the 100 most memorable moments in soap history
When OLTL premiered, creator Agnes Nixon's original concept for the show was to depict several families from dramatically diverse backgrounds. In 1968, a white character who worked at Llanview Hospital by the name of Carla Benari (Ellen Holly) was introduced. On the other side of town viewers got to know African-American Sadie Gray (Lillian Hayman), whose daughter Clara had died nine years earlier. At first, the stories of these two women did not appear to have anything to do with each other. Eventually, the two women, after seven months of careful plotting and build-up, faced each other at the end of an episode in a deserted hallway. Viewers were shocked to discover that Carla Benari was actually Clara Gray. She had been passing for white in order to enjoy the benefits and opportunities of the white world. The social relevance of the story sent shock waves through the world of daytime, lit up the ABC switchboards, and inspired at least one affiliate to refuse to air the show. In the end, OLTL gained many new black viewers, secured unusually high ratings for a new soap, and helped to undo the stigma that soaps were nothing but fluff.