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Paul Raven

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make us - I can thank working with Grandfather Weber for such craftsmanship as I may possess today. Not only as an actor," Karl laughs, "but also as a stone mason, mechanic, carpenter, gardener, house painter and paper hanger - in short, a journeyman.

"In the old country," he explains, "Grandfather Weber had been an apprentice blacksmith. In America, he worked for the railroad, clearing rights of way way across the Mississippi Valley. But, whatever the trade to which he turned his hand, he learned well the tools of that trade, and he valued his tools and respected them...as I learned to do, profiting by his experience. It was a lesson I needed, because - prior to that day in the forest when the falling oak gave me my first awareness and respect for true craftsmanship - I used to prepare for a day in the timber by giving my ax a few slipshod swipes with the file and then, hacking away with a blunt blade, I'd soon conk out...while Grandfather, who had patiently filed and polished his blade to razor-edged perfection, would be as fresh when the sun set as he'd been when it rose. 'I let the tool work for me, said Grandfather.

"Grandfather talked a lot about the value of a long apprenticeship to the true artisan. He had a lot of maxims about the laborer being worthy of his hire and job worth doing is worth doing well. He spoke often, and with respect, of 'clear-eyed,clear-headed, competent men.' He liked the word competent. And he said you could always count on the honesty and dependability of 'the family man.'

"Everything Grandfather said and did - above all, everything he was - has been invaluable to me. In everything I do with my hands. In everything I do professionally - stage, radio, television. But especially television, because TV is breeding a new species of performer...a closely related species with similar work habits, interests, home lives, values and ultimate aims...a group of actors unlike those in any other medium or in any other age. A 'new-fashioned' species which, curiously enough, functions pretty much according to the precepts which Grandfather Weber both practiced and preached."

Karl points out that most of the people he works with, on TV, have put in many years of hard apprenticeship. As he himself has done: School dramatics at Cornell College in Iowa and also at the University of Iowa, to which he later transferred. His first professional job, playing Shakespearean repertory at the Old Globe Theater in Cleveland, Ohio, during the Great Lakes Exposition. (In that company - all college boys - were such later-famous actors as David Wayne, Arthur Kennedy and Sam Wanamaker.)

Then, from the University of Iowa to radio in Chicago. Several years of radio, during which one of Grandfather Weber's maxims served as both prop and spur. "We all do our best when playing Shakespeare," Karl observes. "But when the material is indifferent or downright bad...when, for instance, I was doing what I felt were inferior radio scripts...it struck me that I was doing them, nevertheless, and 'any job worth doing is worth doing well.' Suddenly, to do them well became more of a challenge, - and a victory - than winning applause for a Shakespearean role."

After radio in Chicago came New York...and more radio, and a couple of flop plays on Broadway, and one successful play - "The Respectful Prostitute," which starred Meg Mundy....More recently, Karl was "alternate" to Leif Erickson during the entire run of the Broadway hit, "Tea and Sympathy." ("An 'alternate,'" Karl explains,"is a sort of glorified understudy, the difference being that the alternate - unlike the understudy - is not required to remain in the theater during performances of the play. Much of the time I sat at home and collected my pay. But - since a star's misfortune is an alternate's break, and Erickson was twice invalided out of the cast - I did get to play opposite Deborah Kerr for two weeks, and later opposite Joan Fontaine, who stepped into the part when Deborah stepped out.")

And now, for Karl, the doctor's role in NBC Radio's The Doctor's Wife...the exciting assignment as Arthur Tate in CBS-TV's Search for Tomorrow...and guest spots in other TV dramas, such as the judge he recently played on Robert Montgomery's presentation of "Ephraim Tutt."

"Currently," says Karl, "I'm also doing a rather interesting job for Jackie Gleason Enterprises - that of recording Dickens' 'Tale of Two Cities,' in which I play the romantic lead of Charles Darnay. I also do a great deal of recording for the American Foundation for the Blind. I talk the 'talking books,'" he explains. "The one I just finished was the first volume of the Truman memoirs, 'Year of Decision,' for which Truman himself recorded the introduction. Very rewarding work it is, too...the kind of 'reward' that stays with you."

It's been a hard apprenticeship to a craft, nonetheless, and a long one. None of this arriving at a tremendous financial and career success too soon - as movie stars often do, for instance...which may account for the fact that so few of this "new species" of performers are exhibitionists or spendthrifts, and so many are substantial citizens, family men with their heads on their shoulders and their feet on the ground...."The Family Man Playing on Television," said Karl, "is, I think, is as apt a title or description as can be found for the modern actor bred by television.

"The honesty and dependability which Grandfather Weber ascribed to 'the family man,'" he laughs, 'a"are qualities to be hoped for in every man - whether perennial bachelor or proud father, mimic or missionary. But, on TV, they are assets without which you could not survive for long. Machinery is terribly honest. In other words, the camera doesn't lie. Especially about those of us who, like myself, play a running part on a TV serial - which means that we are in the homes of our viewers almost every day.

"In a sense, we live out a story, instead of acting it, and are thought of more as friends and neighbors sharing our problems, than as actors performing a script. Because this is so, we must be what we seem to be. For instance, Arthur Tate on Search for Tomorrow is a sometimes misguided but essentially honest, good, kind and well-meaning fellow. If I were not much the same," Karl grins, "sometimes misguided - but, I hope, reasonably honest and kind and well-meaning - I would soon be read out of the script...and out of the home.

As for dependability: When you're playing a running part on TV, you have a script to learn every night, five nights a week, and a clock to watch - because a split second, one way or the other, can play havoc with a show. On TV, the medium which can least tolerate personal irresponsibility, being dependable is more necessary than having the genius of a Brando or the glamour of a Lollobrigida.

"To be one of the 'clear-eyed, clear-headed, competent men' so respected by Grandfather Weber," Karl adds, "is also a must for anyone in broadcasting. Especially so on television, which is more taxing, more demanding that any other medium...for on TV, remember, there are no retakes - all your mistakes are right out in view, with no chance of undoing them. However, if you are 'clear-eyed and clear-headed' - well-rested and alert, that is - the margin for error is narrowed appreciably. And being 'competent,' professionally competent, is your one hope of covering - if not erasing - a mistake."

Much of the kinship among his colleagues, Karl believes, may be attributed to the fact that, by and large, they come from similar backgrounds...from the Midwest (as Karl himself did)...from small towns (as he did)...many of them from farms..."or, as I did," he says, "from a kind of farm - forty acres, lots of milk cows, assorted poultry, truck gardens - at the far edge of town." (The town was Columbus, Junction, Iowa.)

Many of TV's regulars, like Karl himself, are also members of large and typically average - American families: "We were six," says Karl, "at home. One of my brothers is an electronics engineer, one is an etymologist, the third is an architect. One of my two sisters (both now married) is a C.P.A. My dad, George William Weber, who started life as a schoolteacher, was to become - successively - superintendent of schools, president of the local bank, owner and operator of a farm-producer and grain-elevator business, and is now a state senator in Iowa. My mother's 'profession' - like my wife's - is that of housewife and mother...the one profession that is never expendable."

From such a background and such a family, what would you expect of a young man who married the girl with whom he went to college but that he would be living with her happily ever after? Which is what "family man" Weber is doing.

"We started going steady, Marge and I," says Karl, "at Cornell, back in Iowa. Then we were separated for two years, while Marge was in England working as research assistant to a professor of history. It has been said that separation extinguishes a small flame but fans a large one. To explain the way it was with us, I need only say that, as immediately as possible after Marge's return, we were married - by her father - on the Cornell campus where we first met."

Now...seventeen years, three children and one dog later...the Webers are living in the house they built three years ago, on a bluff overlooking Woodcliff Lake, in northern New Jersey. The children are Lynn, sixteen, chic, dark and charming to the eye, who has recently given up a career in baby-sitting for the more lucrative one of modeling ("locally"," her father says, "not in New York - not yet, anyway"); Christopher, a sturdy, enterprising twelve-year-old; and Mark, the youngest, who is six. The dog, a collie registered with the American Kennel CLub as "Star Mist of Woodcliff," is just plain "Misty" to the folks at home. The nine-room, three-bathroom house, on four acres of land, is of cypress construction faced with stone...and - as might be expected of a man with Christian Weber as a forebear - Karl, the journeyman, has been on the job from the first spadeful of the excavation to the laying on of the roof.

"I did all the stone masonry myself," he says, with proper pride, "me, and my cement-mixer! I even quarried the redstone for the landscaping of the bluff. I've done all the terracing and planting, some of the cabinet work inside, all the painting and papering, helped put in the macadam road and driveways...and, after three years in residence, there's still more to be done!"

An extraordinary house, as fabulous to look at as it is functional to live in, its "big deal is the curved, 35-by-25 foot living room, the front wall of which is glass - a 35-foot wall of Thermopane - and the back wall consisting of a 25-foot stone fireplace framed by a cherry overmantel, cherry bookshelves and matching equipment and radio. "Mostly cherry paneling and glass," Karl says of the living room. "Marge made the draperies - bought hundreds of yards of ecru denim at thirty-five cents a yard, and put in countless thousands of stitches!

"Usually, however, the curtains are not drawn," Karl adds, "and to sit by the fire on a winter's day, as we often do, and watch the snow drift by the wall of glass, the birch trees making patterns, a flock of red-breasted birds winging by, is to be - warm and spellbound - in a winter wonderland. Foxes came to call, too, and deer. Forty-five minutes from Broadway...and deer tracks in the snow!

In the spring, there are the dogwoods - we have literally thousands of them. And, in the summer, our beautiful, plentiful vegetable garden, quite a large rose garden, and a separate cutting garden. Gardening," Karl says, "is a hobby Marge shares with me. It is my great hobby, in fact...and also derives from Grandfather Weber - of whom people used to say: 'Christian Weber can stick a hickory as-handle in the ground and it will sprout leaves.'

"But," Karl continues soberly, "although a man can build a house of stone and wood, pay the bill and all that, it is a woman who creates the atmosphere in which the life of the house is lived. And Marge is the creator of the clear, bright, warming atmosphere in which the life of our house is lived...I would say this of Marjorie: She makes a Fine Art of living. The children bear witness to this. They are attractive, they are tractable, because they are appreciated as well as loved. We have no domestic help at all, so they feel needed, too. It's a cooperative, all-for-one and one-for-all family life we live - and not only in the bedmaking and dishwashing departments, either! Every night, I sit down with my children and we do our 'homework' together - they with their schoolbooks, and I with my script. Chris 'cues' me...as I cue them, whenever they ask.

"The fact that Marge and I are completely non-competitive," he says seriously, "contributes to the completely normal, average-American life we live. There are many happy marriages among people in the same profession, but - I like it this way. Sort of the way it was at home in Iowa. Marge is interested in my work, understands it and is very helpful. But she is not at all a 'studio wife,' and is the least theatrical person I've ever known. She doesn't tend to dramatize things - or to dramatize herself, least of all."

Karl tells about the accident: Shortly after the Webers were in the house, and were putting in the macadam driveways, a truck pulled up to the door one morning, heavily laden with boiling hot asphalt. As Marge - wearing shorts, for it was summertime - stood near by, talking with the drive, something in the truck suddenly gave way and a stream of the molten stuff poured over her bagel legs.

It was paint not to be borne...but Marjorie, says Marjorie's husband, bore it. There were weeks in the hospital that ran into months. There were skin grafts. And more pain. Then came the day when the legs were unveiled. "The doctors were there," Karl recalls that moment, "I was present. As the bandages were removed, there was a moment of silence - no more than that. Then: 'Not exactly cheesecake,' said the blue-eyed blonde who is my wife. 'Strudel! she said.

"Once, during our courting days in college," Karl recalls, "I was doing the Lord Byron bit -sensitive and all that - and Marge said, 'This is reality. Facts. This is the way things are.' That's the way she was. In her hospital room that morning, three years ago. And I realized anew that that's the way Marge is. Everyone in the hospital realized it, too. The surgeon absolutely adored her. The nurse, too. And even the insurance adjuster, who went about saying, 'Anything you say, Mrs. Weber, anything you want!"

"As for our neighbors, they would do almost anything for Marge - just as we would for them. As a matter of fact," says Karl, "there's kind of an odd thing going on, out there in Woodcliff Lake. A social life that's rather exceptional. Ten or fifteen couples of us, all congenial. We've organized a Great Books Club. I'm a director of the Community Theater Group. We put on plays, skits, do some calypso singing and so on. Last spring, I was in charge of the annual PTA Father's Night at the school. All the local fathers took part. We put o n a Kaufman sketch. I sang, and played guitar, and the mambo drums. Others did solo turns, too.

"But what we have," Karl continues, "is something that goes deeper than the activities we share. People in a suburban community don't usually communicate with each other too well- they ten d to conceal, rather than reveal. But, but some happy accident, we have sort of abolished the barrier to communication. Because we have, there are no petty rivalries. we all support each other. We made a kind of resolve: Let's appreciate each other, help each other, love each other. And we do.

"I take what is, I suppose," Karl admits, "an essentially tragic view of life. We're all born to die, and we can't beat it. So...don't waste a moment. 'Gee honey, you were great! Say it. Don't hold back....You are born. You die. This - as Marge would say - is the way things are. But if, in the meantime, you have done a good job..."

This brings Karl back to the new breed of actors and the many attributes they have in common. OF these, the most interesting to Karl is that "We are now living on many levels. So many are moving to the country, for example, buying or building their own homes, working with their hands, putting down roots - the kind that reach out and grow. Becoming less egocentric," Karl laughs, "and more 'the family man,' the good neighbor - a working member of a community, instead of a solitary Hamlet on stage, looking across the footlights at his fellowman...

"The performer, 1956 model," says Karl, "is also less of an exhibitionist than his predecessors tended to be. He isn't always 'on.' He applies the brakes to his temperament. Being somewhat more homebody than ham, he doesn't make the gossip columns very often. HE is as devoted to his craft as any of his theatrical forebears...but he simply doesn't sacrifice the fireside - and all that it means - to the limelight and the neons."

Watching Karl, listening to him, what could anyone think but: How right he is, how wise and fine...and how very lucky that once, in the big timber of the Mississippi Valley, he watched and listened to - and learned from - Grandfather Weber.

Edited by CarlD2
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It's hard to see Meg playing a prostitute!

I don't even like to think about what she probably went through.

I wonder what happened to Weber. It seems like he didn't do that much after the show. I kind of feel for him just being a placeholder for a few years.

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I also wanted to mention the whole Nathan / Jo kiss plot seems cliche, but I suspect the writers actually milked the drama out of it for several weeks / months instead of simply reuniting them quickly and playing another 'mistaken attraction' several monhts later or revealing Nathan killed his first wife who bore a stunning resemblance to Jo.

I didn't recognize the name of O'Sullivan's character on 'Valiant Lady.' I assume he was one of Helen's suitors, but maybe not. I just cannot imagine stealing one of the big name stars from another soap and not playing him opposite the lead. Was VL a CBS in-house soap? Wasn't P&G notoriously cheap in comparison to the in-house productions when it came to actors salaries.

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Yes, Arthur seems a bit weak, but I think that works in terms of the story. Arthur's weakness allows him to provide the drama in the relationship, while Jo stands by her man as the noble wife and mother. Her later pairing with Sam Reynolds seems to be more on an even playing field with his ex-wife Andrea acting as the major catalyst for drama. It's a shame Andrea never came back into the story as Len was married to Patti. I guess Andrea was replaced by Stephanie in terms of female antagonist who acts as Jo's foil.

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saynotoursoap very very kindly uploaded a March 1983 episode of Search for Tomorrow. Stephanie takes in a young girl while there are fireworks between Liza and her nasty father-in-law Rusty.

What happened with the story with Stephanie and this girl? And with her older brother Craig Augistine? I like the idea of Stephanie mentoring a troubled girl, especially since Wendy was already grown by this time. I must say I was surprised at how raggedly styled Maree Cheatham was; it's not far off from her GH character.

The scenes with Liza and Rusty are a strange mix. They seem to be trying for Dynasty/Dallas style melodrama. Sherry Mathis does a good job with the material, overall, but the guy who plays Rusty is not good at all.

I really wish someone like Doug Marland could have written for Liza. I know he wasn't necessarily a miracle worker but he handled the super-glam/everyday fusion of ATWT very well and I wonder what he would have done for her.

Sherry Mathis was so beautiful, even in the slightly cheap fur. What a presence she had.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boeIR_qE95Q&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C45if59RFKw&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

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saynotoursoap very very kindly uploaded a March 1983 episode of Search for Tomorrow. Stephanie takes in a young girl while there are fireworks between Liza and her nasty father-in-law Rusty.

What happened with the story with Stephanie and this girl? And with her older brother Craig Augistine? I like the idea of Stephanie mentoring a troubled girl, especially since Wendy was already grown by this time. I must say I was surprised at how raggedly styled Maree Cheatham was; it's not far off from her GH character.

The scenes with Liza and Rusty are a strange mix. They seem to be trying for Dynasty/Dallas style melodrama. Sherry Mathis does a good job with the material, overall, but the guy who plays Rusty is not good at all.

I really wish someone like Doug Marland could have written for Liza. I know he wasn't necessarily a miracle worker but he handled the super-glam/everyday fusion of ATWT very well and I wonder what he would have done for her.

Sherry Mathis was so beautiful, even in the slightly cheap fur. What a presence she had.

This was not really my choice of an upload, but a friend of the actress who plays Andie wanted to see it, and of course, I complied. This was the only episode I had with the actress.

In my opinion, the 1982-84 era of SFT was particularly bad. I found little to enjoy in the plots and characters from the era, and my memory is hazy on the details. Keith, Andie, and Jenny all arrived in Henderson around the same time. Jenny hid a secret about giving up a child years before. Keith and Wendy fell in love, but Stephanie opposed the relationship as Keith was beneath Wendy socially. Keith and Wendy secretly married, and there was tension between Andie and Wendy. I believe that Andie ran away. Somehow the courts became involved, and Keith sent Andy to live with Stephanie so that he could be near her. Stephanie agreed, but forced Keith to end his relationship with Wendy. Shortly after the episode I posted on YT, it was revealed that Keith was not Andie's brother. He was actually her father, and her mother was...surprise, surprise...Jenny Deacon. Keith was forced to admit the truth when Andie became sick and went into a diabetic coma. Naturally, Wendy became enraged over Keith's lies and divorced him. It was at that point that she started having an affair with Warren Carter. If my memory does not fail me, Jenny fell in love with Lloyd Kendall's son Michael. She, Michael, Andie, and Keith all left Henderson in the fall of 1983. I believe they were casualties of the change in headwriter and producer.

I loathed the character of Rusty Sentell. David Gale was indeed miscast. He had previously played Father Mark Reddin on The Secret Storm during the infamous plot in which he left the priesthood for Laurie Stevens. However, the character of Rusty was not particuarly well written either. The idea had been that he would be one of those elegant villains, not too different from an Alan Spaulding or Mason Capwell. The difference was that those characters had redeeming qualities and a depth which Rusty lacked. He was written as very one-dimensional, an overused plot device to create synthetic tension in the marriage of Liza and Travis. The ill-conceived development, matched by Gale's inability to find an iota of humanity in the character made Rusty insufferable to me.

As for Stephanie, Maree Cheatham did become somewhat more dowdy around this time. In this particular episode, she is dressed casually because she is supposedly helping the maid prepare things for Andie; however, the character did not have a love interest at this time either, so she was typically not dressed and coiffed in the style to which you generally see her. Cheatham was becoming bored with the show by this time, and I think it shows. She is much more like the Stephanie we know and love in the 1980 episodes, warpped in fur and being bitchy to Janet.

Sherry Mathis was a gem. Easily she could have remained in that part forever and never grown stale like the other great ladies of daytime: Helen Wagner, Charita Bauer, Mary Stuart. I wish she had stayed with Search one more year so that she could have been our last Liza.

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Thank you for the extra details. I always hesitate to be critical of these shows because you're really doing us a favor by uploading them and they're all great, but I do agree with what you said about this episode. I actually did like the scenes with Stephanie and the little girl (I especially liked that she was a fan of comic books). It was mostly the stuff with Rusty I wasn't crazy about. I didn't realize he was Father Reddin. I remember him briefly on RH as a lawyer during the Barbara Wilde story.

Was Michael the blind character?

What did you think of Linda Gibonney as Jenny? I see her there in the scenes with Jo and Stu. That outfit kind of annoys me for some reason...it reminds me of a mime.

What was the place Jo and Stu were running at this time?

I wonder why they kept Janet's house yet didn't keep her. It's strange that Rusty would want to stay in her home. I didn't think she was rich.

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David Gale had also played Beau Richardson of EON in the late 70's.I hated the 'back from the dead' story for Rusty.This ep was from the time Joanna Lee was exec producer and she was trying to do more domestic stories after all the spy/adventure stuff.

There were way too many new characters.Each new producer/writer added and dropped characters,leaving a few core people to interact with them and it grew tiresome.

Viable characters like Gary,Tom,Danny,Laine,Patti etc who were actually related to those core characters were ignored in favor of the newbies and the show suffered.

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When Travis came on in 78,the back story was that Rusty was dead and I don't think the Corringtons planned for him to be resurrected,But in 82 it was decided to bring Rusty back,only to be killed off again.

Lee did a SOD interview which I will try and dig out on the weekend.

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Thanks. If you can't find it I may have it.

It sounds like Rusty's arrival was around the time the ratings started falling.

Where do you think Search went wrong in the writing for Travis/Liza?

I don't know why it annoys me but I also wonder if Jo and Stu would have run that place we saw in the March 1983 episode. It, and Jenny's outfit, don't really seem like them. Then again I have barely seen them so what do I know.

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