Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Today in Soap Opera History (October 16)

1972: EMMERDALE FARM premiered. 1985: ATWT's Holden
introduced himself as Lucinda's new stable master.
1985: Theo died on DAYS. 1992: DAYS' Isabella died.
"The man for whom history is bunk is almost invariably as obtuse to the future as he is blind to the past."
― J. Frank Dobie

"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...

1939: Irna Phillips' THE RIGHT TO HAPPINESS, a spinoff of THE GUIDING LIGHT, premiered on the NBC Blue Network. The show initially focused on the character Rose Kransky from GUIDING LIGHT but eventually Carolyn Allen (played first by Eloise Kummer and then Claudia Morgan) took center stage. Carolyn remained the central character of the program (eventually becoming the most-married radio soap opera heroine, with four husbands) until the series ended on November 25, 1960, the day that network radio soap operas died.

1972: British soap opera EMMERDALE FARM premiered on ITV.  Created by Kevin Laffan, EMMERDALE FARM was broadcast during daytime afternoons until moving to early evening in 1978. The show has been known simply as EMMERDALE since 1989.

1973: On ANOTHER WORLD, while listening to the audio tape of Steve and Alice, Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) said, "Oh, turn it off, Louise. I've had all I can take of that sentimental pair."

1974: Welsh-language television soap POBOL Y CWM premiered. Like EMMERDALE, it's still on the air today.

1979: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Marcia (Cynthia Bostick) was convinced Melinda was the woman with Doug. Meanwhile, cutout eyes in a painting followed Lisa (Eileen Fulton) at The Willows.

1985: Rusty Cundieff aired for the final time as Theo Carver in DAYS OF OUR LIVES. Theo was shot and killed by Richard Cates (Rod Arrants) and died in his brother Abe's (James Reynolds) arms.

1985: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Lily (Martha Byrne) instantly disliked Holden (Jon Hensley) when she and Dusty (Brian Bloom) met him at the stables.

1987: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Duke (Ian Buchanan) gave Anna (Finola Hughes) a luckenbooth brooch, a traditional Scottish love token given to brides before they get married.

1991: Joseph Gallison aired for the final time as Neil Curtis in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

1992: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Isabella Toscano Black (Staci Greason) died.  Greason debuted in the role three years earlier on October 16, 1989.

1996: Actress Gertrude Flynn died at age 87. She played Anna Sawyer in early episodes of DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

1997: Actress Audra Lindley died at age 79. She played Liz Matthews on ANOTHER WORLD from 1964-1969. Her other daytime roles included Barbara Barnett in THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Sue Knowles in SEARCH FOR TOMORROW and Laura Tompkins in FROM THESE ROOTS.

2001: SMALLVILLE premiered on The WB.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Lenka Peterson* (ex-Marie/Helen, ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Martha, A FLAME IN THE WIND; ex-Nurse Grady, RYAN'S HOPE) - 88
Martha Smith (ex-Sandy, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 61
Ellen Dolan (Bag Lady, EMPIRE; ex-Margo, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Maureen, GUIDING LIGHT) - 58
David 'Shark' Fralick (ex-Larry, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 51
Pamela Bach-Hasselhoff (ex-Mari Jo, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 50
Missy Hyatt (WCW) - 50
Paul Sparks (Mickey, BOARDWALK EMPIRE) - 42
Kellie Martin (ex-Nicole, ARMY WIVES) - 38
Jeremy Jackson (ex-Young Derek, SANTA BARBARA; ex-Kevin, DTLA) - 33
Brea Grant (Bri, EASTSIDERS; ex-Daphne, HEROES; ex-Jean, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) - 32
Colton Shires (ex-Will, GCB; ex-Little Ethan, PASSIONS) - 17

* Peterson is the mother of Glynnis O'Connor.

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. Oh, how I'm loving the ATWT episodes! Thank you so much! Questions: was Stuart Damon Marcia's husband? And Barbara worked at Memorial??

    1. Glad you are enjoying ATWT. Dennis Romer played Doug Campbell, Marcia's husband.

  2. catching with the last few atwt episodes. Who played dr Bickfords nephew Derek. He looked really familiar. Thanks for putting these episodes up. I have always wanted to see Lisas Willows story. I started watching atwt in 1983. Eric

    1. I'm not sure who the actor was who played Derek. The last cast credits I have are from last week and there aren't any more until January 1980. Maybe someone else will know.

  3. Happy Birthday also to Anthony Quinlan (ex-Gilly Roach, HOLLYOAKS and HOLLYOAKS LATER) - 29.

  4. I love seeing these episodes. I always wonder everyday if that's the last one we are going to see, so it's a nice surprise each day when another one appears! Thanks!

  5. Wonderful ATWT moments! Oh - how I remember those eyes in the painting. Then there is my favorite stable boy coming on the scene. Wow!

  6. Enjoying the episodes of AS THE WORLD TURNS. I miss that old fashioned story telling that soaps used to be famous for. The stories were absorbing and a viewer could become lost in it all. I would enjoy seeing closing credits. I like knowing who wrote what.

    1. I don't have all the episodes between now and January but the ones I have only have the globe closing with the ATWT logo and nothing else. There isn't a single writer listed, or cast member for that matter. Not 100% sure if the show originally aired like this but there aren't any episodes that show Doug Marland in the credits during his brief late 1979 run. The next writers we see are the Dobsons and their whole new team. I was hoping to pinpoint the exact 1979 episodes Marland wrote but no such luck.

  7. I wonder how Dr. Neil Curtis's rounds are going? Perhaps he'll be done with those about the same time Don Craig comes in from checking the mail.

    1. When Jed Allan debuted on THE BAY web series, he walked into a house and greeted his daughter while holding the mail. :) I loved that little nod to soap history.

  8. I just watched the greatest scene from a classic episode of AW. Iris couldn't sleep and she didn't want to wake Brian Bancroft (her husband at the time). So, she marched into Louise's bedroom wakes her up and makes her listen to stories about Iris's fears that evolved while she was in boarding school. I always enjoyed the interactions between Louise and Iris. I loved that Louise wore her uniform (with hat) all day; unlike Esther on Y&R who changed occasionally. I loved that Louise was allowed to talk back to Iris. Finally, I tear up every time I watch the scenes when Louise said goodbye to Iris on Texas. Dennis, Mac, Brian, Elliott and even Alex never loved Iris unconditionally as Louise. It is a shame that she never returned to Bay City, she would have been a wonderful foil for Felicia or a huge help to Donna.

    1. AW had so many amazing theater actors back then. And many of the New York soaps had incredible supporting actors that added so much to the shows. I don't know if many of them would get hired these days (or if the writers would take the time to tell stories like that).

  9. As I recall, Dr. Neil Curtis went to check on a patient and never returned.