Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (January 1)

1951: THE ARCHERS premiered. 1968: DARK SHADOWS'
Jeremiah tried to bury Angelique alive. 1981: KNOTS
LANDING's Diana and Karen "Put on a Happy Face".
1982: DALLAS' Miss Ellie received tragic news.
"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...

1951: UK radio soap opera THE ARCHERS premiered. The show was created by Godfrey Baseley, and originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk."

The opening line was by Dan Archer who said: "And a happy New Year to all!" His wife Doris responded with: "A very happy New Year, Dan." During the episode, Dan’s son Philip shared a kiss with a nearby farmer’s daughter, Grace, as he drove her home from a party and they discussed his job interview for the next day. The episode ended with Philip being angry at brother Jack for not returning his car, which made him late for his job interview.

THE ARCHERS is not only the world's longest-running radio soap opera but became the world's longest-running soap opera in any format with the cancellation of GUIDING LIGHT in 2009.

1968: On DARK SHADOWS, Angelique (Lara Parker) woke up just as Jeremiah (Tim Gordon) started to bury her alive.

1973: On ANOTHER WORLD, Gil (Dolph Sweet) reminded Lenore (Susan Sullivan) that Wayne Addison's murder, for which she was acquitted, was never solved

1981: On KNOTS LANDING, Diana (Claudia Lonow)was having difficulty with her new boyfriend as she felt a pressure to sleep with him. Karen (Michele Lee), Diana, Val (Joan Van Ark) and Ginger (Kim Lankford) were performing in an ERA benefit. Val asked Gary (Ted Shackelford) to help, but he was too preoccupied helping Earl Trent (Paul Rudd). Diana needed Karen's support but she was too busy rehearsing. In frustration, Diana pulled out of the benefit. Meanwhile, with Laura (Constance McCashin) preoccupied with work, Richard (John Pleshette) spent his time with Abby (Donna Mills) and they ended up in the hot tub. Karen and Diana made up and sang, "Put on a Happy Face".

1982: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, the residents of Port Charles felt the after effects of New Year's Eve the next morning.

1982: On DALLAS, Donna’s success as an author irritated Ray. Photographer Roger Larson encouraged Lucy to resume modeling. Sue Ellen and John Ross moved into a Dallas townhouse. At the Ewing barbecue, Sue Ellen and Cliff got reacquainted and Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) learned Jock was presumed dead after a helicopter crash in South America.

1982: On FALCON CREST, Julia's (Abby Dalton) husband, Tony, who deserted her and Lance twelve years earlier, suddenly reappeared.

1985: Former ONE LIFE TO LIVE co-stars Robert Desiderio and Judith Light were married.

1991: Actor Ted Demers, who briefly played Dan Wolek on ONE LIFE TO LIVE, passed away at age 42. He died after a hypoglycemic seizure due to the Type 1 diabetes he suffered throughout his life.

2002: Actress Meg Wyllie passed away at age 84.  She played Doris Roach on GENERAL HOSPITAL  in 1975, the nurse who was involved with switching Lesley's baby (Laura) years earlier.  In 1994, she subbed for Anna Lee in the role of Lila Quartermaine.

2007: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, Abe (James Reynolds) tried to reassure Lexie (Renee Jones) after she was interrogated by Roman.

2010: On EASTENDERS, an angered Zainab Masood (Nina Wadia) confronted her business partner, Christian Clarke (John Partridge), about how he was ruining her son Syed's wedding day with his "reckless infatuation." But when Zainab went one step too far and referred to Christian's feelings as "his perverted obsession," he snapped, leaving the mother of the groom with a shocking revelation of his own. A horrified Zainab would then confront Syed (Marc Elliott) over Christian's claims, resulting in his emotional confession that he's gay and loves Christian.

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Sheila Mercier (ex-Annie, EMMERDALE) - 95
Morris Chestnut (ex-Luke, AMERICAN HORROR STORY) - 45
Neil Billingsley (ex-Danny, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW) - 44
Alexia Robinson (ex-Alex, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Claudia, RITUALS; ex-Meg, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 44
Kimberly Page (ex-Kimberly, WCW) - 43
Nina Bott (Julia, VERBOTENE LIEBE; ex-Celine, ALLES WAS ZAHLT) - 35
Eden Riegel (ex-Bianca, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Heather, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 33
Colin Morgan (Merlin, MERLIN) - 28

Former AS THE WORLD TURNS actor Michael David Morrison, the original Caleb Snyder, was born on this day in 1960.  He died on February 18, 1993, at age 33.  

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].

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