Guiding Light

CBS (ended 2009)



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The late soap journalist Christopher Schemering once wrote that soap operas are not just dramas; "they're little pockets of American history." So it's only fitting to consider that at one time, The Guiding Light,-the longest running program in broadcast history, spanning 71 years-- brought fifteen-minute bits of escapism to war-weary housewives, as their men trudged off to fight the indignities of WWII. It brought social awareness to a nation that began to think about the big picture beyond their picket fences and suburban streets. Soap opera is a truly dynamic genre that reflects life as it is lived, the quintessential American art form. Although berated and belittled, the soap opera has an illustrious lineage, with no less than the books of Charles Dickens as an inspiration. Created by the legendary, if not iron-fisted Irna Phillips, The Guiding Light began its life on January 25, 1937. Originally, the show focused on the Chicagoan suburb of Five Points, a bustling enclave of German-Jewish immigrants hoping to find their own piece of the American dream. Giving them the hope and inspiration they needed was a kindly minister named Reverend John Ruthledge (voiced by Arthur Peterson of Soap fame). The Reverend's sermons of hope and forgiveness made such an impression that a bestselling book was published of his most popular homilies. The Reverend's message could be summed up by his favorite mantra from Edwin Markum "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." On the desk near his window, the minister placed an old lantern, a "guiding light" to those parishioners passing in the cold, hopeless night. In the 1940's the Reverend Ruthledge enrolled as a chaplain to do his part of the war effort. However, when the production of the show moved to the west coast, Peterson refused to join them, so Irna Phillips had the minister die when his plane was shot down overseas. His "friendship lamp" went too with the production move to the town of Selby Flats, California. Reverend Matthews took over for the late Rev. Ruthledge as the center of hope and inspiration. However, by the time that the show was slated to move to television, the religious undertones of the show were virtually gone and the focus was moved yet again to the family Bauer. * Guiding Light was cancelled on April 1, 2009 and the last episode aired on September 18, 2009.

Lynne Adams

Lynne Adams

Leslie Jackson Bauer (#1) (04/1966-04/1971; 07/1973-06/1976)

Mary Kay Adams

Mary Kay Adams

India von Halkein (08/01/84-04/1987; 08/01/90-12/31/90; 11/23/99-08/25/99

Nancy St. Alban

Nancy St. Alban

Michelle Bauer (#4) (10/27/00-11/22/05)

Grant Aleksander

Grant Aleksander

Phillip Spaulding (#1) (10/1982-12/1984; 12/1986-02/16/91; 03/08/96-11/12/04; 02/09/09-)

Michael Allen

Michael Allen

Michael Bauer (#1) (1957-1961)

Jone Allison

Jone Allison

Meta Bauer (#1) (06/30/52-11/14/52)

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  • Are they available anywhere?

    recently put the first 25 episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful on their website and I am enjoying it VERY much. It makes me wonder if there is anywhere that makes the rest of the series available? Also I would love to see The Guiding Light, As the World Turns, and the original episodes of The Young and the Restless. If the networks had any smarts, now that they have cancelled nearly all the soaps they should release all of them on DVD. I think for those of us that grew up with them, they could make a killing! I would certainly be willing to buy them! As far as I know, Dark Shadows is doing well on DVD so why not some of the "normal" soaps?moreless

    I have been watching these shows since I was born please bring them back. Not everything must be real. I miss the whole cast. I grew up watching these shows with my grandmother and my mother. Now they are all gone. I always felt like they were a part of my family and I could not wait to see them again.
  • bring them back on......

    we miss them so much and they need to be brought back on,if you were a kid and you watched shows growing up you wouldn't want them to leave either so how about it,do the right thing cbs and bring the soaps back.....the realality shows aren't working for alot us and you may want ot think so but we really want to leave things way they were.....your well missed just ask your fans?moreless
  • Normally I would go, "TURN OFF THAT LIGHT!" but...

    ...there's something about this light that's...special. It isn't a crappy teenage drama, it isn't a boring teen show like SWAC, it's been on for many graceful years, and it excited me when I saw bits and pieces of it while channel surfing. I'm wondering how it kept so many fans and still had somewhat good of a following, made it to the Guinness Book, and STILL is a household name after all these years on air. Trust me, at first glance I wanted to extinguish it, but after seeing a few episodes, I love it. Please, if you're sick of the teen drama stuff, watch Guiding Light instead...moreless

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    catfights, characters with hidden agendas, beautiful people, back from the dead, extraordinary situations