Today in Soap Opera History (December 25)

Family and friends gather to celebrate Christmas on The Doctors
(1967), Guiding Light (1979), General Hospital (1981),
EastEnders (1986), Search for Tomorrow (1986),
All My Children (1986) As the World Turns (1995),
Another World (1996) and Days of our Lives (2001).
"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...

1939: On Bachelor's Children, Sam (Olan Soule) was relieved to learn that Janet had safely given birth to a healthy child after a grueling, perilous labor. Sam's relief was so great that he appeared to be in shock and could only respond to questions with grunts and murmurs. Janet was exhausted but ecstatically happy, and moved by the fact that her baby daughter's Christmas morning birth was accompanied by caroling from a nearby church.

1967: On The Doctors, Matt Powers  (James Pritchett) talked the Hope Memorial janitor, Sam Kringle (Paul Price), into playing Santa Claus instead of him.

1973: On Days of our Lives, "Marty Hanson" aka Mickey Horton (John Clarke) and Maggie Simmons (Suzanne Rogers) shared their first Christmas together.

1973: On As the World Turns, Jennifer Hughes (Gillian Spencer) gave birth to a baby girl, Frannie.

1974: On The Edge of Night, the citizens of Monticello celebrated Christmas, and Danny Micelli (Lou Criscuolo) continued to mourn his beloved wife Babs.

1979: On All My Children, Ruth Martin (Mary Fickett) gave birth to a baby boy, Joseph "Jake" Henry Martin, Jr.

1980: On Guiding Light, Alan Spaulding (Christopher Bernau) surprised his wife, Hope (Elvera Roussel), by taking her back to the island they fell in love while stranded on a year earlier. Later, the annual Cedars Christmas story and a gathering at Bert Bauer's house where her son, Mike (Don Stewart), sang.

1981: On The Doctors, the citizens of Madison celebrated Christmas, and rallied around Luke Dancy (Frank Telfer) in the hospital.

1981: On General Hospital, Luke (Anthony Geary), Tiffany (Sharon Wyatt) and more performed for the children at the hospital.

Thanks to Tricia for sending in the item above.

1984: ABC aired the final episode of primetime soap opera Paper Dolls.

1985: On Another World, Jake McKinnon (Tom Eplin) gave Marley Love (Ellen Wheeler) an engagement ring.

1986: On EastEnders, Dirty Den gave Angie divorce papers for Christmas. The episode was watched by 30 million viewers.

1986: On Search for Tomorrow, Joanne Tourneur (Mary Stuart) worried her Christmas dreams would not come true.

1986: On All My Children, Palmer Cortlandt (James Mitchell) proposed to his ex-wife, Daisy (Gillian Spencer).

1995: On As the World Turns, the Hughes family gathered at Tom and Margo's house to celebrate Christmas. Bob read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the children. Watch it here.

1996: On Another World, Ryan Harrison's (Paul Michael Valley) ghost continued to watch over Vicky Hudson (Jensen Buchanan). Laura Moss and Lindsay Lohan debuted in the roles of Amanda Cory and Alli Fowler.

2001: Days of our Lives aired a special episode celebrating the magic of Christmas.

2006: On EastEnders, Pauline Fowler (Wendy Richards) dropped dead in Albert Square gardens, but how or why she died was not immediately clear and would lead to a "Who Killed Pauline Fowler?" story. Richards had been an original cast member since the show's debut in 1985. Per the Daily Mail, this Christmas Day episode was the second most watched program of the day on British television with an estimated 10.7 million viewers.

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
John Capodice (ex-Lloyd, Ryan's Hope; ex-Carmine, General Hospital) - 74
Gary Sandy (ex-Hank, As the World Turns; ex-Randy, Somerset; ex-Michael, Another World; ex-Stace, The Secret Storm; ex-Terrence, The Young and the Restless) - 70
Barbara Mandrell (ex-Alex, Sunset Beach) - 67
Scott Crawford (ex-Sergio, As the World Turns; ex-Charles, All My Children) - 66
CCH Pounder (ex-Irene, Warehouse 13; ex-Sharon, Revenge) - 63
Dean Howell (ex-Rick Days of our Lives; ex-Roy, Santa Barbara) - 53
Edward Rayden (ex-Michael, Days of our Lives) - 52

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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