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Old 10-27-2011, 02:30 AM   #1
God Bless Val
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Thumbs up Joel Higgins BEFORE Silver Spoons!!

From 1975-78, Joel Higgins played Bruce Carson on the now-defunct soap opera Search For Tomorrow. His love interest, Amy, was played by Anne Wyndham, who also played Barney Miller's daughter. Anyway, they played out some interesting stories, and here's a sampling:

"A change of writers created, literally, a whole new show. The basic tactic was to do what Love of Live did: turn at least a third of the characters into Very Young People searching for love, while retaining for the rest of the show a group of characters in their thirties and a group of characters in their forties. Youth and attractiveness replaced the dominant mode of topicality. I am most impressed by the story involving Steve Kaslo and Liza Walton. The actors, Michael Nouri and Meg Bennett, are totally alive and they written for with extraordinary vitality. Of course, their leukemia story was, in and of itself, maudlin; it pushed the actors to the very brink of pathos, scene after scene, and for many months. But the interweaving of that leukemia story with another plot involving Steve's sister, Amy Kaslo (Anne Wyndham) and Jo's ward, Bruce Carson (Joel Higgins), was so clever that it managed to sustain a good half of the show for many months. (Briefly, Steve had leukemia and only a bone marrow transplant from his sister could save him. But Amy was pregnant with Bruce's child and dared not agree to the transplant until after it was born.) All four young actors are immensely talented and the writers have used them to good advantage."

Bruce and Amy's wedding day:

"Jo's hospital room is bedecked with flowers. Liza walks over to the windowsill and wistfully touches a petal of a yellow rose. Steve follows and tenderly takes his wife's other hand. Bruce and Jo simultaneously look at their watches, then glance over at the justice of the peace. He too, looks at his watch and notices that he's not the only one anxiously awaiting the arrival of the bride. He has a heavy schedule and he wishes that the young woman would hurry up and make her entrance. His wish is answered; Amy breathlessly enters the room. She apologizes for her tardiness, saying she couldn't put Tory to sleep. Amy then positions herself next to Bruce. She stands rigidly by his side, until the justice of the peace says the final words: "You may kiss the bride." These words have the impact of a gale force wind, they push the tensions of the last few days right out of her. Amy collapses in tears in Bruce's arms. This release may mean a happy, new beginning for Bruce and Amy. Their wedding night (spent in the bridal suite of Hartford House) is tender and romantic. It looks as though this marriage may not be the cold, arrangement-type union Amy originally had in mind."

Both Mr. Higgins and Ms. Wyndham left the show when their contracts expired in 1978 - so Bruce and Amy Carson, along with their baby girl, rode off into the sunset together. Here are some pictures:
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:36 AM   #2
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Default 12/1977 Soap Opera Digest - Joel Higgins and his music

Music Is...Joel Higgins

by Sue Facter

He acts, he sings, he writes, he plays and he's never taken a lesson in his life!

That's Joel Franklin Higgins, our man Bruce Carson on CBS' Search for Tomorrow. We visited Joel in his west Village apartment, a one-bedroom abode where he lives with his lovable dog, Zeppo.

Joel had to cancel our interview twice because of his heavy work load - a five day a week stint on "Search" and the lead in "Camp Meeting," an off-off Broadway musical in which he plays a revival preacher.

"I don't get a chance to play character roles very often and I enjoy this opportunity. Usually I have to play your typical leading man type, the standard Mid-western WASP type." He laughs and adds, "Although I know I'm no Robert Redford!"

Although Joel has only been in TV land for two years, he is not a newcomer to show business. He landed the coveted role of James in Broadway's "Shenandoah," played Vince Fontaine in the National tour of "Grease" and more recently portrayed Sebastian in "Music Is" in Seattle, Washington D.C. and its short lived run in the big apple.

"Commuting to and from Washington was one of the memorable highlights of my show-biz career. I had to wake up at five in the morning, hop on a plane to New York, take "Search", shuttle back to D.C. before curtain time and collapse at the end of the evening! It must have cost me about $100 a day on expenses!"

Joel comes from an upper-middle class family where "people really do that for a living." Joel assumed that he would go into business, like his father, have a home in the suburbs and a wife in the kitchen. "I certainly have changed my thoughts since then. I've come close to getting married three times, but haven't quite made it yet. Eventually I do want to settle down."

A native of St. Louis, Missouri and a graduate of Michigan State where he studied advertising, Joel always had an eye for entertainment. He did the usual folksinging in school, was an entertainment specialist while stationed in Korea, and formed "The Green Apple Nasties" with some army buddies. They toured around the country with music and even recorded a record, which didn't quite make it.

It was a matter of luck, talent and charm for Joel to make it to "Shenandoah" after doing summer stock and touring with "Grease." Look at the thousands of performers who study and take classes for years and never make it beyond waiting tables and driving cabs. It's also a matter of ambition.

Higgins worked so hard this past summer that he only made it once to his West Hampton house in which he has part ownership. "It's worth it though. The work is good for the career and the career is what my life is all about right now."

"I'd like to go to Nova Scotia with my best buddy and just camp out for a while. I have to get away from the city every once in a while. You don't come to New York to live, you come to work. Although I'm not a city person, I have to admit if there's anyplace to be, if you have to pick a city, then it's definitely New York. There's a lot of work and a lot of culture here too."

Joel takes out his guitar and sings an original tune, "Judy's Room." He wrote it while living in Chicago in 1973 while touring with "Grease." He also played a comical tune about a New York neighborhood in which he used to live. Since it has not been copyrighted, it will remain nameless.

"When I play the guitar, Zeppo often falls asleep in the guitar case! No I don't play the piano, but I keep it here so that I can work with people." Joel also has a massive audio collection with tape recorders, mixers, tape slicers, and even microphones. "I like to hear what I've composed or sang. It gives me a chance to be a bit more objective about my work. One of these days I'll make a few demos. I've made demos before, but always of someone else's work."

Joel is very serious about his singing and likes to separate it from his acting chores on "Search." "I was hired to act, to do a role, not to sing. It doesn't mix that well. There's one show on TV where they just belt out a tune in the middle of the serial and it doesn't really make sense. It works with Michael Nouri (Steve Kaslo) and Mary Stuart (Joanne Vincente) because it's part of their characters - they're songwriters. Unless I'm horsing around with my kid or something like that, i see no need to sing on the show. And I have an understanding with the writers about that."

Joel is also writing a book for a musical at the present and depending on whether "Look Homeward Angel" opens this fall, will be performing in that play. "It's being done in a musical format."

Joel is the middle child of a family with five kids. He has an older sister who is a doctor, an older businessman brother, a younger brother at Columbia Law School and a younger sister in architecture school in Ohio. His folks live in the Florida Keys where he likes to relax and fish. "When you go down to my folks place, you have to eat what you catch. It's the rule of the house."
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