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Series / Search for Tomorrow

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Long-running Soap Opera, which premiered in 1951. The first truly successful Soap Opera on television, the show ran until 1982 on CBS, at which point it moved to NBC until its demise in 1986.

Set in the midwestern town of Henderson, Search (as it was often referred) focused on the trials and tribulations of Joanne "Jo" Gardner (Barron Tate Vincente Tourneur after many marriages), played for the entire 35 year run by Mary Stuart.

This show provides examples of:

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: In the later years, the show introduced an Irish family who owned an Irish bar... like the Ryans on Ryan's Hope. Search even went so far as to hire Malachy McCourt, who played Kevin the bartender on Ryan's Hope, to play the bartender of the McCleary's bar.
  • Finale Credits: The final episode used a Credits Medley, with all of the contract cast waving goodbye to the camera, closed out by Mary Stuart Thanking the Viewer for 35 "wonderful years", all set to a Lou Rawls rendition of We'll Be Together Again.
  • Live Episode: Like most soaps in its day, Search was presented live from its premiere until 1967.
    • When the master and backup tape were lost for an episode in 1983, the show was presented live for the first time since the transition to tape. Conspiracy Theorists suspected NBC intentionally lost the tape (or lied) to bolster the flagging ratings, especially given the similarity of this situation to the movie Tootsie.
  • Long Runner: Search ran for 35 years; at the time of its cancellation in 1986, it was the longest-running dramatic show in television history (though it ceded that title to Guiding Light, which premiered 9 months later in 1952, after its cancellation).
  • Ratings Stunt: In a last-ditch effort to increase ratings, the show introduced a storyline in which a massive flood destroyed the town of Henderson. The show was canned 10 months later.
  • Rich Bitch: Stephanie Wilkins, Jo's enemy from the 1970s on.
  • Title Drop: In the Grand Finale, when asked what she's searching for, Jo replies "Tomorrow, and I can't wait."
  • Younger and Hipper: Arguably, what happened to the show in the final years, as two new families were introduced (the Kendalls and the McClearys), with the focus of the show moving onto the three young McCleary sons.