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Paul Raven

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I'm surprised they didn't keep the character around since they did need younger leading men. They could have just aged him.

I wonder why they bothered to recast after Peter Simon left if they gave up so quickly. I wish I could see Peter Ratray on Bright Promise because the only time I've seen him was in a Ryan's Hope story I despised.

Here's when Chris Lowe came back briefly in August-September 1979.


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Late 60's on set.Ann Williams and Mary Stuart do look like sisters.


I love this picture, can you imagine a soap having a cast of middle aged, normal looking people??? And that woman does look just like Gladys Kravits and why does MS look like she is totally pissed off in this picture (she looks like, "Why the [[email protected]#$%^&*] are these people constantly in my damn kitchen!")

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Sadly, even with the most talented writers and producers, SFT would still have been doomed on NBC due to the fact that many of that network's affiliates either did not air the soap at all, or refused to air it in the proper timeslot (12:30 P.M. Eastern). Also, by the mid-80's, P&G seemed to lose all interest in this classic soap.

Even if SFT had never been cancelled by CBS in 1982, network executives would have gladly canned this soap (barring a major ratings boost from where it was in 1981) for the almighty Bill Bell's B&B (in 1987). (And if SFT had stayed, then GL or ATWT would have been axed to make room for B&B.) The only silver lining is that had SFT remained on CBS, the ratings (and perhaps the quality as well) would not have fallen nearly as much as they did on NBC.

Having said this though, the ratings in its last year at CBS were up a half-point from where they'd been the previous year. I think viewers were just adjusting to the new timeslot the previous year, and likely in a year or two, the show probably would've been getting ratings in the 7s again with a stable writing/production team. It still strikes me as devastating how trigger-happy CBS had always been about cancelling their soaps needlessly. Granted, this is likely the reason why B&B has succeeded on the level it has, as it wasn't replacing anything especially low-rated and was in an optimal timeslot where viewers were already tuned in. But I can totally see what you mean about SFT being toast once B&B was ready, though I wonder if B&B would've happened at ALL if CBS had stuck it out with SFT.

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On Sept. 3, 1951, CBS premiered a 15-minute television serial called Search for Tomorrow. Created by Roy Winsor for Procter & Gamble Productions, the series featured a little-known starlet named Mary Stuart in the role of Joanne Gardner Barron, a young housewife in the fictional Midwest city of Henderson. As the show made its debut, no one could have known that SFT would attain legendary status as the first soap to achieve long-term success in the new medium of television.

The show's first head writer was a young hopeful named Agnes Eckhardt - who would later become the creative giant known as Agnes Nixon, of All My Children fame. During her brief stint, SFT presented simple, human storylines with which the audience could identify. Joanne ("Jo") had to endure the death of her weak-willed husband, Keith Barrow (John Sylvester), who was dominated by his wealthy parents, Victor and Irene (Cliff Hall and Bess Johnson). Although Victor was supportive of Jo, Irene fought her bitterly for custody of her impressionable young daughter, Patti (Lynn Loring). Fortunately, Jo had the loving support of her closest friends, Stu and Marge Bergman (Larry Haines and Melba Rae), who would provided much-needed comic relief to the surrounding melodrama for more than 20 years.

There was an abundance of melodrama - on-screen and off. After 13 weeks, Eckhardt was replaced by Irving Vendig, a master of fast-paced, suspenseful stories. During Vendig's five-year reign, Irene plotted with white-collar criminal Jim Wilcox (Les Damonto discredit Jo, who had purchased a motel called the Motor Haven. In time, Jo became romantically involved with her silent partner, Arthur Tate (Terry O'Sullivan, Karl Weber), and married him. Together Jo and Arthur fought the machinations of his first wife's sister, Sue (Mary Patton), who died in a fire after impersonating her dead sister; small-time mob boss Mortimer Higbee (Ian Martin), who wanted the Motor Haven as a drug drop; and Rose Peterson (Lee Grant originally, then Constance Ford, now Ada on Another World), an ambivalent syndicate employee who had a learning-impaired brother, Wilbur, played masterfully by Don Knotts.

By the mid-'50s, the "bad guys" had been flushed out of Henderson with the help of Arthur's best pal, cracker-jack criminal lawyer Nathan Walsh (originated by David Orrick, later played by George Petrie). Head writer Vendig left to create his brilliant crime soap, The Edge of Night, and was briefly replaced by Charles Gussman.

In 1957, Frank and Doris Hursley took over the writing and SFT went in a new direction. Arthur suffered a fatal heart attack after having an affair with Jo's neurotic younger sister, Eunice Gardner (Marion Brash, Ann Williams). Eunice then romanced Rex Twining (Laurence Hugo, later Mike Karr on EON), who was unhappy in his marriage to a wealthy older woman - Cornelia Simmons (Doris Dalton). Arthur's domineering aunt. After Cornelia was murdered by her housekeeper, Harriet Baxter (Vicki Vola), Jo and Arthur took responsibility for her teen-age daughter, Allison (Anne Pearson), and Eunice and Rex were married.

Jo's family continued to grow and intertwine with other Henderson characters. Her father, Frank Gardner (Eric Dressler, Harry Holcombe), married Stu Bergman's mother, Jessie (Joanna Roos), and her cousin, immature race car driver Bud Gardner (George Maharis), married Stu's teen-age daughter, Janet (Fran Sharon, who was later Cookie Pollack on EON). However, Jo also lost Duncan Eric, her son by Arthur; the boy was also hit by a car and died.

SFT continued its new multi-generational focus into the 1960s. After Bud Gardner was killed in a scuffle with Stu, Janet married the more responsible Dr. Dan Walton (Phillip Abbott). Stu and Marge also lost custody of their young nephew, Jimmy Bergman (Peter Lazer), to his stepmother, Monica (Barbara Baxley). Jo and Arthur had to cope with Patti's bout with paralysis, as well as her string of unstable suitors - including the older, married Dr. Everett Moore (Martin Brooks). And Allison had a tumultuous marriage to Fred Metcalf (first Tom Carlin, then Donald Madden, finally David O'Brien), a recovering alcoholic reporter who was dominated by his mother, Agnes (Katherine Meskill). Veteran actor Stephen Elliott appeared as Fred's Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor, attorney John Austin.

In 1964, the Hursleys left SFT to assume the helm at General Hospital, the soap they had created the previous year. They were replaced by seasoned radio writers Julian Funt and David Lesan, who gave the show a refreshing dose of humor to balance its dark stories of ill-fated romance. In a charming, almost uproarious sequence, Marge Bergman became pregnant with a surprise baby after she thought she'd gone through menopause. The big event was given months of buildup - complete with Stu bringing home toys every night in anticipation - until Stuart Thomas Bergman Jr. ("Tom") was born. Later, the Bergmans considered selling their house to a wacky Southerner named Althea Franklin (Dody Goodman); instead, they would up having their home renovated by a certifiable pain named George Riley (John Scanlan).

(This is only the first part. I don't have the second)

Edited by CarlD2
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