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Guiding Light Update Thursday 1/25/07

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Written By James

SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY EPISODE - GL actors played characters and people from the past

(Hospital) Jonathan lies upon Tammy’s lifeless body on her hospital bed as Cassie cries silently in the background.

GL then faded off to the past, taking us on a journey to the earliest days of the Guiding Light. The show’s creator, Irna Phillips is highlighted as a professionally demanding person who expected perfection from her cast members as they read the scripts to the radio audience.

This flashback episode included most of if not all the main characters of today’s Guiding Light, flaming the passions that defined this 70 year old daytime show. We get to see how the script readers faced challenges delivery the intent of a character because they (script readers) had no input into the scripts. The creator (with one assistant) was the sole source of these multi-personalities as well as directing. The purpose of the script readers was to deliver these personalities just the way the creator wanted. What the boss wanted, the boss got!

There were challenges along the way as the creator had to contend with the CBS producer on censorship. Issues surrounding poverty, war, religion and intimacy were sensitive subjects in the 1940’s and Irna Phillips vigorously defended her liberties on media material. Sometimes she got her way; other times she had to compromise.

Irna Phillips remained central to leading Guiding Light into a new era of character developments including the creation of the Bauer Family. By the mid 1950’s, Guiding Light, riding high as the #1 soap opera on radio advanced technologically in televised versions and CBS claimed exclusive rights to airing the show.

Guiding Light began to take on a life of its own as fan opinions on the direction of the show became highly significant with CBS trumpeting their passions to the creator from the center. Irna Phillips, acknowledging so many changes in her brain child (perhaps too many), eventually gave notice of her imminent departure.

This flashback ended similar as it began with a character, Reverend Ruthledge, telling a story of a friend who gave him a light before his died. This light was symbolic for reminding all who passes on that the spirit never dies; that we all have a special connectivity that sustains the spirit of life and goodwill.

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