Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The answer to our trivia question yesterday: Which classic PGP soap was the launching pad for future sitcom stars Robert Mandan, Nita Talbot and Joel Higgins is...

Search for Tomorrow!

Robert Mandan, probably best known as the philandering Chester Tate on Soap, from 1965 to 1970, was Jo's (Mary Stuart) third husband, Sam Reynolds. Sam charmed Jo by saving her daughter from a knife-wielding drug addict. He managed to avoid seduction by Jo's sister, Eunice, and was exonerated in the murder of his ex-wife, but then fell off a river boat in Africa and was presumed dead. While he was gone, Jo fell in love with another man. (A similar situation happed to Chester, who returned from a presumed-dead bout with amnesia to find wife Jessica involved with the detective hired to find him. Jessica very reasonably explained to him, "We thought you were dead, Chester. And, of course, with you being dead, we did things which we wouldn't usually do when you were here because being dead you are not." I wish more soap characters were so reasonable.) A devoted Jo returned to Sam. Unfortunately, he was suffering from an African brain fever and went insane. Jo eventually ended us falsely accused of his murder. Mandan also appeared in the sitcoms Three's a Crowd, Private Benjamin and as the man who taught Mrs. Garrett The Facts of Life.

Nita Talbot played Rose on SFT from 1954 to 1955. Rose worked for Jo and her business partners, Stu and Marge Bergman, at the Motor Haven Inn. She deliberately poisoned a bowl of the inn's soup so that Jo's reputation would be ruined and the local mob could take over and use the business as a front. ABC Daytime audience might recognize Nita Talbot as Delfina, Luke and Laura's flamboyant wedding gown designer, but she is probably best known for her Emmy-nominated role as Russian spy Marya on Hogans' Heroes. In addition, the actress has guest-starred on everything from Perry Mason to Peter Gunn, Gomer Pyle to All in the Family, and Remington Steele to Ellen.

Joel Higgins played Bruce Carlson on SFT from 1975 to 1978 (the role was originated by a fourteen year old Robby Benson, and later played by Gary Tomlin, currently the Co-Executive Producer of DOOL). Bruce was a Jo's ward and a friend of Henderson's younger generation, Stu's grandchildren Gary and Liza. His love interest for a time was Jennifer, played by Morgan Fairchild. The actor went on to star in the sitcom Best of the West, and later Silver Spoons. Most recently, he wrote lyrics and music for Johnny Guitar (read all about it, here).


manifan13 said...

Your dates on Soap are wrong. It ran in the late 70s, early 80s.

PGP Classic Soaps said...

"Soap" ran from 1977 to 1981 on ABC. The dates refer to Mandan's stint on "Search for Tomorrow."