Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Which PGP classic soap was the springboard for the career of the following sitcom stars:

Robert Mandan of Soap fame.

Nita Talbot of Hogan's Heroes.

Joel Higgins of Silver Spoons.

Find out tomorrow (complete with classic pix)!

But in the meantime, post your best guess in the Comments below!


jimmo said...

Bob Mandan played the role of the first "Sam Reynolds," who most longtime fans of the soap (and the late actress Mary Stuart, in her memoir, "Both Of Me") regard as lead character "Joanne's" (Stuart's) best romance in the show's 35-year history.

After Mandan left the role of "Sam Reynolds," initially to co-star with Lauren Bacall in the Tony-winning "Applause" (the musical version of the classic theater film "All About Eve"), the character was written out (as having died in the African jungles) of the storylines for about a year, then re-cast with two other actors--George Gaines and Roy Schuman ("Dr. Michael Shea" on "As The World Turns").

With the re-casting also came a change in the character's demeanor, "Sam" turning into a darker, possessive suitor, jealous of his fiance's new romance with "Dr. Tony Vincente," leading to her psychosomatic blindness, kidnapping, their elopement and a subsequent hostage situation with two hippies (one played by then newcomer Susan Sarandon), culminating in "Sam's" shooting death.

Coincidentally, the late Ann Williams, who played "Jo's" sister "Eunice Gardner Twining Webster Martin Wyatt" the longest, was also in the cast of "Applause," as "Karen Richards," the role played on screen by Celeste Holm.

Joel Higgins of "Silver Spoons" played "Bruce Carson #5," but the role was originated, as a teenager, by Robby Benson, who was also to become a film actor of note himself ("Ode To Billy Joe," among others).

Nita Talbot played "Rose Petersen #2", sister of the deaf-mute character "Wilbur Petersen," who was played by Don Knotts (pre-"No Time For Sergeants"/"The Andy Griffith Show"). Soap veteran and film actress Constance Ford ("Ada" on "Another World') succeeded Talbot in the role, which was originated by film & stage actress/director Lee Grant.

"Search For Tomorrow" also bolstered the careers of "Jill Clayburgh" (brain tumor patient and pivotal character "Grace Bolton," who would give birth to the baby who became the adopted son of "Patti Barron Tate Whiting McCleary, RN," and thus grandson of lead Mary Stuart's character, "Jo") and Jane Krakowski ("T.R. Sentell Kendall"), who went on to greater TV fame in "Ally McBeal" and "30 Rock."

I know there are more famous actors who can claim a role on "Search" on their resumes, but at least I've given you your answers and a few more in addition.

jimmo said...

By the way, apropos of that first posted comment, I have also read those scenes of Mary Stuart wandering "blind" as "Jo" after "Sam's" shooting (supposedly at the lake cabin of "Sam's" friend & "Jo's" then brother-in-law, attorney "Doug Martin") were the first, extensive use of outdoor, location shooting on a daytime drama.

To my recollection, because the outdoor lighting was relatively the same look as for the indoor scenes, having a "live" look, the location shooting was in videotape, and I recall reading the locations were somewhere in Connecticut.

It would be great if P&G could produce any video, even just one episode, from that period with Mary Stuart and Susan Sarandon; most especially those terrific, few episodes of "Jo" wandering blind in the woods. It was one of Mary Stuart's finest moments on her soap, "Search For Tomorrow."