|1951: Love of Life premiered on CBS.|
1979: As the World Turns' Doug and Annie declared their love.
1981: General Hospital's Alan proposed to Susan.
1986: Another World's Mitch met his son, Matthew.
― 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...
1951: Daytime soap opera Love of Life, created by Roy Winsor, premiered on CBS, three weeks after Search for Tomorrow debuted on the network. Both shows started as 15-minute serials but Love of Life would expand to 30 minutes in 1958, and remain a half hour until its final episode on February 1, 1980. None of the original actors stayed from beginning to end but director Larry Auerbach did. He went on to direct several other New York soaps before retiring the late 1990s. He was among those interviewed by Dustin Hoffman for the soap opera comedy, Tootsie.
The first episode, with approximately six members in the cast, was produced live at Liederkranz Hall in New York City (it later became Studio 54). The show told the story of two sisters, Vanessa Dale Sterling (Peggy McCay, who currently stars as Caroline Brady on Days of our Lives) and Meg Dale Hart (Jean McBride), their family and friends in Rosehill. Sammy Davis Jr. was a vocal Love of Life fan. Some of the biggest stars that game from the show include Warren Beatty, Peter Falk, Jessica Walter, Marsha Mason, Bert Convy and Richard Coogan.
1970: David Henesy aired for the final time as David Collins in the original Dark Shadows. In the 1990 TV movie and 1991 revival series, David Collins was played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In the unaired 2004 pilot, he was played by Alexander Gould. Gulliver McGrath played the role in the 2012 film adaptation directed by Tim Burton.
1979: On As the World Turns, Doug (Dennis Romer) and Annie Stewart (Julie Ridley) kissed and declared their love for each other. Kim Stewart (Kathryn Hays) decided to move back home. Barbara Ryan (Colleen Zenk) offered to stay with Tom Hughes (Tom Tammi), who took care of Sheila Winston (Martha Lambert) out of guilt.
1980: Paul Keenan debuted as Tod Chandler in Days of our Lives, a role he would play for just over a year. Keenan died in 1986 at age 31.
1981: On General Hospital, Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon) asked Susan Moore (Gail Ramsey) to marry him.
1984: On Days of our Lives, Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) survived the explosion caused by Max Hathaway's (Tom Hallick) men, who were trying to get their hands on the prism.
1984: Actor Neil Hamilton, who played Philip Mercer on General Hospital, died at age 85.
1985: On Days of our Lives, Brother Francis (Brian Matthews) rescued Hope Brady (Kristian Alfonso) while Richard Cates (Rod Arrants) was determined to find her.
1986: On Another World, Matthew Cory (Daniel Dale) got acquainted with his biological father, Mitch Blake (William Gray Espy).
1987: On the Season 9 premiere of Knots Landing, five weeks had passed since anyone had seen Ben. Meanwhile, the crack in the cement at the Lotus Point playground got worse. Abby (Donna Mills) just wanted it patched, but Gary (Ted Shackelford) and Karen (Michele Lee) out voted her. The workmen removed the cement and found Peter's body. The show also debuted the painting version of its opening by Sandy Dvore, who also drew the opening sketches for The Young and the Restless in its first 15 years as well as the Y&R logo that came after them.
1992: On Santa Barbara, Sawyer Walker (Eric Close) tried to get Mr. Watkins to book him in some boxing matches. Watkins asked Sawyer to take off his shirt, then was unimpressed by the light middle weight. To convince him he was worthy, Sawyer punched him.
2002: On Guiding Light, Cassie Winslow (Laura Wright) enlisted her friends' help in getting the Beacon Hotel ready for the arrival of a Baroness.
2008: Irene Dailey, best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of Aunt Liz Matthews on Another World, died at age 88. Prior to AW, she starred as Pamela Stewart on The Edge of Night. At 8, Dailey was dancing in vaudeville, and at 18 she was working in summer stock. With consistent "bad luck," she kept winning parts in what she once said were 13 of Broadway’s worst shows. “Miss Lonelyhearts,” for example, had a nine-day run.
Celebrating a birthday today are:
Larkin Malloy (Henry, Tainted Dreams; ex-Sky, The Edge of Night; ex-Kyle, Guiding Light; ex-Travis, All My Children; ex-Dr. Weston, As the World Turns) - 61
Kevin Sorbo (ex-Frank, The O.C.) - 57
Paul Michael Valley (ex-Ryan, Another World; ex-Cal, Guiding Light; ex-Josef, One Life to Live) - 49
Stacy Galina (ex-Kate, Knots Landing) - 49
Megan Ward (ex-Kate, General Hospital) - 46
Michelle Ray Smith (ex-Ava, Guiding Light) - 41
Justin Bruening (ex-Jeff, Switched at Birth; ex-Jamie, All My Children) - 36
Erin Chambers (ex-Melanie, The Young and the Restless; ex-Siobhan, General Hospital; ex-Lacey, Days of our Lives) - 36
Ross Mathews (ex-Chris, Days of our Lives) - 36
Ryan Paevey (Nathan, General Hospital) - 31
Nicholas Galbraith (ex-Zac, As the World Turns) - 31
Tom Degnan (ex-Joey, One Life to Live; ex-Adam/Riley, As the World Turns)
Jessica Lucas (Tabitha, Gotham; ex-Kimberly, 90210; ex-Riley, Melrose Place) - 30
Spencer Treat Clark (ex-Steven, Another World) - 28
Grey Damon (Brian, Aquarius; ex-Brian, The Nine Lives of Chloe King; ex-Hastings, Friday Night Lights) - 28
EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a soap history entry for this date or a future date, email email@example.com.