Guiding Light takes place in the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield. In its early years the stories centered on the middle class Bauer family, but later the wealthy Spauldings, ... See full summary »
Guiding Light takes place in the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield. In its early years the stories centered on the middle class Bauer family, but later the wealthy Spauldings, Chamberlains, and Lewises, along with the working class Reardons and others, took their own places of prominence, though the Bauers remained the heart of the show. Written by
For nearly 7 decades, THE GUIDING LIGHT has become one of most beloved daytime dramas. GL has the distinction of being the longest running entertainment program in American broadcast history. Created by Irna Phillips, GL originally told the story of Reverend Ruthledge and his flock of parishioners when it began on radio on January 25, 1937. In 1948, the focus of the show shifted to the Bauers, a German-American family. On June 30, 1952, GL was the first radio soap to successfully switch to television (from 1952 to 1956, GL ran on both radio and TV). The Bauer clan was led by Frederick Bauer (played by Theo Goetz from 1948 until his passing in 1973). Frederick Bauer was affectionately known to those who knew him as Papa Bauer. He had three children: Trudy (briefly played in 1952 by Helen Wagner, who eventually went on play matriarch Nancy Hughes on another Irna Phillips creation called AS THE WORLD TURNS in 1956), Meta (played by longest by Ellen Demming: 1953-1975), whom many of early story lines revolved around, and son Bill (who later became an alcoholic) and his family. Bill's family included wife Bertha, also known as Bert, who would become one of the most beloved matriarchs in daytime television (she was played by Charita Bauer from 1950 until her death in February, 1985) and their two sons Michael and Edward. In the 1960s and 1970s, Michael and Edward became the focus of the show with their various professional and personal problems, including Ed's alcoholism. Beginning in the late 1970s, other families became part of the show's fabric (the Marlers, Spauldings, Coopers, Lewises, Chamberlains, Norrises, Reardons and Thorpes). Like many soaps, GL has had some memorable characters. One of which was Roger Thorpe, the most infamous villain in soap history (played to perfection by the late, great Micheal Zaslow on-and-off from 1971 to 1997). During the years 1995-2004, the show lost its focus. Those years were filled by incompetent producers and writers who created some of the worst story lines in the show's history. Some of these clunkers included the cloning of Reva, the Santos family, the San Cristobal story (the only good thing about that one is the emergence of Our Prince of Darkness---Edmund Winslow), and the Mary Anne Carruthers mystery. In early 2004, GL seems to be getting back on track with competent producers and writers at the helm, who have created story lines that make good use of the show's long history (the only down side is that Grant Aleksander, who played Philip Spaulding since 1982 was sacrificed).
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