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cotsworth_staats
Ray Brandon, Esq.
Also known as Roger Barton Sr.
Actor History
Donald Briggs (radio only, January 2, 1946 to November 29, 1946; June 2, 1947 to Fall 1947; August 16, 1950 to December 14, 1951)
Willard Waterman (radio only, Fall 1947 to August 26, 1949)
Staats Cotsworth (radio only, September 22, 1949 to August 3, 1950)
Occupation
Attorney
Former law school student
Former prisoner
Resides At
New York City
Marital Status
Married (Charlotte Wilson) (sometime in 1947)
Past Marriages
Julie (maiden name unknown) (Divorced)
Relatives
Susan McClain Collins (daughter-in-law)
Betty Ann Collins (granddaughter)
Children
Roger Barton (Collins) Jr. (w/Julie)
Charles (Chuckie) White (adopted; w/ Charlotte; lost custody; deceased)
Jimmy Brandon (adopted; w/Charlotte)
Penny Brandon (adopted; w/Charlotte)
Flings & Affairs
None
Crimes Committed
Falsely imprisoned for embezzlement [1931 - 1946]

Attempted murder of Martin McClain [1948]

Brief Character History

When the Rev. Dr. Charles Matthews, the pastor Church of the Good Samaritan in Selby Flats, CA gave a sermon to the inmates at the nearby state prison, he wove his sermon around “The Guiding Light”, a lamp which he’d received from his good friend, The Reverend John Ruthledge. Matthews summarized his homily with the sobering, but calming words that had been the Rev. Ruthledge's touchstone:

There is a destiny that makes us brothers None goes his way alone. All that we send into the lives of others Comes back into our own.

One prisoner, however, took exception to these words of wisdom. A few days following Dr. Matthews’s sermon, Roger Barton was released from jail after serving fifteen years for embezzlement, a crime he didn't commit. Changing his name to Ray Brandon in hopes of wiping out the past, the embittered ex-con went to Dr. Matthews, threw the Friendship Lamp on the floor and told him how unmoved he was by his message. The lamp itself was only slightly damaged; Dr. Matthews could see that Ray was the one whose life had been shattered. Eventually, Ray began to confide in Dr. Matthews as well as in Charlotte Wilson, an attractive but somewhat world-weary young woman, who lived in his apartment building. Ray had left behind a wife, Julie, and a son Roger Jr. A shallow, self-involved woman, Julie had divorced her convict husband to marry the successful Frank Collins, who had adopted Roger Jr. as his own. Now that Roger Sr. was back in Los Angeles as Ray Brandon, Julie forbade him from making contact with his son, having told Roger that his father was dead. However, Ray and Charlotte sneaked in to see Roger speak at his high school graduation, and from a distance, Ray beamed upon seeing the son who had grown into such a fine young man.

Unfortunately, Ray still could not fully enjoy his return to civilian life because he was consumed with the idea of killing Martin McClain, the man who had framed him. Now a wealthy corporate vice president, the snide and dispassionate Martin was a cold father to his motherless daughter, Susan. Ironically, Susan and Roger were attending the same college and soon became quite smitten with each other, not knowing, of course, the truth behind their fathers' enmity. Julie knew, and she tried to put a stop to the romance without telling Roger the reason for her disapproval. Frank railed at his wife for manipulating Roger, believing that the boy should get to know his real father without her interference.

At this time, a major catalyst surfaced in the form of Larry Lawrence, a fortune-hunting cad who had once been involved with Charlotte. Larry began to charm Claire McNeill, who had been married to his brother, Jim, in hopes that she would divorce her successful doctor husband, Jonathan, and marry him. When Claire and Jonathan's marriage proved too strong for him to penetrate, Larry soon found a better opportunity in Julie after Frank was paralyzed in a car accident in which their children, Betty and Michael, were tragically killed. When Roger discovered the affair, he was horrified by Julie's callous neglect of Frank, the man he knew and loved as his father. One rainy night, Frank's wheelchair skidded on the muddy pavement, sending the helpless man over a rocky cliff to his death. Consumed with guilt, Julie hysterically confessed that she had killed Frank, but the crime was later ruled an accident.

Meanwhile, Ray was trying hard to get on with his life. When he confronted Martin with a gun, Ray couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger. Afterward, he ran to the Church of the Good Samaritan and made amends with the God he had once mocked and disavowed. Julie finally allowed Ray to have a relationship with Roger, but as father and son bonded, both realized that Julie had only done it in the vain hope of reconciling with Ray. Soon after, Roger and Susan married and had a daughter named Betty Ann. Much to Susan's annoyance, Julie was an interfering mother-in-law, but when Julie saved little Betty Ann from a fire, all was forgiven. Roger and Susan left Los Angeles, and a terminally ill Martin confessed his embezzling crime to Dr. Matthews on his deathbed, exonerating Ray at last.

Ray and Charlotte married as well, and the marriage was immediately put to the test. Ray completed the law degree he had begun studying for before his prison term and became a successful, hardworking attorney. Feeling neglected, Charlotte caught the show business bug and became a radio star, thanks to an adroit and fast-talking manager named Sid Harper. However, it was slick, wealthy British advertising executive Ted White who would ultimately call the shots in Charlotte's career. Charlotte's friend and neighbor at the Towers apartments in Los Angeles was an ambitious model named Jan Carter, who also had dreams of show business glamour and began pursuing Ted for his prestigious connections. Jan's roommate, Dr. Mary Leland, was a dedicated surgeon who was constantly encountering prejudice because she was a woman doctor. There was one patient, however, who trusted Mary implicitly: a warm down-to-earth German immigrant known simply as Mama Bauer. Ultimately, it was discovered that Jan Carter was Meta Bauer, Mama’s oldest daughter who had fled the family home because Papa was an Old World tyrant who refused to allow her the freedoms enjoyed by typical American girls.

Meta kept this secret until she found herself in a sad predicament -- she was pregnant by Ted White, a man she had used but did not love. Meta confided in Dr. Matthews and sought refuge at a convent in New York, where she gave birth to a baby boy whom Dr. Matthews and Dr. Leland arranged to be adopted -- by Charlotte and Ray. Unaware of the identities of their child's biological parents, the Brandons named their son Charles (Chuckie), after Dr. Matthews, and looked forward to a happy life. Unfortunately, the new family was doomed from the start. Meta tearfully returned to the family fold on Mama and Papa's silver wedding anniversary and eventually told them her painful story. She also told Ted in hopes that they would marry and get Chuckie back. Ted had no use for Meta, so Meta and Ted each filed separate custody suits against the Brandons. During Meta's court case, Ray was appalled when Charlotte spoke sympathetically about her. Identifying with Meta, Charlotte came to believe that Chuckie would e better off with his natural mother. The court awarded the boy to Meta, who later succumbed to family pressure to marry Ted for Chuckie's sake.

Ray blamed Charlotte for the loss of Chuckie. Distraught, Charlotte began purchasing illegal drugs from Larry Lawrence and soon became a crazed, strung-out addict. Eventually, Larry was arrested and Charlotte conquered her addiction, but she was now uncertain about her future with Ray. Meanwhile, Sid Harper had developed feelings for Charlotte and considered Ray partly responsible for her addiction. Ray had to admit that Sid was right and worked hard to convince Charlotte of his love for her. T

Meanwhile, the White family would be plagued by tragedy. Ted raised Chuckie like a little adult, stoic and unemotional, just as Ted had been raised by his divorced father. Over Meta's objections, Ted hired a strict governess for the sensitive boy and forbade any mention of religion in their home. Unable to stand Ted's tyranny, Meta left him and initiated a custody battle for Chuckie. Persuaded by Charlotte, Ray represented Meta and under his adept legal representation, Meta won primary custody, and Ted had the boy on weekends. During the weekends when Ted had partial custody, he continued to influence Chuckie, taking him on outings and boxing lessons to make him more of "man". Meta was livid and constantly argued with Ted. Finally, one day when little Chuckie was practicing in a boxing ring, he fell over the ropes and hit his head hard. As a result, in September 1950, Chuckie tragically died. Overcome by grief and hatred, Meta went to Ted's home and shot him dead! Then Meta disappeared for four hours without anyone knowing where she was, including herself (Meta developed temporary amnesia).

L.A. District Attorney Richard Hanley led Meta on a quest to relive the missing four hours, not fully believing Meta's temporary amnesia. Meta herself didn't trust Hanley, because it was obvious that Hanley was out for blood in prosecuting Meta for the murder of her ex-husband. Of course Meta remembered nothing during her outing with Hanley. Meanwhile, although he was reluctant, Charlotte urgently persuaded Ray to defend Meta. Later, the Bauers and Charlotte Brandon became concerned when it became evident that Meta was looking physically ill while in prison. Around Christmas 1950, Dr. Rev. Keeler finally convinced Meta about the wisdom of the sodium pentathol treatment to recover the missing four hours. Unfortunately, after Meta was administered the sodium pentathol by Dr. Hewitt, Meta still emembered nothing of those four hours. Meanwhile, Ray found out from Trudy that Meta's former boyfriend, Dr. Ross Boling had some insight into how abusive Ted could become and Ray wanted Ross to testify. Unfortunately just before Ray subpoenaed Ross, Ross skipped town with Meta's good friend Dr. Mary Leland.

As the trial began, on January 9, 1951, it became apparent to Ray and Joe that Hanley was going to seek the death penalty against Meta for the shooting death of Ted White. In San Francisco, Mary Leland read in the paper about the trial and strongly persuaded a reluctant Ross to return to Los Angeles. Hanley's first witness was Marcy Winters who did exactly as she promised and told her stories about how bad a wife and mother Meta had been. Fortunately during cross-examination, Ray got Marcy to admit that she and Ted White had been carrying on an affair before, during and after his marriage to Meta. The second to last prosecution witness was Meta's prison cellmate who testified that Meta went on and on about how Ted had deserved it and that Joe and Meta were lovers. Things looked bleak for Meta. Luckily, on cross-examination (and by recommendation of Joe), Ray was able to get the cellmate to admit she was a spy hired by Hanley and the L.A. police. At this testimony, not only was the judge very unhappy, so was Ray, Joe and Meta, since it appeared that Hanley had been planning to railroad Meta into a death sentence all this time. At this point, Joe's editor rehired him, also angered by Meta's cellmate's testimony and told Joe he hoped that Hanley would lose the case.

The final prosecution witness was Ted's father, David White. The elderly David White testified that Meta had clearly never wanted and adamantly refused an agreement of joint custody of Chuckie. When Ray expressed his interest in cross-examining David White, Meta surprised him by telling him not to. Meta could clearly see how in poor health the elderly David White, who used to be her father-in-law, was. The prosecution then rested, and things were looking very bad for the defense. The next morning the defense was set to begin their case. Dr. Ross Boling then showed up in court and told Ray to put him on the stand, first but Ray had other plans. In a surprising move for Meta, Ray told her he was going to have her brother Bill testify first. When a hung over Bill took the stand, Ray got Bill to testify about the abuse that Ted was inflicting on not only Meta and Chuckie but also on all of his employees (including himself) at work. Ray then got concerned about how well Bill could handle Hanley's cross-examination. Ray advised Bill to remain as unemotional as possible during Hanley's questioning. Unfortunately, Hanley got rather abusive in his questioning of Bill, and Bill got very angry. Hanley's abusive behavior and Bill's falling apart was enough and was "the straw that broke the camel's back" for the prosecution's case, and the judge had had enough of Hanley's tactics. When the judge warned Hanley against badgering the witness, Bill Bauer, Hanley refused to listen to the judge's warning and that's when the judge having enough declared a mistrial in the case of the state of California vs. Meta Bauer White! Meta was therefore acquitted and on March 15, 1951 was a free woman!

After this, Ray and Charlotte Brandon's marriage continued to grow stronger. The Brandons adopted a motherless nine-month-old girl named Penny, and her problematic fourteen-year-old brother, Jimmy. Charlotte soon regretted adopting Jimmy, who was sullen and belligerent, and wanted to send him off to military school. However, Ray won the boy over, and, soon after, the Brandons moved to New York, where Ray pursued an exciting new legal position. The Brandons, though miles away, would play a part in the lives of the Bauers two more times. Charlotte and Ray rented their L.A. home to Bert and Bill, which was especially needed when Bert gave birth to her first son, Michael. Two years later, Bert received a letter from their landlords, Charlotte and Ray, announcing their intention to sell the house. Behind Bill's back, Bert convinced a reluctant Meta to loan her the money to buy it.

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