Guiding Light: What Happened? Start Your THINKING Long Ago

Thinking Fans savor vintage Guiding Light: Mike Goldberg says, “It seems to me that Guiding Light has had so many magical periods and then so many dreadful periods. The era you describe was magnificent” … while from Italy, Giada declares, “I don’t want to be a ‘laudator temporis acti,’ someone who praises the past for its own sake, but I do believe we’re not seeing in the present moment soaps as good as we used to” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

It’s been so difficult to write since last week’s  cancellation of Guiding Light.  So painful to see it go, so awful to lose a show that is literally the cradle of all soap operas.Guiding Light 1

I only stopped feeling bad when I realized that the cancellation freed me from ruminating about the disasters of the past year (the “new” production model!). Instead, I could reflect on and savor memories of the remarkable and glorious 72-year history of GL. Not just to reminisce, but to think about why GL was an excellent and superbly crafted classic soap for so long, and how over the years so many of the elements that made it so popular and compelling were carelessly discarded.  I decided to pick one era –1980-82, the first years I watched — and examine it through the eyes of someone who’s watched thirty years of subsequent soap opera history.  Some might call what happened during those years modernization.  Others might call it slow destruction …

You have to remember that GL in1980-82 stood in a shadow. In those days everyone, especially the young and hip, were swooning over the magical Luke and Laura story on General Hospital, which had hit all of daytime with a tidal wave of

GL was truly an ensemble effort.  As a viewer, you felt very much an integral part of Springfield, too!  It was like a real place, a real home.  Which once upon a time is what all soaps were.   

popularity in the summer of 1980, the summer on the run.  I was the new editor of a magazine called Afternoon TV, and was responsible for [Read more...]