Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (April 1)

"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...

1963: NBC premiered a new daytime soap opera, the Orin Tovrov-created THE DOCTORS. The show, which was set in fictional Madison and revolved around the happenings at Hope Memorial Hospital, won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1972 for Outstanding Achievement in a Daytime Drama. It also won as Outstanding Drama Series at the very first separate Daytime Emmy ceremony. THE DOCTORS stayed on the air nearly 20 years, with the final episode airing December 31, 1982. James Pritchett played Dr. Matt Powers for the show's entire run.

1963: GENERAL HOSPITAL, created by Frank and Doris Hursley, premiered on ABC. Read a flashback article recapping the first 12 years of stories here. Original cast members John Beradino (Dr. Steve Hardy) and Emily McLaughlin (Nurse Jessie Brewer) remained with the show for decades. GH was scheduled in the 1 p.m. ET timeslot which was a half hour that CBS gave to local affiliates (a break between THE GUIDING LIGHT and top-rated AS THE WORLD TURNS).

In the very first episode, Angie was distraught about the damage to her face from the accident; Peggy was frustrated when hospital business ruined a night out on the town with her fiancĂ©, Steve Hardy (Beradino); and the tension continued to grow in Jessie (McLaughlin) and Phil’s marriage.

1971: Michael Zaslow debuted as Roger Thorpe in THE GUIDING LIGHT.

1976: On ANOTHER WORLD, Rachel (Victoria Wyndham) told Iris (Beverlee McKinsey) no one intended to tell Mac the real reason she married Robert.

1977: On RYAN'S HOPE, Delia (Ilene Kristen) miscarried Patrick's (Malcolm Groome's) child and concealed it from him. Delia contacted the clinic at Riverside Hospital and spoke with Alicia Nieves (Ana Alicia). The two women became friends and Alicia was unwillingly drawn into Dee's deception.

Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above.

1980: On GUIDING LIGHT, Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) fell to his death in Santo Domingo, slipping from the hands of his mortal enemy, Dr. Ed Bauer (Mart Hulswit). GUIDING LIGHT shot the scenes on location in Santo Domingo along with P&G sister soap, AS THE WORLD TURNS, which taped newly created flashbacks of Barbara and James.

1985: On SANTA BARBARA, while investigating the murder of Channing Capwell, Jr., Detective Cruz Castillo (A Martinez) discovered that Channing's secret lover "Lindsay Smith," had actually been a man and not a woman, as presumed. And after Lindsay (Joel Bailey) explained his past affair with Channing, Cruz correctly surmised that there was far more to the story than the man was admitting.

Thanks to FoxCrane for sending in the item above.

1988: On SANTA BARBARA, Eden Capwell (Marcy Walker) married Cruz Castillo (A Martinez).

1993: GENERAL HOSPITAL debuted its "Faces of the Heart" theme and opening.

2009: CBS canceled GUIDING LIGHT.  The show, which premiered on radio on January 25, 1937, would air its final episode on September 18, 2009.

2010: Actor John Forsythe, who played Blake Carrington in DYNASTY, died at age 92.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Don Hastings is 80 today.  He's pictured here
with his wife, Leslie Denniston, in 2012.
Jane Powell (ex-Rebecca, LOVING; ex-Lisa, AS THE WORLD TURNS) - 85
Don Hastings (ex-Bob, AS THE WORLD TURNS; ex-Jack, THE EDGE OF NIGHT) - 80
Ali MacGraw (ex-Lady Ashley, DYNASTY) - 75
Denise Nickerson (ex-Amy, DARK SHADOWS) - 57
Jennifer Runyon (ex-Sally, ANOTHER WORLD) - 54
Traci Lind (ex-Pru, RYAN'S HOPE) - 48
Jessica Collins (Avery, THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS; ex-Dinah Lee, LOVING) - 43
Bryan Buffington (ex-Bill, GUIDING LIGHT) - 34
Randy Orton (WWE) - 34
Matt Lanter (ex-Liam, 90210) - 31
Josh Zuckerman (Max, 90210; ex-Eddie, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) - 29
Jendra Jarnagin (Cinematographer, IN BETWEEN MEN)

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. Typo alert -- The Doctors aired almost 20 years, not 30 years.

    I never realized that NBC canceled the show 3 months short of its 20th anniversary. I'm surprised they didn't let it make that landmark before cancelling it. They let both Search for Tomorrow and Another World celebrate their 35th anniversaries before cancelling them shortly afterwards.

  2. Very Happy Birthday To You, Don! :-)

    Brian :-)

  3. Is the last soap opera history post ever? Have you chosen to not do it anymore?