The Three Stooges and The Seven Dwarfs J Bernard Jones April 12, 2009 23 Comments In terms of popularity, it is accepted as gospel that daytime soap operas commanded their largest audiences in the go-go 1980's, highlighted by the 30 million odd viewers who tuned into Luke & Laura's now legendary first wedding on General Hospital. Less well known among today's fans is that the true heydey of soaps was the early 1970's when the three broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, and NBC — were the only game around. They could have aired cheaper game shows all day long (in fact, game shows had their own morning and afternoon blocks of programming) but instead broadcast an average of 18 soap operas. Let me repeat that: 18 daytime dramas. Want to know the Nielsen ratings that a few of today's soaps were averaging in soap-to-soap comparisons during the 1969-1970 season when there were 19 soaps? Days of Our Lives was pulling an 8.8, One Life to Live was pulling in a 6.7, while General Hospital was at an 8.5. Compared to the numbers soaps pull today, those ratings look glorious but as hard as it may seem to believe, all of them were in the middle of the pack.