Wednesday, April 1, 2009
THE GUIDING LIGHT FLICKERS OUT - CLASSIC SOAP OPERA CANCELLED BY CBS TV - CIRCA APRIL 1, 2009
THE GUIDING LIGHT has shone brightly upon a loyal and appreciative audience, since it debuted on January 25, 1937, airing on the NBC Radio Network.
The 15 minute, radio program was one of the Great Depression Era's most successful daytime dramas. These kinds of shows are are more commonly known as "soap operas," because so many of them were , and still are, sponsored by ,or owned by, detergent manufacturers, who used them as an advertising device to reach women, listening at home.
THE GUIDING LIGHT, which was created by daytime doyenne Irna Phillps, premiered a video version on June 30, 1952, airing on CBS-TV. The same cast continued to perform on both television and radio until 1956, when the audio-only version was cancelled, as the audience for network radio declined.
In the ensuing years, fans stayed loyal to the daily travails of the Cooper, Spaulding and Lewis families, as the program expanded from 15 to 30 to 60 minutes length in 1977 and as it transformed , in 1967, from black and white to CBS COLOR.
The Guinness Book of Records hails THE GUIDING LIGHT as the longest running, television drama.
In recent years, as more women have left the home to join the workforce and to lead more active lives, the core audience began to erode. Ratings and demographics began to suffer.
In the past year, THE GUIDING LIGHT regularly left the studio and was being shot on location with lightweight,digital cameras, to give the program a look similar to the reality programs that are popular with younger viewers.
It was to no avail. The audience simply wasn't large enough to justify the investment made by the owner of the program, Procter & Gamble Productions.
CBS Television has now decided that it is time to extinguish THE GUIDING LIGHT.
After 72 years on the air and producing over 15,000 episodes that showcased controversial and groundbreaking,substantive storylines on relevant issues ranging from alcoholism to AIDS and teen pregnancy to sexual harassment, the last episode will air on Friday, September 18, 2009.
Here are two vintage clips in celebration of this venerable ,and now vanishing, soap opera:
First is a "telescoped" version of radio episode 793.
Next, here is the opening segment from a 1953, episode of THE GUIDING LIGHT, from CBS-TV.Enjoy!!!!!