Saturday, January 4, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (January 4)

1954: THE BRIGHTER DAY made its television premiere.
1979: Alice Horton performed in a hospital benefit on DAYS.
1980: ATWT's Joyce was determined to be reunited with Teddy.
2008: GL's Doris was set to become mayor but at a big cost.
"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...

1954: Daytime soap opera THE BRIGHTER DAY premiered on CBS-TV. Set in New Hope, Wisconsin, the series revolved around Reverend Richard Dennis (Blair Davies) and his four children: Althea (Brook Byron), Patsy (Lois Nettleton), Babby (Mary Linn Beller) and Grayling (Hal Holbrook). THE BRIGHTER DAY was based on Irna Phillips' NBC Radio serial of the same name that premiered in 1948. The television and radio versions of the show ran simultaneously from 1954-1956. The TV version ran until September 28, 1962.

1972: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Nancy (Ann Flood) took an instant dislike to Fred Burns (William Kiehl).

1974: NBC aired the final episode of daytime soap opera RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE.

1979: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, the hospital held a variety show to raise money with performers including Alice (Frances Reid) and Maggie (Suzanne Rogers).

1980: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Joyce (Barbara Rodell) waited for Teddy (T.R. Hill) after school and hugged him when he came out just as Mary walked up.

1983: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Jimmy Lee (Steve Bond) told Edward (David Lewis) that he was his son.

1989: On RYAN'S HOPE, Delia (Ilene Kristen) sang "Can You Handle It" in a fantasy sequence with saxophonist Victor Lesser.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the item above.

1995: Carol Burnett returned to ALL MY CHILDREN as Verla Grubbs for the show's 25th anniversary celebration.

2001: On ALL MY CHILDREN, when Erica finally arrived home after the Crystal Ball she told Bianca they would discuss her situation in the morning. Bianca told Erica would still be gay to which an upset Erica replied, "Must you keep saying that?"

2008: On GUIDING LIGHT, Doris (Orlagh Cassidy) vowed that the person who rigged the mayoral election would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Later, her daughter Ashlee (Caitlin Van Zandt) confessed and was arrested. Buzz (Justin Deas) was released from jail and held a press conference announcing Doris was about to be sworn in as mayor.

2010: ALL MY CHILDREN began filming in high definition.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Rosemary Prinz
Barbara Rush (ex-Nola, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Eudora, FLAMINGO ROAD; ex-Marsha, PEYTON PLACE) - 87
Rosemary Prinz (ex-Penny, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Amy, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Amy, FIRST LOVE; ex-Sister Mary Joel, RYAN'S HOPE; ex-Julie, HOW TO SURVIVE A MARRIAGE; ex-Mrs. Warren, KNOTS LANDING) - 84
Oliver Clark (ex-Mario, SANTA BARBARA) - 77
John Bennett Perry (ex-Floyd, FALCON CREST; ex-Michael, PAPER DOLLS) - 73
Dot-Marie Jones (Shannon, GLEE; ex-Stella, VENICE) - 50
Julia Ormond (Joanna, WITCHES OF EAST END) - 49
Charity Rahmer (ex-Belle, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 35
Kaitlyn Maggio (ex-Christina, PORT CHARLES) - 16

Longtime soap opera star Conard Fowkes was born on this day in 1931.  Fowkes played Frank Garner on DARK SHADOWS, Paul Britton on THE SECRET STORM, Allen Ramsey on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, Steve Prentiss on THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Don Hughes on AS THE WORLD TURNS and Arthur Adams on HIDDEN FACES. He also appeared on LOVE OF LIFE early in his career.  Fowkes passed away in 2009 at age 76.

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 video clip link to Erica saying to Bianca "Must you keep saying that?" after Bianca tells her mother that she'll still be gay the next morning from that AMC episode from 1/4/01: