NBC Soap Operas: Memories and Facts

When I was growing up, my mom watched the soap operas on NBC. By the time I was in middle school, I started watching her shows too. Even though she was usually home, once we got a VCR she taped all three shows every day. We would marathon them over the weekend. 

I had a few favorite couples on Santa Barbara, several more on Another World, and pretty much everyone on Days of our Lives. I still have favorite couples on Days because it’s still airing new episodes daily on NBC. Santa Barbara ended on January 15, 1993 and Another World finished their run on June 25, 1999. 

My favorite couples on Santa Barbara were Cruz Castillo and Eden Capwell (A. Martinez and Marcy Walker) and Mason and Julia (Lane Davies and Nancy Lee Grahn). Cruz and Eden were the serious couple with big dramatic plot lines. Mason and Julia were the comic relief couple. I remember Mason always had some kind of scheme going. I remember Julia was sometimes a willing accomplice and other times she was annoyed with Mason. 

Some Santa Barbara actors went on to other projects following their runs on the show. Grahn is now on General Hospital, ABC’s last remaining daytime serial. A. Martinez appeared in Longmire and on Days of our Lives

Nicholas Coster (who played Lionel Lockridge) and Jed Allan (C.C. Capwell) both had roles on Beverly Hills 90210. Allan played the father of Ian Ziering’s Steve Sanders and Coster played the father of future Friends star Matthew “Chandler Bing” Perry. One of Santa Barbara’s most successful cast members was Robin Wright, The Princess Bride herself

My favorite couples on Another World were Vicky Hudson and Ryan Harrison (Jensen Buchanan and Paul Michael Valley), Frankie Frame and Cass Winthrop (Alice Barrett and Stephen Schnetzer) Cindy Brooke and Gabe McNamara (Kim Rhodes and John Bolger) Dean Frame and Jenna Norris (Ricky Paull Goldin and Alla Korot) and Gary and Josie (Timothy Gibbs and Amy Carlson). 

Some interesting tidbits about some of the Another World cast members: Kim Rhodes later went on to a recurring role on Supernatural. John Bolger is the great nephew of Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. Amy Carlson played the wife of Donnie Wahlberg (and daughter in law of Tom Selleck) on Blue Bloods from 2010-2017. Also, Lindsay Lohan played Alli Fowler. 

The fact that Days of our Lives is still running now is nothing short of a miracle. It was rumored to be on the chopping block in the mid-1990’s, but Another World got the ax instead. It seems like each of the big three networks are holding on to their last one or two daytime dramas. They know the second the one of the few remaining serials gets cancelled, they will all be gone, officially ending an era. 

A lot of the couples I’m rooting for when I watch Days now are the children (and in some cases, grandchildren) of the couples I loved when I was younger. 

The very first couple was Tom and Alice Horton, played by MacDonald Carey and Frances Reid. Tom was the town doctor and MacDonald Carey’s voice can still be heard in the iconic opening sequence, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of our Lives.” The show has also continued the tradition of featuring Alice’s famous doughnuts. 

In addition to Tom and Alice, other couples I’ve enjoyed watching through the years are: Shawn and Caroline Brady (Frank Parker and Peggy McCay), Doug and Julie Williams (real-life couple Bill and Susan Seaforth Hayes), Bo and Hope Williams Brady (Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso), John and Dr. Marlena Evans Brady Black (Drake Hogestyn and Deirdre Hall), Shane and Kimberly Brady Donovan (Charles Shaughnessy and Patsy Pease), Steve and Dr. Kayla Brady Johnson (Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans), Eugene and Calliope Bradford (John DeLancie and Arleen Sorkin), Tony and Anna DiMera (Thaoo Penghlis and Leann Hunley), Justin and Adrienne Johnson Kiriakis (Wally Kurth and Judi Evans), Jack and Jennifer Devereaux (Matthew Ashford and Melissa Reeves), Lucas Horton and Sami Brady (Bryan Dattilo and Alison Sweeney) and Eric Brady and Nicole Walker (Jensen Ackles and Arianne Zuker). 

Some of those names probably sounded familiar. Let’s start with Deirdre Hall, who played Electra Woman in segments of The Krofft Supershow titled Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Hall also starred on the 1980’s family drama Our House. On Our House, she played Wilford Brimley’s daughter-in-law and mother to Shannen Doherty and Chad Allen). 

Charles Shaughnessy went on to star as Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield on Fran Drescher’s sitcom, The Nanny in the 1990’s. John DeLancie portrayed the eccentric “Q” on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Ali Sweeney’s character’s full name is Samantha Gene Brady, the “Gene” in Eugene’s honor. 

Arleen Sorkin hosted America’s Funniest People with Dave Coulier. More importantly, Calliope was the inspiration for the creation of Batman villain Harley Quinn. Alison Sweeney hosted weight loss reality show The Biggest Loser and has had two TV mystery movie franchises through the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. Jensen Ackles played Sami’s twin brother Eric Brady in the 1990’s and earlier this year, completed a fifteen year run on Supernatural

Some of the actors have appeared on multiple soaps. Wally Kurth (Justin Kiriakis on Days of our Lives) also plays a character on ABC’s General Hospital. Judi Evans played Adrienne Johnson Kiriakis on Days of our Lives and played Paulina Cory on Another World. She’s currently playing Adrienne’s lookalike Bonnie Lockhart on Days of our Lives

At the beginning of the 2000’s, Days of our Lives made history with the televised wedding of gay couple Will Horton and Jackson “Sonny” Kiriakis, (Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith.) Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch it at that time because the networks were transitioning to digital. 

Our VCR wouldn’t record it anymore and every time I tried to watch it online it just kept buffering. I came back to it a few years later when we finally got a DVR and I’ve been watching it every week since then. I’m watching Monday’s episode of this past week as I type this. 

The other night, I dressed up one of my Barbie dolls to look like Hope Williams Brady or her daughter, Ciara, (Victoria Konefal) Ciara’s middle name is Alice, by the way, after her grandmother. She also rides her father’s motorcycle.

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About Karen Flieger 35 Articles
I was born in the late 1970’s, spent my childhood in the 1980’s, and my pre-teen and teen years in the 1990’s. I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2001 with a B.A. in English. I collect various forms of media (books, music, movies, and television shows) as well as plush toys, dolls, and Funko figures.