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The Search - Pgm 14

October 21st, 2010

A few weeks ago, I posted an episode of a rather mysterious series I found on some circa 1960 AFRTS discs.  "The Search" is a quarter-hour religious drama about everyday people facing moral choices and was hosted by Robert Young.  Many of the episodes have familiar actors from the otr era.  But I've been unable to find out anything about the show - I'm wondering if it was created by one of the mainstream churches for syndication.

transcription label

Program 14 is a drama about trapped coal miners who learn what courage really means.  The show features Douglas Kennedy and Willard Waterman, better known for his work on "The Great Gildersleeve".

The show was transferred from an original AFRTS vinyl transcription that also contains Bobby Hammack #213 and part of Jim Ameche Pops Concert #3.

Anyone figure out where this series originated?


  • Walt Santner

    It’s not, The Search! That was the AFRTS title. From The Digital Deli, here’s the answer: Quote-

    The Witness This series is another of those fascinating little finds that one usually only discovers after years of studying Golden Age Radio. In this case it’s a wonderful little gem of a program with a unifying social theme–common sense human interaction. And yes, one can occasionally find such similar episodes within the morality plays often contained within such popular series’ as The Whistler, The Shadow, and CBS Mystery Theatre. Indeed such message dramas are as frequently found in even some of the juvenile adventures such as The Green Hornet and The Adventures of Superman.

    “In the normal course of most any day everyone of us is witness to matters of life and death. The way we involve ourselves in these vital matters makes our own lives worthwhile . . . or meaningless.”

    Robert Young’s opening message (above) frames every one of the sixteen morality plays contained within the canon of The Witness. In this series of sixteen, 15-minute installments, every episode contains a wonderful, highly effective cautionary tale, fully developed, and fully resolved. Indeed, all 16 compelling episodes are supported by a star-studded cast of socially conscious actors from The Stage, Film, Television, and Radio. The production values are also superb. It’s obvious that everyone who had a hand in producing this little gem of a series threw their heart and soul into each production.

    Accompanying each new episode is a wonderfully soothing, fatherly exposition by America’s Father, Robert Young. Even more poignant is the knowledge, in retrospect, of the very demons that plagued Robert Young throughout most of his most productive years. As such, this short series of 16 sensitively mounted radioplays gives both an historic context to the Cold War years of American Society, as well as gentle reminders of what a short way we’ve come as a Society in overcoming the common, interpersonal issues presented by each of these dramas.

    Robert Young, Art Gilmore and The Episcopal Church teamed up in 1960 to produce ‘The Search’, a similarly targeted series more overtly religious in message and hosted and narrated by Robert Young and Art Gilmore, respectively.

    This series is a definite keeper, with timeless messages for any thoughtful member of society.

    Series Derivatives: The Search; AFRTS END-685 ‘The Search’ Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Social Dramas Network(s): Syndicated by The Episcopal Church. Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 59-xx-xx 01 Labor Relations In An Electronic Age Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): [Unknown] Syndication: The Episcopal Church. Sponsors: The Episcopal Church. Director(s): Thomas Freebairn-Smith; Producer: Marjorie Hunt-Pearson Principal Actors: A Star-studded cast including: Robert Young, J.Carroll Naish, Tim Matheson, James Edwards, Ivan Dixon, Nestor Paiva, Janet Waldo, Parley Baer, Virginia Gregg, Gil Stratton, Bernie Hamilton, Peter Leeds, Alan Young, Les Tremayne, Joseph Cotten, Rosemary DeCamp, Jayne Meadows, Leon Ames, Lenore Kingston, Marvin Miller, Sandy Wormser, and Jerry Hausner. Recurring Character(s): Varied from Episode to Episode Protagonist(s): Varied from Episode to Episode Author(s): Lawrence Waddy Writer(s) Don Hall, S.K. Hershaway Music Direction: Unknown Musical Theme(s): Unknown Announcer(s): Art Gilmore Estimated Scripts or Broadcasts: 16 Episodes in Circulation: 16 Total Episodes in Collection: 16 Provenances: Jay Hickerson Guide, Los Angeles Times.

    Notes on Provenances:

    There are no known provenances for this series. We can surmise from the timbre and ‘age’ of the voices of Art Gilmore and Robert Young that the series may have run during the late 1950s or 1960s. We understand from Reverend Lawrence Waddy’s biography that he emigrated from England to serve as Headmaster of The Bishop School near La Jolla, California in 1963, but he’d been writing inspirational dramas in England for several years by then. This could date the series to the mid-1960s.

    However, Episodes 15 and 16 star a young Tim Matheson, who was born in 1947 and would appear to be 10 to 11 in the episode. We also know that Matheson, at the age of 13, co-starred in the short-lived television series, Window on Main Street, produced and directed by Robert Young and starring Young, Constance Moore and Ford Rainey. That show ran from 1961-1962. All of these facts, combined, would more accurately date this series to between 1958 and 1960. Given Tim Matheson’s known age–thirteen–during his debut television series, this lends further weight to our estimate of an air date for The Witness of 1959-1960. Unquote.


    Oct 23, 2010 at 6:05 am
  • Gerry

    You didn’t read your own quote carefully - this is a distinct program from “The Witness”, according to :

    “Robert Young, Art Gilmore and The Episcopal Church teamed up in 1960 to produce ‘The Search’, a similarly targeted series more overtly religious in message and hosted and narrated by Robert Young and Art Gilmore, respectively.”

    Oct 23, 2010 at 9:28 pm
  • Walt Santner

    Thanks, it was early in the morning! LOL

    Oct 26, 2010 at 7:44 pm