Thursday, August 15, 2013

Today in Soap Opera History (August 15)

1994: ALL MY CHILDREN's Erica Kane (Susan Lucci)
was devastated over the death of her mother, Mona.
History is not melodrama, even if it usually reads like that.
-Robert Penn Warren

"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...

1977: On GUIDING LIGHT, Eve (Janet Grey) was released from Cedars.  She would later go blind.

1979: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Elliott couldn't (Lee Godart) resist Raven (Sharon Gabet) even though he was aghast she left the baby alone.

1980: On ANOTHER WORLD, Cecile (Shana Keith) tore up the letter Pat (Beverly Penberthy) asked her to mail to Mac (Douglass Watson).

1984: On GUIDING LIGHT, H.B. (Larry Gates) announced the merger of Lewis Oil and LTA at the Springfield Founders Day celebration.

1985: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Pete (Michael Leon), Melissa (Lisa Trusel) and Tod (David Wallace) arrived in Dallas.

1989: Elinor Donahue guest-starred on GENERATIONS as Sylvia Furth, a daytime television network executive who wanted to see her friend Jessica Gardner (Barbara Rhoades) return to her role on the fictional soap opera TOMRROW'S ANOTHER DAY.

1990: On ANOTHER WORLD, gossip columnist Shana Barr (played by real life gossip reporter Claudia Cohen) tried to badger Sharlene (Anna Holbrook) and Josie (Alexandra Wilson) for the scoop about her affair with Grant but Vicky (Anne Heche) intervened.

1991: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, back from the dead Marlena (Deidre Hall) reunited with Roman (Drake Hogestyn at the time) on the pier.

1994: On ALL MY CHILDREN, Erica (Susan Lucci) held on to Mona's casket and begged her mother not to leave her.

1995: Actor Robert Pickering, whose soap roles included Mike Bauer on THE GUIDING LIGHT and Dr. Goddard in DAYS OF OUR LIVES, died at age 57.

2006: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Robin (Kimberly McCullough) and Patrick (Jason Thompson) bonded after he cut his hand and she helped bandage it.

2006: PASSIONS became the first daytime soap opera to make full episodes available for download and purchase from iTunes.

2007: Bob Hiltermann made his first appearance on ALL MY CHILDREN as Walter Novak, Annie Lavery's (Melissa Claire Egan) estranged father.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Rose Marie (Herself, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 90
Georgann Johnson (ex-Eugenia, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Jane, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Ellen, SOMERSET; ex-Ellen, ANOTHER WORLD) - 87
Abby Dalton (ex-Julia, FALCON CREST; ex-Lydia, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 78
Mike Henry (ex-Rudolph, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 77
Lucille Soong (ex-Yao, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES; ex-Sally, PASSIONS; ex-Jasmine, CORONATION STREET) - 75
Betsy Franco (ex-Karen, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 66
Tess Harper (ex-Karen, JACK & BOBBY; ex-Mrs. Pinkman, BREAKING BAD) - 63
Zeljko Ivanek (ex-Sammy, THE EDGE OF NIGHT; ex-Emile, HEROES) - 56
Nicole Gian (ex-Alice, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 52
Peter Hermann (ex-Davis, CASHMERE MAFIA; ex-Michael, GUIDING LIGHT) - 46
Debra Messing (ex-Julia, SMASH; ex-Sloan, PREY) - 45
Vince Poletto (ex-Tanner, ALL MY CHILDREN ) - 41
Marc Bannerman (ex-Gianni, EASTENDERS) - 40
Natasha Henstridge (ex-Dawn, THE SECRET CIRCLE) - 39
Cassidy Hinkle (ex-Faith, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 16

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. Today is Wednesday August 14th. You are a day early :)

  2. Not in many places around the world. :) You can find the August 14th soap history column here. Goes up around this time each day.

  3. I remember that Erica scene like it was yesterday.

  4. FYI. Georgann Johnson played Ellen Grant on Somerset, not Another World.

    1. Robb, the character of Ellen Grant appeared on AW starting with the March 20, 1970 episode. Are you saying there was an other actress playing the role?

  5. Oh Raven on EON was a horrible mother! She left a 7 month old infant home alone so she could go meet her lover!!

    1. When we think of horrible soap mothers we tend to think of people like Vanessa Prentiss who were nuts, borderline nuts or totally obsessed with their sons, etc. There have been few as fascinating and complex as Raven on EON.

  6. First of all, I love today in soap history and read it daily. The comment about Eve on Guiding Light reminded me of Stephen Yates who played her boyfriend Ben, and later Jamie on AW. He's one of those actors who were great in soaps and then just disappeared. He would be a great older addition to any soap today.

    With regard to Raven, I love the idea that part of what we loved to hate about her was that she was not a great mother. She practically gave that kid away; first to April and then to Logan. My favorite old scene online is when Raven comes back to town after leaving Jamey with Geraldine. She goes all around town, appearing in court, visiting an ex lover and then finally goes to see her son, late at night, she wakes him and then is seen holding the baby in one hand while holding a scotch in the other hand. No soap would ever be that bold today. Heck, she was wearing a fur and even that's not allowed anymore....

    1. Oliver, I loved Ben and Eve. And Rita!! I recently interviewed Cindy Pickett and hoping for Lenore Kasdorf soon. I think Stephen Yates is now a business man here in NYC, out of acting for years now. But still looks great.

      You make a great point about Raven. At some point the daytime soaps (I guess all TV) became very politically correct. I can't imagine a Raven today, although I would love to see one. Gabet is another actor who moved on from showbiz but was one of the best.

    2. The scene that stands out in my mind is the night Raven's mother died. She goes into Jamie's room and picks him up from his crib. She says "Your Grandmother died tonight..but don't be sad. Because that makes you a very rich boy". Oh Sharon Gabet!!