Love of Life was CBS' flagship soap; for most of its run it led off the network's afternoon soap opera lineup. In the 1950s, Love of Life focused on two sisters with different moral philosophies. One, Vanessa, respected the human dignity of her family and friends while the other, Meg, sought her own personal pleasure.
This soap was said to have been more urbane than other 1950s daytime dramas.
A typical early 1950s episode began with announcer Don Hancock appearing onscreen to say, "Good afternoon. Don Hancock speaking. Welcome to Love of Life. Then there would be a brief commercial, followed by the main title sequence: a shot of the fountain outside New York's Plaza Hotel with the show's title, Love of Life, appearing diagonally across the screen in elegant sweeping calligraphy. The show's narrator, Charles Mountain, said over this visual, "Love of Life, the exciting story of Vanessa Dale and her search for human dignity." Organist John Gart's theme song, which was rather lush, soaring, and sweeping, was written in the C-Major key.
Love of Life made a couple changes in its opening visuals in 1958. The first change was to a time lapse shot of a flower opening as the announcer, probably Herbert Duncan by this time, said; "To live each day for whatever life may bring . . . this is Love of Life." This was quickly replaced by a shot of a starry nighttime sky, which probably debuted with the first half-hour episode in April 1958. The theme music by John Gart remained the same through 1967.
Love of Life switched from black and white to color in the spring of 1967. With this change came a new opening: a shot of a sunlit bouquet of flowers set next to a window. "And Then It Happened" continued to be the show's theme through, at the latest, March 30, 1973.
(I've recently had e-mail correspondence with soap expert John Kelly Genovese, and he told me that Love of Life never used a "dove flying through the air" visual; This was used only for a paperback novel tie-in cover.)
In 1973, most likely on Monday, April 2, CBS changed the opening theme music of its two remaining in-house produced soaps, Love of Life and The Secret Storm. Love of Life's new theme, which was composed by organist Eddie Layton, would only last until, at the latest, June 28, 1974. The Layton theme was replaced by "The Life That You Live" by Carey Gold, which had an earliest possible debut date of Monday, April 8, 1974. (The Carey Gold theme's latest possible debut date was Monday, July 1, 1974.) The bouquet of flowers near the window visual remained in place until at least the 1976/77 season.
By no later than November 1977, Love of Life made one final change in its opening visuals and theme song. The new theme was a pop-style ballad composed by Hagood Hardy, and the opening version may have had the piano carry the melody. The main title visuals were set against a black background and had the show's new logo, designed by Lou Dorfsman, on one side and a series of head shot profiles of the main characters on the other.
The following title logo description is based on the logo accompanying Love of Life synopses in Soap Opera Digest from 1979: The logo was in all capitals and set in something resembling Bodoni Bold italic type, however the "L" in "Life" was in sweeping calligraphic script, possibly as a nod to the past.
Based on a post I read on the World of Soap Themes message board, Love of Life's late-1970s end credits used a Handel Gothic/Caslon Bold combo. (Handel Gothic was a font frequently favored by the CBS Television Network, and this author remembers that font being used for the end credits of such shows as Lamp Unto My Feet; it was also used for a seasonal variation on the CBS "eye" logo as recently as the mid-1980s.)
During its early years, Love of Life did something quite unusual for soaps of the 1950s by doing partial cast credits in the opening, along with the credit for the director. These credits were in white Lydian bold lettering against a pebbly dark gray background.
Following is a list of theme songs used by Love of Life:
LP: "The Great Soap Opera Themes"
New Christy Minstrels
Capitol SL-8076/Springboard TVP-1011 (1977)
LP: "Great Love Themes from Daytime
Nova LPS-00001 (1978 UK release)
LP: "Soap Opera Favorites"
Sine Qua Non SQN-5053 (1986)
This is a 1986 US release of a 1978 UK Album.
LP: "The Hagood Hardy Collection"
Attic LAT-1073 (1979. This was a Canadian release.)
Note: This theme could be the same as Theme 6 above.