The Guiding Light was originally created as a daily radio program in 1937. The 15-minute episodes aired during the day, sponsored by advertisers who targeted homemakers with commercials for soap and cleaning products. The Guiding Light transitioned to television in 1952 and remained on the air for 72 years becoming America’s longest running soap opera. The Library of Congress is preserving the episode of The Guiding Light that aired on the first Thanksgiving after the end of World War 2.
The Guiding Light was created by Irna Phillips. Because she wrote and created so many serial dramas, Phillips is credited with inventing the soap opera.
This installment of The Sounds of America profiles Ms. Phillips and The Guiding Light. Frances Myers, remembers 15 years as a cast member. Playwright Murray Horwitz relives the drama of directing episodes of the show, and author Elana Levine describes the history and impact of The Guiding Light and its creator, Irna Phillips.
Every year, the U.S. Library of Congress selects 25 recordings to preserve for all time in the National Recording Registry. These recordings include music, speeches, public events, native languages, historical moments, sporting events… audio that’s important to our American culture and heritage.
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