Soap Operas Provide Comfort During Peace and War

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by Donna Teresa, Staff Writer

Soap operas have been around since the early 1930s. A source of entertainment that started in radio, soap operas have become a television favorite.

I admit, I’ve been a fan of daytime television for many years. It was inevitable I would, after all my grandmother was an avid soap watcher, as was my mother.

My grandmother would do her household chores around her soap times just to make sure she could sit for awhile and enjoy them. She told me she started listening to the soaps on the radio, especially during World War II.     And for those of us who where caught up in the "Luke and Laura" frenzy of General Hospital in the 1980s, we couldn’t wait to get out of school and run home to see what happened to our favorite couple. I continue to be a fan of "General Hospital" to this very day.

You can imagine my disappointment when I heard that one of my favorite shows, "The Guiding Light" was going off the air in September. Feeling nostalgic, I’ve been reminiscing and thinking back to the days when I escaped to the fictional town of Springfield and began my loyal watching of my favorites, Quint and Nola, Beth and Phillip, Michelle and Danny, Cassie and Richard etc. Some call it a guilty pleasure, but I never felt guilty watching them.

"The Guiding Light," daytime’s longest running show has been on the air for more than 70 years and with more than 15,000 episodes to its credit, is sadly saying goodbye to television.

A show that started as a radio serial in 1937 has been providing entertainment to thousands of households for many years. America has grown up with the characters and shared in their triumphs and tragedies of love. The show has been canceled as an ever-growing product of change and to make room for the increasing invasion of reality television and other media.

Soap operas are certainly not everyone’s favorite thing to watch, but they have stood the test of time with us during the most difficult times in our nation’s history. It may be just dramatic fiction, but these serials have provided a welcome escape through tough times.

Television and radio programs may come and go as the years pass, but one of the few reminders of the past has been soap operas. It’s sad they are one-by-one slowly leaving us. When they leave, I feel as if a part of my life has left me as well.

Many soap opera stars have generously given of their time and money to help support the troops. Some have used their talents to create music CDs to raise funds for families of the fallen. They have made numerous troop visits all over the world and provided entertainment at military bases, visited with military families and have joined USO tours in between their hectic taping schedules.

Some of the soaps biggest fans are military men and women.

Many actors and actresses have used soap operas as a stepping stone into motion pictures, television and music — Meg Ryan, Kevin Bacon, Demi Moore, Laurence Fishburne, Kelly Ripa, Judith Light, Tommy Lee Jones, John Stamos, Ricky Martin, Rick Springfield, Marisa Tomei, Julianne Moore, Morgan Freeman, Ray Liotta, Josh Duhamel, Mischa Barton to name a few.

My fondest farewell to the cast of Guiding Light past and present. In a sometimes weary world, they have brought joy and a welcome escape to so many people all over the world.

I will miss the Lewis Family, the Bauers, the Reardons, the Spauldings, the Coopers and so on. Thank you for helping bring joy to our military families and troops here in America and those stationed all over the world. I appreciate you and will miss you. The lighthouse light goes out for now, but I have hope it will glow again one day.

Donna Teresa can be reached at [email protected]

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