Search for Tomorrow is a TV soap opera which started airing on Monday, September 3, 1951 on CBS. The show was moved from CBS, its original broadcaster, on Friday, March 26, 1982, with NBC picking it up on the following Monday, March 29, 1982. It continued on NBC until the final episode was aired on Friday, December 26, 1986. At the time of its final broadcast it was the longest-running, non-news program on television, lasting thirty-five years. However, this distinction was short-lived as these records were soon eclipsed by Guiding Light.
The show was created by Roy Winsor and was first written by Agnes Nixon (who was then known professionally as "Agnes Eckhardt") for thirteen weeks and, later, by Irving Vendig.
Search aired as a fifteen-minute serial from its debut in 1951 until 1968. The show's first sponsors were "Joy dishwashing liquid" and Spic and Span household cleaner. As the show's ratings increased, more sponsors began buying commercial time. Both "Joy" and "Spic and Span" continued to be the primary sponsors of the show well into the 1960s.
The show switched from live broadcasts to recorded telecasts in March 1967, went to color on September 11, 1967, and expanded to a half-hour on September 9, 1968 . At the time, Search and its sister show Guiding Light, which had shared the same half-hour for sixteen years, were the last two fifteen-minute soap operas airing on television. (As a result of the expansion, Search gained the entire 12:30 pm ET timeslot and an expanded Guiding Light moved to 2:30 pm.)
In 1983, both the master copy and the backup of a Search episode were lost, and on August 4, the cast was forced to do a live show for the first time since the transition sixteen years before. After the event, NBC was accused of lying about the tape being misplaced in hopes that the noise generated by the accident would create a ratings jump for the show. It was thought that this situation mirrored a similar one in the 1982 movie Tootsie.
Throughout its entire thirty-five year run, Search's opening titles featured of a shot of clouds floating through the sky. In fact, they consisted entirely of that until 1981. The only noticeable change was the slightly altered "S" in "Search" upon switching to color. In 1981 they switched to a glitzy new videotaped opening sequence beginning with a shot of a seagull flying over the ocean, followed by a helicopter shot of the clouds in the midday sky (see the third title card). In the show's final months, the titles featured a montage of cast clips, bookended with sky shots.
The theme music for the early years sounded a little like "Beyond the Blue Horizon" to some, which would have seemed quite appropriate for this show given the opening visuals. Upon switching to color, a theme titled "Interchange" by Bill Meeder was used for the opening, and later on in 1974, a short-lived theme titled "Signature for Search for Tomorrow" by Ashley Miller (by then, it was still using in-studio organ accompaniment).
From November 1974 to February 1986, Search used a pop ballad theme: "We'll Search for Tomorrow" by Jon Silbermann, Jack Cortner, and John Barranco. This followed a trend initiated by The Young and the Restless for using pop ballads for soap theme tunes. Several arrangements were used during its 12-year run: the original version, a more orchestral version, a Latin disco-flavored version, and a vocal version for closing credits.
The final months' title sequence was accompanied by a new "techno-rock" theme by Bill Chinnock called "Somewhere in the Night".
Created by Roy Winsor
Narrated by Dwight Weist (announcer)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 9130
Camera setup multi-camera
15 minutes (1951-1968)
30 minutes (1968-1986)
Original run September 3, 1951 – December 26, 1986