Today in Soap Opera History (January 29)

1976: Ryan's Hope's Faith taped a note to her captor's back.
1982: Dallas' J.R. Ewing did not want his father's will to be read.
1985: Santa Barbara's Carnation Killer murdered Veronica.
2008: Billy Magnussen debuted as Casey on As the World Turns.
"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...

1945: Procter & Gamble bought Spic and Span for $1.9 million. It would later become one of the sponsors for P&G soaps for decades (most notably Search for Tomorrow).

1965: Actor John Larkin died at age 52. He starred as the original Mike Karr in The Edge of Night, and was the first Frank Dana on The Road of Life. He was also the voice of Perry Mason in the radio version of the show.

1968: On The Doctors, a hospitalized Polly Merriweather (Betty Walker) talked to Dr. John Rice (Terry Kiser) about the nieces she was hoping would visit.

1976: On Ryan's Hope, Faith made Kenneth angry when she told him it was Pat that she wanted and loved. Later, Faith managed to attach as S.O.S. note to Kenneth's back which was discovered by a neurology patient.

1980: On Search for Tomorrow, Stephanie (Maree Cheatham) and Martin (John Aniston) discussed the complications of marriage.

1980: On The Edge of Night, Draper (Tony Craig) discovered Margo's (Ann Williams) bludgeoned body.

1980: On Search for Tomorrow, Liza (Sherry Mathis) told Travis (Rod Arrants) that their friend Renata had been raped and impregnated by Tony Stradella.

1980: On As the World Turns, Dee (Jacqueline Schultz) and Ian (Peter Simon) danced the night away.

1981: On Another World, Brian gave Jerry his divorce papers and agreed to step up the search for Margo.

1981: On Knots Landing, Abby (Donna Mills) arranged for Valene (Joan Van Ark) to see Gary (Ted Shackelford) and Judy (Jane Elliot) out together.

1982: Robert Alda aired for the final time as Stuart Whyland on Days of our Lives.

1982: On Dallas, Pam (Victoria Principal) urged Bobby (Patrick Duffy) to learn more about Christopher’s biological parents. Meanwhile, J.R. (Larry Hagman) was determined to keep Jock's will from being read.

1985: On Santa Barbara, Peter Flint (Stephen Meadows) strangled Veronica Gayley (Andrea Howard) and left a white carnation behind.

1988: On Days of our Lives, Betty White made her second appearance as part of NBC's "Where's Betty?" contest.

1989: Actor Mandel Kramer died at age 72. He played Bill Marceau on The Edge of Night for 20 years. He also played District Attorney Richard Hanley in The Guiding Light.

1992: On The Young and the Restless, at the hospital Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) asked Ashley (Brenda Epperson) to take care of her children if she didn't survive.

1996: On One Life to Live, Marty (Susan Haskell) and Dylan (Christopher Douglas) wanted to move up their wedding date.

1999: On Guiding Light, Dinah Marler (Wendy Moniz) shot Hart Jessup (Frank Grillo).

Thanks to Na'Vell for sending in the item above.

2004: Longtime soap opera producer turned reality television creator Mary-Ellis Bunim died at age 57.

2007: On All My Children, Dixie (Cady McClain) was rushed to Pine Valley Hospital after collapsing from eating poisoned pancakes.

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

2008: Billy Magnussen debuted as Casey Hughes in As the World Turns.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Katharine Ross (ex-Frankie, The Colbys) - 76
Tom Selleck (ex-Jed, The Young and the Restless) - 71
Kathryn Leigh Scott (ex-Maggie, Dark Shadows; ex-Jennifer, Dynasty; ex-Bunny, Dallas) - 71
Marc Singer (ex-Chet, The Young and the Restless; ex-Matt, Dallas; ex-Wesley, Paper Dolls) - 68
Oprah Winfrey (Herself, All My Children) - 62
Diane Delano (Shara, Fumbling Thru the Pieces; ex-Hilda, Days of our Lives; ex-Marcia, Falcon Crest) - 59
Matthew Ashford (Steve, The Bay; ex-Jack, Days of our Lives; ex-Tom, General Hospital; ex-Cagney, Search for Tomorrow; ex-Stephen, One Life to Live) - 56
Sam Trammell (ex-Sam, True Blood) - 47
Heather Graham (ex-Annie, Twin Peaks) - 46
Charles Divins (ex-Chad, Passions) - 40
Justin Hartley (Adam, The Young and the Restless; ex-Scott Mistresses; ex-Patrick, Revenge; ex-Oliver, Smallville; ex-Fox, Passions) - 39
Heidi Mueller (ex-Kay, Passions) - 34
Adam Hunter (ex-Cam, Neighbours) - 34
Isabel Lucas (ex-Tasha, Home and Away) - 31
Drew Tyler Bell (ex-Thomas, The Bold and the Beautiful) - 30
Bhama Roget (ex-Spencer, Wrecked)
Katie Caprio (ex-Bianca, DeVanity)

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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