Guiding Light Radio Archive

armlessphelan Seth Skaggsfound and pointed out to me a website with an archive of MP3 recordings of Guiding Light radio episodes as part of the Internet Archive.

The OTR company that puts them up on this site also sells CD copies on their on site. I have no idea of the legality of this, but it is available.

(The Dr. Charles Matthews in the ad on the OTR page was a friend of Dr. Ruthledge’s and was sent the Friendship Lamp, the Guiding Light of the town when the soap moved its setting to California from Five Points after Ruthledge’s death. He doesn’t actually appear in these episodes and I think they are started to move away from the minister at the center of the town format, to Papa Bauer being the Guiding Light. However, Dr. Matthews was involved with getting Meta to give Chuckie up for adoption in the first place.)

I did get a copy of the CD and listened to it in my car. You’ll definitely want to listen to it on a player that remembers what track you are on and doesn’t start over each time. There are 100 tracks, but the last two are repeats of earlier episodes. You should also be aware that whatever was used as a storage medium before the digital conversion was not equally good. Some episodes are much clearer than others, however even episodes with the worst quality can sometimes jump back up to being fine in the middle of the episode so beware of hitting the next track button too soon. Also, the episodes are not all chronological. It’s more like they were rough sorted into boxes, so episodes will be near each other, but the episode where Meta is worrying about how Chuckie is doing on his camping trip with Ted might be before the episode before they actually left, but would appear before all the episodes of Bert and Bill getting their new house, so the story is all there, just slightly mixed up.

Before these episodes pick up, Meta Bauer had gone to New York to model. She had a long term affair with advertising agency executive Ted White and had gotten pregnant. She gave her baby son up for adoption and he was placed with Charlotte and Ray Brandon, a California attorney and his wife. Eventually Meta decided she wanted her son, now called Chuckie, back. She also told Ted about Chuckie’s existence, thinking they’d work together to get custody, but Ted filed separately to try to regain custody. A long custody fight kicked off which ended with Charlotte deciding Chuckie would be better off with Meta (bad call there) and voluntarily giving up custody. That let Ted out in the cold and he set out to convince Meta to marry him for the sake of their son. Despite the fact that she had a growing, mutual interest in her sister Trudy’s boyfriend Dr. Ross Boling, Meta married Ted, but theirs was not a happy home, even if it was a rich one high in the Hollywood Hills. Meta had taken Chuckie to England to visit with Ted’s father, who seemed nice at that point, but had really pulled some stunts that truly messed up Ted psychologically while he was growing up. Right before these episodes start Meta and Chuckie had returned and Meta had decided to try to make a go of it with Ted, despite their frequent disagreements over how to raise Chuckie. Meanwhile Meta’s brother Bill was having issues with his new wife Bert who resented having to live with his family and felt that Bill wasn’t ambitious enough. Sadly she tended to always have a scheme on how to make those House Beautiful images in her head come true that lead her and her marriage into serious trouble.

During these episodes action mostly focuses on Meta and Ted and Bill and Bert. Ted is obsessed with making Chuckie tough, like Ted had to become to survive. He does things like force the boy to say he is willing to take boxing lessons and go swimming and camping even though Chuckie hates it, he does want his father’s approval so he tries. Ted has plans for everyone. He seeks to get Bill’s help controlling Meta by giving him a job, slightly above what he could get on his own, but without a contract so he could be fired at any time and then bullies him, with some help from Bert, into buying a furnished house in Beverly Hills at an inflated price that Bill can’t afford and since he paid too much, even selling out won’t get him out from under the debt. Despite the fact that I truly think Ted cares for Meta as much as he is capable of caring for any woman, he seeks to prove Meta an unfit mother, thinking he could use that in divorce proceedings to get sole custody of Chuckie. Ted is so sure he has all the answers he won’t let Chuckie be treated by the child psychologist who Meta had arranged him to see, despite the doctors confirmation that Chuckie needs help to process all the turmoil that has surrounded him all his young life.

Eventually Ted and Meta start divorce proceedings, but nothing goes the way Ted planned. Meta beat Ted to the punch taking Chuckie out of the house and filing for divorce. Neither Ted’s traps for Bert or Bill will get either of them to testify that Meta was unfit. Ted fires Bill when he won’t help which starts a firestorm off across the Bauer family and leads to Bill and Bert having to sell their house for a loss and move back in with Papa Bauer and Trudy. The stress of Meta’s problems and his own insecurity at work had driven Bill to drink, mostly to a bar where he became enthralled with a singer named Gloria who will become his first affair. Meanwhile, Ted tries stunts that even his own lawyer thinks are underhanded, but none of them help beyond the point of getting some limited visitation with Chuckie. Ted picks up Chuckie for the first time and emotionally blackmails him into going in for a boxing lesson. During this lesson, Chuckie receives what will ultimately prove a fatal injury. The episodes continue through Chuckie’s hospital stay where his unconscious ramblings finally convince Ted that he had been wrong about how he handled the boy, although he doesn’t see himself as to blame for Chuckie’s injury. Ted even seems to feel that irregardless of what happens with Chuckie that he and Meta might still make a go of their marriage now he’d seen the light. However, Meta puts full blame on Ted and in a near crazed state after Chuckie dies, she shoots Ted. The episodes follow up her arrest and her preliminary hearing, including her wrongly trusting reporter Joe Roberts who prints their encounter as an interview in his paper putting Meta in bad light, but who will ultimately come over to Meta’s side and will prove to be Meta’s true love. The episodes stop right after the preliminary hearing, after the deaths of Chuckie and Ted, but before Bill actually sleeps with Gloria for the first time.

I was most shocked that Chuckie’s fatal accident isn’t “on screen” instead Ted convinced a reluctant Chuckie to go ahead with the lesson and then leaves to talk divorce strategy with his lawyer when he gets a phone call telling him to get to the hospital because of Chuckie’s accident. This is one of the most storied of all the plots on Guiding Light and to not show the audience the crucial scene seems strange to me, but that’s how it played out. I was also surprised that Meta really did seem temporarily insane when she shot Ted, from the dialogue I had read I assumed it was a lawyer’s (and writer’s) trick to justify getting her off, but she really does seem to not know what she’s doing around the fatal confrontation.

Enjoy listening to what was truly classic Guiding Light.

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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One Response to “Guiding Light Radio Archive”

  1. glmanny Says:

    Reblogged this on Glmanny's Blog and commented:

    Revisit this classic post and take a listen to “Guiding Light” radio episodes.

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