Soap operas have been a mainstay of television for many years. The name soap opera comes from soap manufacturers mainly sponsoring radio dramas back in the 1930s.
There are many different series that have been an integral part of people’s lives on an almost daily basis for decades. There are many interesting, shocking, and surprising facts that you might learn about your favorite soap opera by reading this article.
The Young and the Restless has reached almost 12,000 episodes across 47 seasons. It started in 1973 and it is still going strong today. The original name for the series when it started was The Innocent Years, with Jill Abbott being the longest character on the show, having been there from the very beginning.
One of the stranger happenings on the show was two siblings in real-life playing a married couple on the show. Thankfully, there were no romantic scenes involving the pair, with Heather eventually leaving the show and was replaced by Amelia Heinle. The actress with the longest-running service to the show was Jeanne Cooper. She began on the show in 1973 and her last appearance came in May 2013, just a few days before she passed away.
As the World Turns began in 1956 and came to an end in 2010 after 54 seasons and more than 13,800 episodes. For 20 consecutive years, it was at the top of the rankings as the leading daytime soap. It was also the starting of the career of many leading actors, such as Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried, and Meg Ryan to name a few.
It was the first soap that was 30 minutes in length, with most soaps up to that time being only about 15 minutes in total length. Three longest service soap opera actors in America all came from As the World Turns, with Helen Wagner appearing on the show for 54 years.
Days of Our Lives has had 55 seasons since it first aired in 1965. In this time, it has aired over 13,800 episodes and it is still going strong, having a committed fan base. Its episodes were half an hour in length for some time until they were lengthened to an hour in 1975.
One of the firsts for the show was having the first real-life twins in the history of soap operas, with the Evans sisters starting to appear in 1976. Drake Hogestyn holds the distinction of having played seven separate roles on the show. It was also the first soap opera that cast a man in the role of a woman.
General Hospital was started in 1963 and it is still going strong today. There have been more than 14,500 episodes aired, with 285 awards won over the years. Originally, the episodes were half an hour in length, being extended to 45 minutes in 1976, and then a couple of years later it was an hour show.
When Laura and Luke got married on the show, it was the most-watched hour in the history of daytime television in 1981. For many years, the city in which the show was filmed was kept secret, with it eventually being revealed that it was filmed in Port Charles.
Guiding Light aired more than 15,700 episodes before it finished in 2009, has been airing since 1952. There were a total of 57 seasons of this show. The daytime drama still has the record for the television drama that is airing for the longest time. It also is one of the longest-running shows of any kind on television, having made its debut on CBS Television in 1952.
It had previously been a radio drama show since 1937. The show finally came to an end in April 2009 as ratings were low. Many of the early episodes of this soap opera have been lost forever because they were not really archived until the late 1970s.
As you can see, there have been many magnificent soap operas shows over the years. These are just some of the leading American soap operas that gained massive popularity over the years.
You can see some of the great global successes in the infographic below, as well as learning all sorts of other interesting facts about soap operas in America.