Today in Soap Opera History (April 1)

1963: The Doctors premiered on NBC, while General Hospital
made its debut on ABC.
"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...

1963: NBC premiered a new daytime drama, The Doctors, created by the Orin Tovrov. The Doctors did not start as a serial; it began as a "half-hour anthology series of medical dramas, set in the large metropolitan Hope Memorial Hospital, and with the four principals alternating daily in the lead role, according to NBC's original announcement. The roles were Dr. William Scott (played by Jock Gaynor), Dr. Jerry Chandler (portrayed by Richard Roat), Dr. Elizabeth Hayes (played by Margot Moser) and Rev. Samuel Shafer, a hospital chaplain (played by Fred J. Scollay).

Later in the first season, Herb Kenwith and Paul Lammers became the directors. After nine months, The Doctors shifted to a continuing story line, and by 1965, James Pritchett was portraying Dr. Matt Powers, chief of staff at Hope Hospital, and Elizabeth Hubbard was playing Dr. Althea Davis, chief of the Outpatient Clinic. Pritchett did a single performance during The Doctors' one-story-a-week phase, on June 20, 1963. "I played a corporation president running away and having a broken back that brought me to the hospital." He returned to The Doctors on July 9, 1963 as Dr. Matt Powers when the serial was still was still a one-story-a-week show.

The Doctors would remain on the air until December 31, 1982. Repeats from 1971 are currently airing on Retro TV.

1963: General Hospital, created by Frank and Doris Hursley, premiered on ABC. Read a flashback article recapping the first 12 years of stories here. Original cast members John Beradino (Dr. Steve Hardy) and Emily McLaughlin (Nurse Jessie Brewer) remained with the show for decades. GH was scheduled in the 1 p.m. ET timeslot which was a half hour that CBS gave to local affiliates (a break between The Guiding Light and top-rated As the World Turns).

In the very first episode, Angie Costello was distraught about the damage to her face from the accident; Peggy was frustrated when hospital business ruined a night out on the town with her fiancĂ©, Steve Hardy (Beradino); and the tension continued to grow in Jessie (McLaughlin) and Phil’s marriage.



1963: Ben Jerrod, Attorney at Law premiered on NBC and was the first serial to be aired regularly in color. According to The Soap Box's John Genovese, "Its historical significance ends there, because it was yanked the following June 28. A Roy Winsor Production, it starred Michael M. Ryan (now John Randolph on Another World) in the title role of an attorney whose lover jilted him, causing him to take a long look at his life and shed his high-paying position to become a small-town lawyer in a community called Indian Hill. Addison Richards co-starred as his superior, John P. Abbott. Written by William Kendall Clarke, it had great possibilities but fell prey to mismanagement on the West Coast."

1971: Michael Zaslow debuted as Roger Thorpe in The Guiding Light.

1976: On Another World, Rachel (Victoria Wyndham) told Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) no one intended to tell Mac the real reason she married Robert.

1977: On Ryan's Hope, Delia (Ilene Kristen) miscarried Patrick's (Malcolm Groome's) child and concealed it from him. Delia contacted the clinic at Riverside Hospital and spoke with Alicia Nieves (Ana Alicia). The two women became friends and Alicia was unwillingly drawn into Dee's deception.

Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above.

1980: On Guiding Light, Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) fell to his death in Santo Domingo, slipping from the hands of his mortal enemy, Dr. Ed Bauer (Mart Hulswit). Guiding Light shot the scenes on location in Santo Domingo along with P&G sister soap, As the World Turns, which taped newly created flashbacks of Barbara and James.



1985: On Santa Barbara, while investigating the murder of Channing Capwell Jr., Detective Cruz Castillo (A Martinez) discovered that Channing's secret lover "Lindsay Smith," had actually been a man and not a woman, as presumed. And after Lindsay (Joel Bailey) explained his past affair with Channing, Cruz correctly surmised that there was far more to the story than the man was admitting.



Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

1988: On Santa Barbara, Eden Capwell (Marcy Walker) married Cruz Castillo (A Martinez).



1993: General Hospital debuted its "Faces of the Heart" theme and opening.



2009: CBS canceled Guiding Light.  The show, which premiered on radio on January 25, 1937, would air its final episode on September 18, 2009.

2010: Actor John Forsythe, who played Blake Carrington in Dynasty, died at age 92.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Jane Powell (ex-Rebecca, Loving; ex-Lisa, As the World Turns) - 88
Don Hastings (ex-Bob, As the World Turns; ex-Jack, The Edge of Night) - 83
Ali MacGraw (ex-Lady Ashley, Dynasty) - 78
Denise Nickerson (ex-Amy, Dark Shadows) - 60
Jennifer Runyon (ex-Sally, Another World) - 57
Traci Lind (ex-Pru, Ryan's Hope) - 51
Jessica Collins (ex-Avery, The Young and the Restless; ex-Dinah Lee, Loving) - 46
Bryan Buffington (ex-Bill, Guiding Light) - 37
Randy Orton (WWE) - 37
Matt Lanter (ex-Liam, 90210) - 33
Josh Zuckerman (ex-Max, 90210; ex-Eddie, Desperate Housewivees) - 32
Jendra Jarnagin (Cinematographer, In Between Men)

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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