Today in Soap Opera History (March 23)

1973: CBS aired the final episodes of daytime soap operas
Where the Heart Is and Love is a Many Splendored Thing.
1987: The Bold and the Beautiful premiered on CBS.
2004: All My Children and One Life to Live came together for
a baby switch storyline.
"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...

1955: On Valiant Lady, Mickey wanted an explanation from Bonny.

1955: On The Inner Flame, Portia's former law partner offered her bail money for Walter.

1955: On the Brighter Days, Charlie Garrett told Reverend Dennis how the Garrett Bakery was losing business as a result of Ralston's murder.

Days' Joseph Mascolo starred in WTHI as
Ed Lucas, Vicky's father, who ran the
Starlight Restaurant.
1973: CBS aired the final episode of daytime soap opera Where the Heart Is. WTHI debuted in September 1969 and ran through March 1973. Lou Scofield and Margaret DePriest created the series and before the end of its run it was being head written by Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer. Set in the fictional town of Northcross, Connecticut, Where the Heart Is focused on the sexual and psychological intrigues of the dysfunctional Hathaway family. James Mitchell played one of the three Hathaway children, Julian, who was professor of literature at the local university. Diana van der Vlis and Louise Shaffer played his sisters when the show debuted.

WTHI had a Nielsen rating of 6.8 at the time, or around five million viewers (that would make it No. 1 today). The show supposedly didn't have the type of audience (in terms of age and income) that sponsors preferred.

LIAMST's Leon Russom (Joey Taylor) and
Andrea Marcovicci (Dr. Betsy Taylor).
1973: CBS aired the final episode of Love is a Many Splendored Thing, which had run since September 18, 1967. Linda Fidler Wendell had taken over as executive producer in January 1973. She was the first woman on a daytime serial to start as a production assistant, the lowest step of the ladder on the production staff, and rise to the top producer.

The show, based on the best-selling novel of the same name, originally featured an interracial theme and the initial cast consisted of Nancy Hseuh as Mia Elliott, Len Wayland as Phil Elliott, Grace Albertson as Helen Elliott, and Sam Wade as Mark Elliot. Also, Robert Burr (Tom Donnelly), Judson Laire (Dr. Will Donnelly), Leslie Charleson (Iris Donnelly), Donna Mills (Laura Donnelly), Shawn Campbell (Ricky Donnelly), Nicholas Pryor (Paul Bradley), and Robert Milli (Dr. Jim Abbott).

After a half year, Nancy Hsueh was let go and the interracial theme dropped. The final cast consisted of: Vincent Baggetta (Dr. Peter Chernak), Shawn Campbell, Bibi Besch (Iris Garrison), Diana Douglas (Lili Chernak Donnelly), Barbara Stanger (Laura Elliott), Tom Fuccello (Mark Elliott), Gloria Hoye (Helen Donnelly), Leon Russom (Joe Taylor), Andrea Marcovicci (Dr. Betsy Taylor), Brett Halsey (Spencer Garrison), Suzie Kaye Stone (Angel Chernak), Albert Stratton (Tom Donnelly), Judson Laire, Betty Miller (Mrs. Taylor), Ron Hale (Dr. James Abbott) and Joan McMonagle (Holly McAllistair).

1977: On Another World, Sharlene Frame Matthews left Bay City in the final episode for actress Laurie Heineman. The character of Sharlene would return in June 1988 played by Anna Holbrook. Both actresses won a Daytime Emmy Award for their work in the role.

1979: On Dallas, a drunken Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) fell down the Southfork stairs but neither she nor her unborn child were hurt. J.R. (Larry Hagman), realizing he could no longer ignore his wife's alcoholism, had her committed to a sanitarium. Lucy (Charlene Tilton) was taking drugs, but Bobby (Patrick Duffy) persuaded her to stop.

1983: On General Hospital, Bobbie Spencer (Jacklyn Zeman) ended her relationship with Dr. David Arlin (Kale Browne) after getting a lecture from Ruby.

1987: The Bold and the Beautiful, created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell, premiered on CBS. The show replaced Capitol in the CBS daytime lineup.

1987: As the World Turns moved to the 2 p.m. ET time slot where it would stay until it ended its run in 2010.

2004: On All My Children, after drugging Babe, staging a helicopter crash and telling her that her baby died, Paul Cramer (David Tom) gave Babe's son to Kelly (Heather Tom), while leaving Bianca's daughter behind.

2004: On One Life to Live, after receiving the baby boy from Paul, Kelly left Pine Valley and headed back to Llanview and introduced him to Dorian and Todd. (Promo clip here sent in by Heather.)

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the two items above.

2010: On One Life to Live, Destiny (Shenell Edmonds) and Dani (Kelley Missal) both sang "The Climb" at the "Starr X'd Lovers" auditions.

2011: Elizabeth Taylor, who made guest appearances in both General Hospital and All My Children, died at age 79.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Mark Rydell (ex-Jeff, As the World Turns; ex-Walt, The Edge of Night) - 82
David Milch (Writer/Producer, Deadwood; Luck) - 71
Barbara Rhoades (ex-Irene, One Life to Live; ex-Jessica, Generations) - 69
Terry Alexander (ex-Troy, One Life to Live; ex-Zach, Another World) - 69
Anthony De Longis (ex-Irving, General Hospital) - 66
Roberta Leighton (ex-Casey, The Young and the Restless; ex-Ginger, Days of our Lives; ex-Shirley, General Hospital) - 63
Marc Cherry (Creator, Devious Maids; Desperate Housewives) - 54
Sarah Buxton (ex-Morgan, The Bold and the Beautiful; ex-Annie, Sunset Beach; ex-Crystal, Days of our Lives) - 51
Richard Grieco (ex-Rick, One Life to Live) - 51
Sandra Robinson (Christine, The Bay; ex-Charlotte, Days of our Lives; ex-Felicia, General Hospital; ex-Amanda, Another World) - 49
Keri Russell (Elizabeth, The Americans; ex-Felicity, Felicity; ex-Chloe, Malibu Shores) - 40
Michelle Monaghan (ex-Maggie, True Detective) - 40
Nicholle Tom (ex-Sue, Beverly Hills, 90210) - 38
David Tom (ex-Billy, The Young and the Restless; ex-Paul, One Life to Live; ex-Paul, All My Children) - 38
Patti Denney (Makeup Artist, The Young and the Restless)
Grant Landry (ex-Mark, The Cavanaughs)

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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