Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today in Soap Opera History (December 31)

Four NBC daytime soap operas aired for the final time on
December 31st: SOMERSET (1976), TEXAS (1982), THE
DOCTORS (1982) and SUNSET BEACH (1999).
"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...

1965: On SCARLETT HILL, Kate (Beth Lockerbie) and Pearl discussed their fears that Ruth was only marrying Mr. Quill for his money. Sheila became extremely rude to Pearl when Pearl tried to show her pictures of the five-year-old she was about to adopt. Sheila revealed a bit of her tragic life to Stan. Ruth openly admitted to Kate that she was only getting married for the money, knowing there was nothing Kate could do to stop her, and Ruth discovered the recording device Pearl planted in the hopes of catching the avaricious woman's plans on tape.

Note: SCARLETT HILL, a daytime serial about the residents of a hotel in Scarlett Hill, New York, originally ran in Canada from 1962-1964. This episode is from the show's syndicated run in the United States.

1972: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Adam Drake (Don May) ran through the streets of Manhattan in an attempt to find and propose marriage to Nicole Travis (Maeve McGuire) by midnight.

1976: NBC aired the final episode of the ANOTHER WORLD spin-off SOMERSET after a six year run. The show was canceled to make room for another P&G soap, LOVERS & FRIENDS.

1980: On ANOTHER WORLD, as the party guests counted down to the New Year, an intoxicated Pat Randolph (Beverly Penberthy) collapsed just as Philip Lyons (Robert Gentry) proposed. THE BRADY BUNCH star Christopher Knight made his first appearance as Leigh Hobson.

Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above.

1982: NBC aired the final episode of daytime soap opera TEXAS after two years on the air. The show was a spin-off of ANOTHER WORLD with Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) moving to Houston. She left the show a year later when it became "TEXAS: The New Generation."

1982: NBC aired the final episode of daytime soap opera THE DOCTORS, ending an 18 year (5,280 episodes) run on NBC.

1983: Dorrie Kavanaugh, who played Cathy Craig Lord on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, died at age 38 after a battle with breast cancer. She also had roles on GUIDING LIGHT, RYAN'S HOPE, THE EDGE OF NIGHT and DARK SHADOWS.

1983: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Bo (Peter Reckell) and Hope (Kristian Alfonso) began to make love after her 18th birthday party.

1986: Actor Lloyd Haynes died age age 52.  He played Ken Morgan in GENERAL HOSPITAL and guest-starred as Judge Horatio Quinlan on DYNASTY.

1986: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Lisa (Eileen Fulton) married Earl Mitchell (Farley Granger).

1990: GUIDING LIGHT used the "My Guiding Light" theme for the last time. "Hold On To Love" debuted in the next episode.

1996:  Actor Wesley Addy died at age 83.  He played Cabot Alden on LOVING, William Price Woodard in RYAN'S HOPE, and Dr. Cooper on DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

1996: On THE CITY, Gino announced to everyone at the bar that he and Tracy (Jane Elliot) were engaged.

1999: NBC aired the final episode of SUNSET BEACH just shy of its third anniversary.

2003: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Dillon (Scott Clifton) had a silent movie dream on New Year's Eve.

2013: SOAPnet ceased operations.

Note: The cable companies that still carry SOAPnet will air until midnight on December 31.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Ben Kingsley (ex-Ron, CORONATION STREET) - 70
Barbara Carrera (ex-Angelica, DALLAS) - 68
Tim Matheson (Brick, HART OF DIXIE) - 66
Jane Badler (ex-Diana, NEIGHBOURS; ex-Meredith, FALCON CREST; ex-Melinda, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Natalie, THE DOCTORS) - 60
Brett Porter (ex-Jack, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Tug, LOVING; ex-Brett, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW) - 57
David Pevsner (Ross, OLD DOGS & NEW TRICKS) - 55
Joanna Johnson (Karen/ex-Caroline, THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL) - 52
Julian Stone (ex-Jerry, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 51
Michael McDonald (ex-The Face in the Pool, PASSIONS) - 49
Lance Reddick (ex-Phillip, FRINGE; ex-John, OZ; ex-Matthew, LOST) - 44
Chandra West (ex-Devon, THE GATES; ex-Gail, 90210) - 43
Kamilla Bjorlin (ex-Evil Serpent, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 43
Elizabeth Hobgood (ex-Allison, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-May, GUIDING LIGHT) - 43

Actress Rosalind Cash was born 75 years ago today.  The GENERAL HOSPITAL star, who played Mary Mae Ward, passed away in 1995 at age 56.  Actress Margaret Mason was born on this day in 1940.  She died in 1999 at age 58.  Her soap roles included Eve Howard on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Linda Anderson on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and Selena Cross Rossi in RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE. 

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. NBC Daytime programming in the 1970's was interesting. Somerset, The Doctors. Lovers and Friends, For Richer For Poorer and Texas were all cancelled. It looks like NBC went through a lot of soaps during this period. However, I would posit, that given The Doctor's schizophrenic history under it's various writers, NBC began offering new writers like Pete LeMay an opportunity to create a new show from scratch rather than trying to force their vision on an existing show. I remember as a boy in the 70's that it was exciting that a new soap would start every couple of years. Upon reflection, if Michael Malone had been given the opportunity to write a new soap rather than radically change OLTL it may have been more successful creatively. I feel the same way about Robert Guza who clearly wanted to write a mob-based soap; which could have been interesting if that soap wasn't called GH. Finally, even Doug Marland's vision of the Snyder Farm may have been more fully realized if he was not burdened with 30 years of history of characters created by other writers. Perhaps as Emmerson said, a rigid adherence to consistency [has been] the hobgoblin of little minds. I know nothing how network television actually works- I'm still trying to understand why soaps were too expensive to produce but Katie who costs 30 million and already spent 80% of their second season budget was better economic option? - but I've had this thesis for awhile and it seemed a good day to discuss it.

    1. I see your point except where it concerns Marland. I think his shift of Barbara Ryan's personality was one of the most dynamic character shifts in all of Daytime Drama. He also re-created some very strong female characters in Kim (see the resolution of the Doug Cummings story) and Lisa and Lucinda.
      I know that one weakness was the fading of Stewarts--I've been surprised in recent years to hear some complain that the Snyders robbed the Stewart family from their rightful place on the canvas. I think the biggest issue was Marland's illness, subsequent death and the unfortunate fact that there were no writers of his ilk to come after him. That, coupled with searing budget cuts, surely eviscerated As The World Turns, a once great show.

  2. Thirty one years since Texas ended! Wow. Hard to imagine. It seems like just a few days ago I was saying goodbye to all of those great characters.