Friday, January 30, 2009


The Brooklyn Eagle honors the late actor Arnold Moss on what would have been his 99th birthday.

Moss is best known to general audiences for appearing in two Bob Hope films, My Favorite Spy and Casanova's Big Night, and to Star Trek fans for his guest appearance as Anton Karidian (actually the genocidal Kodos of Tarsus IV) in the Shakespeare-infused episode Conscience of the King. (Moss came by his Shakespeare credentials honestly - he played Prospero for 100 performances in the 1945 production of The Tempest, that show's longest Broadway run ever.)

But from 1948 to 1949, The Guiding Light's listeners knew him as Ted White, a wealthy, British advertising executive pursued by Meta Bauer in an attempt to boost her modeling career. Meta did not love Ted and, when she became pregnant, kept it a secret and gave their son up for adoption. A few months later, Meta changed her mind and sued to get little Chuckie back from his loving adoptive parents, the Brandons.

Meta finally told Ted the truth, hoping he would help her reclaim Chuckie, but an angry Ted initiated his own custody suit. When Meta was awarded the boy however, Ted decided to marry his ex-lover, prove her an unfit mother and keep Chuckie for himself.

During the trial, Meta had started having feelings for Dr. Ross Boling (the man her shy sister Trudy, who'd always felt herself in Meta's shadow, had a crush on -- sensitive to the emotions of other people, our Meta was not). But when her family pressured Meta to wed Ted for Chuckie's sake, she gave in.

The marriage was a disaster and Meta left Ted. Tragically, a few years later, Chuckie died from a head injury. Meta blamed Ted for pushing their kindergarten-aged son into dangerous boxing lessons. She grabbed a gun and shot Ted dead.

Her murder trial in 1951 was the first instance of fans being allowed to vote on a character's guilt or innocence. Naturally, Meta was set free by the sympathetic audience who had lived through Meta and Ted's travails right along with her.

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