Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Today in Soap Opera History (September 23)

1978: Gary (and Val) returned to Dallas.  1984: Paper Dolls
premiered. 1986: OLTL's Jessica Buchanan was born.
2011: All My Children aired for the final time on ABC.
"History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future."
― Robert Penn Warren

"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...

1942: On Clara, Lu & Em, Clara (Fran Allison) was sick. Clara, Lu & Em was the first network radio soap opera in 1930. The drama series began as a Northwestern University sorority sketch by Louise Starkey (Clara), Isobel Carothers (Lu) and Helen King (Em). When Carothers suddenly died January 8, 1937 at age 32, Starkey and King decided not to continue. They started the show again on 1942 with another of their Northwestern University friends, Harriet Allyn, portraying Lu.

1978: CBS aired the Season 2 premiere of Dallas which was also the show's first episode as a regular series following a successful five-part mini-series run that spring. In "Reunion, Part 1," Jock and Miss Ellie's middle son, Gary (David Ackroyd), a recovering alcoholic, returned to Southfork after a long absence. Meanwhile, Lucy discovered her mother, Valene (Joan Van Ark), working at a diner outside of town. This was the first appearance of Gary and Val, who were first married in 1961, then reunited and remarried in 1979 (with Gary played by Ted Shackelford). Miss Ellie gave them a house in Knots Landing as a wedding gift.

1980: On The Edge of Night, Miles (Joel Carruthers) was stunned when Nicole revealed she knew about having aplastic anemia. "Which category do I fall under? Am I one of those that recovers without any difficulty? Or am I one of those that dies?"

1981: On General Hospital, Monica (Leslie Charleson) told Alan (Stuart Damon) what she knew about Susan, while Alice (Lieux Dressler) lectured Susan (Gail Ramsey) about not raising Jason as a Quartermaine heir. Elsewhere, Joe (Doug Sheehan) was surprised Heather (Robin Mattson) was not in jail.

1983: On One Life to Live, Bo (Robert S. Woods) and Becky Lee welcome their son, Drew, into the world. Drew was killed in the line of duty while working for the Llanview Police Department in 1998.

1984: Primetime soap Paper Dolls premiered on ABC. In the glamorous world of fashion modeling and corporate skulduggery, the focus was on a business tycoon and the head of a modeling agency, who shrewdly guided the careers to 16-year old models Taryn (Nicollette Sheridan) and Laurie (Terry Farrell). In the opener, Laurie's mother worried about letting her daughter become a model while Taryn's diva attitude and the demanding behavior of her mother threatened her cosmetics contract. Meanwhile, businessman David Fenton (Richard Beymer) looked for a new face to save his floundering sportswear company, and his wife (Mimi Rogers) fretted that no one would hire a 30-year old model. The cast also included Morgan Fairchild as Racine as Dack Rambo as Wesley.

1986: Jessica Buchanan was born on ONE LIFE TO LIVE. Years later it was revealed that Jessica had a twin sister, Natalie, born the same day.

1987: On Another World, Peter (Marcus Smythe) continued to manipulate Vicky (Anne Heche) into thinking Donna (Anna Stuart) was having an affair with John.

1992: Shannon Sturges and Michael Easton aired for the final time as Molly and Tanner in Days of our Lives.

1998: Actress Mary Frann died in her sleep at age 55. She played D. B. Bentley in Return to Peyton Place from 1973 to 1974, Amanda Howard on Days of our Lives from 1974 to 1979, and Nan in King's Crossing in 1982. Frann was best known for her role as Joanna in Newhart.

1999: On As the World Turns, Vicky (Jensen Buchanan) decided to accompany Donna (Anna Stuart) to New York for cancer treatment.

2002: As the World Turns went on location to Virginia Commonwealth University as part of its "Catch Us If You Can" Tour. In the story, Aaron (Agim Kaba), his girlfriend Lucy (Peyton List), and their friend Alison (Jessica Dunphy) hit the road after Aaron was falsely accused of setting a fire. Determined to hide out until they can prove Aaron’s innocence, the three characters traveled to ten college campuses hoping to elude both their parents and the law.

2002: Dynasty star Joan Collins debuted as Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light.

2003: One Tree Hill premiered on The WB. In 2006, The WB and UPN merged to form The CW which aired the show until the final episode on April 4, 2012.

2011: The final broadcast network episode of All My Children aired on ABC. After losing Jack possibly for good, Erica (Susan Lucci) told Opal (Jill Larson), "This is not the ending I want." The episode ended with a "Who did JR shoot" cliffhanger. On April 29, 2013, All My Children returned on The OnLine Network and the cliffhanger was eventually resolved. The series ended again after one season on the web.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Caroline Lagerfelt (ex-CeCe, Gossip Girl; ex-Patricia, The Edge of Night; ex-Elaine, As the World Turns; ex-Carrie, One Life to Live; ex-Sheila, Beverly Hills, 90210; ex-Dr. Massey, All My Children) - 66
Mary Kay Place (ex-Loretta, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman) - 66
Patty Weaver (ex-Gina, The Young and the Restless; ex-Bernadette, Spyder Games; ex-Trish, Days of our Lives) - 58
Rosalind Allen (ex-Silver, All My Children; ex-Annie, Dallas) - 56
LisaRaye McCoy-Misick (ex-Keisha, Single Ladies) - 47
Rob James-Collier (Thomas, Downton Abbey; ex-Liam, Coronation Street) - 38
Keri Lynn Pratt (ex-Amy, Brothers & Sisters) - 34
Aubrey Dollar (ex-Marina, Guiding Light) - 33

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have a tip on a bit of soap history on this date or future dates, let us know. Send an email to kevin@welovesoaps.com

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