This was Television on April 2

1956: As the World Turns debuts

At 54 years and nearly 14,000 episodes, the CBS soap opera had one of the longest runs in TV history until ending in 2010. A four-time Emmy winner for Oustanding Daytime Drama Series, As the World Turns was the highest rated soap in the country between 1958 and 1978. The show was anchored in part by Helen Wagner, whose more than 50 years portraying the character Nancy Hughes earned her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. -A.D.

Also on April 2

1978Dallas debuted on CBS. Originally a five-part miniseries, the Texas-based evening soap starring Larry Hagman as the patriarch of the scheming Ewing family became one of the most iconic shows of the 1980s, running a total of 14 seasons and 357 episodes until 1991.

2009: A cornerstone of NBC’s Thursday night lineup for 15 years and 331 episodes, ER aired its series finale on this date. The longest-running medical drama in primetime history and the most nominated show in Emmy history with 124 nods, the series remained critically and commercially popular through multiple cast iterations—and the rapidly shifting fortunes of its network during the 2000s.

Today’s Birthdays: Buddy Ebsen, poor mountaineer (d. 2003); Clark Gregg, ex-husband (51); Gloria Henry, menace’s mom (90); Linda Hunt, operations manager (68); Bethany Joy Lenz, One Tree Hillian (32); Christopher Meloni, cop (52); Ron Palilo, Sweathog (d. 2012); Jesse Plemons, Dillonite (25); Deon Richmond, Huxtable buddy (35); Adam Rodriguez, forensic investigator (38); Jack Webb, sergeant (d. 1982).

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