Today in Soap Opera History (December 17)

1968: DARK SHADOWS' David felt guilty. 1978: Bobby
Ewing was kidnapped. 1979: ATWT's Lisa met Brad
Hollister.  1986: CAPITOL's Sloane and hubie found a
mysterious note in Carla's apartment.
"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."
- Winston Churchill

"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...

1957: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Virginia interrupted Peter's call with the governor and insisted Sybil be terminated.

1968: On DARK SHADOWS, David (David Henesy) began having pangs of guilt for causing Roger's "accident."

1978: On DALLAS, a trio of kidnappers held Bobby (Patrick Duffy) hostage for $1.5 million. Cliff (Ken Kercheval) delivered the money and secured Bobby’s release, but they were almost shot when J.R. (Larry Hagman), Ray (Steve Kanaly) and several ranch hands ambushed the kidnappers.

1979: Peter Brouwer debuted as Brad Hollister on AS THE WORLD TURNS. Brad showed up at the Wade Bookstore just as it had closed. Lisa (Eileen Fulton) finally let him and he asked for a first edition of Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi." It turned out Lisa knew Brad's brother, Stan.

Note: Five months later Peter Reckell joined ATWT as Brad's younger brother, Eric.

1986: On CAPITOL, Sloane (Debrah Farentino) and Hubie found Carla's (Maggie Sullivan) ransacked room and saw a notepad covered with the initials M.A.D.

1987: DAYS OF OUR LIVES stars Frances Reid and Macdonald paid tribute to the late Betty Corday at the end of that day's episode. Mrs. Corday, who became executive producer of DAYS after her husband's (Ted Corday) death, passed away on November 17.

1987: On KNOTS LANDING, Jill confronted Val, (Joan Van Ark) accusing her of putting on a manipulative "helpless" act and using the children as "bait" to get Gary back, which she angrily denied.

1991: ABC aired the 6,000th episode of ONE LIFE TO LIVE.

1993: Kassie Wesley (now Kassie DePaiva) made her first appearance as Blair Cramer on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Mia Korf originated the role in 1991.

1996: On EASTENDERS, Grant and Tiffany's evening ended in disaster.

2003: On THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Heather Tom aired as Victoria Newman for the final time. Victoria left Genoa City furious with Nick (Joshua Morrow) for turning Victor into the police.

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

2010: Neil Patrick Harris announced via Twitter that THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS star Eric Braeden would not be reprising his role as Robin's father on HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. In his tweet, Harris called Braeden a "D-Bag" for deciding at the last minute not to film a scheduled appearance on the hit comedy.

"Eric Braeden is a D-Bag," wrote Harris. "The actor, (Robin's dad) agreed to a cameo, then last night bailed, saying the part wasn't 'substantial' enough."

The show hired Ray Wise to replace Braeden. Wise was recently hired by Y&R to play Dylan's father, and Nikki's former cult leader, Ian Ward.

2007: On THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, The paternity results for Victoria's baby were revealed.

2010: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, The Balkan was revealed.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Susan Watson (ex-Rita, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 75
Bill Pullman (ex-Oswald, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY) - 60
Barry Livingston (ex-Headmaster, REVENGE) - 60
Clive Robertson (ex-Ben/Derek, SUNSET BEACH) - 48
Sean Patrick Thomas (ex-Solomon, RINGER) - 43
Sonia Satra (ex-Barbara, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Lucy, GUIDING LIGHT) - 42
Sarah Paulson (Cordelia/ex-Lana/Billie Dean, AMERICAN HORROR STORY; ex-Lydia, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) - 39
Napiera Groves (ex-Bonnie, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 38
Mark Lawson (Brody, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 35
Veronica Lauren (ex-Cynthia, DAYS OF OUR LIVES; ex-Sarah, DARK SHADOWS) - 33
Emma Bell (Emma, DALLAS; ex-Amy, THE WALKING DEAD) - 27
Mitchel David Federan (ex-Petey, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 22

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a piece of soap opera history for this daily column, please email it to


  1. One of the biggest mistakes Y&R ever made was to let Heather Tom leave the show.
    Apologies to Amelia Henle but you are not Victor Newman's daughter.

  2. Just imagine if Tom came back, she would be married to her Brother, David!

  3. Ohmygawd! - They just removed the Y&R "Heather Tom" clip due to a copyright claim! ;-(

    1. I had a lot of Y&R stuff pulled a few years ago. I can't remember if it was CBS or Sony who asked for the vids to be pulled. Weird thing is that some were multi-parts of episodes and they pulled certain segments while leaving others (from the same day's episode) posted. That really soured me from uploading

    2. @Anonymous - That's too bad. .. As someone who's worked with intellectual property in my job, I totally 'get' the claims against websites or channels that upload full episodes of shows, thereby in a sense offering another venue to watch an entire episode or series. That's clearly wrong. What I don't get are these claims against uploading historical clips from parts of old episodes (like this one with Heather Tom was) - especially when the property owner is not providing them anywhere else to generate revenue. (Sony Crackle, are you listening?) I personally think that such clips actually help attract and/or keep some viewers interested in the show as a cultural phenomenon.

      Also, when it comes to Y&R, I don't see how CBS can claim copyright on historical episodes. They don't own the show. Sony does. I was once told by a rep at CBS Television City here in Los Angeles that Y&R's licensing contract allows them the right to broadcast one complete showing of the current day's episode in the USA, and that's it.

    3. I have always thought letting next day episodes that air in Canada of DAYS and Y&R be put on YouTube was nuts by CBS/Sony (not sure why they air that way) but the historical stuff doesn't make much sense. It's Sony's property but it doesn't seem like there's any plan to ever release any of it. Perhaps the old episodes are available globally on YouTube and they are selling old episodes to countries outside the US. As a soap fan, old episodes are treasures and I hate it when they are removed.

    4. Roger, It's my understanding that Global TV (Canada) was only willing to purchase "next day" licensing rights for both Y&R and DAYS, because they felt it's the only way they could get enough viewers/subscribers for these two shows. Otherwise, there are too many Canadians who can get the regular, standard broadcast from CBS and NBC stations here in the US, as many major Canadian cities are close enough to the US border, and the signals know no boundaries. At least that's what I've heard/read.

      I'm familiar with one uploader (with several aliases) who does the day-ahead Y&R show who's been running from the "copyright police" for something like two or more years now. They get shut down and start someplace new almost immediately. Not sure what the motivation is, but it's become like a game of hide and seek. .. Okay, whatever floats your boat. .. lol!

  4. Today is also the 20th anniversary of Kassie DePaiva playing the role of Blair Cramer on OLTL as well!

    1. Thanks, Chris. Is there a good source for this date? I've seen multiple dates for Kassie's arrival as Blair including Wikipedia, which I've found to be wrong many times.

    2. Yes, today is definitely the correct date of KDP's debut as Bair on OLTL 20 yrs. ago!

    3. Just to add: The date of "December 17, 1993" as Kassie Wesley's debut in the role of "Blair" on ONE LIFE TO LIVE was officially reported in the article:

      "GL Grad Is OLTL's New Blair." Soap Opera Digest 4 Jan.1994: 10. Print.

      It's a half-page article on how the actress won the role, her thoughts on the character, her return to daytime, and relocating to New York.


  5. re: ATWT

    I was pretty young, but I remember Brad and Eric, etc. very well. I remember loving Dana Delaney (with her pixie cut) as Eric's love interest. I think (I could be wrong) I remember a scene where Eric gets high on angel dust or something and crashes through a glass door/window.

    I liked this period of ATWT (and SFT, GL, Y&R) so very much.

    1. Roger,

      Posting these ATWT eps is such a treat and a real treasure trove. Thank you SO much!

    2. Thanks, I wish I had more. The next episode I have is January 2, 1980 and during the month of January the show starts to feel different.

  6. In 2007, on this day Georgie Jones was strangled by the Text-Message Killer (Diego Alcazar) on GENERAL.HOSPITAL.

    1. Thanks, Enrique. I think I blocked that one from my memory.