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article imageOp-Ed: After 72 Years the 'Guiding Light' is Flickering Out

By Sandy Sand     Apr 3, 2009 in Entertainment
CBS announced it’s pulling the plug on the “Guiding Light” after 72 consecutive years of broadcasting on radio, then on television.
Guiding Light was the last surviving televised soap opera that successfully make the transition from radio to television, and will broadcast its final episode on Sept. 18, or will it?
A spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble Productions, which makes the show, informed the cast and crew that the company isn't giving up on the story, and will explore different ways of keeping the saga of the Spaulding, Lewis and Cooper families in the fictional town of Springfield going after September.
Lynn Leahey, editorial director of Soap Opera Digest said:
For many of us, it was the first show we ever watched. It really is heartbreaking to see something like this go away.
I don't know about heartbreaking; that’s a little over the top, but it's always a little heart-tugging to see a show we like get the low-ratings ax, or have a favorite character killed off.
While I feel for the actors, writers, producers and directors, who are faced with the prospect of losing their lucrative jobs, that's life in the fast lane of show biz. Feast punctuated with long periods of standing in the unemployment line, note pad in hand, think up the next brilliant idea that will get you another gig.
I feel, too, for the fans who will lose their favorite couch potato-fantasy world activity, but this isn’t a tribute or sad farewell to the Guiding Light in particular, because I don’t think I ever watched one minute of the show, but it got me to thinking about soaps I used to watch and the only one I miss.
I was a fan of the nighttime soaps and faithful viewer of Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest, but I don’t miss any of them.
But…to this day I miss the Romance of Helen Trump.
Can a woman of 35 find love and romance with a man twice her urge?
You got it! It was a satirical spoof of -- coincidentally -- the CBS radio soap The Romance of Helen Trent that aired from 1933 to 1960.
Helen Trump was the brainchild of the late fantastic genius of Dick Whittinghill, who was heard during morning drive time on KMPC Radio in Los Angeles for more than 30 years.
His punning, double/triple entendres made me laugh my way to work, and I never missed an entendre-filled episode of Helen’s doings, which always began with a serious soap opera-fitting intro and description of her aged lover as he…
mounted her steps and pulled her knocker.
Three hours every morning and the puns and schticks kept coming.
My other favorite was the daily episode of Story Records, which Whittinghill either wrote himself or were submitted by listeners. Story Records were very short stories ending in a gag that was the first line of a popular song.
The very best and never forgotten by someone who can never remember any joke was this:
Communist party leaders Rudy and Natasha were arguing over whether an animal they spotted in the woods was a reindeer or a moose. Rudy gets the last word by telling Natasha (cue song), “Rudolph the red nose reindeer…”
I miss Dick. I miss Helen. Long live memories!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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