Monday, January 6, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (January 6)

1967: DARK SHADOWS' Laura told David about Paradise.
1975: ANOTHER WORLD expanded to an hour full-time.
1986: GH's Monica was at odds with Alan. 1997: SUNSET
BEACH premiered on NBC.
"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...

1967: On DARK SHADOWS, Laura (Diana Millay) and David (David Henesy) looked at the photo album Roger (Louis Edmonds) gave him, and she told him about where she comes from, which some people called 'Paradise.' Laura told David about the beautiful, immortal Phoenix, which didn't age for 100 years and of which there was typically only one on Earth at a time. Victoria (Alexandra Moltke) listened secretly. As Laura's story climaxed, the doors to Collinwood burst open with a ghostly wind and revealed Victoria standing there.

1972: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Liz (Alberta Grant) phoned Jim (Alan Feinstein) to say she was on her way back to Monticello with Orin (Lester Rawlins), who stared blankly ahead from his wheelchair..

1975: ANOTHER WORLD expanded to an hour full-time, the first daytime soap opera to broadcast 60-minute episodes five days a week.

On May 3, 1974, the show aired a one hour special featuring Steve and Alice's wedding. It performed well in the ratings leading to NBC's decision to expand the show to an hour daily.

In that day's episode, Liz (Irene Dailey) told Alice (Jacqueline Courtney) it was all over between her and Mac thanks to Rachel. Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) promised Mac (Douglass Watson) to do everything she could to make Rachel feel comfortable. Rachel (Victoria Wyndham) agreed to let Mac handle Jamie's visits with Steve. Robert (Nicolas Coster) and Lenore (Susan Sullivan) spied on them from across the restaurant as Mac told Rachel that after many lonely years he had found in her something to look forward to.

1986: On GENERAL HOSPITAL, Alan (Stuart Damon) grabbed Monica (Leslie Charleson) and tried to kiss her. She angrily told him to keep his hands to himself: "You keep your hands off me until I say I'm ready! You got that?". Meanwhile, Bobbie (Jacklyn Zeman) was kidnapped and held hostage in Laurelton.

1987: On GUIDING LIGHT, Alexandra (Beverlee McKinsey) remembered good and bad times with Simon Hall (Shawn Thompson), who left Springfield.

1988: Actor Brent Collins died at age 46. He starred as Wallingford on ANOTHER WORLD at the time of his passing. He previously had played Mr. Big in AS THE WORLD TURNS.

1992: On THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Jack (Peter Bergman) demanded Nikki tell him what it would take for her to give up booze. Jack stormed out in frustration saying, "Victor! Victor! I've had it up to here with Victor!"

1997: Actor Vince Williams died at age 39. He was best known for his work as Hampton Speakes in GUIDING LIGHT. He also played Lamar Griffin on AS THE WORLD TURNS and Joe Morgan on LOVING. His final role was Dustin Carter on ANOTHER WORLD.

1997: Aaron Spelling daytime soap opera SUNSET BEACH premiered on NBC. Fresh-faced Kansas girl Meg Cummings (Susan Ward) ditched her husband-to-be in favor of a mysterious Southern California man she met on the Internet, and traveled to the picturesque coastal town touched by romance, murder, misunderstandings and nefarious schemes in equal measure.

The original cast included Lesley-Anne Down, Sam Behrens, Clive Robertson, Sherri Saum, Randy Spelling, Jason George, Timothy Adams, Sarah Buxton, Hank Cheyne, Ashley Hamilton, Kathleen Noone, Nick Stabile, Kelly Hu, Vanessa Dorman, Peter Barton, Adrienne Frantz, Leigh Taylor-Young and Laura Harring.

Gary Tomlin, the executive producer, who had 20 years experience as a daytime actor, writer and director at the time, was chosen by Spelling to run the show's day-to-day operations. "The pace of our storytelling is slightly faster than on other shows," Tomlin said in a 1997 interview with The New York Times. "And with all the location shooting on the beach, we look different than shows that are shot mainly in the studio."

SUNSET BEACH ran until December 31, 1999.

2009: Taylor Spreitler debuted as Mia McCormick in DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Michael Wilding Jr. (ex-Jackson, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Alex, DALLAS) - 61
Scott Bryce (Tom, BEACON HILL; ex-Frank, DECEPTION; ex-Craig, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Dr. Crosby, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 56
Andrea Thompson (ex-Genele, FALCON CREST) - 54
Norman Reedus (Daryl, THE WALKING DEAD) - 45
Greg Lauren (ex-Brett, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) - 44
Dick Billingsley (ex-Phillip, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Scotty, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 39
Danny Pintauro (ex-Paul, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 38
Rinko Kikuchi (ex-CHURASAN) - 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].


  1. Correction. Norman Reedus portrays Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead, not Walter.

  2. Happy Birthday to Scott Bryce, my favorite Craig Montgomery. For me, all other Craigs pale in comparison (sorrynotsorry)

    1. I have an interview with Scott coming out soon. He's one of the stars of the upcoming BEACON HILL web series.

    2. Alright, Roger, you are on it! I will definitely be reading that interview when it comes out.
      Thanks for the heads up :)

  3. Scott Bryce was another actor that was not treated with respect by ATWT specifically Christopher Goutman. Never will understand how you could fire the best Craig Montogomery not to mention the originator of the role.

    1. I read about it. I'm sort of glad I wasn't watching at that time. I dropped in and out of watching during the last decade of the show because I was often bitterly disappointed in the writing.
      My guess is that the character had become so utterly unrecognizable that Bryce's original 'flawed but essentially decent' Craig no longer fit with the extremes that the character had morphed into.
      Just a few weeks ago, I had watched an episode with an appearance with Anne Sward in the 2000s and the scene was so bizarre, it was sad. The writing was so detached, I felt badly for Anne who was trying her best but her efforts didn't match the low energy of everyone else in the scene.
      I wonder whether their treatment of Scott Bryce affected Frank Runyeon's decision not to appear on ATWT at the end.
      I enjoy watching episodes from the 80s, even the late 70s (what there is of it) but except for a few storylines, I do not enjoy watching the last decade of the show. Even storylines that had great potential got ruined by poor writing and there was too much camp and one liner zingers for my liking. Such a shame.

  4. Also congrats to Alison Sweeney on making her debute as character 'Sami Brady' for 21 years now:)
    -JANUARY 6, 1993!

    1. I believe she debuted on January 22 but taped her first episode on January 6.

    2. Oh okay i knew it had to be one of the two dates:)) Thanks Roger & by the way i ENJOY WE LOVE SOAPS website it's great:)

    3. Thanks, Nicole. Appreciate it. :)