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From April 1951.  The storyline sounds very similar to the one Bill Bell wrote for Susan Martin on Days of Our Lives (absent the fans being the jury).  Did he ever write for the radio version of GL?

 

 

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From radio soap hopper Joseph Julian's book

For a time, the daily serial The Road of Life was heard over two major networks until the sponsor decided to eliminate NBC and play it only on CBS.

The final day on both, the announcer's tag line read: Starting tomorrow, The Road of Life will be heard only over CBS. This didn't sit well with NBC. It was bad enough losing the show, but a free plug for the rival network was rubbing it in. So they ordered it eliminated.

But the writer, Charles Gussman, a shrewd and determined fellow, rewrote the last scene as a phone conversation between Dr. Brent, the leading character, and a patient who was asking for an appointment. Brent responded by saying that he was moving the next day and could be reached only in care of Doctor C. B. Hess. On paper this was nothing NBC could object to. But spoken by actor Don MacLaughlin, who de-emphasized the word "doctor" and stressed the rest, it was exactly what Gussman wanted it to say. Sneaky, sneaky.

 

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On 5/2/2020 at 10:10 AM, jam6242 said:

From April 1951.  The storyline sounds very similar to the one Bill Bell wrote for Susan Martin on Days of Our Lives (absent the fans being the jury).  Did he ever write for the radio version of GL?

 

 

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No, Bill Bell never wrote for the radio iteration of THE GUIDING LIGHT. By the time he started in soaps, he wrote solely for television.

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On 5/7/2020 at 10:12 PM, vetsoapfan said:

Ahh, the Meta White murder trial is the earliest story I know from TGL. It was engrossing. Even though I was pretty certain she would eventually be found innocent, my stomach was in knots throughout the entire trial.

When I discovered radio episodes of GL on the 90s (I got sent a disc with about a hundred) they were all from this story, starting with the death of Chukie (who was forced by his father to be more masculine leading to his death)--really great stuff.

On 5/5/2020 at 8:08 AM, jam6242 said:

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Interesting that the Guiding Light spin-off (and apparently extremely popular) The Right to Happiness was no longer on the same radio network (I believe it was on NBC which is where Guiding Light was until the mid or late 40s).

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48 minutes ago, EricMontreal22 said:

When I discovered radio episodes of GL on the 90s (I got sent a disc with about a hundred) they were all from this story, starting with the death of Chukie (who was forced by his father to be more masculine leading to his death)--really great stuff.

Interesting that the Guiding Light spin-off (and apparently extremely popular) The Right to Happiness was no longer on the same radio network (I believe it was on NBC which is where Guiding Light was until the mid or late 40s).

 

I've gone back to listen to those several times over the last decade - the episode where Meta tries to reach out to a deeply embittered Trudy is a real standout. I'm not sure why GL never bothered with Trudy - even Irna seemed to want rid of her. 

 

I didn't realize just how many times the radio soaps went off and then had to be revived. 

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45 minutes ago, DRW50 said:

 

I've gone back to listen to those several times over the last decade - the episode where Meta tries to reach out to a deeply embittered Trudy is a real standout. I'm not sure why GL never bothered with Trudy - even Irna seemed to want rid of her. 

 

I didn't realize just how many times the radio soaps went off and then had to be revived. 

Yeah, it's a bit sneaky to always mention GL's long run because there were extended periods (at least two) where it was off the air.  (From Wiki:

The show was cancelled by NBC twice, once in 1939 and once in 1946. The first time on October 13, 1939, it was brought back by popular demand of the listening audience and began again only four months later in January 22, 1940. (Although some of the characters, Rose Kransky and part of her family, briefly transitioned to another Phillips' creation, The Right to Happiness, with Phillips bringing back the characters to The Guiding Light when NBC restarted the show.) The November 29, 1946 NBC cancellation coincided with the Federal Communications Commission forcing a split of NBC and the creation of the ABC network. CBS would pick up the show seven months later on June 2, 1947. CBS would be where the show would stay until its cancellation on television in September 2009.

Procter & Gamble was the original sponsor of The Guiding Light until March 16, 1942, when General Mills started sponsorship. Procter & Gamble would again sponsor the show when CBS picked up the show on June 2, 1947.

The show started in the locale of Five Points, a fictional enclave neighborhood of Chicago, but in 1947 when CBS brought back the show the locale transitioned to the fictional suburb of Los Angeles, Selby Flats.)


And of course for a while Irna had that hour block of her shows which sounds pretty groundbreaking: From 1943 to 1946, The Guiding Light and two other Phillips-created soaps (Woman in White and Today's Children) were aired as a programming block known collectively as The General Mills Hour, with Guiding Light cast member Ed Prentiss acting as master of ceremonies. Major characters made crossover appearances between the three shows, and at one point during this period, Phillips considered the experiment of running the individual program segments longer or shorter than the then-traditional quarter-hour. However, the Hour was disbanded before Phillips could proceed further with the idea
The fourth show was religious programming The Light of the World.
 

The Bauers didn't come until the show premiered on CBS--I'm not even sure how many characters appeared on the NBC and CBS versions--Ed Prentis' Ned Holden is the only one who seems to have transitioned and he lasted a year on CBS.

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I believe "The Guiding Light" (1947) is legally a spinoff of "The Guiding Light" (1937). Irna Phillips lost creative ownership of the original in a court battle in 1946, which I've read was the reason why the network cancelled it. Reading the Wikipedia reason, I wonder if both were contributing factors to cancellation. For the first reason I've given, @EricMontreal22 is right that there isn't much connection character wise. In his book "The Fan Who Knew Too Much," Anthony Heilburt goes into some detail about the transition from one show to another. If you are interested radio soaps, the book is worth a read. He definitely exerts some energy on explaining different personalities behind the stage while also delving into some of the gay subtext of different writers work. I can't find my copy of the book at the moment, but I think it may have a preview on Google Books. 

 

"The Guiding Light" (1947) was originally about Ray Brandon, a man who had been wrongfully convicted for embezzlement many years before. He came out of jail and learned that his wife, Julie, had remarried and raised their son without really acknowledging his true paternity. The son was in love with the daughter of Martin McClure, who was Ray's former employer who had set him up for murder. I believe one of the ministers from "The Guiding Light" (1937) dropped off Reverend Ruthledge's lamp to Rev. Richard Gaylord, the main minister on the new series. I believe the only real crossover storyline involved Claire Lawrence, a war pilot's widow with a young son. Her storyline may have only been a year or two. I know it had something to do with her late husband's brother coming back into the picture. I'd suggest using SoapCentral, but given the recent analysis of the Stanley Norris biography, I would look at it in a broader sense rather than at specific details. 

 

I don't think Lee Philip and Irna Phillips were related though it would be really cool if that was the case. Imagine what those family dinners would have been like? A brief search of the census records on Ancestry.com suggest they were not related. I think the confusion arises in the origin story of William Bell meeting Irna Phillips. In one article, he states he had originally tried out to work for her in the late 1940s, but nothing happened. Later, he ran into Irna Phillips' niece and was able to convince her to talk to Irna because Irna knew of Lee Phillip, his wife and popular television personality. I don't think they were actually related. 

 

With that said, Bell's work is definitely influenced by Phillips. I hadn't considered the Dickie Martin case being similar to the Chuckie White case. Didn't Rose Kransky's kid also perish? That Heilburt book I referenced goes into some of the psychology of those storylines. Anyway, shortly after Phillips dies, Bell replicated a story written on "The Road of Life," which was another Phillips' serial. On "Days of our Lives," Mickey had amnesia, saw his belt buckle said MH, and stumbled onto a farm where he called himself Marty Brent where he fell in love with a beautiful crippled woman, Maggie Simmons. On "The Road of Life," Dr. Jim Brent was on his way to John Hopkins, suffered amnesia, arrived on a farm with a widow and her crippled sister-in-law, and fell for the widow. I don't know if Bell submitted scripts for this show and reused the ideas later or if he was simply a fan of the show and replayed the storyline. I wouldn't be surprised if William Bell was a Charles Gusman fan. Gussman wrote a large chunk of the last year of "The Road of Life" and was involved in the creation of "Days of our Lives" I believe. Gussman brought very upper class families like the Overtons and the Malloys who I think could easily have survived in the Genoa City social scene. 

  

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On 5/2/2020 at 1:10 PM, jam6242 said:

From April 1951.  The storyline sounds very similar to the one Bill Bell wrote for Susan Martin on Days of Our Lives (absent the fans being the jury).  Did he ever write for the radio version of GL?

 

 

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Thanks for sharing this! I'm currently listening to Meta's trial and I was going to try and find out what the results of the poll was through research. I have about a year's worth of episodes from that time and the announcer talks about the poll but the episodes end before the final verdict is announced. 

 

I believe Irna was a consultant for Days of Our Lives in the beginning which would explain why her favorite storyline reappeared on that show. Irna had an affair with a married man, got pregnant and the child died. She would write that scenario over and over again in various ways on different shows. A lot of the time, after the child died, the woman would kill the father of the baby. This might have been Irna's way of processing what happened to her with a bit of fantasy of what she would have liked to have done. It was always an "illegitimate" child. Sometimes it would die (Rose Kransky, Meta Bauer, Pat Matthews, Susan Martin), sometimes the child would be given up for adoption and then retrieved by birth mother (Ellen Lowell, Julie Olsen, Meta Bauer), sometimes the mother would kill the biological father(Meta Bauer, Pat Matthews, Susan Martin), sometimes she would marry the adoptive father (Ellen Lowell, Julie Olson). Then you had the theme of a woman being a pariah because she was in love with a married man (Rose Kransky, Janet Matthews, Edith Hughes).  Of course, there are probably a lot more example of those themes going through Irna's writings but those are the major ones that come to mind. Anyway, I believe Irna was a consultant for Days in it's early years and that seems pretty evident in the repeat themes that Irna loved. 

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3 hours ago, dc11786 said:

Anyway, shortly after Phillips dies, Bell replicated a story written on "The Road of Life," which was another Phillips' serial. On "Days of our Lives," Mickey had amnesia, saw his belt buckle said MH, and stumbled onto a farm where he called himself Marty Brent where he fell in love with a beautiful crippled woman, Maggie Simmons. On "The Road of Life," Dr. Jim Brent was on his way to John Hopkins, suffered amnesia, arrived on a farm with a widow and her crippled sister-in-law, and fell for the widow. I don't know if Bell submitted scripts for this show and reused the ideas later or if he was simply a fan of the show and replayed the storyline. I wouldn't be surprised if William Bell was a Charles Gusman fan. Gussman wrote a large chunk of the last year of "The Road of Life" and was involved in the creation of "Days of our Lives" I believe. Gussman brought very upper class families like the Overtons and the Malloys who I think could easily have survived in the Genoa City social scene. 

  

Bell would also go on to tell a variation of that same story on Y&R with Victor in the 90’s.

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3 hours ago, dc11786 said:

I believe "The Guiding Light" (1947) is legally a spinoff of "The Guiding Light" (1937). Irna Phillips lost creative ownership of the original in a court battle in 1946, which I've read was the reason why the network cancelled it. Reading the Wikipedia reason, I wonder if both were contributing factors to cancellation. For the first reason I've given, @EricMontreal22 is right that there isn't much connection character wise. In his book "The Fan Who Knew Too Much," Anthony Heilburt goes into some detail about the transition from one show to another. If you are interested radio soaps, the book is worth a read. He definitely exerts some energy on explaining different personalities behind the stage while also delving into some of the gay subtext of different writers work. I can't find my copy of the book at the moment, but I think it may have a preview on Google Books. 

 

"The Guiding Light" (1947) was originally about Ray Brandon, a man who had been wrongfully convicted for embezzlement many years before. He came out of jail and learned that his wife, Julie, had remarried and raised their son without really acknowledging his true paternity. The son was in love with the daughter of Martin McClure, who was Ray's former employer who had set him up for murder. I believe one of the ministers from "The Guiding Light" (1937) dropped off Reverend Ruthledge's lamp to Rev. Richard Gaylord, the main minister on the new series. I believe the only real crossover storyline involved Claire Lawrence, a war pilot's widow with a young son. Her storyline may have only been a year or two. I know it had something to do with her late husband's brother coming back into the picture. I'd suggest using SoapCentral, but given the recent analysis of the Stanley Norris biography, I would look at it in a broader sense rather than at specific details. 

 

I don't think Lee Philip and Irna Phillips were related though it would be really cool if that was the case. Imagine what those family dinners would have been like? A brief search of the census records on Ancestry.com suggest they were not related. I think the confusion arises in the origin story of William Bell meeting Irna Phillips. In one article, he states he had originally tried out to work for her in the late 1940s, but nothing happened. Later, he ran into Irna Phillips' niece and was able to convince her to talk to Irna because Irna knew of Lee Phillip, his wife and popular television personality. I don't think they were actually related. 

 

With that said, Bell's work is definitely influenced by Phillips. I hadn't considered the Dickie Martin case being similar to the Chuckie White case. Didn't Rose Kransky's kid also perish? That Heilburt book I referenced goes into some of the psychology of those storylines. Anyway, shortly after Phillips dies, Bell replicated a story written on "The Road of Life," which was another Phillips' serial. On "Days of our Lives," Mickey had amnesia, saw his belt buckle said MH, and stumbled onto a farm where he called himself Marty Brent where he fell in love with a beautiful crippled woman, Maggie Simmons. On "The Road of Life," Dr. Jim Brent was on his way to John Hopkins, suffered amnesia, arrived on a farm with a widow and her crippled sister-in-law, and fell for the widow. I don't know if Bell submitted scripts for this show and reused the ideas later or if he was simply a fan of the show and replayed the storyline. I wouldn't be surprised if William Bell was a Charles Gusman fan. Gussman wrote a large chunk of the last year of "The Road of Life" and was involved in the creation of "Days of our Lives" I believe. Gussman brought very upper class families like the Overtons and the Malloys who I think could easily have survived in the Genoa City social scene. 

  

 The Fan Who Knew Too Much is a terrific read (and not just for the soap opera chapter)--I actually quoted from it for my MA essay on homosexuality in soap operas (in an intro section going over the history as briefly as possible).  I believe it is in that book, but I may be thinking of a different one, where it is suggested that John M. Young, who took over writing Right to Happiness in 1942 until it ended in 1960, managed to "out-Irna" Irna Phillips in his storylines (I wonder if he wrote for anything else).  I will say that aside from Guiding Light, the radio soap opera that has grabbed me the most is Right to Happiness, and I'm surprised they never tried to adapt it to TV.  It's also often called a GL spin-off though it seems like those characters from GL returned pretty quickly to GL--(Rose Kransky I mean)

What's so odd about that law suit about Guiding Light is I've read (in Jim Cox's Radio Soap Opera Encyclopedia for example, republished as The A to Z of Radio Soap Operas) that Guiding Light, along with other soaps, had been sold to P&G by Irna in 1942 (which is when she stopped writing several of them--Right to Happiness for example--though she stayed on at Guiding Light). 

Thanks as always for your wonderful details--fascinating about that Road of Life/Days story connection.

30 minutes ago, BetterForgotten said:

Bell would also go on to tell a variation of that same story on Y&R with Victor in the 90’s.

Agnes Nixon told variations of the story on both AMC and Loving...  (I guess she wasn't official HW at AMC when the story was told there but she was still heavily involved we know)

50 minutes ago, BillBauer said:

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing this! I'm currently listening to Meta's trial and I was going to try and find out what the results of the poll was through research. I have about a year's worth of episodes from that time and the announcer talks about the poll but the episodes end before the final verdict is announced.

We're lucky that so much of the Meta storyline has survived--it's enthralling stuff.  I remember when I became obsessed with soaps as an 11 year old way back in 1991 thanks to AMC, I immediately tried to read as much as I could from the library about the history.  And they had three record album releases of radio soaps--only four episodes per record and most were a mix of shows, but one was four episodes from the start of the Meta storyline on GL and I listened to those episodes over and over (then in the late 90s I had the chance to find literally about 100 more episodes from that time thanks to the internet).  It's terribly compelling stuff--sometimes actually quite chilling.

You raise really great points about Irna and the unwed mother/lost or dead child storylines.  Thanks for so many examples--I love learning about stuff like this.

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