Monday, February 18, 2013

Guiding Light: 1937-2009...Part Nine

Uploaded in June of 2012 comes a You Tube clip of an episode of Guiding Light that originally aired on November 2, 1979. The clip, located below, starts off with a phone conversation between two of the greatest characters, Roger Thorpe and Alan Spaulding. Thorpe had been a character on the series since April 1971 while Spaulding and his family were part of a late '70s transitional period on the program where older characters and families that had been a focus since the '50s and '60s were slowly taking a backseat to newer families and characters. The German-immigrant Bauer family (Papa Frederich, Mama, Meta, Trudy, and Bill), originated on the series when it was broadcast on radio in 1948. Mama, however, died early on and so that left Frederich (who the children and friends alike called 'Papa') to move in with his son, Bill, and his wife, Bert. Trudy Bauer was written out by the early '50s. This left Papa, Meta, Bill, and Bert...those four characters became the focus all throughout the '50s and into the '60s with secondary characters and families providing additional story-lines. Meta, in fact, was the most popular Bauer family member from the late '40s through the mid '50s. Her misadventures and antics populated most of the earliest story-lines during that time period. On the show she went through many tragic plots and suffered through a series of ill-fated marriages before settling with a character named Bruce Banning, a doctor. This is who the character was married to when they left town in the early '70s. Meta, as mentioned, would remain on the series through the early '70s but by that time she had become a symbolic character rather than one that was featured in the on-going storyline. Bill and Bert Bauer's marriage and the fact that his father lived with them became the focal point in the mid '50s through the '60s.

Those families, specifically the Fletcher and Grant families, began to fade by the late '60s to where there were only a couple of characters left. When the focus of the series in the late '60s shifted from Bert and Bill Bauer to their two adult sons, lawyer Mike and doctor Ed, younger characters began to pop up and become part of the series. The two that spring to mind are Roger Thorpe and Holly Norris. The Norris family debuted in 1970 (Stanley, Barbara, Ken, Holly, and Andy) while Roger Thorpe and his father, Adam, arrived in 1971. Since the Bauer family had long been enormously popular and beloved by fans it was only natural for the Norris family and the Thorpe's to become enmeshed with the Bauer's.

The first bit of conflict between the Bauer and Norris families centered around Janet Mason, a woman that Ed Bauer had once had an affair with. Janet would marry newcomer Ken Norris but his insecurities and jealousies of Ed and any possible affection Janet may have for Ed made their marriage eventful. Adam Thorpe, in the meantime, worked for Stanley Norris' company. It's Stanley whose responsible for Holly and Roger meeting for the first time. Stanley, however, is later murdered...widow Barbara eventually falls for Adam Thorpe. Later in the series, Ken Norris attempts to murder Ed but shoots Ed in the hand, jeopardizing Ed's career as a surgeon. Ken, Janet, and their daughter eventually leave town and relocate to California. Holly, who has some sort of attraction to Roger, pines for him but he's involved with one of the last remaining Fletcher family members, Peggy. The two get married but it's short-lived. His affair with Holly leads to the marriage ending. Roger and Holly aren't free to marry though as she, in the meantime, married Ed Bauer during an intoxicated night in Las Vegas. She becomes pregnant, as a result of her brief affair with Roger, but she lies and convinces Ed that he's the baby's father. The baby is named Christina Bauer.

Adam and Barbara by this time have married. The Spaulding family arrive in town. Alan brings with him his wife, Elizabeth, and a son, Phillip. He also brings with him Spaulding Enterprises, the family business. Mike Bauer gets a job there as the company lawyer. Roger Thorpe as well as his father, Adam, are hired at the new company. Mike falls for Elizabeth. Adam doesn't last too long at the company but Roger becomes obsessed with being a success.

Throughout the rest of the '70s (1977-1979) and into 1980 the story-line of Roger/Holly/Ed/Rita/Alan would be as complex and fascinating as one could imagine. An additional story-line of Alan/Elizabeth/Mike plus an Alan/Elizabeth/Jackie/Justin story successfully managed to cause the Alan Spaulding character to become one of the most popular in daytime television. A lot of that, also, had to do with the character's actor, Chris Bernau. Roger was portrayed by Michael Zaslow. He and Bernau originated the roles of Roger and Alan and it was in the late '70s time period where the two characters formed a short-lived alliance...neither trusted the other...and each was always attempting to outwit the other in anything they did.

So, this brings us to the clip. Aired originally in November 1979 it shows the interplay between the two characters and how those two characters played a part in the lives of Ed Bauer and his wife, Rita. By this time both Ed and Roger are aware of the true origins of Christina...even though Ed continues to act as the kid's father. This created tension for Rita, who felt that Ed's raising of Holly's daughter meant that he must have some lingering feelings for Holly. She ended up having an affair with Alan which continued after her divorce from Ed and Alan's future marriage to Hope (Mike Bauer's daughter). Roger, in the meantime, had married Holly (at last!) but he was extremely jealous over Ed's involvement in Christina's life and in what he saw as Holly's friendly attitude with Ed and the rest of the Bauer's. In his mind, the Bauer's were mortal enemies and it sickened him that his daughter was being raised by Ed. It became an obsession of his to reveal to his daughter that he was her biological father. Holly had raised Christina into thinking that Roger was just a 'family friend'. Keep in mind that Christina was written to be around 6 or 7 years old.

Roger eventually raped Holly. He had raped Rita in a previous story-line. Rita kept her rape a secret but Holly took Roger to court. This brought Ross Marler to town to defend Roger. The trial and it's aftermath, including Rita's admission of being raped by Roger, set off a chain reaction of events...leading Roger to flee the country and become a fugitive and it's during his run from the law that this clip originated. Alan was being blackmailed into funding Roger's escape.

I think I've probably confused many readers with that long introduction but I feel it necessary when setting up the history of the two characters.

Enjoy the show...

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