Thursday, September 17, 2009

Guiding Light: RIP 1/25/1937-9/17/2009

The obituary could read:
"Spicy television show has gone to the great beyond after 72 years of characters who 'Lived, hustled, fornicated, cared, fought, loved and died'. Leaving behind stories that were tenderly weaved and countless viewers who simply wanted to spend a moment in time with a dear old friend.
You will be missed."

Now you may be asking yourself what's the big deal? Shows end all the time. Even if you're not a fan of Daytime Soap Operas, I think everyone should take note of the end of this institution. Guiding Light aired it's first episode on the radio, in January 1937. They made the move to Television in June 1952, the first drama to do so. On August 11th 2009, Guiding Light taped their final episode making it the longest running drama in radio and television history. Take a look at their final promo:

Now I won't bore you with the behind the scenes antics. Some have argued it was the management of the show, the story telling, the production model, sagging Nielsen ratings, but ultimately it was the apparent lack of interest by any network to pick up the show that finally nailed the coffin shut.

The truth is that people have serious emotional attachments to these shows. People in nursing homes whose families occasionally visit. People with memories of watching with dearly departed grandma. People with memories of a random character "giving you the strength to carry on" or just a place to get lost with old friends for an hour or two. Soaps are a place where no one judges you for screaming, your highly qualified opinion, at them. No judgement when you cry at the loss of your favorite friend or cheer for the demise of the most hated villain... Actors such as
James Earl Jones, Kevin Bacon and Joan Collins amongst others, can proudly place this hallmark show on their resumes.

CBS Sunday Morning, 60 Minutes, The Daytime Emmy's, CNN and most importantly their loving fans have all payed homage to the passing of an era. The final curtain closes as history is made on September 18th 2009 when the final episode airs, after 72 years of broadcast. That's a feat that will never be repeated.

I'm not a GL watcher but I tuned in for the final few shows. I listened to the lyrics of the shows theme song 'Only Love' by Kati Mac and the noticeable tag line at the end of the show. I found it all a bit ironic until I realized that their tag line, "Life Happens Here", rally does apply to all their vigilant fans!

All good things must come to an end
R.I.P. Guiding Light 1/25/1937-9/17/2009

Until next time, when we can chit-chat again!

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