• Network: CBS
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 30, 1952
Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 71, 72
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Summary: The late soap journalist Christopher Schemering once wrote that soap operas are not just dramas; "they're little pockets of American history." So it's only fitting to consider that at one time, "The Guiding Light,"-the longest running program in broadcast history, spanning 71 years-- brought fifteen-minute bits of escapism to war-weary housewives, as their men trudged off to fight the indignities of WWII. It brought social awareness to a nation that began to think about the big picture beyond their picket fences and suburban streets. Soap opera is a truly dynamic genre that reflects life as it is lived, the quintessential American art form. Although berated and belittled, the soap opera has an illustrious lineage, with no less than the books of Charles Dickins as an inspiration. Created by the legendary, if not iron-fisted Irna Phillips, "The Guiding Light" began its life on January 25, 1937. Originally, the show focused on the Chicagoan suburb of Five Points, a bustling enclave of German-Jewish immigrants hoping to find their own piece of the American dream. Giving them the hope and inspiration they needed was a kindly minister named Reverend John Ruthledge (voiced by Arthur Peterson of "Soap" fame). The Reverend's sermons of hope and forgiveness made such an impression that a bestselling book was published of his most popular homilies. The Reverend's message could be summed up by his favorite mantra from Edwin Markum "There is a destiny that makes us brothers, none goes his way alone, all that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own." On the desk near his window, the minister placed an old lantern, a "guiding light" to those parishioners passing in the cold, hopeless night. In the 1940's the Reverend Ruthledge enrolled as a chaplain to do his part of the war effort. However, when the production of the show moved to the west coast, Peterson refused to join them, so Irna Phillips had the minister die when his plane was shot down overseas. His "friendship lamp" went too with the production move to the town of Selby Flats, California. Reverend Matthews took over for the late Rev. Ruthledge as the center of hope and inspiration. However, by the time that the show was slated to move to television, the religious undertones of the show were virtually gone and the focus was moved yet again to the family Bauer. * Guiding Light was cancelled on April 1, 2009 and the last episode aired on September 18, 2009.

Details

Network: CBS
Genre(s): Drama
Seasons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 71, 72
Cast Credit
Marsha Clark Hillary Bauer #2 (1978 - 1984)
Andreas Katsulas Lucien Goff (1982)
Joe Ponazecki Lieutenant/Detective Larry Wyatt (1977 - 1983; 1987 - 1988; 1990 - 1991; 1994)
Mark Pinter Mark Evans (1981 - 1983)/ Brad Green [2] (2003 - 2004)
Michael Tylo Quint McCord Chamberlin [1] (1981 - 1986; 1996 - 1997)
Deborah May Ivy Pierce (Aka Brenda Lowry) (1982-1983)
John Wesley Shipp Kelly Nelson (1980 - 1984)
Ellen Dolan Maureen Reardon Bauer (01/1982-03/1986)
Lisa Brown Nola Reardon Chamberlain (1980 - 1985; 1995 - 1997)
Benjamin Hendrickson Silas Crocker (1981 - 1983)
Geraldine Court Jennifer Stafford Richards (Jan 1980 - 1983)
Millette Alexander Dr. Sara McIntyre Gantry Werner Blackford Thorpe (Jan 1969 - 1982)
Wayne Tippet Alan Spaulding #2 (1982; Temporary Recast)
Rose Alaio Helena Manzini (1981 - 1983)
Patrick Horgan Neil Blake (1979 - 1980; 1982)
Lee Lawson Bea Reardon (1981 - 1987; 1990)
Jerry verDorn Ross Marler (1979 - 2005)
Robert Newman Joshua 'Josh' Lewis (Oct 1981-Dec 1984; Oct 1986-Jan 1991; Aug 1993-Sept 2009)
Jennifer Cooke Morgan Richards Nelson #2 (1981 - 1983)
Margaret Gweneviere Dr. Margaret Sedwick (1979 - Present)
Rebecca Hollen Trish Lewis Norris (1980 - 1985; 1997; 2002)
Tom Nielson Floyd Parker (1979 - 1985)
Denise Pence Katie Parker R.N. (1977 - 1985)
Greg Beecroft Anthony 'Tony' Reardon (1981 - 1985)
Christopher Bernau Alan Spaulding #1 (1977 - 1984, 1986 - 1988)
Kathleen Cullen Amanda Spaulding #1 (1978 - 1983; 1987)
Christopher Marcantel Tim 'TJ' Werner (1981 - 1982)
Maeve Kinkead Vanessa Chamberlain Lewis Reardon (6/1980-8/1981; 2/1982-1987; 7/1989-7/2000; 6/2002; 4-5/2005; 2/2006-9/2009)
William Roerick Henry Chamberlain (1980 - 1996)
Don Stewart Mike Bauer (1968 - 1984)
Peter Simon Dr. William Edward "Ed" Bauer (1981 - 1984; 1986 - 1996; 2002 - 2004)
Charita Bauer Bert Bauer (1952 - 1984)
Clement Fowler Professor Martin Bruhner (1982 - 1983)
Stephen Yates Ben McFarren (1976 - 1982)
Lawrence Weber Clarence Bailey (1982 - 1985; 1987 - 1990)
Harley Venton Derek Colby (1979 - 1982; 1983)
Elvera Roussell Hope Bauer Spaulding (1979 - 1984)
Janet Grey Eve 'Evie' Stapleton (1976 - 1983)
Matthew Barry Ron Kennedy (1982)
Beulah Garrick Viola Renfield (1981 - 1983)
Lori Shelle Gracie Middleton (1981 - 1983)