Guiding Light


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

By the 1951-52 television season, broadcasters had demonstrated television's ability to attract daytime audiences, principally through the variety-talk format. CBS led the way in adapting the radio serial to television, introducing four daytime serials. The success of three of them, Search for Tomorrow, Love of Life (both produced by Roy Winsor), and The Guiding Light, established the soap opera as a regular part of network television daytime programming and CBS as the early leader in the genre. "The Guiding Light" was the first radio soap opera to make the transition to television, and one of only two to do so successfully (The other was The Brighter Day, which ran for eight years). Between its television debut in 1952 and 1956 The Guiding Light was broadcast on both radio and television.

By the early 1960s, the radio soap opera--along with most aspects of network radio more generally--was a thing of the past, and "soap opera" in the United States now meant "television soap opera." The last network radio soap operas went off the air in November 1960. Still, television soap operas continued many of the conventions of their radio predecessors: live, week-daily episodes of fifteen minutes, an unseen voice-over announcer to introduce and close each episode, organ music to provide a theme and punctuate the most dramatic moments, and each episode ending on an unresolved narrative moment with a "cliffhanger" ending on Friday to draw the audience back on Monday.

-Robert C. Allen

Highlights
Kim Zimmer on the origin of Guiding Light's title and its original premise
02:49
Nancy Malone on her role as "Robin" on Guiding Light
00:20
Lee Rich on how the Hollywood Blacklist affected daytime programming
01:14
Ruby Dee on appearing as a regular on Guiding Light
01:09
Kim Zimmer on the production process of Guiding Light
04:27
Agnes Nixon on the format and challenges of Guiding Light
02:08
Who talked about this show

William Bell

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William Bell on a potential opening to write for Guiding Light
03:17
William Bell on how his wife, Lee Philip Bell, was the key to getting hired by Irna Phillips to write for Guiding Ligh t
04:41
William Bell on the first Guiding Light scripts he wrote for Irna Phillips
03:30
William Bell on Guiding Light storylines he worked on with Irna Phillips
00:56
William Bell on leaving Guiding Light
01:25
William Bell on writing Guiding Light in Chicago while production was in New York; on interactions with sponsors
05:53

Douglas S. Cramer

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Douglas S. Cramer on working at Procter & Gamble
06:06

Ruby Dee

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Ruby Dee on appearing as a regular on Guiding Light
01:09

Patricia Field

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Patricia Field on her role on Guiding Light as a wardrobe consultant 

Allison Janney

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Allison Janney on playing "Ginger" on Guiding Light
01:06

Nancy Malone

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Nancy Malone on her role as "Robin" on Guiding Light
00:20

Agnes Nixon

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Agnes Nixon on writing for the television and radio versions of Guiding Light
02:46
Agnes Nixon on the format and challenges of Guiding Light
02:08
Agnes Nixon on the influence of sponsor Procter & Gamble on Guiding Light
00:51
Agnes Nixon on wanting to write socially relevant stories for soap operas - writing her first cancer story for Guiding Light and getting resistance from sponsor Procter & Gamble
04:48
Agnes Nixon on people underestimating the largely female audience of soap operas
01:06
Agnes Nixon on her tenure writing for Guiding Light
00:45

Lee Rich

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Lee Rich on how the Hollywood Blacklist affected daytime programming
01:14

Helen Wagner

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Helen Wagner on appearing on Guiding Light as a tryout for As the World Turns
01:18

Ruth Warrick

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Ruth Warrick on getting a job on Guiding Light
01:52
Ruth Warrick on Guiding Light creator Irna Phillips
08:13

Ellen Wheeler

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Ellen Wheeler on the tradition of Guiding Light and soap operas in general
00:38
Ellen Wheeler on how she came to be a producer for Guiding Light
01:13
Ellen Wheeler on her duties as a line producer on Guiding Light
02:43
Ellen Wheeler on a typical week as a line producer on Guiding Light
01:24
Ellen Wheeler on becoming executive producer of Guiding Light  in 2004
04:30
Ellen Wheeler on her vision for Guiding Light as executive producer
02:55
Ellen Wheeler on the town of Springfield in Guiding Light
01:08
Ellen Wheeler on the audience of Guiding Light
00:57
Ellen Wheeler on the day-to-day production of Guiding Light
02:39
Ellen Wheeler on the budget for Guiding Light
01:38
Ellen Wheeler on the sets for Guiding Light and on location shooting
02:39
Ellen Wheeler on working with Guiding Light head writer David Kreizman
05:16
Ellen Wheeler on what makes a great story and her favorite Guiding Light storylines
02:37
Ellen Wheeler on the social relevance of Guiding Light and then-recent storylines
07:40
Ellen Wheeler on then-current Guiding Light storylines
00:55
Ellen Wheeler on Kim Zimmer as "Reva Shayne" on Guiding Light
02:30
Ellen Wheeler on the then-current cast of Guiding Light 
07:10
Ellen Wheeler on casting Guiding Light
01:29
Ellen Wheeler on working with new actors on the show
00:40
Ellen Wheeler on Guiding Light's Emmy nominations and wins
01:36
Ellen Wheeler on keeping Guiding Light's storylines from getting out
00:47
Ellen Wheeler on the Guiding Light series of episodes "Inside the Light"
07:07
Ellen Wheeler on the use of music for Guiding Light
01:45
Ellen Wheeler on the then-new opening titles for Guiding Light and the title of the show
02:39
Ellen Wheeler on Guiding Light's 70th anniversary 
00:56
Ellen Wheeler on how emerging technology changed the way Guiding Light is produced 
05:41
Ellen Wheeler on the then-future of the soap opera genre 
01:11
Ellen Wheeler on her daughter appearing on Guiding Light and her own possible return to acting 
01:56

Perry Wolff

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Perry Wolff on going to write for Guiding Light
01:38

Kim Zimmer

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Kim Zimmer on the origin of Guiding Light's title and its original premise
02:49
Kim Zimmer on the production process of Guiding Light
04:27
Kim Zimmer on watching Guiding Light as a child and how her mother's dream for her was for her to star on Guiding Light
02:29
Kim Zimmer on playing Reva on Guiding Light; on leaving the series in 1990
05:42
Kim Zimmer on starring as Reva on Guiding Light; on her co-stars; on some of the storylines
24:22
Kim Zimmer on returning to Guiding Light after a five year absence; on her favorite storylines; on the infamous "fountain scene"
09:59

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