Today in Soap Opera History (September 18)

2009: CBS aired the final episode of Guiding Light.
"More and more, I tend to read history. I often find it more up to date than the daily newspapers."
― Joe Murray

"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...

1967: Love is a Many Splendored Thing premiered on CBS. The network, which hadn't premiered a soap in seven years, enlisted Irna Phillips in adapting a serial very loosely from a famous novel and movie. Love is a Many Splendored Thing concerned the in-laws of the book's protagonist Mark Elliot, who intermarried with other surrounding families in San Francisco. A stylish and refreshing story, it was a fabulous stepping stone for David Birney, Donna Mills and Leslie Charleson, all beautiful and talented young performers. Other established serial veterans on the series included Judson Laire, Gloria Hoye, Jane Manning, Albert Stratton and Paula Trueman. Its most popular producer was John Conboy, who brought his special stylish magic to The Young and the Restless.

Its head writer regimes included: Jane and Ira Avery, Don Ettinger, James Lipton, and finally Ann Marcus. After numerous cast changes alienated viewers, it was canceled and the series finale aired on March 23, 1973, after five and a half years. In its final months, Linda Fidler Wendell took over as executive producer.



1968: On Peyton Place, a confused Tom Winter (Robert Hogan) returned home and announced he was divorcing Susan.



1974: On Another World, Rachel Frame (Victoria Wyhdham) told her mother, Ada McGowan (Constance Ford), that John Randolph (Michael M. Ryan) was the only one who treated her like a human being.

1979: On As the World Turns, Lisa Shea Colman (Eileen Fulton) discovered a mysterious painting.



1989: Irish soap opera Fair City premiered.



1991: Dack Rambo aired for the final time as Grant Harrison on Another World. Rambo quit his role as Grant after saying he was infected with the HIV virus. He said going public with his condition was “like freedom to me.” He complained about industry prejudice against gay men and said the role he took in 1985 as Jack Ewing on the primetime drama Dallas began to shrink because he was single and suspected of being gay. Rambo described himself as bisexual. He passed away on March 21, 1994, at age 53.



1992: Vanessa Marcil debuted as Brenda Barrett in General Hospital.



1992: Lisa Rinna debuted as Billie Reed in Days of our Lives.



1994: On All My Children, Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) told Del Henry (Winsor Harmon) that her daughter, Kendall Hart (Sarah Michelle Gellar), should come with a warning label.



2009: CBS aired the final episode of Guiding Light after a 72 year run on radio and television. The series was created by Irna Phillips and Emmons Carlson in 1937 for NBC Radio. While on radio the show was canceled twice, the second time following Carlson's victory in a long-running lawsuit against Phillips in late 1946. CBS Radio picked up the show in 1947 and ran it until 1956. In 1952, The Guiding Light premiered on CBS-TV and ran on both television and radio for four years.



Celebrating a birthday today are:
Patricia Roe (ex-Eileen, One Life to Live; ex-Sara, Guiding Light) - 88
Fred Willard (John, The Bold and the Beautiful) - 77
David Forsyth (ex-John, Another World; ex-Burke, As the World Turns; ex-TJ, Texas, ex-Hogan, Search for Tomorrow; ex-Jim, All My Children; ex-Priest, One Life to Live) - 68
Beth Grant (ex-Sissy, Sordid Lives; ex-Nurse, Santa Barbara) - 67
Anna Deavere Smith (ex-Hazel, All My Children) - 66
Aisha Tyler (Lana, Archer) - 46
Carrie Genzel (ex-Skye, All My Children; ex-Ali, Days of our Lives; ex-Nurse, The Bold and the Beautiful) - 45
Travis Schuldt (ex-Ethan, Passions) - 42
Barrett Foa (ex-Craig, My Synthesized Life) - 39
Alison Lohman (ex-Lily, Pasadena) - 37

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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