Saying "I Do" in the Afternoon

All my Children Wedding (Erica and Tom)
Erica Kane married Tom Cudahy in 1978
This was Erica's third trip down the aisle.
All My Children, ABC

When ABC announced last week that it is canceling two long-running soap operas, "All My Children" and "One Life to Live," I felt emotion and disbelief.  Honestly,  I haven't watched soap operas in many years. Still, something was comforting knowing that the people of Pine Valley and Llanview were having issues, and their tumultuous lives made your own seem so reasonable and calm even on your worse days.

Soap Operas make me think of my Grandma Powell.   She was a die-hard CBS soap fan, and for three hours a day, she would watch her "stories."  She deserved it.  She was up daily by 4 am, worked in her garden all morning,  shelled peas for lunch then cooked a vast vegetable garden spread that would melt in your mouth.   By the time the "Young and Restless" aired, she was ready to sit awhile.  She turned me on to this little guilty pleasure called a soap opera.  I would never let my child watch a soap opera today, but it was a different time back then.  We didn't even have car seats!

I grew up in the mountains of NC, and our TV reception was so poor that ABC was our clearest channel in the town.  As a result,  my girlfriends and I were all fans of  "All My Children," "One Life to Live," and "General Hospital."  GH was on right after school, and I used a (GASP) VCR to record (yes, that dinosaur)  the shows while we are in school.    In college, I was perhaps even guilty of scheduling a few college courses so that it would not interfere with "All My Children."   After my days at UNC,  I was lucky enough to work for an ABC TV affiliate, so my soaps were on the TV all the time in our studios, editing bays, and newsroom.    Heaven help us if big news struck at 1 pm!  My radio buddy joked that I never scheduled an interview between the hours of 1 pm and 2 pm, and I have to admit he is kind of right when I could do my own scheduling.   If a soap wedding was being held, then he was right on the money! 

The Best in Soap Opera Weddings

Soap Opera weddings can rival royal weddings in style, but they can be even more fun because you can expect the unexpected.  A tornado may crash the reception,  the groom's wife who everyone presumed dead will show up at the right time before the wedding couple can say, "I do," or the bride's water may break and she has to be rushed to the hospital just as she walks down the aisle.

A TV era, as we know it, is coming to an end, and since our big royal wedding is right around the corner,   I thought now would be an excellent time to showcase some of our favorite weddings in the daytime.   Hines-Sight Blog Facebook fans helped compile this list as well.    Many of these soap opera couples married, divorced, married others, and remarried each other again, and again.   Soap writers know that weddings get ratings! 

All my Children Wedding (Cliff and Nina)
Dr. Cliff Warner and Nina Cortlandt, 1980
The two wed each other four different times.
All My Children

I have to throw in this tidbit.  I met Peter Bergman, who played Dr. Cliff Warner in 1982 on a trip to NYC with Western Carolina University's Theatre Department.  I was about to die when he walked into that room.   I was 14, and "in love."  He was so lovely, and even talked with me about Erica Kane in the elevator.  He later moved on to the "Young and Restless" to play "Jack Abbott," and I'm sure he was married many times over there as well.

Leigh Powell Hines with Peter Bergman as a child
My mom, Peter Bergman, and me in NYC in 1982

Josh and Reva of the Guiding Light
Josh and Reva at their first wedding in 1989
The pair were wed and divorced three times, and reunited on the soaps finale.
Guiding Light

Tad and Dixie wedding on All My Children
Tad and Dixie at their first wedding in 1989
The two were married to each other three times. She was killed off, so there was no chance of a fourth wedding.
All My Children


Frisco and Felicia wedding on General Hospital
Frisco and Felicia's wedding in 1986
Surprisingly, they were only married once and were later divorced, but Frisco was presumed dead for many years.
The actors who played Frisco and Felicia married each other as well, but they also divorced.
General Hospital

Victor and Nikki on The Young and Restless
Nikki and Victor at their first wedding in 1984
They have been married and divorced twice, and in several off/on relationships through the years.
They are still in Genoa City but are in other the moment.
The Young and the Restless

Steve and Betsy (Meg Ryan) on As the World Turns
Steve and Betsy's wedding in 1984
They were married once but later divorced.  And yes, that is Meg Ryan!
This was the second-highest-rated soap hour with 20 million viewers.
As the World Turns

Bo and Hope on Days of our Lives
Bo and Hope wed in royal style in England in 1985.
The couple has had some rough patches through the years in soapland, but never divorced, but separated many times.  They renewed their vows a couple of years ago.
Days of Our Lives

Anna and Robert on General Hospital
I've always liked the characters of Robert Scorpio and Anna Devane from General Hospital.
Their wedding may not be as popular as others, but it's my blog, and I had to throw them in here.  This was their second wedding in 1991. They were "killed" off in 1992, but have resurfaced many times since their "deaths."
One of their most recent appearances was in 2008 for the wedding of their daughter, Robin.

Patrick and Robin's Wedding on General Hospital
And this is why soap operas will be missed.  Like in our own families, characters grow up, and you are there for important moments in their lives.   Dr. Robin Scorpio, daughter of Anna and Robert, married Dr. Patrick Drake in December 2008.   I had stopped watching General Hospital when this wedding aired, but while doing research for this post, I caught a glimpse, and I have to say, it was moving to see Robert Scorpio walk his daughter down the aisle.  I also want to add that Robin's first wedding to Patrick was halted because her water broke just as she walked down the aisle.   Only in the soaps, right?

There is no question that the Queen of daytime weddings belongs to Erica Kane of All My Children.  She has been married eleven times to eight different men.  A reunion show on Oprah this year reunited Erica with all her husbands.  Some of her husbands have not aged as well as she has, though!!  My favorite "Erica wedding" was to Dimitri Merick in 1993.  It was a grand, royal affair for the residents of Pine Valley.  They divorced, of course, then remarried in 1994.  In soap operas, a lot can happen in one year.

Erica and Dimitri Wedding on All My Children

The most popular soap opera wedding of all time belongs to General Hospital's  Luke Spencer and Laura Webber.  An estimated thirty million viewers watched in 1981when they married in Port Charles.  The two were married the same year as Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and it is reported that the late Princess sent them champagne.  But, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.  (Actually, it is true.  Anthony  Geary, who plays Luke, confirmed it during talk shows for the 25th anniversary.)

Luke and Laura Wedding was the biggest wedding in Soap Opera History
This was Laura's second marriage when she wed Luke.  She disappeared shortly after the wedding.   The two have had a long-running history with General Hospital, and they remarried on the show for their 25th anniversary.  

As we tune in to the real wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton next week, I bet soap opera writers that still have shows on the air may even get some ideas from this grand event for another future daytime wedding.

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