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Ralph Ellis Search for Tomorrow Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: unknown

Biographical History

Premiering on CBS in 1951, Search for Tomorrow spanned four generations to become the first soap opera to experience long running success. The show is remembered for focusing heavily on family and relationships, and treating such issues as abortion and equal rights for women. The show also launched the acting careers of stars such as Susan Sarandon, Morgan Fairchild, Don Knotts, and Kevin Bacon.

Ralph Ellis was a prolific writer of daytime television dramas. Over the course of a thirty-year career beginning in the 1960s, he worked for all three major networks and was a writer or head-writer for such soap operas as One Life to Live, As the World Turns, General Hospital, Guiding Light, Loving, and Search for Tomorrow.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Ralph Ellis Search for Tomorrow Collection consists of material from Ralph Ellis' work on the serial Search for Tomorrow during the 1970s. The collection is divided into five series. Story projections contains four projected plot outlines, each for six months to a year in advance. 1973 Writers Guild Award material consists of a precis. Accompanying material contains Ralph Ellis' own notes on the collection. These three series are quite small.

The majority of the collection consists of breakdowns and scripts. Breakdowns contains 92 weekly outlines of plot developments. Studio and draft scripts contains 587 scripts for episodes of the series; the majority are studio scripts, some are drafts, and for a few episodes both studio and draft scripts are present. Corresponding four-digit episode numbers are provided for all breakdowns and scripts.

Arrangement of the Collection

All material is arranged by date. Four-digit episode numbers are provided for breakdowns and scripts.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has a number of television-related collections. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing

Subject Headings


Ellis, Ralph (soap opera writer)

Associated Titles

Search for Tomorrow.


Television series -- United States.
Television soap operas.

Genres and Forms

Scripts (documents)


Television writers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Ralph Ellis Search for Tomorrow Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ralph Ellis.

Table of Contents

Story projections

1973 Writer's Guild Award

Accompanying material


Studio and Draft scripts