One Life To Live turned 40 years old yesterday.
But the party is just starting.
It’s very nostalgic for me, because I’ve been watching from nearly beginning.
Back then, I looked forward to finding respite from my high school angst, coming home and watching the drama surrounding the Craigs, the Woleks and the Lords.
I got lost in the day-to-day saga of characters like Cathy Craig and her father Dr. James Craig, Dr. Larry Wolek and his blue-collar brother Vinnie Wolek and wife Wanda Webb Wolek. There was also Joe Riley, Sadie Gray and her daughter Carla Gray….and, of course, the Lords – Victor Lord and daughters Victoria and Meredith.
Only one of those characters remains today….Viki Lord Buchanan Davidson (Erika Slezak).
You know, OLTL had some pretty groundbreaking storylines back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
There was the story of Carla “Benari,” whose real name was Carla Gray, a light-skinned African-American woman passing herself off as a white woman.
Another particularly interesting storyline was when Cathy Craig became addicted to drugs and she entered a real rehab facility for group therapy in New York City called Odyssey House. I remember watching the group meetings, which were filmed in the real facility and the meetings were run by the real head of the rehab, Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber. The character, Cathy, joined real life ex-addicts who attended the group therapy sessions at Odyssey House.
It was fascinating! Think about it.
Back then, the idea of going for drug treatment and group therapy was foreign. Such a stigma attached. So watching an actual group therapy session was riveting.
Check out the various OLTL opening themes over the years. My favorite is the second one with the sun rising. Talk about nostalgia!

OLTL was my favorite then and is still my favorite soap today.
Which brings me to some very good news for very old fans like me….or, for that matter, good news for ALL OLTL fans young and old.
There will be LOTS of fan favorites returning in the next two weeks and, in addition, three storylines from the past will be redone as nods to OLTL history.
For starters, Erika Slezak (Viki) and Robert S. Woods (Bo Buchanan) will be on The View today (11 a.m. EST ABC) to talk about OLTL’s 40th birthday. So tune in.
OLTL is set to return to Paris, Texas today, meaning my favorite waitress Noelle Ortiz (January LaVoy) will be back onscreen. Welcome Back, January!
Rex (John-Paul Lavoisier) follows Bo to Paris, Texas and both are struck by lightning and transported back to 1968 (the year that OLTL was born). This is a take-off on a storyline years ago, when Clint was knocked unconscious and traveled back to the Wild West.
Another 40th anniversary storyline involves Tina (Andrea Evans) and Sarah (Justis Bolding) in Mendorra. Remember when Tina plunged over a waterfall in the 1980’s? This time, Tina watches in horror as her daughter Sarah takes the plunge, compliments of the treacherous Carlo Hesser. John Loprieno as Cord makes a return appearance.
The third nod to history involves Viki, the sole survivor of the original core characters. Viki “dies” in a car accident and goes to heaven, reprising a similar trip to heaven in the late 1980’s.
Viki and Ben vikiandbencloseup.jpg
Viki interacts with those who have died, including Asa (Phil Carey), Ben (Mark Derwin) and Mel (Stephen Markle). Another interesting twist: she meets a grown-up Megan (Jessica and Will’s unborn baby) played by Erin Torpey – who played Jessica for years.

As the ultimate bow to history, OLTL’s creator Agnes Nixon appears in heaven as Viki’s guardian angel.
So fasten your seatbelts OLTL fans, it looks like a fun-filled ride!

2 Responses to “Happy 40th Birthday One Life To Live!”

  1. Hi, Michele.
    I am so excited about all this. It’s like an extra-special reward for all of us who have watched for so many years. I’m glad to see OLTL isn’t afraid or ashamed to “re-create” some of its campier story lines. I mean, where would soaps be without it’s more outrageous plots? LOL
    I’m especially looking forward to the Bo/Rex scenes. I absolutely adore these two together, and their portrayers (John Paul Lavoisier and Robert S. Woods) are just golden. Can’t wait to see the humor that pops from these two.
    So yeehaw, OLTL! Congrats on 40 years.

  2. Altho I have not been watching as long as you both have, I enjoyed the anniversary shows as well.
    & I really loved the Vicki/Ben scenes. Her interaction with Asa & Ben were enough for me & altho I like Erin Torpey, I would’ve loved to watch an hour of Vicki & Ben reminscing & flashbacks.
    It was great to see Agnes Nixon as well. Very nice tribute overall.