|1935: Backstage Wife premiered. 1985: Days of our Lives'|
Tony and Anna were married. 1994: All My Children's Erica
found her mother, Mona, dead. 2002: Passions' Timmy died
on the same day the actor who played him passed away.
― Maya Angelou
"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...
1935: Radio soap opera Backstage Wife premiered on the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS). The show moved to NBC Blue in 1936, NBC in 1938 and CBS in 1955, where it ran until January 2, 1959. Created by Frank and Anne Hummert, each episode opened with the announcer (Pierre Andre, Roger Krupp, Stuart V. Dawson) explaining:
Now, we present once again, Backstage Wife, the story of Mary Noble, a little Iowa girl who married one of America's most handsome actors, Larry Noble, matinee idol of a million other women — the story of what it means to be the wife of a famous star.
Vivian Fridell had the title role from 1935 until the early 1940s. It was then taken over by Claire Niesen, who continued as Mary Noble until the end of the series. Mary's husband, Larry Noble, was portrayed by Ken Griffin, then James Meighan and finally, Guy Sorel. The music was supplied by organist Chet Kingsbury.
According to "The A to Z of American Radio Soap Operas," this was one of the Hummert's favorite themes - taking a girl from Podunk and wedding her above her social class. The opening was later shorted to:
And now, Backstage Wife, the story of Mary Noble, and what it means to be the wife of a famous star.
1965: On Peyton Place, Vincent Markham (Leslie Nielsen) and his twin brother, Kenneth, were reunited at Doctor's Hospital.
Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the clip above.
1977: Josh Taylor debuted as Chris Kositchek in Days of our Lives. Brooke Bundy aired for the final time that day as Rebecca North. Taylor played Chris until 1987 then returned to Days in 1997 as a recast Roman Brady, a role he continues to play to this day.
1980: On Texas, Alex (Bert Kramer) told Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) that their time was now.
1981: On Another World, both Sandy (Chris Rich) and Jamie (Richard Bekins) claimed to be the real "Sandy Alexander" while being held at gunpoint by Lenny (Ed O'Neill).
1985: On Days of our Lives, Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) married Anna Fredericks Brady (Leann Hunley).
1985: Reruns of The Edge of Night debuted on USA Network.
1994: On All My Children, Joe (Ray MacDonnell) told Erica (Susan Lucci) that Mona had died peacefully in her sleep.
1995: Actress Clarice Blackburn died at age 74. Her soap roles included Edith Spurrier on Guiding Light, Hattie Fredericks in One Life to Live, Amy Snowden on Where the Heart Is, Mary Lou Northcote in The Secret Storm, Marion Connolly in As the World Turns, and Theodora Van Alen on The Doctors. She also played multiple roles in Dark Shadows, and appeared on Love of Life.
1999: Kirsten Storms debuted as Belle Black in Days of our Lives.
2001: Actor Paul Joynt died at age 47. His soap roles included Greg Huddleston on One Life to Live and Brian Emerson in Search for Tomorrow.
2002: 20 year old actor Josh Ryan Evans died. In an unusual and pre-taped coincidence, his character, Timmy, died on Passions the same day.
NBC issued the following statement about Evans' death: "We are deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Josh Ryan Evans. He was a truly unique talent with a remarkable spirit. He will be sorely missed by his Passions family and by all of us at NBC."
2003: Josh Schwartz's The O.C. premiered on FOX.
2005: Kimberlin Brown returned to The Young and the Restless as Sheila Carter.
Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.
2011: Actor Francesco Quinn, whose TV roles included Tomas del Cerro in The Young and the Restless, died at age 48.
Celebrating a birthday today are:
John Saxon (ex-Tony, Falcon Crest; ex-Rashid, Dynasty; ex-Edward, Another World) - 80
Ja'net DuBois (ex-Loretta, Love of Life) - 70
Loni Anderson (ex-Teri, Melrose Place) - 70
Erika Slezak (ex-Viki, One Life to Live) - 69
Maureen McCormick (ex-Rebecca, Passions; ex-Marcia, The Bradys) - 59
Janet McTeer (Jacquetta, The White Queen) - 54
Tawny Kitaen (ex-Meredith, Capitol) - 54
Jill Lorie Hurst (Former Writer, Guiding Light; Venice)
Scott William Winters (ex-Cyril, Oz) - 50
Ethan Erickson (ex-J, Guiding Light; ex-Patrick, General Hospital; ex-John, Fashion House; ex-Percy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer; ex-Marcello, Melrose Place) - 42
Kent King (ex-Lainey, General Hospital; ex-Lainey, General Hospital: Night Shift; ex-Julie, Knots Landing) - 41
Jesse Williams (Jackson, Grey's Anatomy) - 34
Ryan McDonald (ex-Brandon, Fringe) - 31
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a soap history entry for this date or a future date, email firstname.lastname@example.org.