Today in Soap Opera History (December 19)

1967: The Doctors' Althea turned in her resignation.
1997: General Hospital's Helena returned to Port Charles.
2008: All My Children celebrated the life of Myrtle Fargate.
2011: One Life to Live's Roxy dreamed about Fraternity Row.
"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...

1966: On Peyton Place, Martin Peyton (George Macready) told a drunken Leslie Harrington (Paul Langton) that he had always been inferior.



1967: On The Doctors, Dr. Althea Davis (Elizabeth Hubbard) stopped by the home of Dr. Matt Powers (James Pritchett) to give him her official resignation from Hope Memorial Hospital. Althea was pregnant and unmarried at the time, a violation of the morals clause in her contract. She wanted to save Matt the trouble of having to fire her. Note: Dr. Nick Bellini, the father of the baby, was not considered to be violation of his morals clause because he was a man, a fact that Althea called out as sexist and unfair.

1972: On Another World, the grisly discovery of the murdered Bernice Robinson (Janis Young) on the Randolph terrace was horrifying for Mary Matthews (Virginia Dwyer) and her alcoholic daughter, Pat (Beverly Penberthy). Bernice had been having an affair with Pat's husband, John.

Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above.

1977: Rolanda Mendels aired for the final time as Molly Ordway Randoph in Another World. The character never returned but her sister, Mary Frances Ordway (aka Frankie Frame), came to Bay City in 1989. In the audio clip below from this episode, the manipulating Olive Gordon Randolph (Jennifer Leak) was plotting to kill her husband, John Randolph (Michael Ryan), so she could be with her lover, Evan Webster (Barry Jenner). John and Evan struggled over a gun leaving Evan shot dead. A distraught Olive screamed at John: "You killed the only man I ever loved!"



1983: On Guiding Light, Phillip (Grant Aleksander) threw a chair through the window of Annabelle's classroom when Bradley showed up so he could escape with Beth (Judi Evans). The young couple then headed for New York City.



Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the item above.

1983: Actor Alan Dexter, who played Frank Ferguson on Days of our Lives in its first year, died at age 65.

1986: On Capitol, Kelly Harper (Jess Walton) was upset she wouldn't be with her son, Scotty, on Christmas morning but then received news that the Cleggs were dropping the custody suit.

1986: On The Young and the Restless, Jack Abbott (Terry Lester) was concerned that his sister, Ashley (Eileen Davidson), was under too much pressure. Elsewhere, Evan Sanderson (John Shearin) showed up in Genoa City demanding answers from Lauren Fenmore (Tracey Bregman).

1986: On Another World, Brittany Love (Sharon Gabet) awaited the verdict in her trial for the attempted murder of her husband, Peter Love (Marcus Smythe).



1991: Steve Burton debuted as Jason Quartermaine on General Hospital. After the family greeted Jason, his brother, AJ (Gerald Hopkins), welcomed the "bastard son" home, leading Jason to give him a left hook to the face.



Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

1997: Constance Towers debuted on General Hospital as Helena Cassadine, a character originally played by Elizabeth Taylor in November 1981, then Dimitra Arliss for 2 episodes in July 1996. The clip below contains the Friday tag and the continuation on Monday, December 22, 1997.



2002: On One Life to Live, Mitch Laurence (Roscoe Born) told Jessica Buchanan (Erin Torpey) that he was her biological father.



Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2003: On One Life to Live, David Vickers ran into Opal Cortlandt (Jill Larson, crossing over her All My Children character).



Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2003: Actor Les Tremayne, who played Victor Lord in One Life to Live and once subbed as Edward Quartermaine in General Hospital, died at age 90. In the 1940s he also starred in radio soap The Romance of Helen Trent.

2005: On Guiding Light, Cassie Winslow (Nicole Forester), Reva Shayne (Kim Zimmer) and Josh Lewis (Robert Newman) caught Cassie's daughter, Tammy (Stephanie Gatschet), in bed with Reva's son, Jonathan (Tom Pelphrey).  Tammy and Jonathan fell in love despite being first cousins.



Y&R's Jack and Phyllis arrive at the hospital,
and Jack hands baby Summer to Nick.
2006: On The Young and the Restless, in the elevator Phyllis grabbed scissors from her purse and hysterically told Jack to cut her open to save her baby. Suddenly her water broke. She finally got cell service and called Nick, telling him that the baby was on the way. Phyllis got a huge contraction and pushed the baby's legs out. With one last big effort, she managed to get her baby out. Phyllis hugged her new daughter (Summer Newman) and thanked Jack for delivering her baby.

2008: All My Children aired a special episode dedicated to the late Eileen Herlie, who played Myrtle Fargate on the show for many years.



2011: On One Life to Live, Roxy Balsom (Ilene Kristen) had a dream about her favorite soap opera, Fraternity Row,  after hearing about the show's cancellation.



Celebrating a birthday today are:
Cicely Tyson (ex-Martha, The Guiding Light) - 82
Aki Aleong (ex-Mr. Wu, General Hospital) - 81
Sam Kelly (ex-Bob, Coronation Street; ex-Graham, Doctors) - 71
Christopher Goutman (ex-Marc, Search for Tomorrow; ex-Matt, The Edge of Night; ex-George/Dr. Kirkland, Texas; Former Executive Producer, Another World; As the World Turns; Former Director, All My Children; Another World; As the World Turns; Guiding Light; One Life to Live; The Edge of Night; The Young and the Restless; Days of our Lives) - 63
Alice Barrett (ex-Frankie/Anne, Another World; ex-Dr. Morrison, One Life to Live) - 59
Mike Lookinland (ex-Bobby, The Bradys) - 55
Scott Cohen (ex-Ray, One Life to Live; ex-Max, Gilmore Girls) - 54
Jennifer Beals (ex-Bette, The L Word) - 52
Will Kempe (ex-Ian, One Life to Live; ex-Donovan, All My Children) - 52
Amy Locane (ex-Sandy, Melrose Place) - 44
Alyssa Milano (ex-Savannah, Mistresses; ex-Jennifer, Melrose Place) - 43
Rosa Blasi (ex-Fernanda, General Hospital; ex-Ronnie, Make It or Break It; ex-The Bold and the Beautiful) - 43
A.J. Lamas (ex-Rafi, As the World Turns) - 31
Mike Donis (Pete, Pete Winning and the Pirates) - 30

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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