Thursday, March 27, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (March 27)

1953: SFT's Joanne tried to help the mysterious Wilbur. 1979: RH's
Rae plotted to make Frank jealous. 1989: GENERATIONS
premiered on NBC. 2001: PASSIONS aired a Jerry Springer parody.
"There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again - now."
- Eugene O'Neill

"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...

1939: Primetime radio soap opera THOSE WE LOVE was canceled and taken off the air by NBC's Blue Network. It was the story of the Marshall family of Westbridge, Connecticut, and featured Universal starlet Nan Grey. It was canceled so abruptly the story was left in limbo which outraged fans. They responded with a flood of vitriolic mail to NBC, to Ponds Cream, and to such trade journals as Radio Guide. Some suggested boycotting the sponsor; interest was aroused by a "code of rights," to force networks and sponsors to keep faith with the audience; some listeners proposed to appeal to the Federal Communications Commission.

Nothing came of it until six months later, when the Red Network picked up the story as if there had been no gap at all. Most of the audience returned but the show was canceled again in 1940. Six months later it was picked up by CBS then it went back to NBC and ran another three years.

1953: On SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, Joanne (Mary Stuart) tried to help a mysterious coma patient (played by Don Knotts).  The man would turn out to be Wilbur Peterson, a character Knotts played on SFT for two years.  Knotts would say decades later it was the only serious role he ever played professionally.

1967: On DARK SHADOWS, Liz invited Jason McGuire to stay at Collinwood.

1977: Actress Diana Hyland, who played Susan Winter in the primetime soap PEYTON PLACE, died at age 41. She had only shot four episodes of her new series, EIGHT IS ENOUGH, when she passed away after a battle with breast cancer.

1979: On RYAN'S HOPE, Rae (Louise Shaffer) plots to have Thatcher at her place when Frank arrived.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the item above.

1980: On THE EDGE OF NIGHT, Logan (Joe Lambie) confronted Raven (Sharon Gabet) about trying to take Jamey (James Noseworthy).

1989: Sally Sussman Morina's GENERATIONS premiered on NBC.  The show was the first soap opera to feature an African-American family from its inception.  The series was set in Chicago and told the story of the Marshall and the Whitmore families.   The original cast included Lynn Hamilton, Patricia Crowley, Kristoff St. John, Kelly Rutherford, Vivica A. Fox, Taurean Blacque, Sharon Brown, Barbara Rhoades and Jonelle Allen.  GENERATIONS ran until January 25, 1991.

1991: On THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, Thorne and Macy (Bobbie Eakes) tried to resolve their family conflict.

2001: PASSIONS aired it's parody of THE JERRY SPRINGER SHOW, with the tabloid talk show host actually making an appearance as "Larry Winger" and moderating a mock show centered around the "sordid secret" that Eve Russell (Tracey Ross) had been hiding from her family concerning her daughter, Whitney (Brook Kerr), and Whitney's boyfriend, Chad Harris (Donn Swaby). Oh, and there's even Grace Bennett's infamous Tomato Soup Cake!

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

2006: Legendary DARK SHADOWS creator Dan Curtis died at age 78.   His wife of 54 years, Norma, had died three weeks earlier.

2011: Actor Farley Granger died at age 85. His soap roles included Earl Mitchell in AS THE WORLD TURNS, Trent Archer in THE EDGE OF NIGHT, and Will Vernon in ONE LIFE TO LIVE.   In 2007, Granger published a memoir, "Include Me Out," in which he told of being bisexual, documenting affairs with Shelley Winters, Ava Gardner and Patricia Neal as well as playwright Arthur Laurents and a two-night fling with Leonard Bernstein. Since the 1960s, he lived with his longtime partner Robert Calhoun, a soap opera producer, who died three years earlier.

2012: Actor Warren Stevens died at age 92.  Stevens’ career in stage, film and television spanned 60 years including roles in the soaps RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE (Elliot Carson) and FALCON CREST (Senator Bundy Silverlake).

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle, GAME OF THRONES) - 79
Jerry Lacy (ex-Lamar/Tony, DARK SHADOWS; ex-Simon, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Rick, LOVE OF LIFE; ex-Jonas, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Stone, THE SECRET STORM) - 78
Tom Sullivan (ex-Michael, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW) - 77
Austin Pendleton (ex-Williams, OZ; ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 74
Michael York (ex-Charles, KNOTS LANDING) - 72
Caroline Williams (ex-Leslie, MODELS INC) - 57
Michael O'Leary (Michael, STEAMBOAT; ex-Rick, GUIDING LIGHT) - 56
Brian Tarantina (ex-Lucky/Ray, ONE LIFE TO LIVE) - 55
Dave Koz (Guest Star, GENERAL HOSPITAL) - 51
Francie Swift (ex-Anne, GOSSIP GIRL) - 45
Elizabeth Mitchell (Rachel, REVOLUTION; ex-Dinah Lee, LOVING; ex-Juliet, LOST) - 44
Nathan Fillion (ex-Joey, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Adam, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) - 43
Corey Page (ex-Richard, LOVING) - 39
Nicholas Rodriguez (ex-Nick, ONE LIFE TO LIVE)
Emily Ann Lloyd (ex-Betsy, KNOTS LANDING) - 30
Kerri Ann Darling (ex-Alli, ANOTHER WORLD) - 26
Brenda Song (ex-Alissa, SCANDAL) - 26

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. Happy Birthday to Jerry Lacy (aka Rick Latimer).

  2. RIP Warren Stevens, the voice of John Bracken on "Bracken's World".

  3. RIP Farley Granger. Loved you on ATWT and EON!