12 Things You Didn’t Know About Guiding LightPublished on March 21, 2018. Updated November 3, 2019
Any soap opera fans out there that miss Guiding Light? The daytime drama was cancelled in 2009 and since then, many soap viewers have felt a hole in their hearts. Audiences fell in love with the show’s drama, romance, and adventure within storylines. Think you know everything about Guiding Light? Think again! Below are 12 things you may not know about the soap.
12. In The Beginning
While most people nowadays grew to know and love the Guiding Light as a soap opera they watched on television, the show and its characters originated from a radio broadcast series. Guiding Light first aired on the radio in 1937 and would continue to relay soapy stories in this fashion until 1956.
11. Radio/Television Overlap
As mentioned above, Guiding Light started out as a radio program that ran from 1937 to 1956. The show would take to the television airwaves in 1952. Therefore, the show overlapped in broadcasting with radio and television viewers tuned in for four incredible years. The show was eventually discontinued on radio and thus gave American viewers only one option when it came to the show.
10. It Shattered Records
Did you know that Guiding Light hit the Guinness World Records as America’s longest-running drama in television history? With it broadcasted on radio and television, it completely makes sense, even though the show has been long-canceled. Guiding Light also happens to be the longest-running daytime drama and hits the fifth spot for the longest-running show when it comes to the history of broadcast.
With a broadcast run of over seven decades, Guiding Light evolved significantly over the years. As if transforming from a radio program into a T.V. show is not enough, the show was originally 15 minutes long. In 1968, it was bumped to a 30-minute program and was eventually aired for one hour in late 1977. Clearly, Guiding Light fans simply could not get enough of the show.
8. Paul Rauch Wanted To Revive The Show
Many were disappointed to find out the show was going to be canceled in September 2009. So much so, some viewers were hoping for a revival of some sorts. It was revealed in an August 2013 interview with Grant Alexsander (former Phillip Spaulding) that Paul Rauch, Guiding Light’s executive producer, had been working hard on a continuation project for the show all the way up until his death in late 2012. Sadly, it never happened.
7. Personal Side
It’s been reported that Irna Phillips, Guiding Light’s creator, based the series on her own personal experiences. At the age of 19, Phillips gave birth to a still-born infant and found comfort when tuning into Preston Bradley’s radio sermons. In addition to a preacher, Bradley was the founder of People’s Church and these sermons were the basis of Guiding Light.
6. We’re Number One
Guiding Light experienced some great successes during their early years, including hitting the top spot for soap operas between the years of 1956 and 1957. It would consistently land in the top-five spot as time wore on and even dethrone the ever-popular General Hospital from its number-one spot for three weeks in the 1980s. Still, over the years the daytime drama’s ratings would decline and CBS would announce the show’s cancellation on April 1, 2009. The last episode aired on September 18th of that year.
5. Changing The Way Soaps Tell Stories
In 1962, the show took a huge leap forward in creating the first-ever social issues storyline in daytime drama history. Bert Bauer, a mom character on the program, was diagnosed with uterine cancer and fully recovered. The condition was discovered during a routine pap smear check up and increased a tremendous amount of awareness around the illness and the need for regular visits to your doctor.
4. Awards, Awards, Awards!
Over the years, Guiding Light would rack up a total of 39 Daytime Emmys. The show’s cast would also accept a total of 30 Daytime Emmys over the years in categories like Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, and so on. The show also took home a total of three Writers Guild of America Awards and one Director Guild of America Award.
3. Harley Cooper The Comic Heroine
Soap operas are known for their crazy and outlandish storylines at times. Guiding Light’s Harley Cooper got a spotlight shone on her in 2006 when her character gained heroic powers in one feature episode. This story would continue (on paper only) where select Marvel Comics productions created an eight-page story on what happened to Cooper.
2. It’s All About Location!
Guiding Light took place in a little town known as Springfield; however, the show was produced from three separate locations over the years. From 1937 to 1946, Guiding Light was broadcast from creator Irna Phillip’s home of Chicago. The production would move to Hollywood in 1947 and stay there until it would pick up and head to the Big Apple, New York City, in 1949.
1. Changed Its Look
Desperate to pull out of its ratings slump, the show changed its look to create a more realistic feel in their final year of television broadcast. Thus, the ‘shaky-cam’ style emerged in Springfield and viewers were exposed to frequent cuts, extreme close-ups, and more outdoor scenes. Unfortunately, the idea to increase fans didn’t work, as many traditional audiences liked the previous way Guiding Light was presented.