Today in Soap Opera History (January 25)

The Guiding Light premiered on NBC radio on January 25, 1937.
  The show ended its run on CBS TV on September 18, 2009.
"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...

1937: Irna Phillips' The Guiding Light premiered on NBC Radio. The show ran on radio (NBC then CBS) until 1956. In 1952, the series transitioned to CBS-TV, airing both on TV and radio until 1956. The show ran on TV until September 18, 2009, making it the longest running scripted series in broadcast history (18,262 episodes on TV and radio).

1953: On The Guiding Light, Bert Bauer (Charita Bauer) complained to Papa Bauer (Theo Goetz) about there being yet another scandal in the life of her sister-in-law, Meta.

Days' Maggie Simmons (Suzanne Rogers) married her true
love, Mickey Horton.
Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the clip above.

1972: On Another World, a distressed Pat (Beverly Penberthy) filled Mary (Virginia Dwyer) and Alice (Jacqueline Courtney) in on Walter's disappearance.

1974: On Days of our Lives, Maggie Simmons (Suzanne Rogers) married Marty Hansen (John Clarke), who was actually Mickey Horton with amnesia.

1980: On As the World Turns, Barbara (Colleen Zenk) confessed to Tom (Tom Tammi) that she had a baby boy three years earlier.

1983: On The Edge of Night, Raven (Sharon Gabet) fretted that she might have to actually go through with her wedding to Ian Devereaux.

1988: On General Hospital, a hospitalized Robin (Kimberly McCullough) had a panic attack when she saw a man that looked like Grant Putnam.

1990: Actress Ava Gardner, who played Ruth Galveston in Knots Landing, died at age 67.

Generations ended 25 years ago today.
1991: NBC aired the final episode daytime soap opera Generations. Sally Sussman created the series, serving as both its executive producer and head writer.

Describing the serial in 1989, as it was about to go on, NBC said that it was "a contemporary daytime drama set in Chicago" and that it centered "on the relationships of two families -- one white, the Whitmores; one black, the Marshalls -- whose lives have been linked for generations."

1991: Kassie Wesley (now Kassie DePaiva) aired for the final time as Chelsea Reardon on Guiding Light.

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2005: On All My Children, Jonathan (Jeff Branson) asked Maggie (Elizabeth Hendrickson) to marry him.

2007: Guiding Light recreated its early years in a special 70th anniversary episode with Beth Ehlers (Harley) playing Irna Phillips.

2010: On General Hospital, Lucky Spencer (Jonathan Jackson) confronted Nikolas and Elizabeth about their affair.

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2012: The death of an actor who once appeared on All My Children, Nick Santino, made national headlines after he committed suicide on his 47th birthday following euthanizing his dog, Rocco.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Jack Axelrod (ex-Victor, General Hospital) - 86
Leigh Taylor-Young (ex-Katherine, Passions; ex-Elaine, Sunset Beach; ex-Rachel, Peyton Place) - 71
Scott Palmer (ex-Tim, The Young and the Restless; ex-Joshua, Days of our Lives; ex-Farley, Dallas; ex-Dr. Cannon, The Bold and the Beautiful) - 63
Kevin O'Rourke (ex-Stan, One Life to Live) - 60
George Alvarez (ex-Ray, Guiding Light; ex-Enrique, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-Alex, General Hospital; ex-Alex, Port Charles) - 56
Ana Ortiz (Marisol, Devious Maids; ex-Hilda, Ugly Betty) - 45
Mia Kirshner (ex-Isobel, The Vampire Diaries; ex-Sherry, The L Word) - 41
Paul Taylor (ex-Isaac, As the World Turns) - 40
Michael Trevino (Tyler, The Vampire Diaries) - 31
Natalie Hall (ex-Colby, All My Children) - 28

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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