Monday, January 20, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (January 20)

1981: Jennifer Richards' courtroom confession rocked
Springfield on GUIDING LIGHT.
"Maybe if people started to listen, history would stop repeating itself."
- Lily Tomlin

"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...

1936: Radio soap opera DAN HARDINGS' WIFE premiered. It ran until on NBC Radio until February 10, 1939. Isabel Randolph starred as Rhoda Harding.

1958: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Roy Benson called Fitzsimmons and told him trouble was brewing.

1967: On ANOTHER WORLD, Liz (Audra Lindley) encouraged Danny to take Missy and split, even though she couldn't get Fred to help her unlock the trust fund.

1969: On DARK SHADOWS, Maggie (Kathryn Leigh Scott) told Carolyn (Nancy Barrett) it wasn't possible for anyone to come back from the dead.

1981: On GUIDING LIGHT, Jennifer Richards (Geraldine Court) confessed on the witness that she was born Jane Marie Stafford. She also revealed Amanda Wexler McFarren (Kathleen Cullen) was her daughter, a product of her relationship with Alan Spaulding (Christopher Bernau). The episode was interrupted in the east with breaking news of the 52 American hostages in Iran after 444 days in captivity. Fans were furious to mix the climax of this story.  President Ronald Reagan had been inaugurated earlier in the day.

1988: On SANTA BARBARA, Mason (Lane Davies) moved in with Julia (Nancy Lee Grahn).

1988: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Lucy (Lynn Herring) was appointed Director of the Tanya Jones Childcare Center. Robin (Kimberly McCullough) tried to speak when Tom (David Wallace) showed her pictures of Robert, Anna and Duke.

1992: On THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Sally (Darlene Conley) was excited about Clarke's (Daniel McVicar) latest designs.

1990: Actress Barbara Stanwyck died at age 82. She played Constance Colby in THE COLBYS.

1995: Amber Tamblyn debuted on GENERAL HOSPITAL as Emily.

2000: SOAPnet launched. It was one of two possible soap opera channels vying to get on the air at the time along with Soap City, whose cable network never came to fruition. ABC-Disney ended SOAPnet for good on December 31, 2013.

2010: On ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Oliver (Scott Evans) and Kyle (Brett Claywell) wanted to know who was the father of Stacy's baby.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Colleen Zenk
Arte Johnson (ex-Finian, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 85
David Lynch (Creator, TWIN PEAKS) - 68
Geno Silva (ex-Domingo, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 66
Colleen Zenk (Agnes, THURSTON; ex-Barbara, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Nurse, RYAN'S HOPE) - 61
Tammy Taylor (ex-Hope, DAYS OF OUR LIVES; ex-Rosemary, RITUALS; ex-Patty, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 56
James Denton (ex-Mike, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) - 51
Rainn Wilson (ex-Casey, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 48
Stacey Dash (ex-Val, SINGLE LADIES) - 47
Lisa Vultaggio (ex-Hannah, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 41
Deborah Kellner (Pamela Rebecca, DALLAS: J.R. RETURNS) - 37
Sal Stowers (ex-Cassandra, ALL MY CHILDREN) - 28
Evan Peters (Kyle/ex-Tate, AMERICAN HORROR STORY; ex-Jack, ONE TREE HILL; ex-Jesse, INVASION) - 27
Avery Phillips (ex-Young Quinn, GLEE) - 9

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. Roger, here's the link to the episode of Amber Tamblyn's debut as Emily on GH back on 1/20/95! :

  2. Thanks for posting this outstanding GL episode. It was a joy to watch!

  3. In honor of birthday girl Colleen Zenk, here's a link to her appearance on "@ Nelson's!"

  4. Thank you for including Kyle and Fish's fight with Stacy and Kim. The anniversary of Hos vs. Mos should be a nationally celebrated holiday!