1 9 5 1 – 1 9 8 6 (USA)
9,130 x 15/30 minute episodes
This long-running daytime soap opera – sponsored by Procter & Gamble – first aired on CBS on 3 September 1951. The series screened in black and white from 1951 until 1967, and then in colour until 1986.
The series was set in the fictional town of Henderson, USA, and centred on housewife-turned-civic leader Joanne Gardner Barron Tate Vincente Tourneur (Mary Stuart), or as she was known to millions of soap fans, “Jo”.
Episodes were only 15 minutes long until 1968 when they were expanded to 30 minutes.
The series was a top-rated show for its first 25 years, but its ratings eventually declined, and CBS cancelled it in 1982.
NBC picked it up and it ran for another four years, but the ratings continued to fall.
After surviving 35 years of death, divorce, heaving bosoms, backstabbing, a devastating flood, marriages and remarriages on the small screen, the final episode of Search For Tomorrow aired on Boxing Day 1986, making it the longest-running daytime drama on television. Mary Stuart was the only cast member to last from the very first episode to the very last.
Although “Jo” had been pushed into the background in latter years, the show received its highest ratings when she was kidnapped and held by psycho Billy Vargas (John Glover). Afterwards, Jo again faded into the background until the show’s cancellation.
Among the stars who got their start on Search For Tomorrow before going on to film or television stardom were Susan Sarandon, Morgan Fairchild, Robbie Benson, Sandy Duncan, Don Knotts, Jill Clayburgh, Kevin Kline, George Maharis, Kevin Bacon, Wayne Rogers and Hal Linden.
Joanne Gardner Barron Tate Vincente Tourneur
Billie Lou Watt
Janet Bergman Collins