Today in Soap Opera History (November 23)

1963: The original Doctor Who premiered.
1970: Dark Shadows' Daphne and Quentin held a seance on.
1984: Days' Stefano shot Roman, who fell off a cliff.
1988: General Hospital's Cheryl was delirious.
"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...

1963: The original Doctor Who series premiered on the BBC. The show depicts the adventures of the Doctor, a Time Lord—a time-travelling humanoid alien. He explores the universe in his TARDIS, a sentient time-travelling space ship.



1964: On Another World, Pat Matthews (Susan Trustman) sent a letter to the Baxter family which said she did not kill Tom.

1966: On Dark Shadows, while holding Victoria (Alexandra Moltke) captive in his cottage, Matthew (Thayer David) confessed to the murder of Bill Malloy.

1970: On Dark Shadows, Quentin (David Selby) and Daphne (Kate Jackson) began a seance at Collinwood to contact Joanna. During the seance, the drawing room doors burst open with a figure seen standing in the doorway.

1977: On One Life to Live, 15 minutes before their wedding, Jenny Siegel (Katherine Glass) told Brad Vernon (Jameson Parker) she wanted to postpone the wedding because of Lana McClain's (Jacklyn Zeman) death.



1978: On General Hospital, Port Charles celebrated Thanksgiving. Audrey (Rachel Ames) told Steve (John Beradino) she was the happiest and luckiest wife and mother in the whole world. Meanwhile, Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) was upset when a former client recognized her. The episode was written by Douglas Marland with Andrea Russo.

1979: On As the World Turns, Ruth's former partner at a Norwich antique center, Gloria Dunn, told Lisa (Eileen Fulton) everything she had heard about Ruth was wrong.



1983: On Guiding Light, a teary Beth Raines (Judi Evans) didn't want to say the blessing during Thanksgiving dinner, but her mother, Lillian (Tina Sloan) and stepfather, Bradley (James Rebhorn) forced her. Bradley yelled at her when she didn't do it the way he wanted.



Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the clip above.

1984: On Days of our Lives, Andre (Thaao Penghlis) presumably died when he fell into quicksand following a fight with Tony (also Thaao Penghlis). Meanwhile, Stefano (Joseph Mascolo) shot Roman (Wayne Northrop) who fell off a cliff onto the beach where Bo (Peter Reckell) found him.



1984: On Dallas, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) took down Jock's portrait.

1988: On General Hospital, Julian returned to find a delirious Cheryl collapsed inside the safe house.



1992: On Guiding Light, Blake (Elizabeth Keifer) asked Alan-Michael (Rick Hearst) for a loan.



1993: On The Young and the Restless, the Abbotts were concerned about John (Jerry Douglas), while Paul (Doug Davidson) worried about April.

1994: Days of our Lives theme co-composer Tommy Boyce died at age 55.

When songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were first approached to write the theme to Days of our Lives, Ted and Betty Corday asked them to come up with something that sounded similar to "Sunrise, Sunset", a song which the Cordays had just seen performed in the Broadway play "Fiddler on the Roof."

Boyce and Hart's first two submissions to the Cordays were quickly rejected. Boyce was ready to call it quits, but Hart told Boyce he had one last idea before they abandoned the project. They went to a recording studio, and Hart played music on an organ that sounded like music he remembered hearing when his mother listened to various radio soap operas. Boyce gave some additional suggestions and they returned to the Cordays for their third and final attempt. This time, they were a success. Announcer Ed Prentiss spoke the following lines over the instrumental theme: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."

1994: On All My Children, Dixie (Cady McClain) found out she was a kidney donor match with Del (Winsor Harmon).



1999: Heather Olson debuted as Jan Spears in Days of our Lives.

2006: Longtime daytime soap writer Anne Howard Bailey died at age 82. Along with creating How to Survive a Marriage, her writing credits included General Hospital, Days of our Lives and Santa Barbara.

2009: On As the World Turns, Noah Mayer (Jake Silbermann) was released from the hospital, and temporarily moved in with Luke Snyder (Van Hansis) and his family.



2011: Prospect Park released a statement which said the efforts to create online versions of One Life to Live and All My Children were suspended and it was "now becoming clear that mounting issues make our ability to meet our deadlines to get OLTL on the air in a reasonable time period following its January 13, 2012 ABC finale impossible." Read the statement here.

Larry Hagman
2012: Legendary Dallas star Larry Hagman died at age 81. He played the iconic J.R. Ewing in the original Dallas on CBS, TV movies, and in the TNT version of the show. In daytime, he played Curt Williams in Search for Tomorrow. In 1961 he joined the cast of The Edge of Night as policeman turned attorney Ed Gibson (he had played a smaller role on Edge in the past).

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Jerry verDorn (ex-Clint, One Life to Live; ex-Ross, Guiding Light) - 66
David Wallace (ex-Tom, General Hospital; ex-Todd, Days of our Lives; ex-Minister, Days of our Lives) - 57
Maxwell Caulfield (ex-Richard, DeVanity, ex-Mark, Emmerdale; ex-Jim, Casualty; ex-Pierce, All My Children; ex-Miles, The Colbys; ex-Miles; Dynasty; ex-Ryan's Hope) - 56
Robin Roberts (Guest Star, Nashville) - 55
Michael Brainard (ex-Joey, All My Children; ex-Ted, Santa Barbara) - 50
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Jane, The Newsroom; ex-Allison, Eureka) - 48
Page Kennedy (ex-Caleb, Desperate Housewives) - 39
Sara Jane Henriques (ex-Tina, All My Children)
Kelly Brook (ex-Victoria, Smallville) - 36
Jonathan Sadowski (ex-Jefferson, American Dreams) - 36
Ricky Whittle (Lincoln, The 100, Daniel, Mistresses; ex-Charles, Single Ladies; ex-Calvin, Hollyoaks; ex-Daniel, Holby City) - 35
Lucas Grabeel (Toby, Switched at Birth) - 31
Kelvin Terrell (Brother Ray, Anacostia)

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

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