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Love Of Life
Long-running Soap Opera, which ran on CBS from 1951 to 1980.

Love of Life focused on heroine Vanessa Dale and (in the words of the announcer in the early years), "her courageous struggle for human dignity". Many storylines throughout the years contrasted the heroine Vanessa with her bad-girl sister Meg.


This show provides examples of:

  • Cliff Hanger: The show ended its run on an unresolved cliffhanger, during the murder trial of Ben Harper; after testifying at the trial, Betsy Crawford collapsed...and the show faded to black.
  • Dramatic Half-Hour: Expanded from 15 minutes in 1958. Averted for much of its run, though; due to the show's mid-day timeslot, the show ran for 25 minutes for a good deal of its run to allow for a 5 minute newscast.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Meg was obviously the foolish one while Van was quite clearly the responsible one, in fact up to the point that Van was a Parental Substitute for Meg's son, Ben.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: In his first role, Christopher Reeve played Ben Harper in the 1970's.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Given that the show was presented live in its early years and the network policy of wiping of videotapes until late in its run, the show has very few surviving episodes.
  • Long Runner: Ran for 29 years on CBS, from 1951 to 1980.
  • The Other Darrin: Like most soaps, many characters were recast over the years. Notably, the main heroine Vanessa Dale was played by three actresses over the years (most notably by Audrey Peters for most of the show's run).
  • Screwed by the Network: Love of Life spent most of its life in the late morning or noon timeslot, where it fared reasonably well until the late 1970s. CBS moved the show to 4:00pm in April 1979; like the previous time slot occupant, Match Game, the show experienced affiliate clearance issues and steep declines in its ratings. The show was cancelled 9 months later in February 1980.
  • Soap Opera: Literally; in its early days, the show was produced and packaged by American Home Products.
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