Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FLASHBACK: Larry Haines 1956

Shift to Westport Court Possible in Adoption Case

Sunday Herald
January 15, 1956

Fighting to keep the baby that was given to them for adoption shortly after her birth last September, Larry and Gertrude Haines of Wilton Rd., Westport, will know this week whether or not they must do battle in White Plains Supreme Court or in Probate Court in Westport.

A decision is expected shortly from a White Plains judge who must rule on the question of jurisdiction in the heartbreaking case.

It was launched by the child Deborah Dorothy's natural parents, Dorothea and Joseph Hahn of Mt. Vernon, N.Y. The mother gave the baby for adoption before it was born and changed her mind last December.

Haines is a well-known radio and TV actor. He has been seen and/or heard in SEARCH FOR TOMORROW, GANGBUSTERS, COUNTER SPY and TREASURY AGENT and his voice is familiar to soap-opera fans as a result of his longtime role in THE SECOND MRS. BURTON.

The couple, married 12 years and childless, moved to Westport last October for the baby's sake. They started adoption proceedings in Westport Probate Court.

Last Summer Haines learned of the imminent birth of the child and of the mother's desire to have it adopted.

Mrs. Hahn is a Roman Catholic. Her husband is now taking instruction in the faith. Mr. and Mrs. Haines are Jewish.

Although the Hahns are proceeding under a New York State law banning interfaith adoptions, Mrs. Hahn said that religion was not an issue.

She asserted that if the Haineses were Catholic "this still would have happened. I don't care that they're Jewish. I knew that before I turned the baby over to them. I just love my baby and I want to have her for my own."

Mrs. Hahn did not see her child until a week after it was born when she went to the hospital to get her baby and give her to a representative of the Westport couple.

At the time, she said, she had qualms, but did not express them until December, Haines declaired.

The decision to give the baby away was made before its birth, Mrs. Hahn said, because "we were awfully mixed up - all the fuss with parents and relatives because of the way we got married."

The Hahns were married last March. The baby was born Sept. 16.

Haines and his wife, heart-broken over the unexpected development, say that they urged the mother to consider her decision with great care before they agreed to take the baby.

"We even tried to convince her not to part with it," Haines reported.

The child was originally named Deborah Ellen but the second name was changed to Dorothy at the mother's request. She called the Haineses about a month after giving them the baby and insisted "It ought to have been named after me."

At the time, Haines said, "I told her if she wanted the baby back, to take it then and there, because we couldn't afford to become any more fond of the child. She said 'I wouldn't do that to you.'"

"Now that she is four months old, you can imagine how we feel," he added.

Haines said that he expected that if the New York judge rejects the Hahns plea for a writ of habeas corpus on juridictional grounds, they will come to Connecticut to contest the adoption proceedings.

The judge this week turned down the Hahns' demand that Mr. and Mrs. Haines produce the baby in court, pending settlement of the juridictional dispute.

The Bridgeport firm of Bartlett, Keeler and Cohn is Connecticut counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Haines.


  1. Oh, you can't DO this!!! What happened with the adoption??

    This memorial page for Mr. Haines mentions his daughter (spelled "Debora" in the guest book) and that she had predeceased her father.


    I take this to mean that the Haines family had prevailed in their attempt to retain custody.

    Can you find any articles that round out what happened to Mr. Haines' family? I'll be searching :-)

  2. NYT also mentions Debora


    The must have gotten custody of Debbie, because she is mentioned in this article about Larry's Broadway moonlighting. She was 14 at the time. (Toledo Blade)


    The soap viewer in me wants to know if the Haines family just prevailed legally, or if the birth mother thought better of it at the last minute.

  3. Mark, I thought the same thing--what happened to Debbie??! LOL Thankfully, you were a great detective on this case! Thanks.

    I thought it was interesting to read the article in the Toledo Blade where Larry Haines guessed, off the cuff, that "Search For Tomorrow" might last "another 17 years." ...And sure enough, it lasted for another 17 years it was canceled! A bittersweet coincidence. :-)

  4. Fascinating stuff. Perhaps our pal Nelson Aspen can shed some light with his SFT connections. I was reading an article from the fall of 1957 where the case was still in court with the Haines prevailing but it seemed like it would continue on for a while. Ultimately the case went in their favor. It just goes to show you that family drama can be interesting without all the bells and whistles of microchips or evil lookalikes.