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John Paschal/JPI (2), Aaron Montgomery/JPI, Chris D/JPI

March 23, 1987 marked the beginning of an era for CBS Daytime.

To think, if Capitol hadn’t taken a nosedive in the ratings in the mid-1980s, there might never have been The Bold and the Beautiful. But, of course, the D.C.-set soap did take such a wrong turn that CBS began entertaining pitches from daytime MVPs such as Paul Rauch (One Life to Live) and Claire Labine (Ryan’s Hope). In the end, the show selected to replace Capitol was one from William J. and Lee Phillip Bell, the co-creators of the network’s monster hit, The Young and the Restless.

And what a show it was, too — and is. Set in Los Angeles’ heart of the fashion business, The Bold and the Beautiful stitched up respectable ratings from the get-go, then in the early ’90s was catapulted to near the top of the heap with its first crossover with sister soap Young & Restless — one that found that show’s most loathed villainess Sheila Carter moving West to continue her reign of terror on a less suspecting population.

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From left, that’s Jack Wagner (ex-Nick), Ashley Jones (ex-Bridget), original cast member John McCook (Eric), Rena Sofer (Quinn), the late Darlene Conley (Sally), Bobbie Eakes (ex-Macy), Darin Brooks (Wyatt) and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (Steffy).

More: Bold & Beautiful’s greatest love triangles ever [PHOTOS]

Over the years, The Bold and the Beautiful has introduced one unforgettable character (Susan Flannery’s indomitable Stephanie Forrester) after another (the late Darlene Conley’s irrepressible Sally Spectra) after another (Scott Clifton’s perpetually indecisive Liam Spencer). It’s won more Daytime Emmys than a warehouse could contain. And it’s come to be the most-watched soap in the world. (By the time the global audience is added to the US one, it’s said to reach an estimated 36.2 million viewers.)

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From left, that’s Jacob Young (ex-Rick), Karla Mosley (ex-Maya), Kimberlin Brown (ex-Sheila), Flannery, Clifton with Kim Matula (ex-Hope), original cast member Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) and Ronn Moss (ex-Ridge).

More: Bold & Beautiful’s all-time best characters, ranked [PHOTOS]

If the show means as much to anyone as it does its devoted fans, it’s the cast. Just ask Don Diamont, who has played “Dollar Bill” Spencer since… well, immediately after his long run as Young & Restless’ Brad Carlton came to an end. “To come on as a character who was something of an island and have them essentially create an entire family around him? That was important,” he tells Soaps.com, “because obviously on a soap opera, characters need connections. You need to be part of something bigger.

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate,” he continues. “This show is iconic. It’s been my great joy and my privilege” to be a part of it.

On the occasion of the soap’s 34th anniversary, join us, won’t you, in cracking open a photo album full of memories, of the stories and stars that have for all these years kept The Bold and the Beautiful addictive and riveting.