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Our Five Daughters

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Paraphrasing Chris Schemering:

Running from January 2-September 28, 1962, on NBC, at 3:30 Eastern, after Young Doctor Malone. This was the first and last soap for silent film star Esther Ralston, who had emerged from a lengthy retirement and impressed producer Eugene Burr on The Verdict is Yours.

She played Helen Lee. Helen and husband Jim had five daughters. Early in the show Jim was seriously injured and became an invalid, which caused much turmoil in the close family. The youngest daughter, played by Jacquie Courtney, was most traumatized by her father's accident.

Courtney of course went on to become a soap icon of the 60's and 70's, but Wynne Miller also appeared in several soaps, including Somerset, and had some hilariously odd quotes in the soap magazines of that era (my favorite was, on the question of feminism and marriage, "a lamb chop is better than a karate chop")

The show was written by Leonard Stadd and directed by Paul Lammers.

Helen Lee - Esther Ralston

Jim Lee - Michael Keene

Mary Lee - Wynne Miller

Barbara Lee - Patricia Allison

Jane Lee - Nuella Dierking

Ann Lee - Jacqueline Courtney

Uncle Charlie - Robert W. Stewart

Don Weldon - Ben Hayes

(here the Encyclopedia also mentions Wynne Miller as "Mary Weldon")

George Barr - Ralph Ellis

Greta Hitchcock - Janis Young

Pat Nichols - Edward Griffith

Edited by CarlD2

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FANTASTIC find Carl! Was this the first thing Jacqueline Courtney ever did?

Here's what Matt P. Smith wrote on the show:


January 2, 1962

last telecast

September 28, 1962



created by

Leonard Stadd & Eugene Burr



production company

NBC Television

broadcast history


3:30pm - 4pm


NBC cancelled the critically successful From These Roots in favor of this series which was somewhat of a star vehicle for former silent movie super-star Esther Ralston (at one time, one of films’ highest paid actresses). Ralston played Helen Lee, matriarch of the Lee family which was devastated when Helen’s husband Jim was critically injured and rendered an invalid early in the series run (playing with, to a certain degree, the introduction to the successful The Secret Storm). The series focused on the emotional fall-out caused by Jim’s situation on the couple’s 5 daughters (hence the title of the series): Mary, Barbara, Jane, Marjorie, and Ann. However, unlike the highly melodramatic goings-on that was a staple of Storm, OFD attempted to be more of a “slice of life” soap in the vein of As the World Turns.

Ratings for this series were abysmal (much worse than the ratings for From These Roots) and the series was cancelled after only 8 months, leaving Young Dr. Malone (the series OFD followed on the schedule) to carry on, moved into OFD’s timeslot, as the only soap opera on NBC’s line-up for the next few months before it was also cancelled.

Although not a success as a series, OFD did manage to produce one future soap opera superstar. The role of youngest Lee daughter Ann Lee was played by Jacqueline Courtney who would later be a part of the premiere cast of Another World as Alice Matthews, a role that she would play for over 10 years, becoming part of the legendary Alice/Steve/Rachel triangle on the show.

Can I say what a ridiculous idea to give a show to a long forgotten movie star, it would have been like bringing Mary Pickford out of the woodwork. Then again I don't know what Ralston's popularity was like. I'm surprised no one tried to give Frances Farmer a daytime soap in the late 50 and 60s when trying to stage a comeback.

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I keep forgetting that Jacquie was on Edge of Night before this. I edited the intro.

Esther Ralston was quite a big name in her day. I think it was claimed that her career really ended because she would not put out for a studio executive. I don't remember for sure. I guess I can see where they may have felt she would draw some attention and then the show would build on its own merits over time. I wonder if they should have let the show grow - they didn't have anything else, apparently. But the idea of it might have been a little derivative, since Secret Storm and Search for Tomorrow had both started this way.

Thanks for reading and responding, I really appreciate that.

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I remember watching this show every afternoon when I came home from school. I saw the first and last episodes and nearly every one in-between. I remember it was on during the days of NBC's peacock's birth and two episodes were broadcast in color (as an experiment I guess). It was a great show and expressed a lot of family love.

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Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I never knew that the show was broadcast in color a few times. I knew CBS did this a few times but didn't know NBC had.

What did you think of Esther Ralston, or Jacquie Courtney?

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I thought Esther Ralston played the perfect mom. As I kid back then I didn't know her from anything else so I thought of her as just a wonderful actress playing a great wife and mom. The daughters were each so different and there were amazing qualities that made each of them special. I can still remember the huge sundaes that were often in front of the characters at the sweet shop that so many conversations took place in.

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That's interesting.

I wish some of this show was available.

I found another photo of Courtney and Esther Ralston. I'll try to put it up soon.

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I'm still a little disappointed this replaced "From These Roots." It also surprises me that Bob Aaron created this as I hadn't thought he created anything prior to working with Windsor on "Another Life."

Interesting, if not a bit bizarre, picture.

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According to the Getty Images photos Melinda Plank (Cordell) also appeared in OFD.She was in The Nurses,Patti on SFT,Y&R (twicw) GH etc.

Someone well worth interviewing.

Edited by Paul Raven

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