Today's column is a glance back to August 1954 when 15-minute soap operas filled the weekday airways of radio and television. A contrast of these 14 programs with today's television "soaps" is rather noteworthy.
BACKSTAGE WIFE: Gambler Victor Stratton presses his attentions on Mary Noble, which she tries to ward off while still keeping his friendship because he owns part of Larry's new play. Larry, unhappy and hurt by what seems like Mary's loss of faith in him, turns to Elise Shephard, who is all too willing to open her arms to him.
THE BRIGHTER DAY: Despite Althea's own inner confusion, her instinct where men are concerned was sound enough for her to warn her younger sister Patsy that handsome Alan Butler would take some hanging on to. But that didn't keep Patsy's heart from breaking when Alan asked for release from their engagement. As Althea's relationship with Dr. Blake Hamilton develops, will Blake's younger brother help Patsy past her own crisis? CBS Radio.
FRONT PAGE FERRELL: David and Sally Farrell seem to be involved in cases that tax their resourcefulness and energy and put a constant peril on their lives. Sally always follows along, though the beginning of most cases finds her trailing behind. Before it's through, however, she's in as deep as David and follows each step until the case is solved, and another murderer caught. ABC Radio.
THE GUIDING LIGHT: Meta Roberts is baffled and worried as her stepdaughter, Kathy, continues trying to win happiness with the subterfuge and half-truths that have already caused so much misery. Is there any hope for Kathy, even if Dick realizes his true feeling-of lack of it for Janet Johnson? CBS-TV and CBS Radio.
JUST PLAIN BILL:The events of the past few months still seem like a horrible nightmare to Bill. The woman he almost married, Thelma Nelson. was proven to be a vicious criminal, but Bill is too big a person to have one incident destroy his faith in people. Because of this great faith in life we again find Bill trying to help. NBC Radio
LIFE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL: Chichi would never have married Dr. Mac if he hadn't been a courageous, independent man, but there is a line past which courage becomes rashness, and when Mac tries to deal single-handedly with a shadow from his family's unhappy past, he runs into trouble that his brother Craig might have helped him avoid. NBC Radio.
LORENZO JONES: Belle Jones has used desperate measures in a situation to save the marriage she recalls with such happiness. She leaves the theater and returns to Canada with Lorenzo. Gail Maddox, who has hoped to marry Lorenzo, is startled by this new turn of events and takes frantic new action against Belle. NBC Radio.
LOVE OF LIFE: As always, Meg Harper's arrogant, trouble-bent personality had stirred up a storm of problems even in quiet Barrowsville, which her sister Van feels honor-bound to solve before taking up her own happy future with Paul Raven. CBS-TV.
MA PERKINS: Ma's friendship with the Pierces is an old much-treasured one, and when Alf Pierce's will named Ma as trustee, she accepts unhesitatingly despite her inward qualms at being responsible for so much money. Has Ma done the right thing toward reckless Billy Pierce and his ambitious young wife, Laura? CBS Radio.
ONE MAN'S FAMILY:From time immemorial, parents have agonized over the question of whether to guide their children on a tight rein or a loose one. But in the Barbour family, the problem is settled by personality, for James Barbour is a man of strict principles. It remains for Fanny, his wife, to soften the restrictions on her children. NBC-TV.
OUR GAL SUNDAY: Sunday's separation from Lord Henry has left her weakened, shaken, and uncertain of the future of her marriage. It is understandable that when a new threat arises she finds it difficult to gather her strength to combat it. Sunday's future is going to depend on her ability to find her courage again. CBS Radio.
PEPPER YOUNG'S FAMILY: Very few people are immune to the lure of big money, quickly made, and Pepper can understand his father's excitement over Dr. Grayson's prediction that oil lies beneath the Young farmland. But neither Pepper nor Linda can overcome an instinctive distrust of Grayson. NBC Radio.
PORTIA FACES LIFE: Though Portia gave up her legal career for full-time family life, Walter Manning has always been proud of her ability and more than once has been glad of her help with his own work. But what happens when Portia's career once again becomes an active issue in the Manning home? CBS-TV.
SEARCH FOR TOMORROW: Although Joanne Barron's marriage to Arthur Tate is blocked by the startling appearance of the woman who claimed to be Arthur's long-missing wife, Jo, and Arthur still believe that before long the truth about Hazel will emerge. CBS-TV.