Monday, January 23, 2012

Today in Soap Opera History (January 23)

On this date in...

1939: TIME magazine published a story about radio soap creators, Frank and Anne Hummert, explaining their prolific serial production operation (Blackett-Sample-Hummert Inc.). "By hiring dialogue writers, and not creators, the Hummerts save lots of money. Most serial writers in radio command $200 to $400 a week. For The Goldbergs, Gertrude Berg gets about $2,000. The Hummerts pay a minimum $25 per 15-minute script. Since most Hummert ghosts are glad to add caviar to bread-&-butter from other jobs, they have seldom squawked." Read the entire article here.

1968: On ANOTHER WORLD, Dru (Geoffrey Lumb, who also played Mitchell Dru on both AS THE WORLD TURNS and THE BRIGHTER DAY) advised Alice not to conjure up trouble between Russ and Rachel.

1979: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Gus grabbed his chest in pain during a conversation with Miles.

1985: On SANTA BARBARA, Joe confronted Peter suspicious of his motives.

1987: Larkin Malloy aired for the final time as Kyle Sampson on GUIDING LIGHT.

1994: SEARCH FOR TOMORROW actress Sherry Mathis, who was a fan favorite during her seven year run as Liza, died at age 44 after a battle with cancer. She came to New York in 1971 and made her Broadway debut in the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Little Night Music." She also appeared in "Music Is," a 1976 musical by George Abbott, Richard Adler and Will Holt, which was based on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Mathis graduated from Memphis State University and returned to Memphis at the end of her life where her brother, William, was living.

2001: PASSIONS released a book, "Hidden Passions: Secrets From the Diaries of Tabitha Lenox," revealing new details about the residents of Harmony.

2003: Polish primetime daily soap NA WSPOLNEJ premiered on TVN. It continues today with over 1,500 episodes aired.

2003: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Salem celebrated Alice Horton's 90th birthday.

2006: Telenovela LA FEA MAS BELLA ("The Most Beautiful, Ugly Girl") premiered, produced by Televisa as the second Mexican version of the popular Colombian telenovela BETTY LA FEA. The U.S. version of this show was UGLY BETTY.

2006: Australian soap HEADLAND aired its final episode.

2008: On GUIDING LIGHT, Cassie spoke at Tammie's anniversary memorial service.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Chita Rivera (ex-Melody, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 79
Gil Gerard (ex-Alan, THE DOCTORS) - 69
Francesca James (ex-Kitty, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Marcy, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; Producer/Director) - 63
Richard Dean Anderson (ex-Jeff, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 62
Richard Gilliland (ex-Brent, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES; ex-Congressman Morganthall, TORCHWOOD) - 62
David Patrick Kelly (Noah, GOSSIP GIRL; ex-Jerry, TWIN PEAKS) - 61
Antonio Villaraigosa (Himself, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 59
Robert Funaro (ex-Eugene, THE SOPRANOS) - 53
Peter Koch (ex-Harry, DALLAS) - 50
Gail O'Grady (ex-Anne, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) - 49
Mariska Hargitay (ex-Carly, FALCON CREST) - 48
Tiffani Thiessen (ex-Valerie, BEVERLY HILLS 90210) - 38
Geoffrey Wigdor (ex-J.J., LOVING; ex-Eli, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Ryan, GUIDING LIGHT) - 30
April Pearson (ex-Michelle, SKINS) - 23
Brennan Bailey (ex-Andrew, MISS BEHAVE) - 15

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a piece of soap opera history for this daily column, please email it to [email protected].


  1. Sherry Mathis was a major star on Search as Liza Sentell. So sad that she died so young.

  2. I loved Sunny, Liza and Wendy. Search was the first soap I have clear memories from.

  3. Sherry was a great talent and struggled a long time with myriad health challenges, complicated by an unhappy work environment during her last year at SFT. I vividly remember the volatility off set but she always played her scenes (esp with Will Patton, John Aniston & Larry Haines) with extreme care and control. Remind me to tell you about "Bomber" the kitten one of these days! RIP Sherry.