Monday, December 10, 2012

FLASHBACK: CBS Resurrects Daytime Soap THE CLEAR HORIZON A Year After It Was Canceled (1962)

'The Clear Horizon' Set To Return

Timely Daytime Serial Brought Back To TV By Public Demand

Meriden Journal
April 28, 1962

Last week we ran a feature on how a nighttime series, THE LAW AND MR. JONES, was brought back to TV by public demand. This week we would like to give equal space to a daytime series which was brought back to TV by public demand.

The name of the series is THE CLEAR HORIZON, which deals with a young Air Force Officer and his wife who live at Cape Canaveral.

The series is written and produced by a former Navy Officer, Manya Starr.

The series died from the network last March after a nine month run and there was an avalanche of complaints from viewers who had just become acquainted with the characters and life at the Cape.

Despite the complaints, Manya had little hope that the series would be renewed.

"But I sure did fight for it," she recalls. "I urged the public to write the sponsors and the network and they did. They were besieged with mail. But the death sentence was carried out just the same."

Renewal of the series looked hopeless so she put it out of her mind, and Manya and her businessman husband and their two young songs left for a vacation at a remote spot in the Barbados Islands.

The place they chose was really isolated. There was no electricity and no telephone service. The only connection with civilization was a schooner which ran in an erratic schedule to another larger island.

"You can imagine our reaction," Manya laughs, "when, a few days after our arrival, a Barbadian walked up to me on the beach and handed me a note from CBS! The message, which had been phoned to an island nearby, written out and delivered by boat and bicycle, said that THE CLEAR HORIZON was being returned to TV. That was the shortest vacation our family ever had."

Back in New York at her typewriter, she picked up the storyline where it had ended the previous March. The cast which had been featured was rounded up again, included Edward Kemmer and Phyllis Avery who portray the young Air Force officer and his wife, and supporting players Rusty Lane, Eve McVeagh and James Edwards.

"Our show," says Manya, "is clear proof that daytime drama needn't be soggy, maudlin or irrelevant to contemporary life. It has all the immediacy of today's headlines and brings into sharp focus the great achievements being made in our race to conquer space. But even more important-and this is the aspect which the military forces like-viewers can absorb the information painlessly because the continuing storyline provides the human interest which makes it entertaining."

Although THE CLEAR HORIZON is filmed on the West Coast, Manya writes the scripts in New York.

"It sounds like an awkward setup," admits Manya," but actually it runs very smoothly. Let's face it, actors don't like writers hanging over their necks just as writers don't like it either."

Ed Kemmer pointed out that, while he enjoyed his role when the series first originated, he finds it even more fascinating now.

"Naturally, the fact that Commander Allan Shepard and Colonel John Glenn have made successful flights does add a new excitement to this role," says Kemmer. "In a way, I enjoy the same thrill as an actor might enjoy if he were portraying any of our country's great men."

"But what really adds a touch of reality," injects Manya Starr, "are actual film clips from Cape Canaveral which we integrate into the series. The Army and Air Force have taken such an interest in the program that, through a mutual agreement, they have permitted us to use certain footage from Canaveral."

Manya always had a flair for writing and upon her discharge from the service, she prevailed on a fellow officer to introduce her to the Hummerts, a well-known production company, who were turning out more daytime shows for radio than any other group. They were impressed with her and she got the assignment of doing the scripts for the CLAUDIA series, remaining on that job for 18 months.

Turning her attention to television in the early days of the industry, she ran up a long list of imposing credits including 19 months of writing THE EGG AND I on CBS. Other work included THE DOCTOR'S WIFE, FIRST LOVE, SUSPENSE, TALES OF TOMORROW and FOUR STAR PLAYHOUSE.

"But I always had one goal in mind," she recalls, "and that was to create my own series. I wanted it to be something as up-to-date as tomorrow's headlines." Thus - THE CLEAR HORIZON.

Asked if there are any problems in scripting a show as technical as this one, Manya says, "Yes, indeed. I have two small sons who usually decide to play 'spaceman' just when I sit down at the typewriter. I guess they feel they're providing the proper atmosphere for my work!"


  1. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could resurrect GUIDING LIGHT, SEARCH FOR TOMORROW and CAPITOL!?

  2. You know what I'd love? I'd love if someone could partner with You Tube and create a Classic Soap Channel (irrespective of production/parent companies like P&G, etc) and stream classic episodes on this channel.

    I understand the process of encoding and film rights are ornery but if they start out with shows like Capitol and Edge of Night, Texas, Santa Barbara, Loving, etc that had relatively limited runs (as compared to shows that were on for several decades like ATWT and GL, Another World, etc) they could give technicians, volunteers, etc more time to work out those technical/legal aspects with the bigger shows. Perhaps You Tube could help with some logistical support.

    But with You Tube, there is already the infrastructure present to cultivate sponsors and ad revenue in the way YT assists fledgling filmmakers and indie producers maintain build a revenue stream and subscriber base.
    And with You Tube being so prominent, it would be a very visible gathering place for fans of Classic Soaps to gather and watch their favorites, instead of the piece-meal process that has been happening in the last decade with various sites displaying portals of material that are here today and gone tomorrow.

    Has any entity ever tried partnering with You Tube?

  3. I don't think Santa Barbara is an option. The music used on that show can't be cut out most likely and no one can afford to pay to use it again. If someone had years to digitize the old stuff you could probably air a lot of it skipping episodes with music in them. But you still have the pay the actors, writers, directors, etc, etc for airing their work again. It becomes diminishing returns.

    Episodes from the late 1990s onward are the most likely candidates to get played again because the dialogue and music were no longer mixed together on one track so you could easily take music out. As long as you could digitize those episodes cheaply and air them at a cost that would make enough money to be profitable and still pay everyone involved, it could work.

    I wish decades of soap history wasn't lost due to wiping, etc.

    I would think Sony or ABC have the best shot at making something like this happen.

  4. I agree with you Roger about the wiping--whose idea was that??
    Not to sound too macabre but perhaps they should test this with a show like the Edge of Night, many of the cast are deceased and the need for residuals might be greatly reduced (unless estates want to get involved).
    Maybe the technology one day will avail itself that can help in the difficult digitization process (hey, a girl can dream, right?).

    With all the countries that have been exposed to American soaps worldwide, You Tube is a much more public platform than any one website out there and it's region free.

  5. The Case to bring Back OLTL and ATWT is still an option. AMC and GL, is too late. The shows were so corroded when they left the air.

  6. agent, one reason the new Dallas can't always use old photographs is they have to get releases, and if the cast member is deceased they have to get a family to allow them to use the image. Until Soap Classics came along I never really thought about all that goes into it at this level before.

  7. I thought for yrs that I had only dreamed this soap existed! Glad to see it validated! I loved it - I was just a kid, but never forgot it.