Today in Soap Opera History (October 12)

On this date in...

1950: HAWKINS FALLS aired for the last time in prime time.  The show was one of network television's first successful soap operas, though it first aired---in June of 1950---as an hour-long weekly prime time drama in a summer replacement slot. In August of 1950, the show was cut back to a half-hour finishing its run in October.

HAWKINS FALLS returned to the air in April of 1951 as a fifteen-minute weekday soap for NBC. Heading up the cast was Bernadine Flynn, who from 1932 to 1946 had played "Sade" on the VIC AND SADE radio soap.

The HF plot dealt with the mildly problematical lives of the residents of a small Midwestern town. The physical model for Hawkins Falls was the town of Woodstock, Illinois, forty miles northwest of Chicago in McHenry County. The show's main title and closing credits consisted of a crawl rolled over film shot in Woodstock.

The commercials---for the soap product "Surf"---were delivered live by Hugh Downs. Each episode closed with a memorable announcer tag: "This program has come to you from Hawkins Falls---by way of Chicago."

1953: VALIANT LADY premiered on CBS television. The series was created by Adrian Spies and written by Charles Elwyn. Helen Emerson was the central character during the show's four year run and was played by two actresses along the way, Nancy Coleman and Flora Campbell. AS THE WORLD TURNS legend Helen Wagner played Jane Lyman for a year.

1964: On ANOTHER WORLD, Pat assured Mary that she and Tom had an "understanding."  A month later he would be dead.

1974: DAYS OF OUR LIVES costars Susan Seaforth (Julie) and Bill Hayes (Doug) were married in real life. Less than two years later their characters were married on the show. Happy Anniversary!

1981: Elizabeth Taylor taped her first day at GENERAL HOSPITAL for scenes that would air in November.

1981: David Canary debuted as "Edward Black" (Steve Frame) in ANOTHER WORLD.

1981: James Reynolds taped his first DAYS OF OUR LIVES episode.  It aired on October 29. Check out our recent interview with Reynolds, and co-star Drake Hogestyn, here.

1984: Tom Hallick aired for the final time as Maxwell Hathaway in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.  Hallick was an original cast member of THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

1985: THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS' Melody Thomas (Nikki) married producer Ed Scott. Happy Anniversary!

1993: Matt Ashford left DAYS OF OUR LIVES and the role of Jack Deveraux.  The part would be recast with Mark Valley and Steve Wilder with Ashford returning in 2001.

1995: David McLean, who played Craig Merritt in DAYS OF OUR LIVES, died at age 73.  McLean appeared for years on television commercials as the Marlboro Man.

2006: Kyle Brandt aired for the final time as Philip Kiriakis in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

2007: German telenovela VERLIEBT in Berlin aired its 645th and final episode.

2008: Longtime soap opera writer James E. Reilly died at age 60. He won an Emmy and a WGA Award for his work on GUIDING LIGHT, but he is probably best remembered these days for his stints as head writer of DAYS OF OUR LIVES and PASSIONS. He also at time wrote for THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, SUNSET BEACH, RYAN'S HOPE and GENERAL HOSPITAL. He consulted with THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, and earned a consulting producer credit with both DAYS and PASSIONS.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Carla Borelli (ex-Reena, TEXAS/ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Barbara, ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Connie, FALCON CREST) - 70
Carlos Bernard (Vicente, DALLAS; ex-Rafael, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 50
Marie Wilson (Shannon, MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE; Claire, THE BAY; ex-Katie; WORKSHOP; ex-Meg, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Karen, PORT CHARLES) - 38
Brian J. Smith (ex-Max, GOSSIP GIRL) - 31
Tyler Blackburn (Caleb, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS; ex-Ian, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 26

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  1. Happy Birthday Carla Borelli! I still miss you as Reena.

    Incidentally, Carla also played Mary Anderson on Days of Our Lives (Bob Anderson's daughter) for a few months in 1975.

  2. Happy Birthday Carla Borelli! I still miss you as Reena.

    Incidentally, Carla also played Mary Anderson on Days of Our Lives (Bob Anderson's daughter) for a few months in 1975.