Goodbye Guiding Light

September 18, 2009 at 12:47 pm (Artist Musings)

It may seem odd for me to write about The Guiding Light, especially when I am supposed to be a professional artist burning the midnight oil in my studio day after day. However, before I became an artist, I spent a summer in Oakdale…

When I was a teenager, I started watching As The World Turns and The Guiding Light. On the Guiding Light, I grew up with Mindy, Phillip, Rick, and Beth. I started watching As The World Turns right around the time that Holden started working as a stable boy in Lucinda Walsh’s barn.

In the summer of my sophomore year of college, I went to work for WIOD Radio in Miami. For those of you who don’t know, I studied to be a journalist and was pursuing a career in journalism until Hurricane Andrew destroyed my parents’ house in Miami. When I told my station manager that I wanted to purue a career in television, she told me that I should consider looking into a soap opera internship. Her opinion was that working behind the scenes at a soap opera would give me invaluable television production experience. After all, they tape one show every weekday 52 weeks out of the year.

In the summer of 1989, I went to New York to work in the production department of As The World Turns, which is set in the fictional town of Oakdale. At that time, Procter and Gamble produced three soap operas, As The World Turns, Guiding Light, and Another World. All three shows were produced in New York, but As The World Turns was the only one produced at the CBS building on West 57th Avenue, the same building in which the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes is taped. That summer I learned several things. First, the stairs to the farm lead to nothing. Since I was sixteen years old, I always wanted to go upstairs at Emma’s farm. My first week on the set, I found out they lead nowhere. Second, that even when a character is beheaded, they can still make a miraculous recovery and return to the show. Third, that when a beloved actor who left the show years before comes to the office to say they are looking for the Executive Producer, it is in bad form to go running down the hall screaming, “Holden is coming back.” My summer at As The World Turns was filled with happy memories, and I fondly remember the producers who were so supportive, the production assistant who was my friend, and the director who even let me call a few shots.

The first casualty of ratings was Another World, which went off the air in 1999. This Friday (September 18th), Guiding Light will broadcast its last show, ending its historic 72 year run.

In 1937, Guiding Light made its radio debut as a fifteen minute radio show. On June 30, 1952, Guiding Light moved to television. Credited by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the longest-running soap opera in production and the longest running drama in television and radio history, Guiding Light is also the longest running broadcast program of any kind across both radio and then television media, being first broadcast five days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inauguration.

Having been a part of the P & G production family, even for a short period of time, it is with great respect and sadness that I bid farewell to Guiding Light.


1 Comment

  1. Jeanne Rhea said,

    I am not a soap opera fan—never watched a single one—well, maybe if one counts Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman that’s not true. But it is so nice to know a little of your connection to the soaps! I would have never guessed it.


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