Today in Soap Opera History (September 23)

1978: Gary and Valene Ewing returned to Dallas.
1984: Primetime soap Paper Dolls premiered on ABC.
1986: One Life to Live's Jessica Buchanan was born.
2011: All My Children aired for the final time on ABC.
"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...

1942: On radio soap opera Clara, Lu & Em, Clara (Fran Allison) was sick.

1969: On The Doctors, Mike Powers (Peter Burnell) picked up Julie Forrest (Ginger Gerlach) at the train station, and brought her to his parent's home. Julie told Matt (James Pritchett) and Maggie (Lydia Bruce) about her upbringing.

1975: On Ryan's Hope, Jillian Coleridge (Nancy Addision) encountered Delia Reid Ryan (Ilene Kristen) at Frank's campaign headquarters and refused to give in to Delia's demand that she give up on the campaign.

1978: CBS aired the Season 2 premiere of Dallas which was also the show's first episode as a regular series following a successful five-part mini-series run that spring. In "Reunion, Part 1," Jock and Miss Ellie's middle son, Gary (David Ackroyd), a recovering alcoholic, returned to Southfork after a long absence. Meanwhile, Lucy discovered her mother, Valene (Joan Van Ark), working at a diner outside of town. This was the first appearance of Gary and Val, who were first married in 1961, then reunited and remarried in 1979 (with Gary played by Ted Shackelford). Miss Ellie gave them a house in Knots Landing as a wedding gift.

1980: On The Edge of Night, Miles Cavanaugh (Joel Carruthers) was stunned when Nicole (Jayne Bentzen) revealed she knew about having aplastic anemia. "Which category do I fall under? Am I one of those that recovers without any difficulty? Or am I one of those that dies?"

1981: On General Hospital, Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson) told her husband, Alan (Stuart Damon), that she knew about Susan Moore (Gail Ramsey), while Alice (Lieux Dressler) lectured Susan about not raising Jason as a Quartermaine heir. Elsewhere, Joe Kelly (Doug Sheehan) was surprised Heather Webber (Robin Mattson) was not in jail.

1983: On One Life to Live, Bo (Robert S. Woods) and Becky Lee welcome their son, Drew, into the world. Drew was killed in the line of duty while working for the Llanview Police Department in 1998.

1984: Primetime soap Paper Dolls premiered on ABC. In the glamorous world of fashion modeling and corporate skulduggery, the focus was on a business tycoon and the head of a modeling agency, who shrewdly guided the careers to 16-year old models Taryn (Nicollette Sheridan) and Laurie (Terry Farrell). In the opener, Laurie's mother worried about letting her daughter become a model while Taryn's diva attitude and the demanding behavior of her mother threatened her cosmetics contract. Meanwhile, businessman David Fenton (Richard Beymer) looked for a new face to save his floundering sportswear company, and his wife (Mimi Rogers) fretted that no one would hire a 30-year old model. The cast also included Morgan Fairchild as Racine as Dack Rambo as Wesley.

1986: On One Life to Live, Viki Buchanan (Erika Slezak) gave birth to a baby girl, Jessica Buchanan. Years later it was revealed that Jessica had a twin sister, Natalie, born the same day.

Thanks to Enrique for sending in the item above.

1986: On Another World, Marley Love (Ellen Wheeler) admitted to her mother, Donna (Anna Stuart) that she had pre-wedding jitters. Meanwhile, Matthew Cory (Daniel Dale) met his father, Mitch Blake (William Gray Espy). Rhonda Lewin debuted as Victoria Love in this episode, although we didn't see her face until day after Ellen Wheeler's final appearance.

1992: Shannon Sturges and Michael Easton aired for the final time as Molly and Tanner in Days of our Lives.

1998: Actress Mary Frann died in her sleep at age 55. She played D. B. Bentley in Return to Peyton Place from 1973 to 1974, Amanda Howard on Days of our Lives from 1974 to 1979, and Nan in King's Crossing in 1982. Frann was best known for her role as Joanna in Newhart.

1999: On As the World Turns, Vicky (Jensen Buchanan) decided to accompany Donna (Anna Stuart) to New York for cancer treatment.

2002: As the World Turns went on location to Virginia Commonwealth University as part of its "Catch Us If You Can" Tour. In the story, Aaron (Agim Kaba), his girlfriend Lucy (Peyton List), and their friend Alison (Jessica Dunphy) hit the road after Aaron was falsely accused of setting a fire. Determined to hide out until they can prove Aaron’s innocence, the three characters traveled to ten college campuses hoping to elude both their parents and the law.

2002: Dynasty star Joan Collins debuted as Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light.

2003: One Tree Hill premiered on The WB. In 2006, The WB and UPN merged to form The CW which aired the show until the final episode on April 4, 2012.

2011: The final broadcast network episode of All My Children aired on ABC. After losing Jack possibly for good, Erica (Susan Lucci) told Opal (Jill Larson), "This is not the ending I want." The episode ended with a "Who did JR shoot" cliffhanger. On April 29, 2013, All My Children returned on The OnLine Network and the cliffhanger was eventually resolved. The series ended again after one season on the web.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Caroline Lagerfelt (ex-CeCe, Gossip Girl; ex-Patricia, The Edge of Night; ex-Elaine, As the World Turns; ex-Carrie, One Life to Live; ex-Sheila, Beverly Hills, 90210; ex-Dr. Massey, All My Children) - 68
Mary Kay Place (ex-Loretta, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) - 68
Patty Weaver (ex-Gina, The Young and the Restless; ex-Bernadette, Spyder Games; ex-Trish, Days of our Lives) - 67
Rosalind Allen (ex-Silver, All My Children; ex-Annie, Dallas) - 58
LisaRaye McCoy (Keisha, Single Ladies) - 49
Rob James-Collier (Thomas, Downton Abbey; ex-Liam, Coronation Street) - 40
Keri Lynn Pratt (ex-Amy, Brothers & Sisters) - 36
Aubrey Dollar (ex-Marina, Guiding Light) - 35

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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