14 Things Only The Biggest Y&R Fan Would KnowPublished on November 3, 2017. Updated June 24, 2020
The Young and the Restless (Y&R) has been delighting daytime drama fans for over four decades now. There is the occasional viewer that may catch the show weekly or monthly, and then those die-hard fans who watch daily. Think you may be one of the biggest fans of the show? Put your knowledge to the test! Below are 14 things that only the biggest Y&R fan would know about the soap opera.
14. The Original Working Title
Most soap opera fans know that the Y&R title was created by William and Lee Bell, but what only the most avid viewers of the show aren’t aware of, is that the working title of the daytime drama was originally ‘The Innocent Years.’ The title was eventually changed to reflect the true mood and youth of the generation it was launched in. It’s a good thing because, over forty years later, not sure if ‘The Innocent Years’ would fly as a title to describe the residents of Genoa City.
13. Where Does Genoa City Come From?
When it comes to the Y&R, the world revolves around the fictional town of Genoa City. The Bells named the area after a real town called Genoa City in Wisconsin; however, the real one doesn’t hold a candle to the fictional setting. The Bells used the name after driving by it to reach their summer home in Lake Geneva from their then-home located in Chicago. It’s important to note that Genoa City is located in the state of Wisconsin, but does not mirror the real Genoa City that exists.
12. Judith Chapman Before She Was Gloria
Who doesn’t love the work Judith Chapman does on the show playing the dynamic role of Gloria Abbott? Longtime fans will recall this wasn’t the first time Chapman stepped into a role on the Y&R. Years back, she filled in as Jill Abbott for Jess Walton for some days while the actress was dealing with an illness.
11. Longest-Existing Character?
Can you answer this question without having to really think about the answer? Some may think it’s Victor, but the truth is that Jill Abbott is currently the longest-existing character on the show. Abbott made her debut on the Y&R in 1973 and was originally portrayed by Brenda Dickson, then Bond Gideon, Deborah Adair, Melinda O. Fee, and finally Jess Walton. While Walton isn’t the first to play Jill, she certainly has been the best. She entered the role in 1987 and is still playing the legendary character today.
10. Longest-Performing Actor?
While Jill Abbott has been a staple on the Y&R, so has Paul Williams, but the difference between Paul and Jill is that only one actor has played the handsome and funny Williams, which is Doug Davidson. Doug originated the Paul role in 1978 and continues to dazzle and woo Y&R audiences to this day.
9. It Rocks The Ratings
This is no big surprise to most avid Y&R fans; however, the show is currently the highest-rated soap opera on U.S. television. You can thank an incredible cast and amazing writers for that. In fact, December 12, 2013, marked an unprecedented 1,300 weeks for the show to hit the top in its Nielsen ratings’ category for 1,300 weeks (or 25 years) since 1988.
8. Longer Time Slot
When the Y&R debuted in 1973, the daytime drama actually had a time slot of 30 minutes versus the hour fans all enjoy today. Thanks to the show’s increased popularity and high ratings, the soap was given an additional 30 minutes to relay all the scandal, romance, and drama that unfolded in Genoa City. On February 4, 1980, fans got their first one-hour Y&R show, and the daytime drama moved from a 30-minute airing broadcast to 60 minutes.
7. Sex In Soaps
Believe it or not, before the Y&R, daytime dramas never dove into the sex side of relationships; however, that all changed after soap fans were exposed to the crazy world of Genoa City. One of the first soap storylines to discover a prominent sexual theme was when Snapper Foster cheated on his finance Chris Brooks with Sally McGuire. Y&R would move to create more sexually-charged storyline themes that hadn’t been explored in soaps, including premarital intercourse, incest, impotence, and rape.
6. Breaking Barriers
Some Y&R fans may not know that the show dove into many social issues early on that had not been seen on daytime dramas before. The Y&R told the first-ever mastectomy storyline on a soap opera when character Jennifer Brooks discovered she had breast cancer in the late ‘70s. Y&R also briefly touched upon lesbianism, which certainly was never seen on a soap opera before, when Katherine Chancellor had an interesting obsession with ‘friend’ Joann Curtis in 1977.
5. Brother And Sister Play A Couple?
Almost, but thankfully not quite. Heather Tom and her brother David are both Y&R alumni, playing Victoria Newman and Billy Abbott in the past. Heather entered the world of Genoa City as Vicky from 1990 to 2003, while her brother played Abbott from 1999 to 2002 and once again for a brief time in 2014. Billy and Vicky have had a roller coaster of a relationship, but thankfully not during a time when both Heather and David were on the show together in their respective roles. That would’ve just been gross and awkward.
4. Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Many miss seeing Jeanne Cooper’s smiling face daily as Katherine Chancellor; however, she left a soap opera legacy behind and many onscreen memories that fans can still view to this day. She also hit an incredible milestone in 1993, becoming the first-ever soap opera actress given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
3. Life Imitated Art
Speaking of Jeanne, back in the early 1980s the Y&R incorporated her real-life facelift surgery within Genoa City storylines. Producers went against the idea of writing the actress out of the show or having someone replace her (who could, right?) and simply dove into an arc that involved the entire facelift process for Katherine. The actress allowed for her surgery and recovery to be filmed and eventually shown to Y&R audiences everywhere!
2. Will The REAL Sharon Newman, Please Stand Up?
Many fans assume that Sharon Case, the actress who has played Sharon Newman for decades, was the one to originate the role. Not true. In fact, two other Sharons slipped into the role in 1994 before Case was cast later that year. First was Hollywood actress Monica Potter and then Heidi Mark. That’s three different Sharons in one year!
1. Esther Has A Part-Time Job?
Kate Linder has won over Y&R fans after years of playing Katherine Chancellor’s friend and maid, as well as Chloe Mitchell’s mom. Esther Valentine entered Genoa City in the early ‘80s and Kate thought the role would be a one-off thing. Well, she ended up becoming a staple on the show by 1985. All throughout her soap opera career, Kate has had a part-time job working as a flight attendant for United Airlines when she’s not on set! Who knew?