A new year begins and a new look for Guiding Light will soon be upon us. Many of you have no doubt heard of the sweeping changes in style planned for the show in the coming months. This year it will be made over, leaving the strict use of stage sets behind and allowing cameras to wander around and follow actors in real world settings. It’s also been hinted that we can also look forward to more rapid editing and hand-held camera work to give the show a more realistic and modern feel. Only time will tell what these promises of change really mean. Beyond that, we should start looking forward to a new beginning to the show.

When the opening sequence was revamped in 2007, viewers were given a montage of hands and voices joined together to recite the poem that had graced the show in its early radio days. This wasn’t the first time the show’s opening has been revamped though. Every couple of years the show tries a make over. Back in the 50’s, the show opened with an announcement from the sponsors and sunlight bursting through clouds, all set to the strings of Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto # 2 in D Minor. As the 50’s went on, the beams of light were replaced by the more concrete lighthouse and then a spotlight. The spotlight with the show title in Clarendon font was perhaps the longest lasting of opening sequences, spanning into the mid to late sixties and still embracing the show’s religious overtones.

When the show went to color in 1967, the opening had another change. It got a new organist and a new musical theme as well as a new cursive font for the title. More dramatically, there was no light on the screen but rather the face of one of the show’s stars, usually Ed Bauer, frozen in a dramatic expression. These changes were short lived. The lighthouse soon returned to prominence, now appearing in a simply filmed long shot. This would change color from blue at the beginning of the 70’s to orange towards the middle of the decade. The theme music changed again during this time. It became “La Lumière” by the show’s new organist Charles Paul. But as the decade plodded on, all of the soaps were undergoing a major revamping. This would involve significant redesigns and begin to force away the previously omnipresent organ music that served as the pulse for the show. Easy listening came to dominate daytime and GL was no exception. Turning away from the lighthouse, the opening credits now featured flowers bathed in light with the title in Helvetica and the wordless song “Ritournelle” in the background.