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GUIDING LIGHT

Do you remember this intro? “And now, The Guiding Light.” It is an old one. According to Guinness Book of World Records The Guiding Light was the longest running drama of all time. It came on the air in January 25, 1937 five days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second inauguration as 15 minute serials. It then lasted some 18,000 episodes and 72 years, finally ending on September 18th, 2009. The series was created by Irna Phillips who based it on her personal spiritual experiences of having given birth to a still-born baby and finding comfort in listening to on-air sermons. These sermons provided the nucleus upon which the show was based. The Guiding Light refers to a lamp in the study of a minister who would turn it on to be a sign for the residents to find help when needed. With such an extensive history the show reflected, in a sense, the changing times of this country. Over the years the preacher was removed, the Christian message dissipated and the inspirational themes evolved into typical soap exploitations and glorifications of sin. Even the “the” was removed and the light went from being exclusive and singular to being just a Guiding Light among many.

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