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Paul Raven

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No, Jo and Stu never would have run a place like the River Boat. To me, Jo served best as owner and proprietor of a boarding house, allowing her to become involved with various people living in Henderson.

According to the credits at the end of the 1983 episode, Fred Bartholomew, not Joanna Lee, still was EP.

I once heard a rumor about Douglas Marland becoming SEARCH's new HW before returning to AS THE WORLD TURNS. I wonder if there was any truth to that, though.

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No, Jo and Stu never would have run a place like the River Boat. To me, Jo served best as owner and proprietor of a boarding house, allowing her to become involved with various people living in Henderson.

According to the credits at the end of the 1983 episode, Fred Bartholomew, not Joanna Lee, still was EP.

I once heard a rumor about Douglas Marland becoming SEARCH's new HW before returning to AS THE WORLD TURNS. I wonder if there was any truth to that, though.

I can't believe they kept giving Bartholomew jobs after the hatchet job he did on ATWT. I guess recycling hacks is not new. I didn't really mind this era of Search, it was so much better then the spy crap that seemed to go on for years. Imagine what Marland could have done with Search? It was almost a blank slate for him..he had the core of Jo and Stu, etc, and he most certainly would have brought back Patti and other characters related to the core, but I do think a new family would have popped into town and I wonder if this would have been a certain farm family??/

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Imagine what Marland could have done with Search? It was almost a blank slate for him..he had the core of Jo and Stu, etc, and he most certainly would have brought back Patti and other characters related to the core, but I do think a new family would have popped into town and I wonder if this would have been a certain farm family?

Not necessarily a farm family, Mitch. (The Reardons weren't farmers, were they?) But, yes, I believe Marland would've taken one look at SEARCH's canvas and asked, "Where are the have-nots? Where are the blue-collar folks striving for a better life?" And yeah, he definitely would have restored the Bergman/Walton clan, too. smile.png

True, hacks working in soaps are nothing new, especially where the West Coast soaps are concerned. I hesitate in labeling Fred Bartholomew as one, however. (For one thing, it's hard to hate on little Freddie Bartholomew, know what I'm saying, lol?) By my estimation, he, along with Bob Short, Stan Potter, and Ed Trach, was part of the old guard at P&G who cared deeply about this industry and about their shows in particular. Were they conservative? Yes -- and okay, they were conservative to a fault, point taken. But ask anyone (well, almost anyone) who worked with these gentlemen BITD, as writers, as directors, as producers, and most say they also were supportive of their production teams. Compare that to what happened to P&G once they retired and/or quit, and their successors began allowing the networks to have too much control over their product.

God knows not every decision they made or supported was the right one. We have to remember, though, that in the late 1970's and early '80's, there was tremendous pressure on all shows to capture younger audiences. Now, perhaps I'm being a tad too apologetic on their behalf (I tend to get that way when it comes to the so-called "glory days" of the P&G soap factory), but P&G's shows were, by and large, very old-fashioned to the point of becoming passe. The production values still were...pretty good (although, SEARCH, in particular, often looked like "The Sun Also Sets"); and of course, they always employed the best actors. From a writing standpoint, however...well, there's a difference between evenly paced and downright glacial. Factor in that push for youth, and P&G was on the horns of a proverbial dilemma. It had to catch up with younger audiences but not at the risk of alienating older ones or throwing out the basic tenets of serialized storytelling. I think the evidence speaks for itself: some shows (AS THE WORLD TURNS, EDGE OF NIGHT, GUIDING LIGHT) managed the balance okay; others (ANOTHER WORLD, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, TEXAS), not so much.

Moreover, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Fred Bartholomew EP when Bridget and Jerome Dobson first joined ATWT in 1980? Now, I'm not saying that period compared to the Irna Phillips/Bill Bell/Ted Corday years. Not by a long shot! Some of that material is available online, though; and what I've seen of it...it's pretty good! It holds my interest, anyway. But then...so does the stuff that's available from before the Dobsons, and Bartholomew was EP then, too. Frankly, aside from the occasional "rough patch," ATWT was an engaging, character-driven show from the beginning straight through to the late-'90's, when, again, the network started exerting more and more influence on the show, making terrible decisions that ultimately cost the show its life...

Besides, if anyone took a hatchet to ATWT in the '80's, it was Mary-Ellis Bunim. wink.png

Edited by Khan
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The weird thing with Search is that it seems like they had managed to revive themselves several times until the bad times hit again around 1980 or 1981. They've managed to create a series of young, beautiful, popular characters, romances, and integrate a few veterans. I just don't get where it fell apart.

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Conventional wisdom? Well, you could argue that de-emphasizing Jo as the show's central heroine hurt it. Yet, judging from ratings alone, SEARCH managed to hold onto its audience throughout all that. You could say, also, that certain HW's preference for crime-oriented storylines played as a factor as well. Yet, SEARCH seemed to be the kind of show that could support both crime and "domestic" stories.

On the other hand, when CBS moved its' time-slot and then refused to move it back...it wasn't so much the change that hurt it irrevocably as it was P&G's reaction to it. My belief is that if P&G had just waited a bit longer, SEARCH would have rebounded. It would've taken time, of course, but all that was really needed, IMO, was the audience getting accustomed to seeing their show at a new time. That's it.

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Nope. Brian Frons - yes, Brian Frons - canceled SEARCH because he felt the show was too old-fashioned and would never capture the sort of young, upwardly mobile crowd that its replacement, CAPITOL, would.

By the way, Frons would go on to cancel SEARCH again when he became president of NBC Daytime. :)

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It's kind of ironic that some of the young people on Search went on to a fair amount of success in film and TV, while most of the young people on Capitol are forgotten, and the older people on the show are the ones who ended up working most consistently.

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The weird thing with Search is that it seems like they had managed to revive themselves several times until the bad times hit again around 1980 or 1981. They've managed to create a series of young, beautiful, popular characters, romances, and integrate a few veterans. I just don't get where it fell apart.

In truth, Carl, it did not fall apart. When Search was canceled, it was averaging higher ratings than it had the previous year, and this was despite a writer's strike and a quick succession of changing writers: Linda Grover to Harding Lemay to Don Chastain. SFT's stories suffered, yes. 1981 in particular was a bad year plot-wise, but the ratings were actually improving. Search was dropped for economic reasons. CBS had to pay a licensing fee to P&G and on top of that, they had to agree to run a percentage of P&G commercials at a discounted price. Thus, they would make more money off of Capitol, even if it came in at a lower rating, which it did. It is not dissimilar to the situation with All My Children and One Life to Live. They are not canceled because they are not making money; they are canceled because they are not making enough money.

As for the storyline, the plot began disintegrate in the summer of 1980 following the apartment fire that killed Renata Sutton. The show had introduced the Mitchell siblings, Beau and Cissy. Beau and Cissy ran a honky-tonk outside of Henderson called The Boilmaker. This was during the Urban Cowboy craze. Beau used it as a front for illegal gambling. He was mixed up in corruption within Henderson's city government. I cannot remember if it was the mayor or chief of police, but some bigwig was ordering hits. He murdered Beau, and there was another character played by Ralph Byers who was murdered. The details elude me, but somehow this led to a bomb being detonated in Jo and Stu's inn, which destroyed it and made way for the disastrous riverboat venue. This was counterpointed with the ridiculous spy plotline with Travis and Liza's adventure in Hong Kong. Over in the corruption plot, the villain attempted to kill Kathy and Liza, and was subdued by Kathy who conked him over the head with a jar of Hershey's kisses (I kid you not). Cissy accidentally on purpose got pregnant by Lee Sentell, and naturally a barren Liza's new adopted baby was Cissy's kid. Stu's sensible wife Ellie ran off with the cook. There were Taper brothers who were involved with Kathy and then quickly killed in a car crash. In short, the plot was violent, depressing, and predictable, whereas it had once had a nice balance of melodrama, comedy, romance, and generational cast.

Also, in my opinion, Doug Marland would not have been a good fit for Search. Search was a small, quiet show. It was old-fashioned, but in a good way. I think someone such as Labine and Mayer would have been good for it, just as they were for Love of Life, which had a similar feel and format. And, the obvious choice would have been rehiring the Corringtons who were through with Texas at that point and had done such a wonderful job as headwriters when they previously wrote SFT. I never understood why Linda Grover, who was so good for The Doctors, failed to carry on with the framework that the Corringtons had created. Regardless, with a good headwriter, a solid tone, and a little time, I feel that SFT could have risen back into the top 5 soaps again. It was not burdened with the irrevocable problems which usually face a canceled serial.

Edited by saynotoursoap
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Thanks for the extra information. I wonder with these shows why they just didn't make more effort to revamp the shows in a way which would get them more money, as ABC's heavy renovation efforts with GH ended up doing. I guess you can't say CBS suffered from the decision, given that Capitol was a decent performer and B&B has been too, but if P&G had shown more guidance, the show could have continued to be a relevant part of their lineup instead of being the start of their apathy towards their soaps.

When you read the soap magazines from back then they make it seem like the show was in the doldrums for ages even before the CBS cancelation. I'm glad to hear otherwise. I can see why the stories you mentioned were failures, but certainly other soaps did worse, for far longer periods of time.

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I wonder with these shows why they just didn't make more effort to revamp the shows in a way which would get them more money, as ABC's heavy renovation efforts with GH ended up doing.

Didn't ABC own all their soaps at that point? If so, then that's probably why the P&G- and Bell-produced shows on CBS were more resistant to change, because they weren't network-owned.

Edited by Khan
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That's a good point. I forgot about that.

They didn't seem to make all that much effort in saving their in-house soaps in the early 70's, so you'd think they would have. But aside from Capitol, maybe, I can't remember if they've owned any of their soaps.

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Couldn't you say the same about AS THE WORLD TURNS?

ATWT was old-fashioned, but I would not describe it as a small soap. It was a family soap, with a big, veteran cast and many different arenas. It lent itself to Marland's style: centering stories around large, core families, and utilizing big business and hospital settings to generate story. Search for Tomorrow did not have large, core familes. It was small, with Jo and Stu and a several secondary characters. The show had not used a hospital to much effect since Tony Vincente was killed off, and I cannot see all of the characters on Search suddenly working for TI, running spouting business dialogue. To me, Search was small, intimate, more about two people having a quiet conversation. I would not have cared to have Jo and Stu saying two or three lines to one another while 12 other characters in the same scene ran around saying their own few expository lines. Search was not a busy type soap. Neither was The Doctors, which in my opinion, Marland demonstrated his least successful work. Could Marland have made SFT work, probably, but I think there were other writers who were more suited to the style and texture of it.

Edited by saynotoursoap
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I wonder if it's down to some writers being better at half-hour and some better at hour (weren't Marland's biggest successes all hour soaps)?

Are there any Search writers from the 70's you felt should have had another chance?

What was Vendig doing by that time?

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