Painted Dreams, Irna Phillips' First Radio Soap Opera, Premiered 80 Years Ago Today

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Considered by most historians to be the premiere radio "soap opera", Irna Phillips' Painted Dreams premiered 80 years ago today (Oct. 20, 1930), sans sponsor, on the WGN radio station in Chicago. Painted Dreams was the saga of Irish-Catholic Mother Moynihan (voiced by Phillips herself) and her family. The show celebrated home and hearth.


 I've been doing a lot of studying re: the early days of the radio soap of late and the parallels between what we've seen with web serials like Imaginary Bitches, Venice, Gotham, Buppies,The Bay and others gives me hope about the future of serialized storytelling online. What Phillps dreamed into existence without even the soap to sponsor the opera early on, led to an entire genre. Who says it can't be done again? For a complete look at the soap that started it all click here.