It seems like soap opera heaven is littered with too many shows we still miss dearly. These five shows left a void in our lives that we continue to feel to this day. Let’s remember some of the reasons we had to catch these well-missed shows every day.
All My Children
Created by the legendary Agnes Nixon and premiering in 1970, this beloved soap was about young love and focused on two families – the middle class Martins and the wealthy Tylers. Of course, there was Mona Kane and her daughter Erica, who wanted to grab the world by the tail.
Susan Lucci was cast in the role–and the rest is history. Pine Valley was home to legendary couples like Greg and Jenny, Angie and Jessie, Brooke and Adam, Tad and Dixie and so many more. All My Children was cancelled in 2011 (but aired its last episode on ABC in 2012) and was reborn for a brief time online in 2013.
Created for radio in 1937 by the mother of soap operas, Irna Phillips, Guiding Light moved to television in 1952 – but remained on both for four years until the radio version stopped. The show first centered on Reverend Rutledge and his sermons to his flock in Five Points.
It later evolved to become more about the trials and tribulations of the Bauer family. In the 1980s, the blue-collar Reardons, rich Spauldings, and eventually the Cooper and Lewis clans joined the Bauers as Springfield’s core.
Sweeping love stories for couples like Josh and Reva, Billy and Vanessa, and Beth and Phillip captured our hearts while villains like Roger Thorpe and Alan Spaulding kept us on the edge of our seats.
The show hit hard times and spent the last couple of years on a shoestring budget in an effort to save it. It eventually left the airwaves in 2009 as the longest running soap opera of all time.
Created by Bridget and Jerome Dobson (her parents created General Hospital) in 1984, Santa Barbara became a cult favorite for a hipper generation of soap viewers looking for a fresh take on soaps. Crazy dream sequences, outlandish antics, and extremely smart dialogue set this upstart apart from the others.
It followed the lives of families like the wealthy Capwells, blue blood Lockridges, middle class Perkins, and the struggling Andrades. The love stories of Cruz and Eden, Joe and Kelly, and Laken and Ted started the show off right.
Later years gave us Mason and Julia, Keith and Gina, and a host of others to love. The show was so different, it was hard for it to garner the ratings it needed. Santa Barbara was cancelled at less than a decade old in 1993.
One Life to Live
Agnes Nixon created this show in 1968 to reflect the social changes rippling across the United States at the time. The ethnically diverse cast and focus on social issues set this show apart from the others.
Stories like African-American Carla Gray “passing” for white stunned audiences at the time. Perhaps one of its greatest moments was the culmination of several stories coming to a head when the respectable doctor’s wife, Karen Wolek – who had hidden her life as a prostitute – had to testify on the witness stand in front of Llanview’s most upstanding citizens.
Later stories about Tina’s loves, the arrival of the Buchanans, the rivalry between Dorian and Viki, and so many others captivated audiences until the show followed the same path as its sister ssoap, All My Children. It also left the air in 2012, and briefly reappeared on the web in 2013.
As the World Turns
Also created by Irna Phillips, As the World Turns hit the airwaves in 1956 as a 30-minute soap opera, unheard of at that time. Completely tailored to television audiences in its style, it was a hit within a year as it followed the lives of the Hughes and Lowell families.
The soap spawned the first ever young “super couple” with Penny and Jeff. From 1958 through 1978, the show spent an unprecedented reign as Nielsen’s #1 daytime show (Y&R broke the record in 2008).
In the early years, the antics of Lisa enthralled viewers, while in later years, romances like Steve and Betsy, Tom and Margo, Sierra and Craig, Holden and Lily, and Jack and Carly made Oakdale the place to be. The show sadly left the air in 2010.
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