Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today in Soap Opera History (April 2)

1951: A daytime version of Hawkins Falls premiered.
1956: As the World Turns and The Edge of Night premiered
on CBS. 1971: ABC aired the final episode of Dark Shadows.
"All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut."
― Anne Brontë in "Agnes Grey"

"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...

1951: Hawkins Falls, a primetime dramedy in 1950 returned as 15-minute five-days-a-week daytime soap opera on NBC titled Hawkins Falls: A Television Novel, created by Roy Winsor and Doug Johnson. Its large cast of "townspeople" included Frank Dane, Bernadine Flynn, Ros Twohey, Hope Summers and Barbara Berjer. Produced and directed by Ben Park, it ran four years.

Don MacLaughlin and Helen Wagner  pose
for a photo in March 1956 as CBS prepared
to launch ABC.
1956: Procter & Gamble's As the World Turns, the first 30-minute daytime soap opera, premiered on CBS. The show starred Don MacLaughlin and Helen Wagner as Chris and Nancy Hughes, roles they would both play until their real-life deaths (Wagner had some time off in the early 1980s). Wagner said the first line in ATWT history, "Good morning, dear." Other original cast members included Rosemary Prinz, Ruth Warrick, Les Damon, Wendy Drew, William Lee and Hal Studer..  Read creator Irna Phillips' original story bible for the fictional Oakdale-based soap (As the World Turns) here.

ATWT became the top-rated daytime soap for much of the first two decades and ran more more than 54 years. CBS aired the final episode on September 17, 2010. The final line was, fittingly, "Goodnight."

EON original cast members John Larkin
and Don Hastings shoot a scene in 1959.
1956: Another 30-minute P&G soap, The Edge of Night, premiered on CBS. Irving Vendig created the mystery serial set in the fictional Midwestern city of Monticello. Original cast members included John Larkin as Mike Karr, Teal Ames as Sarah Lane, and Don Hastings as Jack Lane. Hastings would move to sister-soap ATWT in 1960.

The Edge of Night moved to ABC in December 1975, when CBS expanded ATWT to one hour.  The show ended its run on December 28, 1984.

1968: On The Doctors, Dr. Althea Davis (Elizabeth Hubbard) tried to discuss medical treatment with patient Lila Anderson (Kathleen Maguire), but was refused. "I care very much", said Althea. "I know that I can help you."

Thanks to Scott for sending in the item above.

1971: ABC aired the final episode of gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, which had premiered in 1966. The show, created by Dan Curtis, became a cult favorite among young viewers. Watch the final scene below:

Dallas cast members celebrate at a
party thrown for them in May 1978
1978: Primetime soap opera Dallas premiered on CBS. The show began as a five-part miniseries, and returned in the fall in the regular lineup. The show aired until 1991. In the very first episode, Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) had married Pam Barnes (Victoria Principal), much to the chagrin of their families.

Cast that appeared in the first episode included Jim Davis, Barbara Bel Geddes, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Steve Kanaly, Ken Kercheval and Charlene Tilton. Watch the first and last scene below:

1979: On Guiding Light, Ross Marler (Jerry verDorn) asked Roger Thorpe (Michael Zaslow) about his relationship with Rita Bauer.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending in the item above.

1985: Julianne Moore debuted as Frannie Hughes in As the World Turns.

1990: On Another World, Sharly (Anna Holbrook) asked Grant (Dack Rambo) to spend the night with her.

1999: Former daytime director Robert Myhrum (Ryan's Hope; The Secret Storm; Love of Life) died at age 72.

2002: Former daytime soap writer Henry Slesar (The Edge of Night; Somerset; Capitol; Search for Tomorrow) died at age 74.

2009: On Guiding Light, Colin was born.

2010: On As the World Turns, Bob and Kim Hughes learned their original wedding minister was in jail, and weren't actually officially married 25 years earlier.

Celebrating a birthday today are:
Amelia Marshall (ex-Liz, Passions; ex-Belinda, All My Children; ex-Gilly, Guiding Light) - 59
Christopher Meloni (ex-Roman, True Blood; ex-Chris, Oz) - 56
Clark Gregg (ex-Michael, The West Wing) - 55
Billy Dean (One Life to Live) - 55
Renée Estevez (ex-Nancy, The West Wing) - 50
Brian Ceponis (ex-James, Breaking Point) - 45
Roselyn Sanchez (ex-Pilar, As the World Turns) - 44
Adam Rodriguez (ex-Bobby, Ugly Betty) - 42
Aiden Turner (Brad, If Loving You Is Wrong; ex-Aidan, All My Children; ex-Iris, Crossroads; ex-EastEnders; ex-Undressed) - 40
Jaime Ray Newman (ex-Kristina, General Hospital) - 39
Bethany Joy Lenz (ex-Haley, One Tree Hill; ex-Michelle, Guiding Light) - 36
Ashley Peldon (ex-Marah, Guiding Light) - 33
Shawn Roberts (ex-Dean, Degrassi: The Next Generation) - 33
Jesse Plemons (ex-Landry, Friday Night Lights) - 29
Amy Castle (ex-Viki, Passions; ex-Tara, General Hospital) - 27

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

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