On January 25, 2002, Guiding Light marks another major milestone - its 65th anniversary.
Known as The Guiding Light when it made its debut as a fifteen-minute serial on radio in 1937, Guiding Light is the longest-running daily program in broadcast history. Created by Irna Phillips, Guiding Light was -- and continues to be -- produced by Procter & Gamble Productions, the company who put the "soap" in soap opera. The television version of the serial marks its 50th anniversary on June 30, 2002.
"I created Guiding Light with one fundamental theme in mind: the brotherhood of man," wrote Phillips in 1937.
And indeed Phillips' vision for the show has more than been realized. Through its run - which will total 16,293 episodes on January 25th - Guiding Light has addressed a wide range of topical issues. Beginning in 1962, the series tackled its -- and daytime's -- first social issue-driven storyline: the early detection of Bert Bauer's uterine cancer via a Pap smear. Since then, subjects addressed have ranged from organ transplant to Down's syndrome, substance abuse to domestic violence, birth control to adoption, and leukemia to cochlear implants. Of course, love, romance, family and community have always been at the core of the program.
Guiding Light has served as a launch pad for many of today's best known stars. Guiding Light alumnae include Kevin Bacon, Taye Diggs, Frances Fisher, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Billy Dee Williams and many more.
Guiding Light is the only daytime program inducted into the Soap Opera Hall of Fame. The program has been the recipient of 54 Daytime Emmy Awards as well as numerous other industry accolades.