Saturday, November 7, 2015

Today in Soap Opera History (November 7)

1972: Jingles the clown scared Andrea on Somerset.
1986: Robert S. Woods debuted as Paul on Days of our Lives.
1986: James Stenbeck returned from the dead with, "Hello, Barbara"
1995: All My Children's Julia found a surprise in her closet.
"History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again."
― Maya Angelou

"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...

1957: On The Edge of Night, Roger (Allen Nourse) worried about Mary.

1972: On Somerset, Andrea Moore (Harriet Hall) was terrified when she was woken up in her bedroom by Jingles the Clown. When Carter Matson (Jay Gregory) ran into the room after hearing her screams, he didn't see anything and told Andrea that Jingles was not real.

1977: CBS aired the first 60-minute episode of Guiding Light. The show ran for 15 minutes from 1937 to 1968 on radio and then television before expanding to 30 minutes a day.

In the episode, Dr. Ed Bauer (Mart Hulswit) told Eve Stapleton (Janet Grey) that she had Blake-Kearney Syndrome and an 80% chance of going blind. Eve's sister, Rita (Lenore Kasdorf), was also present. Eve said that she would be in the 20% and eventually ran from the room. An emotional Rita watched as her sister fled Cedars and set off after her. Location shooting followed Eve crying through the streets of "Springfield", stopping at the sight of a blind woman knocked down by skateboarders. Rita searched the streets until she found her sister, embracing her and bringing her home.

Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above.

1980: Season 4 of Dallas premiered on CBS. J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) was rushed to the hospital after being shot. A writers' strike delayed the start of the season to November.

1984: On Santa Barbara, at the wildlife refuge Peter Flint (Stephen Meadows) aimed a gun at Joe Perkins (Mark Arnold) and prepared to pull the trigger.

1985: On Knots Landing, Valene Ewing (Joan Van Ark) told Ben Gibson (Doug Sheehan) she loved him and was ready to get married.

A few weeks later, People magazine published a story on Doug Sheehan where he talked about his unhappiness at Knots Landing:

He wants to act and he's not getting much of a chance playing a stolid second fiddle to Van Ark's traumas, Lisa Hartman's singing, Michele Lee's bravura and Donna Mills' eyelashes. "It's like a nest of baby birds," he says, "each of them with their mouths open, and the aggressive one gets the worm. I've never been aggressive and I'm being smothered." Sheehan wants to get more humor into his character. "I think it adds humanity," he says. But the producers "stifle that," Sheehan insists. "My character has turned into one of the girls. He spends all his time in the kitchen baking brownies."

1986: On As the World Turns, Barbara Ryan (Colleen Zenk) was shocked when the ex-husband she thought was dead, James Stenbeck (Anthony Herrera), suddenly appeared and said one simple but unforgettable line: "Hello, Barbara." It was one of the best Friday cliffhangers in soap opera history.

Friday, November 7, 1986:

The Friday cliffhanger was recreated the following Monday (November 10):

1986: Robert S. Woods debuted as Paul Stewart in Days of our Lives, replacing Gregory Mortensen in the role.

1990: On The Young and the Restless, John Silva (John Castellanos) crossed examined the head of security, Calvin Daniels, at Danny Romalotti's trial for cocaine possession.

1995: On All My Children, Julia Santos (Sydney Penny) was frightened to discover Louie Greco (John Millard) hiding in her closet.

2004: Actor Howard Keel died at age 85. He played Clayton Farlow in Dallas for 10 years.

2004: CBS reunited the cast of Dallas for Dallas Reunion: The Return of Southfork.

2005: On Passions, Gwen Winthrop realized the "cleaning lady" at the hospital was actually Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald (Lindsay Hartley).

2008: On One Life to Live, Blair Cramer (Kassie DePaiva) tried to assure her daughter, Starr (Kristen Alderson), that Starr's baby would be alright.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
James Houghton (ex-Greg, The Young and the Restless; ex-Kenny, Knots Landing; ex-Cash, The Colbys; Writer, The Bold and the Beautiful; The Young and the Restless; Knots Landing) - 67
Lawrence O'Donnell (ex-Dr. Bartlet, The West Wing) - 64
Christopher Knight (ex-Peter, The Bradys; ex-Leigh, Another World) - 58
Lisa Canning (ex-Meg, General Hospital; ex-Adrienne, The Young and the Restless; ex-Chanel, The Bold and the Beautiful) - 49
Julie Pinson (Kimberly, River Ridge; ex-Janet, As the World Turns; ex-Billie, Days of our Lives; ex-Eve, Port Charles; ex-Shiloh, The Young and the Restless) - 48
Michelle Clunie (ex-Marcella, In Between Men; ex-Melanie, Queer as Folk) - 46
Bronson Picket (ex-Diego, As the World Turns) - 44
Christopher Daniel Barnes (ex-Paul, As the World Turns; ex-Lenny, Beverly Hills, 90210) - 43
Jeremy London (ex-Chandler, 7th Heaven; ex-Griffin, Party of Five; ex-Nathan, I'll Fly Away) - 43
Yunjin Kim (Karen, Mistresses; ex-Sun, Lost) - 42

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you would like to submit a soap history entry for this date or a future date, email [email protected].


  1. I was thinking about Somerset the other day because the clown storyline fascinated me as a kid. The post-watergate 1970's daytime is so interesting because they allowed writers to create new soaps rather than trying to transform older stories. I would imagine that networks tries to maintain the audience that tuned in for the Watergate hearings similar to the OJ trail. Today, when I hear about recycled writers going from one soap to the next I often wonder if we've missed the opportunity to hear new stories due to the excessive nostalgia of soap fans which don't allow for new characters or families; let alone new stories.

  2. (I could be misreading your comments and you could actually be saying what I am about to write, but here goes...)That's the funny thing about Somerset though the writers who wrote for the show were bounced around from soap to soap, most were writing another show at the same time that they were writing Somerset (AW, EON, Secret Storm), and each time a new writer was brought in they changed stories, and brought on different characters or got rid of long time characters. The core of soaps is the main two or so families that viewers want to see, most everyone on the show has to be related in someway to one of the core families, and this does work and I too do enjoy watching that and it allows the show to maintain it's history and bring in newer characters. IMHO a big problem with soaps, and why the genre is dying is mainly because the audience is far too conservative. They HATE change, and they claim they want the strong relevant stories, but the minute they interfere with their personal viewpoint...boom! They're complaining. Also a large part of the core audience are women, and believe me I have been banned from enough soap boards to have a good clue, who have this very Disney idea about love stories, and want to fanaticize their way out of the raw deal they believe they have been dealt because their own relationships are not holding up to this fantasy they were taught to believe about what makes a good relationship and or marriage. The majority of the audience still hold these conservative unrealistic ideas about the world, and relationships, so they keep the genre stale. Look at the resurgence Days is having in the ratings because they are bringing back 80's characters, who IMO were always completely awful artifice, (Bo and Steve's dialogue is so horrible) to this very idealized and completely unrealistic idea about life and love. And what were the 80's? The Regan years of trying to recreate the 1950's. What always attracted me to soaps was the family drama, the crime stories, mysteries, and psychological conflicts of the character and or family. The love stories were always boring, but that is the biggest complaint from fans..."where is the love in the afternoon?" I'm not even sure how much of what I just wrote can be made into, but that is what I think has always mired the genre, a very conservative audience that is not willing to allow a show to experiment, and is not willing to give a show time to grow into something more then the staid fantasy of frustrated people who deep down believe they got a raw deal when reality did not live up to the substance of their fantasies.