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The Radio Soaps (Info & Articles)
Topic Started: Apr 4 2011, 02:48 PM (853 Views)
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Thought I would jot down a list and some tidbits of info on some of the radio soaps from the Golden Age of radio since they're a direct ancestor of the TV soaps we've watched pretty regularly since about 1950. All information is compiled from a variety of different sources (I tend to pick up a piece of info here and a piece there and mix it all together).


premiered: January 25, 1937
ended: June 29, 1956

known time slots/networks:
NBC-Red (1/25/37-12/26/41; sponsored by P&G)
NBC-Red (3/13/41-12/29/46; sponsored by General Mills)
1:45pm - 2:00pm; CBS (6/2/47-6/29/56; sponsored by P&G)

1937-38 - 6.9/#9
1938-39 - ---------
1939-40 - 8.2/#12
1940-41 - 7.4/#13
1941-42 - ----------
1942-43 - 6.2/#15
1943-44 - ----------
1944-45 - 5.4/#18
1945-46 - 5.7/#14
1946-47 - ----------
1947-48 - 5.7/#17
1948-49 - 7.1/#8
1949-50 - 8.7/#11
1950-51 - 8.3/#4
1951-52 - 7.0/#5
1952-53 - 6.1/#7
1953-54 - 6.8/#2
1954-55 - 5.5/#1
1955-56 - 4.7/#1


Rev. Dr. John Ruthledge
widowed minister of the Little Church of Five Points (a.k.a. the Church of the Good Samaritan)
More to be added later as I do research on TGL as part of "The General Mills Hour" in the 1940s.
played by: Arthur Peterson (1937-1946)
note: from 1944-46, both Peterson & Ruthledge were away & in the military during WW2. Peterson's letters home were adapted (with permission) and used on -air as letters home from Rutledge

Mary Ruthledge
Rev. Ruthledge's daughter who's in love with her foster brother Ned, who she married in 1941
played by: Mercedes McCambridge (1937-1939); Sarajane Wells (1939-1944); Vivian Fridell (1942)
note: Ms. Wells obituary states that she played Mary from 1938-1946.
Edited by Matt, Apr 5 2011, 01:23 PM.
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Don't mind me. I'm just rambling with info research here....

from "The Billboard" magazine; issue dated June 1, 1946


CHICAGO, May 25. - Long-standing legal fight between Emmons Carlson, NBC Midwest division promotion manager and Irna Phillips, soap opera scripter, over possession of The Guiding Light took a new slant this week when Carl Wester, who produces the show, claimed complete ownership and said he would file a motion to that effect Monday (27). Four General Mills soapers (NBC, 1 to 2 p.m. CDST), of which Guiding Light is one, are Wester packages.

Wester told The Billboard that the present injunction issued by circuit court here, preventing either Phillips or Carlson from moving the show until final disposition of the matter is obtained, does not apply to him and since he had complete rights he would move the show to the West Coast as originally planned.

"I own the rights to The Guiding Light," West declared, "and I have a definite contract to prove it. Furthermore, I sold the show to General Mills."

Wester fears the present litigation will "kill" the 15-minute tear jerker in the eyes of the sponsors, since it's known General Mills is getting uneasy about unfavorable fack attending the lawsuit.

Wester is moving Masquerade, one of the four soaps in the General Mills Hour to the coast June 3 and is planning to follow with The Guiding Light, Today's Children, and Woman in White in November.

A different side of the picture was presented by attorneys for Carlson, who claim half hte profits on Light since January, 1937. Light is now drawing $3,000 per week for Phillips. They indicated Carlson would be willing to dissolve partnership which was established by a recent court order for Carlson's share, plus half the proceeds of the sale if General Mills decides to take up its $50,000 optionon buying the show. If General Mills doesn't buy Light, then Carlson will ask for half of proceeds until 1949, the length of the present contract with the food company. Carlson claims he was a partner with Phillips to get Light on the air when it first was aired in 1941.

Friday (2) five new developments unfolded in circuit court concerning the case: (1) Phillips's motion to modify court decree by striking an injunction order (restraining movement of show), denied. (2) Phillips assessed $1,800 master chancery court fee costs. (3) A motion made a week ago Thursday (16) by Phillips for appointment of receiver withdrawn when the court indicated it would deny the motion. (4) Motion made the same day (16), by Phillips to file a counter-claim, withdrawn. (5) Motion for another counter-claim requesting winding up of partnership and sale of hte show allowed, with Carlson's attorneys not objecting.

Wester will make his motion to file an intervening petition, claiming he owns the show and is entitled to part of the profits. Deal between Wester and Phillips was consummated January 1, 1938.
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from "The Billboard", issue dated April 12, 1947...


NEW YORK, April 5. - Procter & Gamble, leading radio sponsor with 21 shows currently airing, will add its 22d in June and still another this fall. Irna Phillips' Guiding Light will be revived by P&G in June over Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). Compton is the agency.

Fall serial show, as yet unselected, will be used to plug a new P&G producer, Tide, a heavy duty laundry soap. Company's laboratories currently are putting the product thru final tests before placing it on the market.

Return of Guiding Light is interpreted in some quarters as a move to pacify cricism of daytime radio. Series, with a religious theme, was one of a few soap operas credited with having a social awareness.


NEW YORK, April 5. - Procter & Gamble is bringing Irna Phillips' The Guiding Light back to radio. The show will start in June over Columbia Broadcasting System. Compton is the agency.

Return of Guiding Light is interpreted in some quarters as a move to pacify critics of daytime radio. The series, with a religious theme, was one of the few soap shows credited with having a social awareness.
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from "The Billboard", issue dated October 26, 1946...


CHICAGO, Oct. 19. - Latest round in the fight between Irna Phillips and Emmons Carlson over The Guiding Light was won in Circuit Court this week by Carlson's attorney, Earle Schiek, in getting a receivership appointed for the soap opera. Receiver is George A. Lane, who will impound all future profits, but probably as a result of the controversy, General Mills has announced intention of canceling the show around December 1.

Soaper, which was held in Chi by court order despite recent removal to Hollywood of the other three tearjerkers in the General Mills-NBC hour, is expected to show about $1,000,000 profit since its beginning in 1937. Carlson claims half of this as a partner, but is willing to settle. Court ruled he is a partner, but as a counter-move Miss Phillips filed assets to show she isn't worth more than $75,000 at the present time.

Sponsor, as predicted earlier in The Billboard, got tired of the litigation and the resultant publicity and has decided to call the whole thing off as far as it's concerned.
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"The Billboard", issue July 23, 1949...


NEW YORK, July 16. - Charles Urquehardt this week was inked to return to the Compton Agency as director for the Guiding Light. The program, penned by Irna Phillips, moves to New York from Hollywood, starting August 8.

Urquehardt, a radio veteran, directed numerous shows for Compton in the past.
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"The Billboard", issue August 10, 1946...


CHICAGO, Aug. 3 - In a move surprising to local Mutual execs, at least, another Hollywood-bound, Chi-oriented show cropping up this week. Those Websters, sponsored by General Mills, will move in the early fall, according to the agency, Ruthrauff & Ryan.

This clarifies the position of Joe Ainley, producer of the show, who was slated to leave with Carl Wester, producer of the NBC-General Mills hour (The Billboard, August 3). Ainley will continue with Websters, altho his role as producer of The Guiding Light is indefinite, since Light is forced to remain in Chi because of long-standing legal trouble.
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"The Billboard", issue March 7, 1942...


CHICAGO, Feb. 28. - General Mills is bringing back Irna Phillips's The Guiding Light March 17 as a segment of its Gold Medal Hour, originating on WMAQ (NBC) here. Show, off since last Christmas, ahs been set by the Knox Reeves Advertising Agency for 1:15 p.m. Mondays thru Fridays.

The same cast will be used in the top roles, among them Arthur Peterson, Gladys Heen, Marvin Mueller, Reese Taylor, Eloise Kummer, Beverly Ruby, Ruth Bailey, Mignon Schrieber, Seymour Young, Sarajane Young, Sarajane Wells, and Ed Prentiss. Guilbert Gibbons will direct.
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