Friday, November 22, 2013

Today in Soap Opera History (November 22)

1963: A live episode of top-rated soap opera AS THE WORLD
TURNS was interrupted at 1:40 p.m. by a CBS News Bulletin
from Walter Cronkite telling viewers President John F. Kennedy
had been shot and seriously wounded in Dallas.
"History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside."
- John F. Kennedy

"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...

1963: President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The clip below features Walter Cronkite breaking into the live broadcast of AS THE WORLD TURNS at 1:40 p.m. to deliver the news that shots had been fired at President John F. Kennedy's motorcade in Dallas, with first reports indicating the president was seriously wounded. The third interruption of that day's AS THE WORLD TURNS episode was when the non-stop CBS News coverage began.

Dan Rather reported at 2:28 p.m. (on audio from Dallas) that the president was dead. The official confirmation of death was reported by Cronkite at 2:38 p.m. CBS News broadcast 54 hours and 53 minutes of uninterrupted coverage of the event and its aftermath beginning at 2:00 p.m. on November 22 and concluding at 11:37 p.m. on November 25.

1966: Susan Flannery debuted as Laura Horton in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

1968: Stage actress Betsy Durkin made her first appearance in DARK SHADOWS as governess Victoria Winters. When Alexandra Moltke abruptly left the show due to pregnancy, her pivotal character was in the midst of a major storyline and could not be written out. In Durkin's tenth episode, Victoria literally vanished, fading away, presumably returning to the 1700s, where she had met the love of her life during another journey through time.  Carolyn Groves played the character for a few episodes when they wrapped up her story for good.

1977: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Mike (Forrest Compton) was sentenced for the murder of Beau Richardson.

1979: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Owen (Bruce Gray) read Eddie's letter which revealed he was Brian's father.

1982: Scott Palmer aired for the final time as Joshua Fallon in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

1982: Christopher Goutman aired for the final time as George St. John in TEXAS.  He had previously played Dr. Kirkland on the show in 1981.

1983: Gregg Marx aired for the final time as David Banning in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

1985: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Anna (Finola Hughes) and Robin (Kimberly McCullough) were reunited.

1994: Actress Norma Donaldson died at age 66. She played Dr. Pauline Ravelle in GENERAL HOSPITAL and Lillie Belle Barber in THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

1995: On ONE LIFE TO LIVE, after being shot in the previous episode things looked dire for Todd (Roger Howarth). Howarth's first run as Todd ended when the character famously opened his eyed to reveal he was still alive.

1996: Legendary actress Mary Stuart debuted as Meta Bauer on GUIDING LIGHT.

1996: Actor Mark Lenard died at age 72. The STAR TREK actor's soap roles included Richard Ludwig in DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Peter Goodwin in SOMERSET, and Dr. Ernest Gregory in ANOTHER WORLD.

1998: Actor Keith Amos died at age 36. He played Eric Nash in GENERAL HOSPITAL.

1999: Longtime soap director Leonard Valenta died at age 75.

2010: On ALL MY CHILDREN, a very much alive David (Vincent Irizarry) entered the courtroom during Greenlee's trial for his murder.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Michael Callan (ex-Jack, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 79
Richard Bergman (ex-Brett, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 63
Dani Minnick (ex-Rebecca, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 53
Mariel Hemingway (ex-Stephanie, CENTRAL PARK WEST) - 52
Winsor Harmon (Thorne, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL; ex-Del, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 50
Michael K. Williams (Chalky, BOARDWALK EMPIRE; ex-Omar, THE WIRE) - 47
Max Tapper (ex-Theo, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 37
Josh Cooke (Joel, HART OF DIXIE) - 34
Tyler Hilton (ex-Chris, ONE TREE HILL; ex-Reed, SINGLE LADIES) - 30
Mackenzie Lintz (Norrie, UNDER THE DOME) - 17

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. I've recently got into watching The Doctors and Love of Life online. I think we are a similar age but I hardly recall Love of Life being on the air on CBS. As for The Doctors, I remembered an early crush on Steve Aldrich (Billy as played by Alec Baldwin was too much of a bad boy for me) as well as the ending with the aging storyline. I hope you'll consider more Doctor's coverage in the near future. Also, now that the British soaps are easier to watch online here in the US I hope that you'll begin to cover Hollyoaks, Eastenders and Corrie. Those three UK soaps often remind me of 1970's Ryan's Hope in their production design, characters and pacing.

    1. My mom only watched CBS soaps so I remember Love of Life being on but, for some reason, not as much about the stories as I do the other CBS soaps (like SFT, Y&R, GL, ATWT). It might have been the time it was on. SFT and Y&R were on during lunch so even at a young age during the summer I was insider during that hour.

  2. Where does one go to watch Hollyoaks and Eastenders online? (I know that Hulu airs Corrie.). Thanks!

    1. Right now, the following channel at youtube (unofficially) uploads Hollyoaks - of course, those things can end in a flash.

      I watch there sometimes, but I also subscribe to a low-cost VPN to watch all of my British soaps and BBC's coverage of Formula One Auto Racing. It's well worth it.

  3. Is it safe to assume that Greenlee's conviction was overturned?

    1. Greenlee was sentenced to life in prison but after David showed up the charges against her were dropped. I think he went to jail instead.