American Daytime TV Soap Operas (Past and Present)

by tbell1826 | created - 12 Jan 2017 | updated - 12 Jan 2017 | Public
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1. Faraway Hill (1946– )

30 min | Drama

Newly widowed New Yorker Karen St. John moves to a rural town to be close to her relatives. There she falls for a man who was adopted by her relatives when he was a boy. But, he's already ... See full summary »

Stars: Flora Campbell, Mel Brandt, Julie Christy, Barry Doig

Votes: 6

2. These Are My Children (1949– )


One of the first television soap operas, this show focused on an immigrant Irish family who lived in a boarding house in Chicago.

Stars: Joan Arlt, Jane Brooksmith, George Kluge, Eloise Krummer

Votes: 5

3. A Woman to Remember (1949– )

15 min

One of television's first daytime serial dramas (which soon moved to an early-evening slot), this was a creative serial-within-a-serial about the actors and crew on a fictitious radio soap ... See full summary »

Stars: Patricia Wheel, Joan Catlin, John Raby, Frankie Thomas

Votes: 11

4. One Man's Family (1949–1955)

30 min | Drama

This soap opera was the TV version of the radio serial that had begun in 1932. It tells the story of San Francisco banker Henry Barbour and his family, i.e., Paul, the eldest son; Hazel, ... See full summary »

Stars: Martin Dean, Emerson Treacy, Jack Webb, Anne Whitfield

Votes: 12

5. The First Hundred Years (1950–1952)

Attorney Chris and Connie Martin are newlyweds adjusting to married life in New York City. Both sets of parents live nearby to give sage advice and not interfere too much in their children's lives.

Stars: Jimmy Lydon, Nana Bryant, Valerie Cossart, Robert Donley

Votes: 7

6. Hawkins Falls: A Television Novel (1950–1955)

15 min | Drama

Life in small-town America during the 1950s. Broadcast live, some episodes survive as kinescopes.

Stars: Bernardine Flynn, Maurice Copeland, Jim Bannon, Arthur Peterson

Votes: 15

7. Fairmeadows, U.S.A. (1951– )

30 min | Drama

After his partner kills himself for losing $250,000, John Olcott and his family leave the big city and decide to start anew in the country town of Fairmeadows. However, they face hardships ... See full summary »

Stars: Hazel Dawn Jr., Lauren Gilbert, Monica Lovett, Ruth Matteson

Votes: 5

8. The Egg and I (1951–1952)

15 min | Comedy

Newlywed city girl Betty joins husband Jim in his dream of owning a farm. The couple begin raising chickens and getting advice from neighbors the Kettles. Maw Kettle is practical, Paw a bit... See full summary »

Stars: Doris Rich, John Craven, Pat Kirkland, Grady Sutton

9. Search for Tomorrow (1951–1986)

30 min | Drama, Romance

Jo Gardner lived in Henderson where she wed many times. She was a motel owner, librarian, then a B&B owner with best pal Stu Bergman. Jo's daughter Patti and Janet Bergman were good friends. Stu married 1st Marge, then Ellie.

Stars: Mary Stuart, Sherry Mathis, Lisa Peluso, Jane Krakowski

Votes: 200

10. Love of Life (1951–1980)

25 min | Drama, Romance

Initially set in fictional Barrowsville, New York, this serial tells the story of extremely disparate siblings: long-suffering Vanessa Dale and her bitchy sister Meg. After Meg was written ... See full summary »

Stars: Peggy McCay, Ron Tomme, Tudi Wiggins, Birgitta Tolksdorf

Votes: 71

11. Martinsville, U.S.A. (1951– )

15 min | Drama

The plot of this 15-minute daytime drama centered around Susan Martin, a paralyzed lawyer, and her involvement in the lives of those around her, especially the man she loves, Bill Carter, and the beloved family housekeeper, Laura.

Stars: Susan Peters, Kathryn Gill, Don Hanmer, Gerry Lock

Votes: 6

12. Guiding Light (1952–2009)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, Romance

Guiding Light takes place in the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield and centers on the middle class Bauer family.

Stars: Kim Zimmer, Beth Chamberlin, Maureen Garrett, Robert Newman

Votes: 1,372

13. Valiant Lady (1953–1957)

15 min | Drama

Helen Emerson was daytime's "valiant lady", a fortyish matron who was widowed in the serial's first year. Helen valiantly endured sudden financial hardship while alternately fretting over ... See full summary »

Stars: Flora Campbell, James Kirkwood Jr., Nancy Coleman, Jerome Cowan

Votes: 10

14. Follow Your Heart (1953– )

15 min

A TV remake of Elaine Sterne Carrington's radio serial When A Girl Marries, Follow Your Heart was the story of wealthy Julie Fielding who went against her mother and fell in love with Harry... See full summary »

Stars: Sally Brophy, Louis Hallister, Anne Seymour, Nancy Sheridan

16. Three Steps to Heaven (1953– )

15 min | Drama

Mary Claire Thurmond, nicknamed Poco, arrives in NYC to become a model by following 3 steps. Poco quickly gains an admirer in Bill Morgan but also a rival in the neurotic Jennifer Alden from River Lake

Stars: Kathleen Maguire, Lori March, Mark Roberts, John Marley

Votes: 6

17. The Brighter Day (1954–1962)

25 min | Drama

"Our years are as the falling leaves. We live, we love, we dream, and then we go. But somehow, we keep hoping that our dreams come true on that brighter day." These words opened this ... See full summary »

Stars: Blair Davies, Mona Bruns, Walter Brooke, Murial Williams

Votes: 19

18. The Secret Storm (1954–1974)

30 min | Drama, Romance

Family secrets and hidden passions are the hallmarks of this dark, moody serial. Set in the fictional community of Woodbridge, New York, The Secret Storm tells the story of the ... See full summary »

Stars: Eleanor Phelps, Keith Charles, Joan Crawford, Peter Hobbs

Votes: 142

19. The Greatest Gift (1954–1955)

15 min | Drama

This short-lived NBC soap centered around Dr. Eve Allen, portrayed by Anne Burr. When her uncle died, she decides to move to Connecticut and take over his small town practice. The original ... See full summary »

Stars: Anne Burr, Ward Costello, Jack Klugman, Anne Meara

20. Concerning Miss Marlowe (1954– )


This daytime serial ran for exactly one year (July, 1954 to July, 1955) and concentrated on the forgettable adventures of a forty-year-old New York actress. Its contribution to TV history ... See full summary »

Stars: Louise Allbritton, Patricia Bosworth, Edwin Brian, Sarah Burton

21. First Love (1954– )


This short-lived soap opera centered around newlyweds Zack and Laurie James and the interactions they had with others. Specifically it was the interaction with good friends, Chris and Amy, another couple and Laurie's family.

Stars: Tod Andrews, Patricia Barry, Val Dufour, Paul McGrath

Votes: 6

22. Golden Windows (1954– )

This short-lived NBC soap opera centered around Juliet Goodwin, played by Lelia Martin, who leaves her home in Maine to pursue a singing career in New York City.

Stars: Ralph Camargo, Barbara Cook, Eric Dressler, Dean Harens

24. Woman with a Past (1954– )

15 min | Drama, Mystery

Lynn Sherwood is a New York dress designer who has arrived in town with her daughter, Diane, and a terrible secret. This secret, that Diane was illegitimate, becomes her worst nightmare, as... See full summary »

Stars: Constance Ford, Geraldine Brooks, Felice Camargo, Barbara Myers

Votes: 5

26. A Time to Live (1954– )

15 min | Drama

Julie Byron is an up-and-coming writer who reports on various scandals around town. However, one hits close to home when her boyfriend, Chick Buchanan, is framed for the murder of Lenore Eustice.

Stars: Viola Berwick, Barbara Foley, Len Wayland, Zachary Charles

27. As the World Turns (1956–2010)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, Romance

The focus in on the upper class Hughes and Stewart families plus their tribulations in Midwest Oakdale. The Stewarts fade away eventually to be replaced by the rural Snyders and wealthy Lucinda Walsh with her many intrigues.

Stars: Colleen Zenk, Kelly Menighan, Don Hastings, Jon Hensley

Votes: 1,736

28. The Edge of Night (1956–1984)

30 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

In the city of Monticello, attorney Mike Karr and his colleagues are involved in solving crimes and intrigue which touch the lives of many citizens. Some such citizens include dowager ... See full summary »

Stars: Ann Flood, Joel Crothers, Sharon Gabet, Forrest Compton

Votes: 301

29. Kitty Foyle (1958– )

30 min | Drama

"Kitty Foyle" was a radio serial for sixteen years before coming to life on the small screen in January, 1958. It's brief run-it was cancelled in June, 1958-was notable primarily for its ... See full summary »

Stars: Kathleen Murray, Ralph Dunne, Bob Hastings, William Redfield

Votes: 9

30. Young Dr. Malone (1958–1963)

30 min | Drama

Set in fictional Denison, Maryland, this daytime serial focused the on the father-and-son team of doctors Jerry and David Malone, who practiced at Valley Hospital. "Young Dr. Malone" was ... See full summary »

Stars: John Connell, William Prince, Augusta Dabney, Michael H. Ingram

Votes: 15

31. From These Roots (1958–1961)

30 min | Drama

The fictional New England community of Strathfield was the setting for this remarkably well-written serial. The drama focused on the romantic exploits of newspaper journalist Liz Fraser, ... See full summary »

Stars: Vera Allen, Grant Code, Ann Flood, Sarah Handy

Votes: 10

32. The Clear Horizon (1960–1962)

30 min | Drama

Space opera would be a more accurate description of this daytime serial, which focused on astronaut Roy Selby, his family, and his co-workers at Cape Canaveral.

Stars: Jan Shepard, Phyllis Avery, Beau Bridges, Ted Knight

Votes: 9

33. Full Circle (1960–1961)

30 min | Drama

This short-lived (June, 1960 to March, 1961) daytime serial starred a very young Dyan Cannon as Lisa Crowder, a young widow who fell in love with a romantic drifter.

Stars: Dyan Cannon, Jean Byron, Sam Edwards, Robert Fortier

35. General Hospital (1963– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

Families, friends, enemies and lovers experience life-changing events in the large upstate New York city of Port Charles, which has a busy hospital, upscale hotel, cozy diner and dangerous waterfront frequented by the criminal underworld.

Stars: Maurice Benard, Steve Burton, Laura Wright, Kelly Monaco

Votes: 4,052

36. The Doctors (1963–1982)

30 min | Drama, Romance

Dr. Matt Powers is head of Hope Memorial Hospital in the town of Madison, concerning himself with the staff and patients with their attending dramas. He is primarily supported by his wife ... See full summary »

Stars: James Pritchett, David O'Brien, Lydia Bruce, Elizabeth Hubbard

Votes: 148

37. Ben Jerrod (1963– )

30 min | Drama

Like CBS-TV's "The Edge of Night", this serial focused on the legal exploits of a small-town attorney. Title character Ben Jerrod practiced law in the fictional community of Indian Hill, ... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Ryan, Addison Richards, Jeanne Baird, Paul Geary

Votes: 7

38. Another World (1964–1999)

TV-14 | 90 min | Drama, Romance

The continuing story of life in the Midwestern town of Bay City, and the love, loss, trials, and triumph of its residents, who come from different backgrounds and social circles. Those who ... See full summary »

Stars: Victoria Wyndham, Constance Ford, Hugh Marlowe, Beverlee McKinsey

Votes: 765

39. A Flame in the Wind (1964–1966)

25 min | Drama, Romance

Drama centered in the town of Haviland with the focus on the Farrell, Reynolds, and Skreba/Driscoll families. Fellow citizen Kate Austen has written a book with the flawed characters based on people she knows.

Stars: Kathleen Maguire, Lesley Woods, Richard Thomas, Tom Holland

Votes: 7

40. The Young Marrieds (1964–1966)

30 min | Drama

"The Young Marrieds" centered around the difficulties in the lives of several newly-married couples. There were Walter and Ann Reynolds (Walter was having an affair with model Carol West); ... See full summary »

Stars: Susan Brown, Michael T. Mikler, Peggy McCay, Paul Picerni

Votes: 17

43. Morning Star (1965– )

30 min | Drama

A soap centered on aspiring fashion designer Katy Elliot living in New York, her Connecticut family, and other people in her orbit.

Stars: Elizabeth Perry, Edward Mallory, Adrianne Ellis, Nina Roman

Votes: 10

44. Never Too Young (1965–1966)

25 min | Drama

Alfy ran The High Dive, the younger set hang out featuring the hottest bands. His girl Barbara wanted him to be more ambitious. Race car driver Chet won't stay faithful to Joy while Tad worried an injury will ruin his football career.

Stars: Tony Dow, Merry Anders, Michael Blodgett, David Watson

Votes: 26

45. Paradise Bay (1965– )

30 min | Drama

The California coastal community of Paradise Bay was the setting for this daytime soap. The serial focused on the Morgan family and their involvement in the mysterious murder of teenager ... See full summary »

Stars: Keith Andes, Marion Ross, Heather North, Dennis Cole

Votes: 12

46. Days of Our Lives (1965– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, Romance

A chronicle of the lives, loves, trials and tribulations of the citizens of the fictional city of Salem.

Stars: Frances Reid, John Clarke, Macdonald Carey, Josh Taylor

Votes: 5,778

47. Dark Shadows (1966–1971)

TV-PG | 30 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

The rich Collins family of Collinsport, Maine is tormented by strange occurrences.

Stars: Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Alexandra Isles, Nancy Barrett

Votes: 3,480

48. Love Is a Many Splendored Thing (1967–1973)

30 min | Drama

A sort of sequel to the 1955 movie, "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" first involved Mia Elliot, a Korean immigrant who fell in love with Paul Bradley and Dr. Jim Abbott. These interracial ... See full summary »

Stars: Robert Burr, Leslie Charleson, Donna Mills, Andrea Marcovicci

Votes: 50

49. One Life to Live (1968–2013)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama, Romance

One Life to Live centres takes place in the fictional town of Llanview, PA.around the wealthy Lord family, and the middle-class Woleks and Rileys.

Stars: Erika Slezak, Michael Easton, Kristen Alderson, Kassie Wesley DePaiva

Votes: 2,086

50. Hidden Faces (1968–1969)

30 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery