Tuesday morning when I turned my calendar over to a new month, I have to admit that hit me like a ton of bricks… September was here, and with it the end of Guiding Light. Sure, we've all known since April 1 that this day was coming, but back then it seemed so far away. Surely, we could save the show. Surely, this day wouldn't come.
And yet, here we are. The Final Countdown -- 8 episodes left. Since CBS is contractually obligated to air the US Open on Monday and Friday of this week, that leaves three episodes this week and five next week. Eight episodes to wrap up 72 years. Eight episodes before we have to say goodbye…
I've talked to so many of you who are feeling the loss already as I am. And I want to encourage all of you to share your memories and talk about GL - we can always keep in shining through our love and support of the show. Tell me how you plan to spend September 18. I will be working tomorrow (Labor Day) and taking off on the 18th to be alone with my thoughts… and tears.
For those iPod users, I am gathering my own GL playlist of songs that remind me of the show, or were played on the show through the years. I just started the list, but have Lionel Richie's "Truly" (Phillip and Beth's song), "You Needed Me" (Kelly and Morgan's song from the early 80's), "Missing You" (Rick and Roxie Shayne's song). Cheryl and Sue added Mike Reno/Ann Wilson's "Almost Paradise" (Beth and Lujack's song). And Sue added Alicia Key's "Fallin'" - which was the CBS Soap theme song for awhile, I do recall. Kati Mac's "Only Love" is the current GL theme. I also added the B-52's "Love Shack" since they played it on the show. I know there are a million others out there, so please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what else to add to my list. I'll pass on the list here as well.
Somehow I thought a week removed from the Daytime Emmy tribute would have made me a little less angry at the length of the piece. I was wrong. If anything, time has made me even angrier that the Daytime Emmys - who have to know their genre is dying - wouldn't want to spend four minutes of its time to honor Guiding Light and to promote the genre. I heard that B&B got the shaft at the end because the show had run out of time, but I had already turned off my tv in disgust. I could think of several things that could have been cut to give GL (and best show winner B&B) the time they deserved. The good news is that the producer of the Guiding Light tribute has released the entire tribute video and you can view it right here on Soap Central by clicking here.
Before I forget, though, congratulations to Jeff Branson and Vincent Irizarry (ex-Lujack/Nick, now David on AMC) for sharing the Outstanding Supporting Actor trophy. It's nice to see GL actors, past and present, get some recognition.
The show itself last week was full of emotion. I'm not sure if it's because we are running out of time and I feel the need to horde all of the GL memories I can, but I loved the shows this week. The Coopers, who have had such a bad run of luck, finally can save Company, thanks to Coop's book. Certainly we knew that they would succeed, but it was nice to see Blake, Ashlee and Cyrus work to help the Cooper clan. Which led to Doris finally telling Ashlee about herself - long overdue. Hopefully we can see Ashlee understand Doris' decision and make peace with a past she can't change.
Reva could certainly have used the happy news - learning Henry is her grandson. Although fans know that Jeffrey isn't really dead, this will hopefully make her loss slightly less painful. And will GL actually reunite the two before the 18th? No matter who Reva ends up with, I don't really want this hanging over the character forever. And Jonathan will certainly bring a smile to Reva's face this week with another special delivery.
But it was the reveal (finally) of Phillip's illness that really brought me to tears (more than normal these days…). I've made no secret that Phillip is one of my favorite characters (and I've adored Grant Aleksander since the day we met in 1988 - he is - like the rest of the cast - a really nice guy who appreciates the fans). Watching Phillip and Beth in the park, clinging to one another to absorb the news that he's dying was so well done. Beth Chamberlain and Grant work so well together - and you can see the chemistry they have off-screen as well. The scenes were so well done, without overdoing the emotions you could see the shock of the news hit each family member. The closeness they all share was easily read on their faces.
This week will bring even more tears, in only three episodes, when Phillip faces his illness head on with the help of his family. Alan makes a decision to help Phillip and hopefully overcome a lifetime of guilt. Have your hankies ready!! And little Henry celebrates his first birthday - with his whole family (minus Mallet). But Mallet comes across a familiar face far, far away from Springfield. So much to fit in, and so little time left….
As a reminder, GL fans in the DC area please note that on September 14th the show will move from 3-4pm to 10-11am. Yes, this means the final week of the show will be moved because of Dr. Oz… Don't even let me get started on that one. "Contractual obligations" was the excuse I received from our sad little CBS affiliate. If other fans hear of changes before September 18th to the air time in their local market, please be sure to pass them along so we can post them.
Before the show stops airing, I really want to take some time to reach out to them and let them know how much their characters, and the show, have meant to me. Even thought they have wrapped taping, they can certainly get mail to the cast members from GL fans. I certainly encourage all GL fans to drop the cast (either as a group or individually) a line to share your thoughts and memories with them.
To write to the cast members:
Attention: Cast member's name
51 W. 52 St.
New York, NY 10019
Together We Can…Keep the Light Shining!