With Guiding Light ending it’s 72 year run as broadcast’s longest running daytime serial drama (radio January 25, 1937 – June 29, 1956) then television (June 30, 1956 – September 18, 2009), there have been a few tributes made to the show. A few. Certainly not enough to mark that historic legacy. Never again will you see a drama broadcast that ever marks that length of time.
Aside from the soap opera print magazines, which have been covering some of the ending of Guiding Light for a while, I was beyond saddened that the ‘leading’ soap magazine, Soap Opera Digest did not at least have a cover to mark that ending. On top of that, the Daytime Emmy Awards, aired August 30th, was slated to have a Tribute to Guiding Light, created by Michael Fairman [of The Advocate & On Air On Soaps blog]. Due to time constrictions (as the show was running over time), the length of the tribute was cut back. Fortunately, Fairman posted the entirety of the Tribute to his own soap blog and was covered by other online venues such as We Love Soaps, Daytime Confidential as well as posted around Twitter. [Michael Fairman’s GL Tribute – complete version.
On Sunday (13 September 2009), CBS Morning Show had a short segment on Guiding Light’s ending, but in my opinion it was very poorly executed, pardon the pun. I did, however, like the tribute send off that CBS’s 60 Minutes segment on GL, which was primarily filmed during the taping of the Bauer July 4th Barbeque (back in early June 2009). That I felt was deserving of the longest running show.
On Monday (14th September 2009), CNN ran a segment, Guding Light Ends Run. As much as I love them for doing this – and that a few mainstream news venues are (New York Times article and cable news networks) covering GL’s departure from the airwaves, I feel it’s too little, too late. More of this coverage should have been done back in April 2009, when CBS first announced the cancellation of the show – and kept on it.
As the show comes to it’s last days on air, there is a sadness that looms over not only the fans but the cast and crew as well. Many of the cast have been with the show for a long time. Tina Sloan, who has the most longevity of twenty-six years, Grant Aleksander, Beth Chamberlin, Frank Dicoupolis also have put in more than twenty years. That’s not including long-standing cast members of ten years and more. Crew members who’ve been with the show for many, many years. It’s a family unit when casts and crew work for that long together. Some, like Crystal Chappell (Days of Our Lives & Venice), Robert Newman (broadway) and Tina Sloan (Changing Shoes theatre show) have moved onto other projects. Crystal has some of her colleagues also involved in her Venice webseries project. But for majority, it’s the last time they’ll work together – unless by some miracle, a project comes along to pick up GL in some format or other.
The actors have begun their mourning process in that the show wrapped filming on the 11th August, however, for some it won’t begin until it goes off air. For the fans as well, as they think to tune in on Monday, 21 September and the longest running drama is no longer there.