Few shows in television history have been as groundbreaking, innovative,\u00a0controversial, and downright funny as\u00a0Soap. Airing for four seasons on\u00a0ABC from 1977 to 1981, the show generated laugh riots \u2014 and nearly a few\u00a0actual riots. But what caused the reactions? How did the show cope? And\u00a0what was its ultimate legacy? These questions \u2014 and many others \u2014 will be\u00a0answered in this list of some things you didn\u2019t know about the classic sitcom\u00a0Soap. 1. IT WAS ALMOST CANCELLED BEFORE IT EVEN AIRED. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v0BHQT3Omqtw Leaks about the show\u2019s frank handling of controversial subjects such as\u00a0homosexuality, as well as lies and misinformation about the show being\u00a0\u201csaturated with sex,\u201d caused religious groups to mount a campaign to keep it\u00a0off the air. In the end, ABC had to drop the fee for sponsoring the show from\u00a0$75,000 per spot to just $40,000. But all the fuss generated publicity. The\u00a0premiere won its time slot with a 39% share and the show ranked in at #13\u00a0for its first season in 1977-78. 2. ABC \u201cDROPPED THE SOAP\u201d ABRUPTLY AT THE FOURTH SEASON CLIFFHANGER. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vHoMLspq6H9s Series creator Susan Harris and ABC had originally agreed that the show would run five seasons, and Harris developed a plot outline for the entire run. But the effect of the protests on sponsors finally caused the network to kill the show at the end of Season Four \u2014 right when Jessica Tate (Katherine Helmond) is apparently shot by a firing squad. All of the carefully developed plotlines were left hanging. Though Jessica did manage to briefly come back to \u201chaunt\u201d ABC. 3. BILLY CRYSTAL\u2019S CHARACTER CONCERNED GAY RIGHTS GROUPS AS WELL AS CONSERVATIVES. Witt\/Thomas\/Harris Productions Jodie Dallas (Billy Crystal) was one of the first recurring gay characters on an American sitcom. (He was not THE first \u2014 that honor goes to a short-lived show called\u00a0The Corner Bar\u00a0that aired on ABC in 1972.) The Jodie character had religious groups up in arms, but gay groups also expressed concern. They were worried that the character perpetuated stereotypes, such as his desire to have a sex change. After meetings with several gay rights organizations, the plotline for Jodie\u2019s sex change was toned down. And thus began TV\u2019s long road to\u00a0Transparent\u00a0and\u00a0I Am Cait. 4. WE NEVER LEARNED BENSON\u2019S LAST NAME UNTIL HE GOT HIS OWN SERIES. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vHTg8bNIEOnw One of the most enduring characters from\u00a0Soap\u00a0was the independent and sharp-tongued\u00a0butler\u00a0Benson, ably played by Robert Guillaume. His full name \u2014 Benson DuBois \u2014 was never revealed until the first season of his own show,\u00a0Benson. Though a spin-off,\u00a0Benson\u00a0was more of a classic sitcom format (Benson served as head of household affairs for a Governor and his wacky staff) than the over-the-top soap opera parody of\u00a0Soap. The character of Benson was also enduring in the literal sense \u2014 his show lasted seven seasons versus the four for\u00a0Soap. 5. THE \u201cGHOST\u201d OF JESSICA TATE LATER VISITED BENSON. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vLOJXlLxFKRY After\u00a0Soap\u00a0was abruptly canceled with all sorts of cliffhangers left hanging, the network at least partially connected one of those dangling plotlines for viewers. In a touching guest appearance on\u00a0Benson\u00a0in 1983, an apparition of Jessica Tate appears to Benson to tell her old friend\u00a0what became of her. (As befitting\u00a0Soap, she was actually in a coma in South America.) In a nice touch, at the end of the scene, we hear the strains of the\u00a0Soap\u00a0theme song. 6. SERIES CREATOR SUSAN HARRIS GAVE US ROSE, BLANCHE, DOROTHY, AND SOPHIA. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v23GrEhLUF_k Soap\u00a0creator Susan Harris is behind some of the greatest sitcoms of all time, having written and produced for shows like\u00a0Maude,\u00a0All in the Family\u00a0and\u00a0The Partridge Family. But her most enduring creation is perhaps those feisty Floridians\u00a0The Golden Girls, a show that Harris created in 1985 that ran for seven seasons and produced the spin-offs\u00a0Empty Nest,\u00a0Nurses\u00a0and\u00a0The Golden Palace. During the first season of\u00a0Soap, Harris also appeared briefly in two episodes as a hooker named Babette. 7. IT WAS THE FIRST SHOW TO CARRY A \u201cVIEWER DISCRETION\u201d ADVISORY. Witt\/Thomas\/Harris Productions Thanks to the controversies over its supposedly raunchy content,\u00a0Soap\u00a0carried a warning disclaimer for its entire first season. When the show premiered at 9:30P on September 13th, 1977, it carried the first \u201cviewer discretion\u201d warning ever for a U.S. television series. In both a screen display and spoken announcement, the audience was warned by announcer Rod Roddy (of\u00a0The Price Is Right\u00a0fame) that the show explored adult themes and that the now-familiar \u201cviewer discretion\u201d is advised. 8. THREE OF THE ACTORS WERE ACTUAL FORMER SOAP OPERA STARS. SoapCentral Soap\u00a0wasn\u2019t strictly a soap opera parody, but three cast members had starred on actual sudsers. Arthur H. Peterson, Jr., who was The Major on\u00a0Soap, was a veteran of the old radio version of\u00a0The Guiding Light\u00a0way back in 1937. He later starred in the TV version of\u00a0General Hospital. Robert Mandan, who played Chester Tate, had been on\u00a0Search for Tomorrow\u00a0from 1965 to 1970. And Donnelly Rhodes, who played Dutch Leitner on\u00a0Soap, starred as Phillip Chancellor II on\u00a0The Young and the Restless\u00a0in 1974 and 1975. 9. \u201cFATHER FLOTSKY\u201d TOOK HIS NAME FROM A CLASSIC LENNY BRUCE BIT. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vhYAcCcpJ4No One of the characters that especially enraged Catholic groups was Father Timothy Flotsky (Sal Viscuso), who leaves the priesthood to marry Corrine Tate (Diana Canova), only to leave her after fathering a child with her who turns out to be possessed by a demon. Angry religious conservatives would probably be even more annoyed to learn that the name \u201cFather Flotsky\u201d was taken from a classic and highly irreverent bit by legendary comedian Lenny Bruce. 10. \u201cTHE MAJOR\u201d ACTUALLY FOUGHT UNDER GENERAL PATTON. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vyy2-JwwTNOA The character who was played most strictly for laughs on\u00a0Soap\u00a0was probably The Major, who was the father of the two sisters whose families the show revolves around. Unfortunately, he suffered from dementia and thought he was still fighting World War II. As it turns out, actor Arthur H. Peterson, Jr. actually served in the war. He left a thriving career in radio in 1944 to volunteer and ended up fighting in Europe in the Third Army \u2014 under General George S.Patton, no less. Credits:\u00a0ifc.com Do you remember this classic? Let us know in comments!