Carlton E. Morse, creator of the longest-running soap opera in American radio history and a writer whose shows embodied the golden days of the airwaves, died May 24 in Sacramento. He was 91.
Morse, who also wrote for NBC, created “I Love a Mystery” and the San Francisco-based “One Man’s Family.” His health had been deteriorating for years.
“He had the great middle-class touch,” said San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, who wrote frequently about the show. “It was the non-alcoholic ‘Cheers’ with a family. We all ran home to hear it. He had people crying and sobbing when it ended.”
The plot of “One Man’s Family” centered on a family that lived in the posh Sea Cliff area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. The tribulations of Fanny, Henry and Jack Barbour dominated the national airwaves from the time the show began in 1932 until it went off the air in 1959 after 3,256 episodes.
At its peak, “One Man’s Family” rivaled the popularity of Amos and Andy and encouraged Morse to try other series. Those included “China Town Squad,” the football-related “Pigskin Romances” and “Killed in Action,” about San Francisco police officers.
Survived by his wife, a daughter, two brothers and two sisters.