Guiding Light: From The Beginning - The 1960s.Monday, September 14 2009
With Agnes Nixon at the helm for the first half of the decade, Guiding Light in the 1960s became more explicitly socially conscious, allowing even more room for topical issues while integrated advertisements became less explicit. The second half of the decade saw former actors from the show taking over as writers and the brief return of Irna Phillips. Over the course of the decade, the show would leap from 15 minutes to a full half hour (in 1968) and went from black and white to color in 1967. Major plots continued to focus on the ever expanding Bauer clan as well as the Fletcher, the Benedict, the Grant and the Norris families. There were some also some other major changes. Without much explanation, the series suddenly stopped taking place in Selby Flats, just outside of Los Angeles California and was dropped into Springfield, vaguely located somewhere in the Midwest.
Bert (Charita Bauer) and Papa Bauer (Theo Goetz) ended their run as dominant characters on the series by the end of the decade, signaling some of the major shifts in focus which the following decade would bring. Attention moved to the next generation of characters, to the younger Bauers and the newcomers to the series. The show saw its first major African-American characters as well, helping to launch future stars like Cicely Tyson, James Earl Jones and Ruby Dee. Stories at the time attracted controversy with their focus on alcoholism, suicide, unwanted pregnancies, uterine cancer, numerous people returning from their apparent deaths, embezzlement, mental illness, divorces and many affairs.