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The Clear Horizon

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This was a CBS soap which ran off and on for two years, to the day, about the lives of astronauts and their wives at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Created and written by Manya Starr, produced by Charles Pollacheck, directed by Joseph Behar and Hal Cooper. This was a 30 minute show, one of the first broadcast from California, one of the first to have location filming.

The show aired live from July 11, 1960-March 11, 1961. Then it was taped when reappearing from February 26-June 11, 1962. 11 wasn't the luckiest of numbers for this show apparently.

In the first episode, Roy Selby, an Army Signal Corps officer, was recalled from his post in Alaska to go to Florida.

Roy Selby - Edward Kemmer

Ann Selby - Phyllis Avery

Greg Selby - Craig Curtis

Ricky Selby - Jimmy Carter, then Charles Herbert

Col. Theodore Adams - William Roerick

Lois Adams - Denise Alexander

Sgt. Harry Moseby - Eve McVeagh

Mitchell Corbin - Richard Coogan

With: George Gobel, Grace Albertson, Ted Knight, Lee Meriwether

(thanks to Soap Opera Encyclopedia/Chris Schemering)

Edited by CarlD2
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Even the usual "happy ending" can serve to give hope to viewers and stimulate them to meet their difficulties courageously.

On the other hand, it is unhealthy to substitute the make-believe world of TV drama for everyday reality. Rarely are real children as obedient, real women as romantic, or real men as virile, as those portrayed on our screen. Once the program is over, it is time for viewers to become disenchanted and snap back to reality - or they are likely to become disillusioned, frustrated and unable to accept the circumstances in their own lives.

Few women, for example, are married to Astronauts or space scientists, but all husbands must face similar tests of courage - physically, morally or emotionally. Captain Roy Selby and his wife are a case in point. They exist only on TV, as hero and heroine of "The Clear Horizon", working side by side in space research at Cape Canaveral.

They're happily married and have a son, Ricky, who is twelve. He was born in Morocco and has lived in Japan, Alaska, California, and New Haven. Roy was in the Army when he first met Anne. He was raised on a farm in the Midwest, worked his way through college and has all but lost track of his family. He's a natural athlete, enjoys competition, has a great sense of duty and likes to be by himself - reading, listening to music, or just thinking.

Anne comes from New England, where her folks still live in the house in which she grew up. Her dad was a real estate agent who painted pictures on the side; artistic, impractical, weaker than his wife, he drew on her strength to survive. Anne was more like her mother and made her way in the business world at a young age.

Anne works parttime at the billeting office of the air base. Roy is now an Air Force captain, assigned to various hazardous jobs connected with our space research program. His life is often in jeopardy and Anne lives, as they say, on "the razor's edge."

These two are well-mated. Anne required a strong masculine figure, unlike her father, for a husband. Roy acquired the solid family roots he missed as a child. Anne - as well as the Army - offered this kind of security. The Army - or the police ford, a large corporation, or any major business enterprise such as a supermarket chain - gives a man a sense of belonging; he may find roots and a feeling of "home" which he never knew.

Men like Roy choose hazardous work for any number of reasons: The appeal of the job itself, higher pay, excitement, the admiration of others. (When a man in a dangerous job acts in a foolhardy fashion, however, he may have been driven to such work for neurotic reasons and unconsciously wish to be hurt or killed in performing his duty. But this is clearly not Roy's reason.)

For any woman in Anne's position to accept the uncertainty that goes with marrying a man who's always on the go and forever courting danger, she must love her husband deeply and share something of his own excitement in undertaking risks. Anne seems to have met this challenge in a mature, healthy way, uncomplaining and working by his side as much as her time allows - for she is also a mother and must pay extra attention to her son, who is growing up in a highly dramatic, uncertain, ever-changing environment.

Ricky has never known what it means to have real friends, for his friendships never lasted more than two years, at the most. That's the longest his family ever stayed put in one place before his dad was moved elsewhere for military reasons.

The Selby live under tension at all times, never knowing when Roy will be separated from them, or for how long, or whether he'll ever return. Sometimes, his work may entail such secrecy that he can't even alert his wife as to what might happen.

Ricky's feeling of emotional security is very much in the hands of his mother. If she is a warm, loving, strong person, the child can survive the tensions imposed by his dad's job and any sudden separations from him. Even the child who attends a sleep-away camp or out-of-town school - or is hospitalized through illness or injury - successfully copes with such separation from his family only when he lives in a home where he feels secure and knows that his parents love him, as well as each other.

A boy, of course, needs masculine companionship in order to identify with a strong male figure: His father. If his father is away too long or too often, a boy is bound to be hurt, even in the best of families. Since his dad is a "soldier," Ricky may have less of a problem than do his civilian counterparts, because he's growing up in an environment where it's not unusual for fathers to be away from their families.

Anne Selby must have great faith in her husband in order to survive the anxiety that must plague her constantly. She must believe in his love and in his ability to take care of himself. The wife of America's famous Astronaut, Col. Glenn, showed as much courage, emotionally, as did her husband physically. This is the pattern Anne must follow.

In a particularly exciting episode, Captain Roy Selby and his buddy, Lieutenant Sig Levy, are held captive on a Russian ship which picked them up at sea when they were attempting to recover the pay-load of an exploded missile during a squall. Anne does not yet know that Roy and Sig are being detained as spies. All she knows is that they are missing.

She doesn't tell even this to Sig's wife, Jeanette, who is her friend. She doesn't want to worry her and is waiting for more information before giving her the news. However, she does take her son, Ricky, into her confidence.

Is this fair to her friend? Is this fair to the boy?

Anne was wrong in revealing such news to her twelve-year-old son. He is too young to recognize the situation in its true perspective, and could be hurt emotionally. When a wife takes a youngster into her confidence this way, in real life, we are inclined to suspect that she is using him as a husband-substitute, viewing him as an adult rather than as the child he really is.

Also, it is inconsistent for her to speak out to her son but withhold such information from her friend. Even though Jeanette is pregnant and Anne is presumably trying to protect her from worry, she is not playing fair with her. This situation deeply concerns the other wife, too, and she should know what's happened.

Again, if a woman behaved this way in real life, we would suspect that she may be expressing some unconscious feeling of hostility to her friend under the guise of "protecting" her, or perhaps might want to play martyr and not share her martyrdom with anyone else - a selfish attitude, in any case.

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Learning to live with death

Ricky is terribly upset. He can't sleep. He complains about missing his father even at those times when normally wouldn't be with him; just knowing he's there, if he needs him, makes him feel secure. Anne smothers her own fears, and bravely tries to reassure her son.

But what if Roy should never return? How can a mother prepare her child for the possible loss of his father?

This situation calls for great courage on Anne's part, and adult courage means recognizing things as they are, standing up to them, and dealing with them forthrightly. Anne has shown courage her. She has fought back, in the face of stress and anxiety, in order to sustain her child. She has set him a good example, nourished him on hope and love and the truth of the matter. She has not broken down; if she she had, then the last support of her child would have crumbled and Ricky, too, would have broken.

This is all that any mother can do when her husband is threatened and may never return to the family fold. Of course, a very young child should not be exposed to as much of the facts as an older one. The emotional age of the child must be considered, too.

A moral question is raised by Roy's imprisonment, and it reminds us that perilous situations sometimes lead to unwholesome, less than honest solutions. In this case, the problem arises because Roy and Sig have found a benefactor aboard their prison ship - an officer who shows a desire to defect and flee to America.

When this officer inadvertently leaves the door open to Roy's cabin, Roy protects him by going along with Sig's explanation to the ship's commanding officer that an innocent sailor named Kirov was the guilty party.

No matter what the circumstances, this is not a moral situation. Kirov is innocent of wrong-doing - he is a human being, and likely to be punished for something he didn't do. Morality means distinguishing right from wrong in all situations, not just when it's convenient to act one way or another. It may be expedient to accuse Kirov, in order to save their friend's skin, but it is not moral.

It is inconsistent with Roy's integrity to behave this way - his resourcefulness should have allowed him to come up with a more honest solution. Regardless of one's good intentions, it is dangerous to sink to the level of permitting the means to justify the end. In this particular case, real-life actions must not model themselves after those of TV plays. We should be careful to avoid confusion between doing what's right and doing what's expedient. Modern society already suffers a great deal from such confusion.

Roy, of course, does return safely and is reunited with his family. The closeness of his relationship with his wife is expressed again in an incident where, only through Anne's alertness and assistance, does he become able to clear an innocent man and prevent his being court-martialed.

This is the kind of upright behavior completely consistent with Roy's character - and it is significant that Anne was of help to him. Marriage, if it is to be a good one, must be a partnership which is equally shared. Those wives and husbands who cannot unburden themselves to each other, and are forced to live separate, private, secret lives, are missing all the joys of marriage. Even when life is a continual crisis - the more they have in common, the better they'll be able to cope with their problems.

Anne has acted as a true wife here, by taking an active interest in her husband's work. Roy has responded as a true husband by accepting and acknowledging her interest. Both have shown their ability to share both the good and the bad that life has to offer. This ability to share is bound to have a healthy effect on their young son.

Captain Roy Selby, his wife Anne and their son Ricky are pretty special people, in terms of the harum-scarum life they're forced to lead. But, deep down inside, they're not very different from other families. Even though most husbands aren't threatened by physical danger, they and their families are at the mercy of other just-as-frightening concerns. A man can lose his job...or become seriously ill...or be lured away by another woman's charms. Trouble can beset anybody's family at any time. A crisis can occur, without notice, about anything from health to finances.

But remember: Though your problems may be similar to those faced by your favorite TV heroes and heroines, your solutions may have to be quite different.

Next month, we'll analyzed another popular daytime drama and try to make its story and its characters meaningful in your own lives and relationships with those you love.

"The Clear Horizon" is on CBS-TV, Mon.-Fri., 11:30-11:55 A.M. EDT.

Edited by CarlD2
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Fascinating! I had never even heard of this show. The concept sounds really interesting, especially at the time, I'm wondering if it was any good? I don't recognize the names of any of the behind-the-scenes folks. It looks like it was stuck in a cursed timeslot... Thanks for posting!

Also interesting that a magazine ran a series in which a doctor provided commentary on the way that soaps portrayed characters coping with problems. Too bad they chose a doctor who seemed to be extremely condescending and chauvinist...he sounds like the psychiatrist Betty Draper went to see in Mad Men.

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To add what Carl has started, here's Matt P. Smith's summary on it from his soap history guide. Did not this show premiered on my birthday(July 11th!)

March has never been a good month for soaps on CBS either except of course for Y&R and B&B:

Edited by soapfan770
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I think Manya Starr had some other short-lived soaps in the 50's and later into the 60's (wasn't she involved with Morning Star? Or am I just hung up on the Star and Starr?).

The idea should have taken off, as this was the beginning of the "space race". I wonder why it didn't. The timeslot can't have helped.

I don't know if I have any other TV Radio Mirror issues that have this psychiatrist. I agree it's an interesting concept for a magazine. SOD did this all the time, starting in the late 70's, but there's little we know about the 60's soaps, which is when the real changes began.

Thanks for sharing Matt Smith's writeup. I hadn't seen that. It's nice to know more background on the characters.

I wonder if Ted Knight and Robert Mandan ever talked about their soap work.

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One more thing I believe Bern Bennett was the announcer for this show. This was I believe the first CBS soap along with Full Circle to be produced at CBS Television City in LA.

Never knew Ted Knight did soap work until reading about all of this. As for Mandan I don't know but he must have not minded it because he was on Days in the 90s although the role was a bit over the top(Jonesey died of a heart attack while having sex with Vivian!)

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Check out the October 2012 issue of Sci Fi. They have an entire page on the show. Two photos, some talk of the space race era the show was in, some trivia, basic details of the main cast and the creator Manya Starr.

Edited by CarlD2
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The show was later written by Irving Vendig, who had created The Edge of Night. He was also that show's headwriter for many years. He was also a writer for Search for Tomorrow, Three Steps to Heaven, and Paradise Bay and the creator/headwriter of Hidden Faces.

Also Charles Polacheck, the producer, had earlier been a producer of The Edge of Night.

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