This Day in Pop Culture for January 31

1949: The First Soap Opera

The very first daytime soap opera to air on TV also had one of the shortest lives. Often credited for becoming the first regular daytime soap opera, These are My Children debuted in 1949. The 15-minute program aired in Chicago 12 years after Guiding Light started broadcasting on radio. (Guiding Light didn’t appear on TV until 1952.) The show was created by Irna Phillips and was based largely on Phillip’s earlier radio soaps Today’s Children and Painted Dreams. The new show focused on a widow running a boarding house while also trying to help her three children. The show flopped. One reviewer for Television World magazine is quoted as saying, “There is no place on television for this type of program, a blank screen is preferable.” However, Philips continued to write soap opera stories for more successful series like Dr. Kildare and Executive Suite. (Image: Pixabay)

1930: 3M Begins Marketing of Scotch Tape

Most of us are aware that “Scotch” is a brand name of the 3M company, but just about as many of us refer to any adhesive tape as “scotch tape.” But it turns out that there might be another reason why we do that. On this day in 1930, 3M began marketing their tape “Scotch” – here’s why. The term “scotch” was used to describe “stingy” back in the 1920’s. Richard Drew, developer of a new transparent material known as cellophane was testing his first masking tape to see how much adhesive it needed. Apparently, a bodyshop painter was frustrated with the sample tape and said something like “Take this tape back to those scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it.” The name stuck. (Image: Wikimedia)

1962: The First Backward Day?

While the National Backward Day is well-known to school kids everywhere and is celebrated on this day, it is unclear exactly how it came about. Rumor has it that two friends, Megan Emily Scott and Sarah Nicole Miller, were busy milking cows and were throwing around some fun ideas to and came up with the idea for Backward Day. Soon, word got out among their community and the first national version of the day took place.

Movies Released

  • At Middleton (2014)
  • Final Destination 2 (2003)
  • Gretel and Hansel (2020)
  • Murphy’s Romance (1985)
  • The Recruit (2003)
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

TV Series Debuts

  • Grease Live! (2016)
  • Key & Peele (2012)
  • Ragnarok (2020)
  • The Wonder Years (1988)
  • These are My Children (1949)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1919: Jackie Robinson (baseball player)
  • 1921: Carol Channing (actress)
  • 1927: Norm Prescott (animator)
  • 1929: Jean Simmons (actress)
  • 1956: John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon (singer)
  • 1937: Suzanne Pleshette (actress)
  • 1970: Minnie Driver (actress)
  • 1973: Portia de Rossi (actress)
  • 1977: Kerry Washington (actress)
  • 1981: Justin Timberlake (singer)
  • 1992: Amy Jackson (model)

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