First Soap Serial Sponsor,
First Daytime Serial Program
"Good morning, radio listeners.....
Clara, Lu, 'n Em, brought to you by the makers of Super Suds,
the only soap created especially for dishwashing.
Soap that dissolves instantly and completely.
Protecting the smooth, white loveliness of your hands."
--- Jean Paul King
Lincoln, Me. (DG) --
& Gamble was the dominant sponsor of the serial programs heard on
network radio. The sponsorship of its soap products labeled this type
of program the slang term "Soap Opera." While the company became
the dominant sponsor, it wasn't the first to have a soap product sponsor a
serial. That honor belonged to the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.
On Tuesday, January 27, 1931, the first broadcast of CLARA, LU, 'n
EM aired on NBC's Blue Network for Super Suds. There
was no real story to this program, but there was a lot of gossip and chatter
among 3 women who lived in a small town duplex. The 3 ladies, Clara
Roach, Lu Casey, and Emma Krueger, talked about anything and everything from
their families to the high prices at the grocery store to politics.
Each episode concerned what was said among the 3 ladies--- and it made for
some interesting listening.
When the program debuted, it was on the air Tuesday-Saturday at 10:30 PM.
Since most serial programs of that time usually aired from 6 PM-8 PM,
CLARA, LU, 'n EM was misplaced in its late night time slot.
Since Colgate-Palmolive-Peet thought the program was worth keeping
on the air, it was necessary to move it to a new time. On Monday, February
15, 1932, the serial was moved to new territory--- daytime radio. Heard
every weekday morning at 10:15 AM on NBC's Blue Network, CLARA, LU 'n
EM made history as the first daytime serial on network radio.
Of course, Super Suds continued to sponsor the program.
In doing so, Super Suds was the first soap product to sponsor
the first network daytime serial program..
If you noticed the enclosed ad, Clara, Lu, and Em didn't mind sharing their
dishwashing experiences with Super Suds with the readers (who
were also radio listeners). During the early 1930's, Super Suds
introduced a series of print ads starring the chatty trio. It was a
short story on how they informed their friends that Super Suds
was the soap to use for dishwashing.
The Super Suds Clara was using in the ad wasn't the same
product that was packaged in the blue box in later years. This
Super Suds, packaged in the bright red box, was a soap product
that was made especially for dishwashing. Unlike other soaps,
Super Suds' hollow bead content dissolved completely in water.
Instead of leaving a disgusting mess on the bottom of the dishpan, Super
Suds had an abundant amount of suds where the soap was needed the
most. From the first glass to the last frying pan, Super Suds
was always ready to clean anything and everything in the dishpan.
CLARA, LU, 'n EM was a successful alternative to the cooking
and household hints programs that dominated the limited daytime schedule on
network radio. It was also the opening for other daytime serials---
including the debut of OXYDOL'S OWN MA PERKINS, the first daytime
serial on network radio to be sponsored by a Procter & Gamble