I watched the long-running soap opera Guiding Light today for the first time in a very long time. A friend’s daughter was cast in today’s episode so I set the DVR. I’ve been a bit out of the loop and didn’t know until recently that Guiding Light was calling it quits, going dark. Apparently production costs have gotten to the point that it’s not profitable anymore. That makes me sad on several levels.
First is personal: I used to watch GL with my grandmother as a young girl. It was one of her “stories” that she couldn’t miss. It was our ritual in the summers — I would visit for a few weeks, and the two of us would take a break each day to watch the serial.
The second reason is more historical: GL is the longest running scripted show on TV at 72 years. The show started in 1937 as a 15 minute show on the radio and transitioned to television in 1952. In 1968, GL expanded to 30 minutes and on to its’ full hour in 1977. The show has been a mainstay in daytime drama and played a role in quite a few women’s lives. Story lines have ranged from serious issues affecting families to more humorous, but every one meaningful. The last episode will air on Friday, September 18.
Farewell, Guiding Light.