Today in Soap Opera History (January 8)

1937: CLARA, LU & EM's Isobel Carothers died at age 37.
1981: KNOTS LANDING's Gary began an affair with Judy (GH's
Jane Elliot). 2001: OLTL's Todd surprised Blair with a new
passport. 2008: DAYS' EJ found John in Stefano's basement.
"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...

1937: CLARA, LU & EM actress Isobel Carothers died suddenly at age 37. Clara, Lu, and Em was radio's first network daytime soap opera, beginning June 16, 1930 over WGN-AM Chicago, Illinois. It moved to the Blue Network in 1931 and later NBC.

The show began as a Northwestern University sorority sketch by Louise Starkey (Clara), Isobel Carothers (Lu) and Helen King (Em). Their friends suggested they go on the radio, so the trio approached WGN and did their first shows for no pay.

After Carothers' death, Starkey and King decided not to continue the program. When the program returned with Starkey and King in 1942 on CBS, another of their Northwestern University friends, Harriet Allyn, portrayed Lu. Allyn continued in the 1945 cast as Em, along with Fran Allison as Clara and Dorothy Day as Lu.

1970: On DARK SHADOWS, Maggie (Kathryn Leigh Scott) heard the sound of breathing coming from behind the secret panel.

1980: On AS THE WORLD TURNS, Barbara (Colleen Zenk) returned to Oakdale following a mysterious trip to Philadelphia.

1980: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Miles (Joel Crothers) assumed the worst when Derek (Dennis Parker) made dinner plans with Nicole.

1981: On KNOTS LANDING, Gary (Ted Shackelford) began an affair with Judy (Jane Elliot).

1982: On DALLAS, J.R. (Larry Hagman), Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Ray (Steve Kanaly) went to South America to search for their missing father, Jock, but the only managed to recover his medallion.  They returned to Southfork and break the news to Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes).

1993: On THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, Molly gave Sheila (Kimberlin Brown) valuable information about Scotty's custody.

2001: On ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Max (James DePaiva) tried to convince Blair (Kassie DePaiva) not to marry Todd. Later, on his jet, Todd revealed a new passport to Blair with the name "Blair Cramer Manning."

2004: Actor Charles Brown died at age 57. He played Russ Anderson in ALL MY CHILDREN as well as roles in LOVING and ANOTHER WORLD.

2008: On DAYS OF OUR LIVES, EJ (James Scott) went downstairs at Stefano's mansion and found John Black (Drake Hogestyn) in Rolf's lab.

2009: Actor Don Galloway died at age 71.  His soap roles included Buzz Stryker in GENERAL HOSPITAL and Kip Rysdale in THE SECRET STORM.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Bob Eubanks (Guest Star, DAYS OF OUR LIVES) - 76
John LaMotta (Ghost of Marco, DARK SHADOWS) - 75
Kathleen Noone (ex-Patricia, GENERAL HOSPITAL: NIGHT SHIFT; ex-Edna, PASSIONS; ex-Ellen, ALL MY CHILDREN; ex-Bette, SUNSET BEACH; ex-Claudia, KNOTS LANDING; ex-Margaret, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 69
Michelle Forbes (ex-Sonni/Solita, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Mitch, THE KILLING; ex-Maryann, TRUE BLOOD) - 49
Maria Pitillo (ex-Nancy Don, RYAN'S HOPE) - 48
Eric Scott Woods (ex-Evan, ANOTHER WORLD) - 47
Patricia Healy (ex-Tammy, GENERAL HOSPITAL)
Ami Dolenz (ex-Melissa, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 45
Yvonna Kopacz Wright (ex-Mel, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Wendy, DAYS OF OUR LIVES)
Sebastian La Cause (Ryan, HUSTLING; ex-Silvio, DAYS OF OUR LIVES)
Jessica Leccia (Ivy, THE GROVE; Ani, VENICE; ex-Inez, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Natalia, GUIDING LIGHT) - 38
Amber Benson (ex-Tara, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) - 37
Genevieve Padalecki (ex-Ruby, SUPERNATURAL) - 33
Gaby Hoffmann (ex-Rhonda, THE GOOD WIFE)- 32

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a piece of soap opera history for this daily column, please email it to

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