Today in Soap Opera History (November 25)

November 25, 1960: "The Day Radio Drama Died"
"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...

1960: Often referred to by aficionados as "the day radio drama died" or "the day the radio soap opera died," this day has been identified as a watershed moment in broadcasting. CBS Radio aired the final episodes of the last network radio soap operas: Ma Perkins, Young Doctor Malone (which also aired on NBC-TV), The Right to Happiness (a spin-off of The Guiding Light), The Second Mrs. Burton, The Couple Next Door, Whispering Secrets and Best Seller.

Virginia Payne played Ma Perkins for the
show's entire 27-year run.
Audiences still loved radio drama, but many stations around the country wanted that air time for local news and information features.

Ma Perkins finally ended after 27 years, and the last episode was the only one in which Virginia Payne's name was mentioned, by Payne herself in a farewell speech. In all other episodes, the announcer at the close of the show would run down the names of all the actors in the cast (but one), and then say, "... and Ma Perkins."

As Ma Perkins ended, Charlie Lindstrom had accepted a job in the East. He and Mary were taking leave of Ma Perkins and Rushville Center. On Thanksgiving Day the entire family gathered at Ma's house. Ma Perkins herself saw happiness ahead, primary because Anushka and her grandson, Junior, will be married next month.

Sandy Becker played Dr. Malone for 13 of
the show's 21 years on radio.
On Young Doctor Malone, Dr. Malone (Sandy Becker) finally agreed to return as head of the clinic. Plans for the wedding between Scotty and Jill proceeded, despite the open antagonism of his possessive mother. In a last effort to effect a reconciliation, Dr. Malone called upon Mrs. Scott and made her realize that her son's love must be shared. Finally, she told her son and future daughter-in-law that she would attend their wedding after all.

On The Second Mrs. Burton, Terry realized that mother had gotten herself into a trap by agreeing to take her young artist-protege, Fenno, to Paris. Arranging to send Fenno abroad with a young friend in her place, Terry got mother out of that predicament, much to the relief of the rest of the family.

To find out more about "The Day Radio Drama Died", check out our 25 Biggest Blunders in Soap Opera History list.

1964: On Another World, Pat Matthews (Susan Trustman) was indicted for killing Tom Baxter and charged with murder in the first degree.

1980: On Another World, Colton questioned Mackenzie Cory (Douglass Watson) on the witness stand about the Damtrex drug Janice Frame Cory had administered to him, and how soon he remarried Rachel after recovering.

1985: On Ryan's Hope, Pat (Malcolm Groome) and Siobhan (Marg Helgenberger) Ryan tried to calm their upset brother, Frank (John Sanderford), down by explaining that Jillian Coleridge (Nancy Addison) had amnesia.

1985: On Days of our Lives, Bo (Peter Reckell), Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Kim (Patsy Pease) Brady tried to find "The Pawn" in Kim's photographs.

1987: On As the World Turns, Lyla Montgomery (Anne Sward) and Casey Peretti (Bill Shanks) were married.

1996: On General Hospital, Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon) asked his wife, Monica (Leslie Charleson) if he could come home to the Quartermaine mansion. Later, they reconciled and made love.

1997: On Another World, lifelong best friends Jake McKinnon (Tom Eplin) and Vicky Hudson (Jensen Buchanan) were married. Shane (Robert Kelker-Kelly) interrupted the wedding but Vicky chose to be with Jake.

2004: Actor David Bailey died at age 71.  He played Russ Matthews on Another World from 1973 to 1981, with returns in 1989 and 1992.  He also played Ed Bartowsky on One Life to Live, Tony Monroe in Where the Heart Is, Alistair Crane on Passions, and Teddy Malcolm in Ryan's Hope.

2009: Natalie Hall debuted as Colby Chandler on All My Children.

2009: On The Young and the Restless, Victoria (Amelia Heinle) ran into her family's nemesis, Billy Abbott (Billy Miller) at Crimson Lights, and her curious little boy, Reed Hellstrom (Max Page) wanted to meet and play with Baby Delia Abbott (who would later become his step-sister).

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above. 

2009: On General Hospital, the Quartermaines' Thanksgiving became even wackier when Luke (Anthony Geary) and the Spencers joined them for the holiday.

2011: Judy Lewis died at age 76.  Her longest running soap opera role was Susan Ames on The Secret Storm from 1964-1971. She also played Barbara Vining on General Hospital in the 1970s. Her first soap role was Molly Scharf on Kitty Foyle. Behind the camera, Lewis was a producer on Texas, and she won a Writer's Guild Award in 1985 for her work on Search for Tomorrow.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Rita Jenrette (ex-Bibi, The Edge of Night) - 66
Ernest Harden Jr. (ex-Lt. Evans, Santa Barbara) - 63
Amy Gibson (ex-Alana, The Young and the Restless; ex-Colette, General Hospital; ex-Lynn, Love of Life) - 55
Dougray Scott (Norman, Hemlock Grove; ex-Ian, Desperate Housewives) - 50
Jill Hennessy (ex-Jo, Luck) - 50
Billy Burke (Miles, Revolution) - 49
Ron Carlivati (Former Head Writer, General Hospital; One Life to Live) - 47
Christina Applegate (ex-Baby Burt, Days of our Lives) - 44
Joel Kinnaman (Stephen, The Killing) - 36
Katie Cassidy (Laurel, Arrow; ex-Juliet, Gossip Girl; ex-Ella, Melrose Place) - 29
Rome Flynn (Zende, The Bold and the Beautiful) - 24

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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