Monday, March 12, 2007


In my last entry, I identified 1988 as a "year of recovery" for GUIDING LIGHT. Similarly, 2001 saw the show emerging from a few years of rather sketchy storytelling. Beginning in the last part of 2000, headwriter (and RYAN'S HOPE creator) Claire Labine brought the show back to more realistic, earth-based stories such as the death of Jim Lemay and the break-up of Harley and Phillip.

"Much-acclaimed writer Claire Labine took over as head writer in 2000, but her stories focused on character development and clashed with (EP Paul) Rauch's plot-heavy style. Labine's team lasted barely a year amidst rumors that she was being sabotaged backstage."--- from The Guiding Light Encyclopedia at

Taken from May and June of 2001, Loyalty comes from this period. It deals with how the lives of Claire Ramsey and (to a lesser extent) Meta Bauer are affected by Harley Cooper and new-in-town crooked cop Gus Aitoro's investigation into the supposed death of Carmen Santos. The primary performance here comes from Susan Pratt as Claire. Pratt is a 12 course meal in her portayal of the misunderstood Mom of Steel to mob wife Michelle. Always thrilling, vigorous, and strangely sympathetic, Pratt's work is a joy to behold as Gus slowly tightens the noose around squirmy Claire's neck.

This clipset also heavily features one of my all time favorite actors ever on GL: Mary Stuart. Stuart, who acted on GL right up until her death in February of 2002, never fails to imbue her scenes with the accumulated experience of 50 years in daytime. She makes Meta good and strong without ever being boring or sickenly sweet. She plays her character in such a way that holds the viewer's interest without stealing focus from the younger actors to whom she was always playing second fiddle. She was a consumate professional and a brillant actor in general, but also the quintessential soap opera actor-- and when done the way she did it, that term is no insult at all. Stuart hits the mark here (as she did every single time she was on camera) playing Meta's outpouring of support for Harley until the waffling cop's buck-passing betrayals pile too high.

I could write several entries every day for the rest of my life praising Mary Stuart and still not finish telling you how wonderful I think she is, so I will stop there. Here is Loyalty (which, by the way is also notable for the debut of Michael "Mr. Crystal Chappel" Sabatino as Vince Russo.)

clip 1 , 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

One thing Loyalty lacks is a sample of the explosive chemistry shared between Pratt and Stuart. Never fear though. I've got you covered with this short, previously posted set of Michelle going into labor from early 2001. There are two fantastic blowouts between Meta and Claire as well as some wonderfully tender scenes with Claire/Michelle and Meta/Danny.

Robbie's birth

clip 1 , clip 2 , clip 3 , clip 4


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