Monday, January 22, 2007

Shadows of the Past

1966 was a important year for THE GUIDING LIGHT.
It was the year that the show's location was switched from Selby Flats, CA to "Springfield, USA." It was the year the show introduced daytime's first "major" black characters ("major" clearly being a subjective term here). There were a lot of cast shifts including quite a few recasts of important characters. Under Agnes Nixon's eloquent pen, the characters were living, breathing humans keeping the show vital as it approached it's 30th anniversary. Nixon would soon leave though to create ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE (in that order, despite premiere dates) for ABC.

Never in a million years did I imagine that I would luck into any clips at all from this period much less a cache of 16 complete 15-minute episodes. I've researched the show's history extensively and am pretty well versed in its mythology, but until now, names like Robin Lang Fletcher and Peggy Scott were just names and photographs in my GL history tomes. Thanks to a generous donation to the GUIDING LIGHT Memory Project from a member called Alexandra, I'm now able to present Shadows of the Past. Coming in at a staggering 46 parts, it is composed of every single frame from all 16 episodes and it's a really wonderful time capsule of the state of the show (and soaps in general) at the time. These live episodes with their dramatic, atmospheric organ accompaniment and luxurious pace are a completely different animal from the daytime we know today. Absent is the frantic pursuit of shock and spectacle. These shows demonstrate a desire to chronicle the complexities of ordinary human living rather than bounce the characters from one "adventure" to another. In daytime's pre-Gloria "Isn't rape romantic?" Monty years, it seems that an actual attention span was required to enjoy (and create) soaps.

Now to set the stage (for those without my encyclopedic knowledge of GL history):
Bert Bauer has recently discovered her husband Bill's affair with Maggie Scott. Conflicted Bauer son Ed also knows and his disgust over the situation is complicating his budding relationship with lovely young Leslie Jackson (future mother of Rick Bauer). Bill's former mistress Maggie Scott has been blackmailed by husband Ben into remarrying him in order to create a happy home for sensitive daughter Peggy (the future first Mrs. Roger Thorpe!). Ben disapproves of Peggy's relationship with troubled Johnny Fletcher. Johnny's father, Paul, is married to Bauer pseudo-granddaughter, Robin (played by Gillian Spencer, the original Viki on OLTL and later, Daisy Cortlandt on AMC) who secretly blames Johnny for her recent miscarriage. The major stories here are Bill's drinking and the Johnny/Peggy romance, which, since Peggy is the daughter of Bill's mistress, collide toward the end of the clipset in a really intense and surprising way.

So, get comfortable, relax, lose the expectations created by modern soap, and enjoy Shadows of the Past.

clip1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4 , clip 5 , clip 6 , clip 7 , clip 8
clip 9 , clip 10 , clip 11 , clip 12 , clip 13 , clip 14 , clip 15 , clip 16
clip 17 , clip 18 , clip 19 , clip 20 , clip 21 , clip 22 , clip 23 , clip 24
clip 25 , clip 26 , clip 27 , clip 28 , clip 29 , clip 30 , clip 31 , clip 32
clip 33 , clip 34 , clip 35 , clip 36 , clip 37 , clip 38 , clip 39 , clip 40
clip 41 , clip 42 , clip 43 , clip 44 , clip 45 , clip 46


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