Guiding Light (TV Series 1952–2009) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • 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.

  • "The Guiding Light" got its start on radio in 1937 centering around the Church of Little Five Points in Illinois. The widowed Reverend John Ruthledge administered at the church and the guiding light referred to a lamp he had in his study that always remained lit for his parishioners and anyone to seek comfort at the non-denominational church. In the late 1940's, the show (still on radio) moved to the fictional suburb of Los Angeles, CA, Selby Flats when Rev. Ruthledge's daughter, Mary and her husband Ned Holden (who at one time was Rev. Ruthledge's adopted son) took the "guiding light" lamp to Rev. Ruthledge's friend and former protégé, Rev. Charles Matthews. In Selby Flats, the story of "The Guiding Light" started involving and centering on the continuing traumatic and dramatic stories of Meta Bauer White Roberts Banning and her stepdaughter Kathy Roberts Grant (and later her Kathy's daughter, Robin Fletcher) and also the lives of the rich Grants, the poorer Bauers (Papa, Bert Miller Bauer and Bill Bauer and Bert and Bill's sons, Mike and Ed) and the well off Fletchers. In the late 1960's the show started becoming more about Bert, Bill and Mike and Ed and their travails as Meta moved with her third husband Dr. Bruce Banning (Meta would return in the 70's for a brief time and then in the late 1990's.) The show premiered on TV in black & white and live (until 1969) on June 30, 1952. The local moved to the Midwestern town of Springfield in 1966 and stayed there until this day. In the 1967 the show was first aired in color, then it moved to a half-hour and on November 7, 1977 it became and hour show and introduced the Spaulding family -- who are mainstays of Springfield to this day. The "The" of "Guiding Light" was dropped about a year before it went to an hour. Other families introduced in the 1970's were the Norrises, the Thorpes (Roger was a major villain for over three decades), the Marlers (attorney Ross {who represented and defended Roger in the first ever marital rape storyline in 1979 -- Roger's then third wife, Holly had brought him up on the real charges -- the rape was shown on screen on March 4, 1979} has survived to this day, Jerry very Dorn has been on consistently since March 1979) and the Stapletons. In the 1980's the poorer Reardons, the wealthy Chamberlains and the middle class Lewises took over as major families as the Norrises, the Thorpes and the Stapletons all but disappeared (the Thorpes did make a return in 1989.) In the 1990's as the Reardons and then the Chamberlains seemed to leave the town of Springfield major families introduced were the poorer Coopers, and later in the 90's the mob family known as the Santoses. Also in the 1980's and 1990's into today, Josh Lewis and his longtime love interest Reva Shayne and their brood of Marah and Shayne -- as well as her sister Cassie Layne and her daughter Tammy became more mainstay. Besides a still undercurrent of a non-denominational religious theme, "Guiding Light's" main themes have been about how to find and keep and hold on to love (it's main theme in the early 1990's was a song entitled "Hold On to Love") and finding others to help guide you.


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