I think I have been watching soaps since I was born. The thing about soaps is that you can always kind of pick up after going away for a period, and within a week of half-assed watching it’s like you never missed a beat. And, soaps are something that can be watched either passively, or with full attention. You’ll still kind of get it, as long as the tv is tuned into the same show every day.
It is for that reason that I can actually pay tribute to Larry Haines, and mean it. My mother was actually a work at home mom when I was growing up (don’t get any funny ideas; she was a licensed cosmetologist and did hair in the basement of our home), so I wasn’t a latchkey kid. Mom was always there, and so was the television. And so were all the soaps that I kind of “watched” if I was hanging out with her. Half the time I didn’t understand what was really going on, being a kid and everything, but I knew the characters.
One of the shows she used to watch was Search for Tomorrow. For many years the heroine of the serial was a redhead named Joanne Tate, played by Mary Stuart. And her best friend was her neighbor, Stu Bergman, played by Larry Haines. The show ended a long run in the 1980’s, and many of the younger actors went on to do other soaps, prime time television, and movies (Kevin Kline, Ellen Barkin, and Susan Sarandon). And Mary Stuart played Meta Bauer on Guiding Light until the early part of this decade, when she passed away. But I don’t remember seeing Larry Haines anywhere, probably because he was in shows I didn’t watch.
Larry passed away on July 17th at the age of 89. Here’s a clip of Stu and Joanne in the final episode of Search for Tomorrow, which aired in 1986.