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15 July 15th, 2011 Happy 43rd Anniversary to One Life to Live!

Courtesy/ABC

The soap at times labeled, “The Little Engine That Could” for 43 years has captured soap viewers imaginations for decades with its amazing heart and soul, and not to mention unbelievable and stellar performances and storylines. And today, the current cast of One Life to Live celebrates its bittersweet final anniversary on network television in New York City. The only daytime drama still left in the Big Apple has left an indelible impression for fans that will live on forever, whether it be on the small screen or on the web (it’s future home).

Originally titled, by its creator, Agnes Nixon, Between Heaven and Hell, the title got an overhaul shortly before its network television premiere on July 15th, 1968.  Although On-Air On-Soaps could (and we just might) put together a tribute for fans of the series before it ends its network run,  no compilation could really serve to illustrate what the show has meant to so many people.

From social issues of the day, many daytime firsts, and stars past and present as rich as: Erika Slezak, Robin Strasser, Judith Light, Gerald Anthony, Brynn Thayer, Roy Thinnes, Al Freeman Jr., Robert S. Woods, Jerry verDorn, Hillary B. Smith, Phillip Carey and this amazing list that could just go on and on, OLTL is simply put a rare gem of a show that for 43 years has entertained and made us examine the human condition.

Watch an opening sequence montage of One Life to live through the years after the jump! And then leave a comment with your anniversary wishes, thoughts or favorite all-time moments of the soap.

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  1. Joanne says:

    I do not have enough words to express what this show has meant to me. I’ve enjoyed for all 43 year’s. Yes, I’m in 50 bracket..

    The cast over the year’s, adored Asa.

    I’m sorry guys, as said above, I’ve just no words, but I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for giving us an escape for an hour each day from this crazy world.

    The best actor’s in Daytime, the stories. I thank you all for everything and I do look forward to watching on the “net” if that is what it means for now.

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY OLTL! You brighten my day!

    Reply

    Brian replied

    too hard to better or equal your comment, you have summed up how I feel as well, except i have only been watching since 1981.

    i truly hope that OLTL lives on!

    Reply

    ethel replied

    you have summed up my thoughts as well – i started watching when erica slazak startes as vicki – just watching these openings has brought tears to my eyes – i am also in the 50 bracket – oltl has always been my favorite

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    Todd Bennett replied

    Well, I too am the big, 5-0. I have been watching ever since I can remember. Not sure exactly what year. My earliest memories were when Meredith and Larry lived in the carriage house, which was broken into and Meredith being hit over the head with the gunman’s gun. Of course, Meredith died leaving Larry broken-hearted. I remember Viki living at Llanfair with Victor…and have been a loyal ever since! The talent has been AMAZING…Meredith Chris (Wanda); Michael Storm (Larry); Judith Light (Karen); Brynn Thayer (Jenny); Erika Slezak (Viki) and the three Dorian’s–Nancy Pinkerton, Elaine Princi and of course–Robin Strasser–and on and on and on. To me, Viki and Dorian ARE “One Life To Live” and–the main reason I’ve watched all these years. I stuck it out when Dorian was written off for several years because I still had the true, tried and stable, “Viki”. THANK YOU for these fantastic years of entertainment, great story and wonderful acting. I truly appreciate it and will continue to watch on the net!

  2. Jessica says:

    Happy Happy Anniversary to my first and favorite soap!

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  3. Judith says:

    I remember each and every one. My favorite years ( story wise) were the years where they sang the theme song. OLTL was truly “can’t miss” tv back then!! Happy 43rd OLTL. Thanks for the memories!!

    Reply

  4. kay killgore says:

    The openings gave me goose bumps! Look how many characters and actors we have lost over the years! Bittersweet!!

    Reply

  5. Kelly says:

    Just watching the collection of openings (and I remember each one) has made me cry – I can’t imagine how it’s going to be when it last airs on TV. Happy Anniversary, OLTL!

    Reply

  6. Darlene says:

    I have so many fond memories of this show.I reaaly am going to miss OLTL.

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  7. Dr. Donald G. Boudreau says:

    To the great writer, Agnes Nixon, creator
    The grand dames, Erika Slezak & Robin Strasser
    To all the residents of Llanview, Pennsylvania,
    who have brought such immeasurable joy and pleasure
    to so many of us and for so long, here’s wishing you a
    Happy 43rd! One Life To Live – and a heartfelt “Thank you”
    See you soon on-line in the New Age!

    Reply

  8. Iakovos says:

    OLTL and GH were the soaps on after school for me and I never strayed far as life went on. And I was so glad for the VCR, Lynda Hirsch, and the internet, so I could keep up with OLTL and my other fave, ATWT.

    As for OLTL, I recall the Viki-Steve-Joe triangle, the torrid Dorian Cramer-Mark Toland (Nancy Pinkerton and Tommy Lee Jones) affair as well as the exciting and gut-wrenching Karen Wolek-Marco Dane storyline. (Judith Light was amazing. Gerald Anthony was so sexy!) Oh, I loved the Craigs and Wanda Webb! And Pat Ashley and the bad-boy Tony Lord. We followed Llanview through good and bad and crazy, many of us. I liked the blue-collar storyline with Bo and Didi, her father, and sisters. And the Marty rape that brought her and Todd to the forefront. The storyline with Ryan Phillippe as the gay teen. How well that was done! Watching Starr grow up before our eyes. Blair! And everything Dorian in the person of Robin Strasser. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

    Reply

  9. Norasusan says:

    On July 15, 1968, I was playing at my friend Rosie Kavanaugh’s house on Silliman Ave. in Lawrence Park, PA. Rosie’s mother told us there was a new soap opera beginning in a few minutes. So the three of us sat down and watched the very first episode of One Life to Live. That I remember where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing that afternoon 43 years ago demonstrates the impact the show has had on my life. Happy birthday One Life to Live, and thank you for the dramatic, romantic, chilling, and suspenseful entertainment you’ve provided me for most of my life.

    Reply

  10. jp says:

    Happy 43rd Birthday One Life To Live! I was only 10 years old back in 1986 when I started watching OLTL. For the past twenty five years, you have entertained and captivatied me with your innovative storylines, amazing performances and ground breaking drama. No other daytime drama took us to Heaven, the Wild West, Eterna or the falls of Argentina. This was the era I started watching and became an avid viewer. May you live on and continue to tell great stories on line and hopefully be brought back to television for one more life to live.

    Reply

  11. RICKIE says:

    I suppose I’m “old school” One Life to Live. My favorite memories are all pre-Buchanan era (I never quite understood why boisterous southerners would set stakes in mainline Pennsylvania).

    My memories are of the rich tapestry of so-called supporting actors: the eccentric but nurturing Ina Hopkins (Sally Gracie), the lovable Vinnie & Wanda Wolek (most memorably, Marilyn Chris and Antony Ponzini), the radiating warmth of Sadie Gray (the divine Lillian Hayman), the high-strung energy of Eileen Siegel (Patricia Roe, Alice Hirson), the seething sleaziness of Matt McAllister (Vance Jefferis), the no-nonsense, earthy Anna Wolek Craig (Doris Belack was the only one, as far as I’m concerned), and the wise and fatherly Jim Craig (Nat Polen).

    Of course, the show gifted with wonderful lead actors: the sublime Ellen Holly (as Carla), George Reinholt (as the fiery Tony Lord), the emotion-packed Jacquie Courtney (Pat Kendall), Nancy Pinkerton (as the icy Dorian Cramer), Bernard Grant (as the commanding and protective Steve Burke), David Reilly & Jill Voigt (as the adorably sweet Richard Abbott & Becky Lee Hunt), the sexy Peter DeAnda (Price Trainor), and Tom Berenger as the determined, lovelorn hero Tim Siegel. In its first 11 years, One Life to Live boasted the strongest acting repertoire ever assembled, and under producer Doris Quinlan, director David Pressman, and headwriter Gordon Russell, one of the most richly entertaining TV shows ever produced!

    Reply

  12. danna says:

    Some of those posting have incredible memories. I know I have age-related memory loss but now I am beginning to worry about the onset of dementia.

    I love everyone (cast and crew) and everything associated with OLTL, even if I can’t remember everyone and everything. One person I do remember but did not see in the opening montage was Michael Zaslow who played David Renaldi. Many people have passed away, but they will not be forgotten.

    I can’t thank everyone enough for decades of incredible work. OLTL has always been more entertaining than anything in primetime. It would be wonderful if every past episode could be available on the internet to watch it from the beginning all over again. In a few years, it will probably be completely new to me.

    Reply

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