1 9 5 8 – 1 9 6 1 (USA)
915 x 30 minute episodes
Created by John Pickard and Frank Provo and sponsored by Procter & Gamble, daytime serial From These Roots debuted on 30 June 1958 and centred on widower Ben Fraser (Rod Hendrickson initially and then Joseph Macauley), the elderly editor of The Record in the fictional New England community of Strathfield, and his offspring.
Eldest daughter Emily (Helen Shields) was married to mill foreman Jim Benson (Henderson Forsythe then David Stewart) who died after a midlife affair with Luisa Corelli (Delores Sutton).
Ben’s son, Ben Jr. (Frank Marth), wanted no part of the newspaper business and was content to run a farm with his plain-spoken wife and Luisa’s sister Rose (Tresa Hughes, Julie Bovasso).
Fortunately for Ben, his literary tradition was carried on by his youngest child – attractive writer and editor, Liz (Ann Flood).
Liz served as the show’s central heroine during its three-and-a-half-year run. She was initially romanced by the devious Bruce Crawford (Byron Sanders) and good-hearted family physician Buck Weaver (Len Wayland), but Liz ultimately found true love with dashing playwright David Allen (Robert Mandan).
The show’s central romantic triangle involved Liz, David and alcoholic actress Lynn Franklin (Barbara Berjer). In a television first, Lynn featured in a ‘show-within-a-show’ in which she appeared in a television production of Madame Bovary, directed by her boyfriend Tom Jennings (Craig Huebing).
Also featured prominently were adoption agent Hilda Furman (Charlotte Rae); rich, feisty Laura Tompkins (Audra Lindley); Gloria Saxon (Millette Alexander); Bruce Crawford (Byron Sanders) and Ben Fraser’s maid, Kass (Vera Allen).
From These Roots was broadcast live to air so it was naturally prone to bloopers and foul-ups – such as the time when Julie Bovasso quit her role of Rose in an argument with producer-director Paul Lammers literally moments before air time, forcing a script girl in front of the cameras to read Rose’s lines – seated in a chair with script in hand.
Even though this was one of the rare NBC soap operas of the 1950s to last more than a year and a half, fiercely loyal fans never got over the fact that the series was cancelled at the height of its popularity, with the final show airing on 29 December 1961.
It was replaced with a new daytime serial, Our Five Daughters.
Ben Fraser, Senior
Rod Hendrickson (1)
Joseph Macauley (2)
Emily Fraser Benson
Liz Fraser Allen
Ben Fraser Jr
Rose Corelli Fraser
Julie Bovasso (1)
Tresa Hughes (2)
Dr Buck Weaver
Len Wayland (1)
Tom Shirley (2)
Maggie Barker Weaver
Billie Lou Watt