THE BIG STORIES
Craig Merritt
Actor History
David McLean
1965 to 1966; 1966 to 1967
Harry Lauter
1966; temporary replacement
Lifeline
Born circa mid-1920s (he was in his early to mid 40s in 1965)
Occupation
Airline pilot
Former owner/operator of an airstrip in Salem
Resides At
Somewhere in Yangon, Burma/Union of Myanmar
Formerly in the Merritt Home on Sycamore Street, Salem, U.S.A
Marital Status
Single
Past Marriages
Marie Horton (Married and divorced in 1966)
Mrs. Merritt (Married; Dissolved by her death in the mid-1950s)
Children
Tony Merritt (son; with Mrs. Merritt)
Brief Character History

Craig was a ruggedly handsome airline pilot. Although his career was viewed as exciting and impressed many folks in Salem, he remained a humble family man and a single father. His wife had died years before when their son, Tony, was just fourteen. Because of her death, he and Tony developed a very close bond, and there wasnít anything Craig wouldnít do for his son.

In 1965, Craig was thrilled that Tony was set to wed Marie Horton on Thanksgiving. Not only was he happy that his son was deeply in love, but Craig had a close relationship the Horton family based on mutual admiration and respect. He and Alice were very close friends. He simply adored Marie. And he tried to help troubled teen Julie, who had a crush on him. Craig was one of the few people who could give Julie advice she would actually take, and the rest of her family appreciated his patience with her.

Tragically, the night before the ceremony was set to take place, Craig, as well as Marie and the rest of her family, were blindsided when Tony called things off and abruptly left Salem. Craig was devastated by his sonís puzzling actions, but soon began to focus his attention towards Marie. When Tony left, she fell into a deep depression and tried to commit suicide.

After Marieís attempt, Craig helped her through the dark times. While doing so, they fell in love and married in 1966. Soon after, Craig was delighted when Marie became pregnant. Unfortunately, she suffered a miscarriage, causing her to fall into yet another depression. This one was worse, and, not only did Marie avoid intimacy, she began hallucinating the sounds of babies crying.

Craig thought he could help Marie through the darkness as he did before, but things had changed. Tony had returned home and told Craig the truth about why called of his marriage to Marie. His son explained that he thought he was dying of a rare blood disease and didnít want Marie to watch him die, but had since fully recovered. When it became clear that Tony and Marie still loved one another and their reuniting would help Marie, Craig made the ultimate sacrifice for the two people he loved the most.

Although he loved her deeply, he told Marie that he didnít and their relationship was simply based on mutual respect and helping each other through hard times. He also cited their age difference. When Marie tried to apologize for their lack of an intimate connection, he encouraged her that it was not her fault and even offered her alimony and the house. Marie refused both, but the divorce was soon finalized.

Afterwards, Craig sold the airstrip he had purchased in order to work out of Salem to be closer to Marie. He also decided to return to piloting and accepted a job that would relocated him to Asia. Marie saw him off the day he departed, but he never revealed his true feelings for her. Instead, after turning away from her, he silently professed his eternal love for her while clutching his wedding ring in his pocket as he walked to his plane. He left Salem that day, never to return.

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