Is; ex-Martha, Hidden Faces) - 73
Don Stark (ex-Oscar, Hit the Floor; ex-Ripley, General Hospital) - 61
Patsy Pease (The Bay; Kimberly, Days of our Lives; ex-Patricia, The Young and the RestlessS; ex-Cissie, Search for Tomorrow) - 59
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn; ex-Finn, True Blood) - 55
Edie Falco (ex-Carmela, The Sopranos) - 52
Michael Stuhlbarg (ex-Arnold, Boardwalk Empire) - 47
Jenji Kohan (Writer, Orange is the New Black) - 46
Eva Green (Angelique in the 2012 Dark Shadows movie) - 35
Ryan Hansen (ex-Dick, Veronica Mars) - 34

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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