Monday, September 23, 2013

Today in Soap Opera History (September 23)

1978: Gary & Val first appeared on DALLAS. 1980: EON's Nicole
diagnosed her own disease. 1984: PAPER DOLLS premiered.
2011: ALL MY CHILDREN ended its run on ABC.

"In history, a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind."
― Edmund Burke

"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 CLARA, LU & EM, Clara (Fran Allison) was sick. CLARA, LU & EM was the first network radio soap opera in 1930. The drama series began as a Northwestern University sorority sketch by Louise Starkey (Clara), Isobel Carothers (Lu) and Helen King (Em). When Carothers suddenly died January 8, 1937 at age 32, Starkey and King decided not to continue. They started the show again on 1942 with another of their Northwestern University friends, Harriet Allyn, portraying Lu.

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 (Joel Carruthers) was stunned when Nicole 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?"

You'll also notice future AS THE WORLD TURNS executive producer Christopher Goutman as Matt Sharkey in the episode you can below:

1981: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Monica (Leslie Charleson) told Alan (Stuart Damon) what she knew about Susan, while Alice (Lieux Dressler) lectured Susan (Gail Ramsey) about not raising Jason as a Quartermaine heir. Elsewhere, Joe (Doug Sheehan) was surprised Heather (Robin Mattson) was not in jail.

1983: On ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Bo (Robert S. Woods) and Becky Lee's son, Drew, was born. Like most soap kids, Drew grew up fast but 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: Jessica Buchanan was born on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Years later it was revealed that Jessica had a twin sister, Natalie, born the same day.

1987: On ANOTHER WORLD, Peter (Marcus Smythe) continued to manipulate Vicky (Anne Heche) into thinking Donna (Anna Stuart, who was thanked by winner James Cromwell at Sunday night's Primetime Emmy Awards) was having an affair with John.

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, who also played the role on ANOTHER WORLD) 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 via Hulu, HuluPlus and iTunes and the cliffhanger was eventually resolved.

Earlier in the day, THE VIEW aired a special AMC tribute.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Caroline Lagerfelt (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) - 65
Mary Kay Place (ex-Loretta, MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN) - 65
Patty Weaver (Gina, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Bernadette, SPYDER GAMES; ex-Trish, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 57
Rosalind Allen (ex-Silver, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Annie, DALLAS) - 55
LisaRaye (Keisha, SINGLE LADIES) - 46
Keri Lynn Pratt (ex-Amy, BROTHERS & SISTERS) - 33
Aubrey Dollar (ex-Marina, GUIDING LIGHT) - 32

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. It's also Rob James-Collier's birthday (Thomas Barrow, DOWNTON ABBEY; ex-Liam Connor, CORONATION STREET) - 37

  2. there is a typo on amc finale you've got erica played by jill larson

  3. I wish ABC had given Paper Dolls longer to find an audience.

  4. So based on the rewrite Heather is cleared of murder, so she goes to nyc to help susan and sells Franco?

  5. Val Ewing might have been played by Carol Lynley, had Larry Hagman had his first choice. Carol was his friend and Malibu neighbor (he cast her in the campy horror comedy, BEWARE! THE BLOB!) and wanted her as Val, but her schedule made her unavailable and Joan Van Ark landed the role of her career!

  6. I hope ABC regrets canceling AMC everyday. Look forward to TOLN's 2nd season!

  7. (1) I miss soap names like Racine. (2) What ever happened to Doug Sheehan? He showed so much promise on GH and KL that I am surprised that we still don't see him acting today. (3.) I liked the first Peter Love, he had a smarmy-rich-boy attitude which made him a good foil for Sally and Catlin. When social class was no longer soap fodder in the 90's we lost some of that attitude but it was fun to watch.