Why Soap Operas Are Called Soap Operas

FlappersToday I found out why soap operas are called soap operas.

This all started out in the 1920’s; a simpler time where Jazz was swell; the Soviet Union was in its infancy; Robbert Goddard became the first rocket man; and the world only existed in black and white…

In this bustling time, radio was the Bee’s Knees.  On the radio was a series of serials aimed at women aired during the day time.  Dames thought these were the cat’s meow and ate up every second of them.  The radio networks themselves decided they needed to think up ways to make more clams off these shows and so came up with the idea of getting companies to sponsor the episodes.

Now these dolls were no dumb Doras, so the radio networks sought to match the advertisements closely with their target audience to get a good response.  This campaign hit on all sixes and made these shows extremely profitable.

Among the first major sponsors of these serials were soap manufacturers Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Lever Brothers.  Eventually, due to the fact that so many of the sponsors were soap manufacturers, the media started calling these shows “soap operas”.  Nifty!

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  • Its funny how we call show soaps without really knowing why….they are called soap operas cos they just are….

    These days tho even tho this is not recognized they still are referred this way….shows on the BBC that have no ads even

    It wil be good to ask avid watchers of some shows just WHY they are called soap operas and hear the response.

  • “Dame’s thought these…”

    “Now these dolls were no dumb Dora’s…”

    Don’t use an apostrophe in a plural, only in a possessive!

  • “Dame’s thought these…”

    “Now these dolls were no dumb Dora’s…”

    Don’t use an apostrophe in a plural, only in a possessive or a contraction!

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Howard Blair: Well now I’m just a little embarrassed. Two in one article! 🙂

    • How about 1920’s ?

      • Only valid if you’re talking about something belonging to the year 1920, ie “1920’s most famous actor was arguably Douglas Fairbanks.” If you’re mentioning the decade, it should be “The 1920s” or “The ’20s”.

  • This articles tells us that the first companies to sponsor operas were soap manufacturing companies, but they didn’t explain why. Could someone please tell me?

  • This is wierd at thesame time amazing….

  • I hear the word “opera” was used cause the first soaps were, actually, operas. Is it true?

  • Now I get the soap part, but why operas?

  • Why not Schick operas?