When did the Bauer BBQ begin?

A question came up earlier this year of just when the Bauer BBQ began. The earliest one that I can find online is 1984.

Bauer BBQ 1984 https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2011/07/03/bauer-bbq-1984

In this episode they talk about the Bauer BBQ as an event more than a tradition, so I had thought it was the first. However, We Love Soaps’s
http://www.welovesoaps.net┬áRoger Newcomb and I talked it over and based on a fan’s tip, he was able to find that there had also been a Bauer BBQ in 1983. A clip of Ed at the 1983 Bauer BBQ is in the opening credits from that time. So I thought we’d pretty much nailed it down that the Bauer BBQ could be traced to at least 1983 and that was probably the first one.

Then, I talked to my mom, who of course had watched since she was a child, and she told me I was wrong. She told me that Papa Bauer (whose funeral from 1973 is on the Bauer Family DVD set from Soap Classics) always made a point about celebrating the Fourth of July. She said he always put up the flag (which was the traditional start of the actual Bauer BBQ episode – although the writers didn’t always remember to put it in) and usually did the Pledge of Allegiance and the family would have some kind of picnic. The Fourth of July was always an important holiday for the Bauer Family. So she thinks the actual Bauer BBQ traces its roots to these early celebrations in the 1950s and 1960s that she remembered. She does say that the Bauer BBQ being a big party everybody in town attended dated from the 1980s.

Without being able to see any of those early episodes (only rare episodes are known to be preserved from pre-1979) we may not ever really know exactly when the Bauer BBQ began. I think we’d have to watch the June-July episodes that we do have from 1979 on to be sure of when the party everyone comes to started and maybe the first time the phrase Bauer BBQ is used. However, I think that it is fair to say that big party started in the early 1980s, possibly 1983, but the spirit of celebrating the Fourth of July and it being an important annual tradition for the family (maybe even already using the word Bauer BBQ, maybe not) dates back at least into the 1960s and possibly beyond that.

So I hope that this year, you will do as many other fans do and host your own Bauer BBQ to keep this decades old event going.

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2 Responses to “When did the Bauer BBQ begin?”

  1. Peter Bradfield Says:

    From what I remember in watching “Guiding Light”, consistently, from fall 1976 to summer 1982 when I was in high school and later college during the Dobsons and Doug Marland as head writers I don’t recall an actual event that would be the Bauer BBQ being presented to the audience. I do recall that the story lines would sometimes slow down around July 4th during that period of time from 1977 to 1982 but no actual Bauer BBQ being presented during the holiday. (I actually remember better when I was home during the summer that ATWT had more of an event for July 4th then did GL. Although I find it difficult to believe that something wasn’t done for July 4th on GL, even if not in as grand a way as the Bauer BBQ since GL did make sure during that time period to celebrate other family oriented holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and even Easter and even made big deals out of Halloween.) I’m going to see if I can get some of the microfilms of TGL and GL scripts from 1958 to 1979 that are at the Wisconsin Historical Society through inter-library loan to see if the Bauer BBQ shows up in that time frame (there are others things I’m going to be wanting to find out as well including how the show transitioned from Selby Flats to Springfield in the mid-1960’s and more of the story from the late-1960’s to early-1970’s) but expect that this will be a slow process to look through those microfilms or even get them via inter-library loan process and might take a couple of years.

    • glmanny Says:

      My mom was remembering Papa Bauer and he was gone by 1976. I think they did pick it up as a more formal thing for the first time in probably 1983. I don’t know that they called it the Bauer BBQ in the Papa Bauer era. I think it was much more informal.

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