May 26, 2009By Marc Wilkofsky Posted: May 26, 2009
As a loyal, 29-year GUIDING LIGHT viewer and Soap Opera Weekly's point person for the show, I have quite a bit to say about it. Practically everyone is blogging these days (Would Rain Man blog? He'd love it!), so here I go. You can expect me to voice my thoughts on my favorite soap (GL, natch) and many other daytime and prime-time offerings.
I'm amazed at how people are rallying around GL, and while many are simply stating it should be saved, many others are noting how wonderful the show is now. Whether they're thrilled about Otalia's burgeoning romance or asking for Shayne to take back his son Henry, they agree with me that it's an amazing, highly entertaining era for GL.
Speaking of rallying, it was definitely on the early side, but I was glad to be part of the pleasant, memorable Save the Light rally in Manhattan on the morning of May 22. Outside CBS' EARLY SHOW studios, approximately 30 easygoing people gathered to tell New Yorkers (and anyone viewing the morning show who happened to see the participants' signs, which did show up during the broadcast) that GL should stick around in some form past its final CBS airdate, Sept. 18.
Fans met each other and discussed the show, including their wanting soap enthusiasts to know that GL has vastly improved since its production moved to Peapack, N.J., and not to judge the soap by February 2008's shaky-camera days. While one devout GL fan met a ONE LIFE TO LIVE viewer who just wanted to support soaps in general, other viewers learned from each other (One asked, "Blake is Roger Thorpe's daughter?"). As people in our efficiently barricaded section wondered which musician was visiting THE EARLY SHOW (it happened to be Kanye West), a larger question loomed: how to boost GL's Nielsen ratings, and make the show look more viable to other prospective networks.
Organizer Karen Oswald noted, "People are taking pictures of themselves and sending them to our Web site (savethelightrally.com). [The rallies don't] just have to be today, because we have a little time." She will gladly give assistance and advice to viewers interested in launching their own local events; just drop her a line at Karen@savethelightrally.com. Oswald suggested, "Even if you're having a barbecue, [with] friends over for a good time, Save the Light: That's your theme."
|Some rally participants gathered for this group shot.|
I'll turn over the rest of my initial post to a trio of devoted GL fans. Karen Hawkins, who has been watching the show for 37 years and drove eight hours from Virginia Beach, Va., recalled that her late grandmother, Lillie, routinely sat down her in front of the TV and watched GL with her. "Phillip and Beth [in New York City] probably got me hooked, and it [became] a part of me," Hawkins stated, adding the sentiment many attendees shared that morning: "This isn't [just] a show; it's family. This is the last living thing that I still share with [my grandmother]," whom she would call during school lunches for updates. A friend she had hooked on GL through the Olivia/Natalia story called her last month with the cancellation news, which many LIGHT-lovers agree arrived at an ironic time, as Hawkins notes: "GUIDING LIGHT is probably, writing-wise, at the best it's been in years. Nothing seems rushed, and everything seems authentic and real." The gradual, realistic building of Olivia and Natalia's relationship, which has focussed on the love between the two women without a need for regular kisses and "typical" love scenes, won over several attendees.
Margie LaSala, who had left Albany with Rhonda Carmen and Miriam Helfer at 2 a.m. and driven down to Manhattan, raved, "It's even got the best name in the world: GUIDING LIGHT. What more do you want?" LaSala noted that she has been watching the 72-year-old soap since its 15 minutes/black-and-white TV era (which lasted from 1952 to 1967, when it was first broadcast in color).
I also met H.B. Boyd — proud holder of the "You do not let a TV classic die!" sign, which was classic itself — whose late grandmother, Lucille, used to watch GL with him. Boyd said, "She raised me, [and that] was always what we watched. I can't imagine TV without it." He added, "We already went through the ANOTHER WORLD debacle; we can't do that again."
Hopefully, just like this rally brought encouragement to its participants and people across the nation who have learned about it, we'll receive another round of encouraging news about GL. Who knows? It could happen...any hour now.