Radio Soap Opera 1937-1956
Irna Phillips, originator of the show
Guiding Light is the longest running drama
of all time. It began as a 15 minute old time radio show in 1937,
running until 1947. It then ran through its metamorphosis
into a television drama until 1956. In 1952, it became a
television show and the radio and television programs ran
concurrently for some time. Today this television show is
still running. It was originally sponsored by Procter and
Gamble, who put the "soap" in soap opera.
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The brainchild of Irna Phillips, this show
is based on her life experiences. When she was 19, an unmarried
Irna gave birth to a still-born child. At this time, she
found comfort through listening to the sermons preached
by Dr. Preston Bradley, a minister of a church for the brotherhood
of man. These sermons then became the backbone for the creation
of her dramatic serial, The Guiding Light, 27 years later.
The show originally centered around a preachers' sermons.
Irna Phillips later published these sermons, and they became
a best-selling book. Guilding Light also generated the spin-off series, Right To Happiness.
For other popular soaps, see also: Vic and Sade, Hearts in Harmony, One Mans Family, Eternal Light, Ma Perkins and Mary Noble Backstage Wife.
Cast from The Guiding Light from 1937.
The actors are (left to right) - Arthur Peterson, Mercedes
McCambridge, Helen Behmiller, Henrietta Ledro.