It’s been a long, long time since anyone spoke of the wealthy Brooks and the working-class Fosters in the same sentence on CBS’ The Young and the Restless. Most of the original characters created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for the show’s debut on March 26, 1973 were eventually eliminated in the ’80s, save for Jill Foster Abbott.
So in honor of the soap’s 40th anniversary today, EW has obtained an exclusive look back at the sudser’s very first episode that aired on CBS.
Some actors in the premiere episode (which was only a half hour) may not be recognizable to today’s younger Y&R fans. William Gray Espy only played William “Snapper” Foster for two years before he was replaced by David Hasselhoff (though Espy returned briefly to reprise the role in 2003). And the kids probably won’t remember Robert Clary, the Frenchie charmer from Hogan’s Heroes who was cast as Pierre in the premiere.
But you’d have to live in a hovel with no access to soap opera rags to NOT recognize the gal at episode’s end who continues to reign as a daytime diva. Take a walk down memory lane: