Today in Soap Opera History (November 16)

1981: Texas' Justin learned Ashley wasn't pregnant.
1981: General Hospital's Rick walked Laura down the aisle.
1995: Days of our Lives' Sami gave birth to Will.
1995: One Life to Live's Todd left for Ireland.
"The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect is already in the cause."
― Henri Louis Bergson

"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, Ken Baxter (William Prince) agreed to give up his relationship with Janet Matthews (Liza Chapman) and make his marriage to Laura (Augusta Dabney) work, following the murder of their son, Tom.

1966: On Dark Shadows, a mysterious person tried to enter Victoria Winters' (Alexandra Moltke) room, but her screams scared the intruder away.

1978: On General Hospital, Laura Webber (Genie Francis) received a letter in the mail with her photo and the caption, "Once a killer, always a killer." Later, when Bobbie Spencer (Jacklyn Zeman) asked Laura about books with murder stories and sex, Laura lost it and shoved her to the ground. Bobbie pretended it was much worse than it was, saying Laura tried to kill her.

1979: On Guiding Light, Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) filled Alan Spaulding (Christopher Bernau) on his plans to return to Springfield.

1981: On Another World, Rachel Cory (Victoria Wyndham) agreed to consider Steve Frame's (David Canary) commission to create a sculpture for the Bel Aire Towers.

1981: On General Hospital, the wedding of Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) began. During 1981, General Hospital reached the highest daytime ratings in TV history (14 million viewers). It earned more than $50 million a year in profits (double that of primetime's costlier-to-produce and top-rated Dallas). And in next week's wedding of erstwhile rapist Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and smitten victim Laura Baldwin (Genie Francis). Luke and Laura's wedding ceremony was watched by a daytime record 30 million viewers.

1981: On Texas, Dr. Bernard Kirkman (Christopher Goutman) surprised Justin (Jerry Lanning) when he revealed Justin's wife, Ashley, was not pregnant. Note: Goutman returned to Texas in 1982 in a different role, George St. John.

1981: On Guiding Light, Carrie Anderson (Jane Elliot) told Ross Marler (Jerry verDorn) that she wanted to wait to accept his marriage proposal until the chaos in their lives was over. Elsewhere, Morgan Richards Nelson (Jennifer Cook) made waffles with a candle for her husband, Kelly (John Wesley Shipp), on his birthday.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the clip above.

1990: On Another World, a comatose Jake McKinnon (Tom Eplin) suddenly opened his eyes following a visit from Iris Wheeler (Carmen Duncan).

1990: John Novak debuted as the new Keith Timmons on Santa Barbara.

1995: On Days of our Lives, Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney) gave birth to a baby boy, William ("Will") Robert Reed. Later, it was revealed Lucas Roberts was Will's father and not Austin Reed, and the boy became known as Will Roberts, and then Will Horton.

1995: On The City, Tess (Catherine Hickland) assigned Ally (Laura Wright) to be the photographer for Danny's (T.W. King, aka Ted King) shoot, much to Ally's displeasure. Later, Dan tried to comfort Ally, who was having a tough time adjusting to New York City.

1997: Actor George Petrie died on his 85th birthday. His soap roles included Harv Smithfield in Dallas, Judge Lowell in General Hospital, and Dr. Perry in The Second Hundred Years. He also played two characters in The Edge of Night (Peter and Sgt. Fisk).

1995: On One Life to Live, Todd Manning (Roger Howarth) said goodbye to his wife, Blair (Kassie DePaiva), before he left for Ireland.

2009: Actor Edward Woodward, who played Tommy in EastEnders, died at age 79.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Patricia Barry
Patricia Barry (ex-Sally, Guiding Light; ex-Addie, Days of our Lives; ex-Carla, As the World Turns; ex-Peg, All My Children; ex-Isabella, Loving; ex-Janine, Dallas) - 94
Jay Hammer (ex-Fletcher, Guiding Light; ex-Jesse, One Life to Live; ex-Max, Texas) - 71
Mary Linda Rapelye (ex-Maggie, As the World Turns; ex-Faith, One Life to Live) - 71
David Leisure (ex-Charles, Days of our Lives; ex-Roger, The Young and the Restless) - 65
Stephen Meadows (ex-Peter Flint, Santa Barbara; ex-Patrick, One Life to Live) - 64
Marg Helgenberger (ex-Siobhan, Ryan's Hope) - 57
Maeve Quinlan (ex-Megan, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-Betsy, General Hospital) - 51
Tricia Cast (ex-Nina, The Young and the Restless; ex-Christy, Santa Barbara) - 49
Lisa Bonet (ex-Maya, Life on Mars) - 48
Tammy Lauren (ex-Maggie, The Young and the Restless) - 47
Martha Plimpton (Patti, The Good Wife) - 45
Troy Hall (ex-Tito, Another World) - 41
James Carlton (ex-Jason, Emmerdale) - 38
Alexa Havins (ex-Esther, Torchwood: Miracle Day; ex-Babe, All My Children) - 34
Kimberly J. Brown (ex-Marah, Guiding Light) - 31
Casey Moss (J.J., Days of our Lives) - 22

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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