recommended for you


    Tell your friends

    TELL YOUR FRIENDS

    LATEST Soaps.com NEWS

    History of Soaps - Past meets the Present!

    Thursday, October 18 2007


    Texas - past soap. (screen shot)
    With Passions being canceled on NBC then moving in the USA to DirecTV and Allarco Entertainment in Canada, rumors still continue to fly about the future of daytime dramas. We thought that instead of focusing on what 'may' happen, we would stay positive and remind our readers that the soaps have been around for 70 years. As long as there is an audience, they should be around for 70 more!

    Travel back with Soaps.com to a time when the soap operas first started. We'll discuss the first soaps that were played on the radio and their debut into television. No longer will you wonder what happened to your favorite soaps.

    Let's go back to a time when women listened to their soaps on the radio. It was winter of 1937 - January, to be exact. Women listened to their 15 minute radio programs as they did their household chores. Back then men didn't watch daytime drama since they worked outside the home in order to "bring home the bacon" to their families!

    In the very first article that I wrote for Soaps.com, I explained, "Originally, daytime drama could be heard across the USA, via radio. Unlike the hour long programs you and I watch today, as I made mention in that article, these radio broadcasts lasted a mere 15 minutes. Women would tune in for their daily dose of drama, romance and intrigue much like they do today. The commercials in between the shows largely focused on selling laundry detergent and cleaning solutions. This in fact was where the term 'Soap Opera' originated!

    Here are the shows as we know and love them. We give Honorable mention: to those cast members who have been with the show the longest.

    Guiding Light aired on the radio in 1937, and then aired on television CBS on June 30, 1952. The show boasts to being the oldest soap opera out there. They celebrated 70 years this year! The storyline focuses on residents of the town of Springfield, including the Spaulding, Cooper and the Lewis clans.

    Honorable mention::

    Maeve Kinkead has played motherly figure Vanessa Reardon since June 1980.
    Robert Newman, who portrays Joshua Lewis, President of Lewis Oil & Construction and or resident Minister, has been with the show since October 1981.
    Michael O’Leary has appeared as our favorite Dr. Fredrick “Rick” Bauer (Dr. Rick) since May 1983.
    Kim Zimmer is arguably one of the most popular characters in soap history! She has gone from playing a vixen, to becoming a strong presence as Reva Shayne since November 1983. Reva takes the show!
    Since May 1983, Tina Sloan originated and continues to play the role of loving Lillian Raines.
    Jordan Clarke has portrayed larger than life, Harlan “Billy” Lewis off and on since May 1983.


    As the World Turns aired April 2 1956 and was one of the first half hour shows! They're still going strong today!

    Honorable mention::


    Helen Wagner has been portraying Nancy Hughes McClosky since 1956 and has been on both full contract, and played a recurring roles as 'the voice of reason', matriarch, "Nancy".
    Eileen Fulton, who portrays Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi, has been with the show since 1960, off and on. Lisa has seen it all, and married once or twice since 1960!
    Don Hastings, as Doctor Bob Hughes has been on the show for as long as Eileen Fulton -, since 1960. Although he was not the original actor, he took over and made the part his own in the fifth year of broadcast. We'd be lost without 'Doctor Bob'.
    Marie Masters took over the role of Dr. Susan Stewart in 1968. Although she left the show in 1979, Marie returned in 1986 and continues to be a big presence!
    Kathryn Hays, portrays Kim Sullivan Reynolds Dixon Stewart Andropoulos Hughes, has been with the show since 1972, taking a break after 1975, and returning in 1976 for the long haul! Doctor Bob is married to fair, tough, loving and kind Kim!


    General Hospital aired April 1, 1963 and still runs to this day, which makes GH the longest running soap on ABC to date!


    Honorable mention::

    Denise Alexander took on the role of Dr. Lesley Weber in 1972. Though she left the show in 1984, she returned in 1996 where she remains a recurring character.
    Stuart Michael Damon created the role of Alan Quartermaine in 1977. Although his character died in early 2007, his ghost can still be seen as a comical relief in Port Charles!
    Jacklyn Zemanhas played Barbara Jean “Bobbie” Spencer since she originated the role in 1977, thankfully!
    Leslie Charleson jumped into the role of Monica Quartermaine in 1977 where she continues to reign over the show!
    Jane Elliot, who plays the hilarious Tracy Quartermaine, first came on the scene in 1978 and has fluttered in and out of the Port Charles ever since and still appears to this day. Have you seen her scenes lately, with Alan?!
    Genie Francis, an all-time fan favorite, has played Laura Spencer since 1976 and returned briefly in 2006. With every appearance, she leaves the fans wanting more!
    Anthony Geary came on the scene in 1978 as bad boy Luke Spencer and has made his presence known on and off to this day!


    Days of Our Lives has been around for 42 years, November, 2007! It first aired November 8, 1965. Original cast member, Frances Reid is still playing the part of Alice Horton! Cross your fingers that she will be playing 'Alice' and making those donuts for many years to come. We all love Alice as if she were our own grandmother!


    Honorable mention::

    Frances Reid has been with the show since it first aired in 1965 and is the only original character left to this day! In mid 2007, she was given a lifetime contract to remain with the show to which she graciously accepted!
    Susan Seaforth-Hayes came to the show as Julie Olson Williams in 1968 until 1984! She returned again in 1990 - 1994 and again in 1996 and when she returned in 1999, she was set to a recurring character and has been seen various times since.
    Bill Hayes took on the contract role of Doug Williams back in 1970 (along with wife Susan Seaforth-Hayes, since 1994), has remained a recurring, lovable character off and on ever since 1993!
    Suzanne Rogers originated the role of Maggie Horton in 1974 and much to our delight, continues to play the character as recurring!
    Deidre Hall created the role of Dr. Marlena Evans Black in 1976. Though she left the show in 1987, she returned in 1991 where she has remained ever since, as a matriarch!


    One Life to Live aired July 15, 1968 and is still around today, almost 40 years later!
    Erika Slezak, who has played the well respected complex character Victoria Lord Davidson since 1971, is one of the original characters left!
    Robert S. Woods originated the role of Bo Buchanan in 1979. Although he left briefly in 1986, he returned in 1988 and has remained a strong force within Llanview to this day!
    Robin Strasser has been Llanview’s resident vixen since 1979. Although a few actresses have played the character over the years, there’s never been another Dorian like Robin!
    Phil Carey has played Asa Buchanan, the family’s patriarch, since 1980 and only recently retired from the show in April 2007, to which his character was sadly put to rest.


    * All My Children first debuted January 5, 1970. Although the soap started out as merely a half hour long, it moved to a one-hour time slot in April 1977, to which it continues on today!


    Honorable mention::

    Susan Lucci has played Erica Kane since January 10, 1970. Talented beyond belief. Pine Valley wouldn't be the same without Susan playing "Erica"!
    Eileen Herlie originated the role of grandmotherly Myrtle Fargate in 1976 and continues to help those who need her help and friendship!
    James Mitchell created the powerful role of Palmer Cortlandt back in 1979 to which we're happy to report, he still plays today!
    Ray McDonald is only the second original actor to remain on the show today. Playing everyone’s favorite doctor, Dr. Joe Martin Sr., since 1970, Ray has brought charisma and charm to his veteran character and has seen more than his fair share of turmoil in Pine Valley throughout the years!

    Michael E. Knight took over the role of 'good guy' Tad Martin in 1982. Although he made a brief exit in the late eighties, and one in 1990, he returned in 1992 and thank goodness he has remained in Pine Valley ever since!


    The Young and the Restless first aired March 26, 1973 and is currently the number one rated Soap Opera in the Nielson Ratings!

    Honorable mention::

    Jeanne Cooper has played Katherine Chancellor from 1973. Jeanne has been through it all and then some. A grand old dame if I've ever seen one. They don't make them like this anymore, I'm afraid to say. Jeanne and her portrayal of Katherine make the show.
    Beau Kayser came on the scene in 1974 as Brock Reynolds, the son of Catherine Chancellor. Known for his sudden appearances in and departures of Genoa City throughout the years, his character still remains a recurring factor with the show.
    Doug Davidson originated the role of Paul Williamson in 1978 and continues to play the ever-determined private investigator!
    Melody Thomas Scott took over the role of Nikki Reed back in 1979 and has since evolved her character into one of the show’s leading ladies.
    Eric Braeden first came on the scene in 1980 as the wealthy business mogul Victor Newman. To this day, Eric has developed his character into a man few dare to cross!
    Carolyn Conwell has played the sometimes-overbearing mother to Paul Williams, Mary Williams, since 1980. Though we don’t see her as much today, she’s still apt to show up from time to time!

    The Bold and the Beautiful first debuted March 23, 1987 and recently celebrated their 20th year on the air!


    Honorable mention::


    Katherine Kelly Lang has played Brooke Logan since March 23rd 1987. I remember the first day B&B was on the air. The show really sets itself apart from the rest with the cast being what they are - truly bold and beautiful.
    Ronn Moss (Ridge Forrester) has also been on canvas since March 23rd 1987. Ridge is the Prince of Los Angeles. Dashing and debonair, Ronn lights up the screen.
    Susan Flannery has portrayed Stephanie Forrester since March 23rd 1987. Love her or hate her character, the actress is divine.
    John McCook (Eric Forrester) has been on the show since day one, March 23rd 1987 playing the patriarch of the show! We feel he could use a great storyline of his own!
    Dan McVicar has played the comical Clarke Garrison on and off since 1987 and still remains on the scene today.
    Darlene Conley played unforgettable Sally Spectra Garrison since December 1988, since her untimely death January 14 2007. Rest in peace, Darlene.

    Passions first aired July 5, 1999, however the show was slated for cancellation from NBC September 7 2007 until DirecTV came along to save the day for the fans! DirecTV will take over the daytime drama and September 17 2007.


    Honorable mention::


    Some may joke that half of the cast is mentioned but since the show debuted July 5, 1999, it hasn't lost many of its original cast.
    Brook Kerr has played Whitney Russell since the very first day of airing, July 5 1999. She recently left, but gets a heads up, for portraying friendly and sweet Whitney since 1999.
    Lindsay Korman - Hartley has portrayed lovelorn, Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald since July 5 1999.
    Galen Gering has played striking Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, the man to fight over, since July 5 1999. The question of the day… Who should he be with, Fancy or Sheridan?!
    McKenzie Westmore has been portraying naughty Sheridan Crane Boothe since July 5 1999. We just love when she gets up to no good!
    Tracey Ross has been portraying the resident and devoted Dr. Eve Russell since July 5 1999.
    James Hyde plays Police Chief, Sam Bennett and has done so since July 5 1999.
    Eva Tamargo has played the matriarch of the Lopez-Fitzgerald family, Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald since July 5 1999.
    Juliet Mills has played Harmony's +300 year old witch, Tabitha Lenox since July 6 1999, which was the day after the show's debut!
    Kim Johnston Ulrich has been playing the scheming and spoiled daughter of a governor, Ivy Winthrop Crane since July 8 1999!
    Ben Masters originated the role of rich, powerful and arrogant Julian Crane on July 8, 1999.


    General Hospital: Night Shift aired for thirteen weeks beginning on July 12, 2007 during SoapNet’s primetime lineup! Aside from Port Charles, this is the second spinoff from the popular mother soap General Hospital!


    Honorable mention::


    Actors who made the crossover to primetime from GH to Night Shift include:
    Kimberly McCullough has played the longtime GH character of strong-willed Robin Scorpio off and on from 1985 to this day!
    Steve Burton who’s portrayed the very popular Jason Morgan on and off from 1990 to present! The girls go crazy over this guy!
    Kirsten Storms has appeared as GH’s wicked Maxie Jones since May 2005! We love to hate Maxie!! She's so much fun!
    Jason Thomson has played GH’s sexy Dr. Patrick Drake since 2005! They made the right move when they hired this actor, to be Rick Springfield's (Dr.Noah Drake) son. Two hot doctors!
    Bradford Anderson who’s played GH’s goofy and sweet, Damien Spinelli since 2006.
    Sonya Eddy who’s appeared as GH’s lovable Epiphany Johnson since 2006.
    Kiko Ellsworth who briefly played GH’s Stan Johnson in 2007, but also appeared in the last GH spin-off, Port Charles, as Jamal Woods from 2000 to 2003!
    Kent King is another Port Charles castmate who made the jump from GH to Night Shift as Dr. Lainey Winters.
    Minae Noji who’s portrayed GH’s sex addict, Dr. Kelly Lee since 2006.


    Past Soaps

    Airing on October 2, 1946, Faraway Hill, was the first soap opera broadcasted on television, which was also shot live! However, after a short run, the soap was cancelled without reason on December 1946.


    Honorable mention::


    Flora Campbell (played Karen St. John)
    Mel Brandt (unknown character)
    Julie Christy (unknown character)



    A Woman to Remember aired on February 21, 1949 and was also featured on the radio. Although we can’t be sure why it was abruptly canceled on July 15, 1949, we can only assume since TV’s weren’t a popular item in the common household that the radio version of the show was much popular!


    Honorable mention::


    Patricia Wheel (played Christine Baker)
    Joan Catlin (played Carol Winstead)
    John Raby (played Steve Hammond)
    Ruth McDevitt (played Bessie Thatcher)
    Frankie Thomas (played Charley Anderson)

    Airing back on September 3, 1951, Search for Tomorrow started off as a fifteen minute serial. After going through numerous timeslot changes to benefit new up and coming soaps, Search for Tomorrow's rating plummeted, causing the show’s cancellation on December 26, 1986.


    Honorable mention::


    Mary Stuart (played Joanne)
    Larry Haines (played Stu Bergman)
    Melba Rae (played Marge Bergman)
    Ellen Spencer (played Janet)
    John Sylvester (played Keith Barron)



    Although The Doctors began as a very popular soap on April 1, 1963, due to a continual drop in their ratings throughout the years, the show came to a halt on December 31, 1982.


    Honorable mention::


    James Pritchett (played Dr. Matt Powers)
    Lydia Bruce (played Dr. Maggie Powers)
    David O'Brien (played Dr. Steve Aldrich)
    Jada Rowland (played Carolee Simpson Allison Aldrich)
    Elizabeth Hubbard (played Dr. Althea Davis) (Elizabeth Hubbard can now be seen on As the World Turns as Lucinda Walsh!)



    Another World came on the soap scene on May 4, 1964 but was canceled on June 25, 1999 after a high-rated NBC affiliate removed the show from its lineup. The shake up resulted in the removal of the show from over two million homes!

    Honorable mention::

    Robin Strasser (played Rachel Davis) later played by Victoria Wyndham. Robin
    nows plays Dorian Lord on One Life to Live.
    Tom Eplin (played Jake McKinnon)
    Charles Keating (played Carl Hutchins)
    Douglass Watson (played Mackenzie Cory)
    Anna Kathryn Holbrook (played Sharlene Frame)
    Luke Perry (played Kenny)


    Peyton's Place became America’s first nighttime soap on September 15, 1964 then later was reprised as a daytime drama titled Return to Peyton’s Place. However, after the switch from nighttime to daytime, the show's success went downhill leading to its cancellation in 1969.


    Honorable mention::


    Ed Nelson (played Dr. Michael Rossi)
    Warner Anderson (played Matthew Swain)
    Mia Farrow (played Allison MacKenzie)
    Christopher Connelly (played Norman Harrington)
    Leigh Taylor-Young (played Rachel Welles) (Leigh may also be recognized from her recent three year run on Passions as Katherine Barrett Crane.


    One of Guiding Light's first logos! (screen shot)
    Our Private World, originally titled The Woman Lisa, aired in 1965 as a primetime spin-off to As the World Turns. Due to low ratings, this short-lived soap was canceled in the fall of 1965.


    Honorable mention::


    Eileen Fulton (played Lisa Muller Hughes) Still plays on As the World Turns as Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi)
    Geraldine Fitzgerald (played Helen Eldridge)
    Juliane Marie (played unknown character)
    Nichlos Coster (played John Eldredge)


    Dark Shadows aired in 1966. After its five year run, the show was canceled without for unknown reasons.


    Honorable mention::


    Roger Davis (played Jeff Clark)
    Diana Millay (played herself)
    Marsha Mason (played Audrey)
    Conrad Bain (played himself)
    John Karlen (played Willie Loomis)




    Although Ryan’s Hope came on strong from its July 7, 1975 premiere, after ratings began to plummet many ABC affiliates dropped the show, leading to its cancellation on January 13, 1989.


    Honorable mention::


    Bernard Barrow (played Johnny Ryan)
    Helen Gallagher (played Maeve Ryan)
    Ilene Kirsten (played Delia Reid) (Ilene now plays the comical Roxy Balsom on One Life to Live.)
    Michael Levin (played Jack Fenelli)
    Faith Catlin (played Dr. Faith Coleridge)



    Edge of Night first aired on April 2, 1956 during a 3:30pm time slot. However, sources say after the soap was moved back an hour to 2:30, its ratings never recovered. The soap was soon canceled on December 28, 1984.


    Honorable mention::


    Tony Craig (played Asst. Dist. Atty. Draper Scott)
    Joe Lambie (played Assistant District Attorney Logan 'Swifty' Swift)
    Kate Wilkinson (played Mrs. Perkins)
    Irene Daily (played Pamela Stewart)


    Texas, a spin-off of Another World, came on the scene on August 2, 1980 at a time when Days of Our Lives, Another World and The Doctors were top rated shows. Even though the show's timeslot was moved as an attempt to pick up its ratings, the ratings continued to drop leading to its cancellation on December 31, 1982.


    Honorable mention::


    Bert Kramer (played Alex Wheeler)
    Catherine Hickland (played Dr. Courtney Marshall) (played Julie Clegg McCandless in now defunct 80's soap, "Capital", and can now be seen playing Lindsay Rappaport on One Life to Live.)
    Daniel Davis (played Eliot Carrington)
    Beverlee McKinsey (played Iris Cory Carrington Delaney Bancroft Wheeler) (Beverlee moved to Guiding Light in 1984 and played Alexandra 'Alex' Spaulding von Halkein Thorpe)


    Although Capital made a go out it on March 29, 1982, it turned out to be CBS’s lowest rated soap and was later replaced with The Bold and the Beautiful after its March 20, 1987 cancellation.


    Honorable mention::

    Catherine Hickland (played Julie Clegg McCandless) (Catherine is now playing Lindsay Rappaport on One Life to Live)
    Constance Towers (played Clarissa McCandless) (Constance can now be seen playing the role of Helena Cassadine on General Hospital)
    Ed Nelson (played Senator Mark Denning)
    Tammy Wynette (played Darlene Stankowski)
    Robert Sampson (played Samuel Clegg)


    Loving first aired in 1983 but couldn’t compete with Ryan’s Hope, which led to its cancellation on 1995.


    Honorable mention::


    Laura Wright (played Allison "Ally" Rescott Alden Bowman) (Laura now plays Carly Corinthos Jacks on General Hospital)
    Roger Howarth (played Kent Winslow) (Roger currently plays Paul Ryan on As the World Turns)
    Amelia Heinle (played Stephanie "Steffi" Brewster) (Amelia now plays Victoria Newman on The Young and the Restless)
    Luke Perry (played Ned Bates)
    John Schneider (played Larry Lamont)


    Santa Barbara became a popular hit when it first aired on July 30, 1984. Although its ratings remained above Loving, the network felt they were poor enough to cancel the show on January 15, 1993.


    Honorable mention::


    Jed Allen: (played CC Capwell)
    Eileen Davidson (played Kelly Capwell) (Eileen now plays Ashley Abbott on the Bold and the Beautiful)
    A Martinez (played Cruz Castillo)
    Marcy Walker (played Eden Capwell Cranston Castillo)
    Kim Zimmer (played Jodie DeWitt Walker) (Kim currently plays Reva Shayne Lewis on Guiding Light)



    Generations tried to jump on the daytime wagon on March 27, 1989, but unfortunately came shy of making their two-year anniversary after the show was cancelled on January 25, 1991 due to very low ratings.


    Honorable mention::


    Vivica A. Fox (played Maya Reubens)
    Kristoff St. John (played Adam Marshall) (Kristoff now plays Neil Winters on The Young and the Restless)
    Kelly Rutherford (played Stephanie Whitmore)
    George Deloy (played Rob Donnelly)
    Patricia Crowley (played Rebecca Whitmore)


    The City aired on November 13, 1995 as a spin-off of Loving. However, as the old story goes, on March 28, 1997, due to decreased ratings, the show was short-lived.


    Honorable mention::


    Caroltta Chang (played Azure C)
    Melissa Dye (played Molly Malone)
    Morgan Fairchild (played Sydney Chase) (Morgan was recently seen in Fashion House as Sophia Blakely)
    Roscoe Born (played Nick Rivers) (Roscoe recently appeared in Passions as a prison warden in July and August 2007)


    Sunset Beach was the next soap added to the already vast soap lineup on January 6, 1997. Again, after receiving very low ratings, the show was canceled after a short run on December 31, 1999.


    Honorable mention::


    Lesley-Anne Down (played Olivia Richards) (Currently playing Jackie Marone on The Bold and the Beautiful.)
    Adrienne Frantz (played Tiffany Thorne) (Adrienne currently plays Amber Moore on The Young and the Restless and crossed over recently from The Bold and the Beautiful.)
    Nick Stabile (played Mark Wolper)
    Clive Robertson (played Ben Evans)
    Timothy Adams (played Casey Mitchum) (Tim has appeared on One Life to Live off and as Ron Walsh, which he will return to in October 2007)





    Port Charles hit the airwaves on June 1, 1997 as the first spin-off to General Hospital! Filled with the paranormal, it was a shock when the network abruptly cancelled the soap on October 3, 2003, leaving its actors stunned to hear there would be no further tapings!

    Honorable mention::


    Kelly Monaco (played Olivia Locke Morley) (Kelly now plays Samantha McCall on General Hospital.)
    Michael Easton (played Caleb/Michael Morley) (Michael currently plays on One Life to Live as John McBain.)
    Thorsten Kaye (played Ian Thornhart) (Thorsten can be seen as Zach Slater on All My Children.)
    Julie Pinson (played Eve Lambert Collins Thornhart) (Julie now plays Billie Reed on Days of Our Lives.)


    Old Radio Soaps

    The Affairs of Dr Gentry – A radio soap that aired from January of 1957 until 1959.


    Against the Storm – This old-time radio soap had three separate runs during 1939 to 1942. Although it was the first and only radio soap to win the Peabody Award in 1942, sadly the show was canceled later that same year.


    Amanda of Honeymoon Hill – Actress Joy Hathaway played the leading lady, Charity Amanda Dyke Leighton, in this fifteen-minute radio soap, which aired from February 5, 1940 to April 26, 1946.

    Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories – The voice of Jennifer H. Wheeler filled the homes of many for fifteen minutes each day giving cooking tips and home remedies from January 18, 1937 to November 16, 1956 during this radio soap.


    Backstage Wife – Airing from August 5, 1935 to January 2, 1959, fans listened on as Mary Noble’s story was told, detailing her life as the wife of Larry Noble, one of America’s handsomest actors!


    Big Sister – This radio soap told a story of Ruth Evans and how she took care of her younger siblings. The show aired from September 14, 1936 to December 26, 1952.


    The Brighter Day - With a highly religious theme, this show surrounded Reverend Richard Dennis and his four children. It aired on both CBS and NBC during January 4, 1954 to September 28, 1962.


    Bright Horizon – Is said to be one of those shows that is often not recollected among many when engaging in talk about old radio soaps!
    David Harum – This soap was sponsored by Bob-O and ran on NBC Blue from January 1936 to 1950.


    Doctor Paul – This ABC radio soap aired in 1951 and was sponsored by Wesson Oil.


    The Doctor's Wife – NBC first broadcasted this soap on March 3, 1952. Ex Lax sponsored the show till its end in 1956.


    Front Page Farrell – This crime soap starred Richard Widmark as reporter David Farrell and aired from June 23, 1941 to March 26, 1954.
    The Goldbergs – A 1929 comedy soap, which broadcasted until 1946 then later went to NBC television to deliver more comedy from 1949 to 1956.


    Green Valley Line – Although it is unknown exactly when this radio show originated, some say around 1934, it contained a twenty-six-episode story of a small railroad line.


    The Guiding Light - Name now changed to Guiding Light, and the first soap to make the move to television.)


    Hilltop House – This soap took the airwaves on November 1, 1937, starring Bess Johnson, Julie Erickson and Jan Miner and lasted until July 30, 1957. A xylophone was used to produce its theme song titled “Lullaby.”


    John's Other Wife – Broadcasted on the NBC Red and Blue Network beginning in September 1936, the story surrounded a department store owner who not only had a wife but also had ‘another wife’ in his secretary! The soap ended in March of 1942.
    Joyce Jordan, M.D. – Although this CBS soap started on May 30, 1938 as Joyce Jordan Girl Interne, it was later changed to Joyce Jordan, MD in 1942 and carried on through the airwaves until 1948.


    Judy and Jane – This NBC soap only aired in the Midwest and was one of the first transcribed soaps. It started on October 10, 1932 and was sponsored by the J.A. Folger Company.


    Just Plain Bill– Originally titled Bill The Barber, this fifteen-minute radio show stayed on the airwaves for twenty-three years from September 19, 1932 to an unknown date in 1955!


    Kitty Foyle – This soap was the first NBC thirty-minute radio soap and one of the most successful around! Julie Stevens starred in the soap from 1944 until its end in 1960.


    Life Can Be Beautiful – A CBS radio soap that ran from September 5, 1938 to June 25, 1954. Bob Dixon, Ralph Edwards, Don Hancock, Ron Rawson and Ed Herlihy were all announcers at more time or another.


    The Light of the World – This NBC/CBS soap surrounded the words of the ‘good book’ and often found its cast changing repeatedly. The soap began on March 18, 1940 and ran until June 2, 1950.
    Lora Lawton – This NBC soap aired on from May 31, 1943 to 1945 and featured a theme song titled “Just a Little Love.”


    Lorenzo Jones – A comedy of sorts, this radio soap aired from 1937 to 1955 and starred Karl Swenson as Lorenzo Jones, playing opposite Bette Gared as Lorenzo’s wife, Belle.


    Love of Dr. Susan – This 1939 soap featured a Valleyvale doctor and was sponsored by Lux Flakes.


    Ma Perkins – Referred to as “America’s mother of the air,” this radio show began on August 13, 1933 and aired 7,065 episodes, to which leading lady Virginia Payne never missed a beat! One of the last four CBS radio soaps that was canceled in the 1960’S.


    Myrt and Marge – Debuting in 1932, this soap was filled with all the modern day elements such as kidnappings and murder up until the very end when it went off the air in 1946.


    Nona From Nowhere – This 1950’s soap first aired on January 9, 1950 and only lasted a few months.


    The O'Neill’s – This radio soap first aired on NBC Red on October 8, 1935 then took to evenings on December 10, 1934 with a major sponsor, Ivory Soap!


    One Man's Family- Buzzing from radios everywhere, this popular radio soap ran for twenty-seven years – the longest of any radio on the American broadcasting current from April 29, 1932 to 1959!


    Our Gal Sunday – This story took you through the life of a Colorado orphan and aired from 1937 to 1959. The Sons of the Pioneers hit “Red River Valley” was also incorporated into this radio soap as its theme song.


    Painted Dreams – Premiering on October 20, 1930, some remember this as being the very first radio soap on air!


    Pepper Young's Family – This soap broadcasted from October 2, 1932 with a cast including Burgess Meredith, Elizabeth Wragge, Jack Roseleigh and Marion Barney. However, it was canceled shortly after on January 22, 1933.


    Perry Mason – Airing October 18, 1943, this soap was filled with drama and intrigue surrounding the Perry Mason character who was always out for justice! It wasn’t until December 30, 1955 when the show called it quits.


    Portia Faces Life – Although this started out as a radio show in 1940, it had a brief run on television from 1954 to 1955 and starred Frances Reid (Days of Our Lives Alice Horton)!


    Pretty Kitty Kelly – Debuting in 1937, this show was jam packed with romance and adventure as a woman adjusts to life in America after suffering from amnesia! It’s run lasted until 1940.


    The Right to Happiness – One of the last four CBS radio soaps that was canceled in the 1960’S.


    Road of Life – A Proctor and Gamble soap featuring Don McLaughlin and Virginia Dywer.
    The Romance of Helen Trent – Airing in 1933, surrounding a thirty-five year old dressmaker, this soap was a product of Frank and Anne Hummert who were recognized as being the most prolific producers of all radio time!

    Unfortunately, in 1960 the show was canceled.
    Rosemary – This NBC turned CBS soap was aimed toward the ‘women of today.’ It first hit the airwaves on October 2, 1944 and lasted until July 1, 1955.


    The Second Mrs. Burton – One of the last four CBS radio soaps that was canceled in the 1960’S.


    Second Spring – A radio soap broadcasted during the fifties.


    Stella Dallas – Based on the 1920’s novel by Oliver Prouty, this radio soap surrounded a woman who put her daughter’s happiness before her own. Although the exact date is unknown, it was said to air for eighteen years between the 1930’s and 1940’s.


    The Story of Mary Marlin – American television and film actress Shirley Mitchell once had a role in this radio soap!


    The Strange Romance of Evelyn Winters – This soap revolves around a man who suddenly is given guardianship of a girl named Evelyn Winters. It aired on CBS from November 20, 1944 until sometime in 1948.


    This is Nora Drake – This 1947 soap ran alongside some of the most popular radio programs for twelve successful years until its cancellation in 1959.


    Today's Children – Airing from 1932 to 1950, this soap was the first nationally syndicated radio show in the United States!


    Valiant Lady – The famous Margaret Hamilton (the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of OZ) had a role in this radio soap, which aired from 1932 to 1952.


    We Love and Learn – Although this CBS soap aired on April 3, 1942, it originally took the airwaves in 1941 under the title The Twig Is Bent. Regardless, it only lasted until 1942.


    Wendy Warren and the News – A soap radio show that played from 1947 – 1958.


    When a Girl Marries – Aired from 1939 to 1958.


    The Woman in My House – This NBC radio soap aired from 1951 to 1959 and was sponsored by Manhattan Soap.


    Woman in White – This popular radio soap was created by Irna Phillips and ran from 1938 to 1947.


    A Woman of America – Starring Anne Seymour, this 1943 soap was about a woman who pioneered west along the Oregon Trail. However, the premise wasn’t very successful, which caused its cancellation in 1946.


    A Woman to Remember- February 21, 1949 - July 15, 1949. The show started as a daytime soap but moved to primetime in May 2, 1949.


    Young Doctor Malone - Created by Irna Philips and ran on radio and television from 1939 - 1963. Cast included: Nicolas Coster, Hugh Franklin, Joan Hackett, Diana Hyland, Emily McLaughlin, Dick Van Patten, Joyce Van Patten, Kathleen Widdoes, Ann Williams and Lesley Woods. One of the last four CBS radio soaps that was canceled in the 1960’S.


    Young Widder Brown - Radio soap opera debuted on July 26, 1938 - 1956.


    Hopefully we've covered most if not all of the past soaps, and we hope you've enjoyed your walk down memory lane! We consider that since the shows have been around for 70 years, we will still be watching, listening to them or reading about them for years to come.


    For those who remember any of the past soaps, we encourage you to comment below!

    Special thanks to Amy Mistretta for helping me do research! This article was a long time in the making!



    Christine Fix
    Editor-in-Chief
    Soaps.com


    email PRINTABLE VERSION - View a printer friendly version of this article

    Please register and login to be able to email this article to your friends

    USER COMMENTS

    Posted by vernonda2n1 at Thursday, October 18 2007 07:41 AM

    I have truly gone down to saops memory lane, now i remember watching THE EDGE OF NIGHT in the 1970's as a child.
    Don Hastings was a part of this show.
    This show was so wild at times.
    30 minutes a day was all, i needed to get me through those awful long hospital stays.
    Payton Place, came around 1 year after i was born in 1963. Thanks for the memory lane stroll in soapland, Christine and Amy "Mother M".

    Posted by kidsauthor at Monday, February 11 2008 07:22 PM

    When I was a little girl, I remeber my mother watching a soap called "From these Roots", does anyone have any info on this one???

    MORE COMMENTS: page:

    Please Register and login to post your comments.
    » Back to Latest News