"Guiding Light" wraps up its unprecedented 72-year run this September. The show aired its first episode on radio on January 25, 1937. In honor of its long run on the air, as well as its ties to "Days of Our Lives" co-creator Irna Phillips, here is a tribute to one of its earliest episodes, # 16, which was broadcast on the radio on February 15, 1937. Below are pictures of the cast featured in Episode # 16. Click here for Episode # 16 script

Irna Phillips, the creator of "Guiding Light"; Original castmembers Arthur Peterson (Dr. Ruthledge), Mercedes
McCambridge (Mary), Helen Behmiller and Henrietta Tedro (Ellen); Ed Prentiss (Ned); Bud Collyer (Announcer).

The Guiding Light's debut is mentioned in the Chicago Daily Tribune (1/25/37).

Memorial Tributes:

(Chicago Tribune, 12/30/73)

(Los Angeles Times, 9/9/69)

     Mercedes McCambridge , who won an Oscar for the 1949 film "All the King's Men" and later provided the raspy voice of the demon-possessed girl in "The Exorcist," died in the La Jolla area of San Diego on March 2. She was 87 and had lived in La Jolla since the 1980's. Ms. McCambridge died of natural causes, said Cathy Ruppert, the assistant to the trustee of the actress's estate.
     A strong, radio-trained voice made Ms. McCambridge an ideal portrayer of hard-driving women. She received the Academy Award as best supporting actress for her screen debut in "All the King's Men," in which she played a reporter who was the nemesis of a populist Southern governor, Willie Stark. Ms. McCambridge acquired a reputation as a strong-willed, outspoken woman on and off the screen. When she was hired to play the enemy of Joan Crawford in a 1954 Western, "Johnny Guitar," the two feuded on the set. In her memoir, Ms. McCambridge called Crawford "a mean, tipsy, powerful, rotten-egg lady."
     Because of her great vocal skills, Ms. McCambridge was hired to portray the Demon in William Friedkin's 1973 smash hit "The Exorcist." After weeks of what she called the hardest work she had done for a film, she was promised prominent mention in the credits. But when she attended the preview, her name was missing. As she left the theater in tears, Mr. Friedkin tried to explain that there had been no time to insert her credit. The Screen Actors Guild intervened and forced her inclusion.
     Despite the celebrity that followed her Academy Award for "All the King's Men," Ms. McCambridge 's film career did not flourish. Because she did not fit the glamour-girl image that was prevalent in postwar films, movie offers were sporadic. Among her later films were "Giant" (1956), for which she received her second Oscar nomination as best supporting actress; "A Farewell to Arms" (1957); "Touch of Evil" (1958), which starred her radio associate Orson Welles; "Suddenly Last Summer" (1959); "Cimarron" (1960); "99 Women" (1969); "Thieves" (1977); and "The Concorde -- Airport '79" (1979).
     In the early 1990's, Neil Simon called with an offer to play the grandmother in "Lost in Yonkers" on Broadway and on the road. It proved to be a triumph for her, and she performed the play 560 times. In her later years, Ms. McCambridge also appeared in "Magnum, P.I." and other television series, but her movie work was sparse. "I don't think the Hollywood community is interested in what I can do," she said in a 1981 interview. "That's all right. I've never looked for a job in my life, and I'm not going to start now. I have plenty to keep me busy."
     Charlotte Mercedes Agnes McCambridge was born on March 16, 1916, in Joliet, Ill., Ms. Ruppert said. She began giving her birth date, though, as St. Patrick's Day 1918. In explaining the discrepancy, Ms. Ruppert said, "She's an actress," adding: "She was a little bit Irish. And she decided she wanted to be two years younger." After graduation from Mundelein College in Chicago, she acted in Chicago radio, which then produced several network soap operas and nighttime shows. She married her first husband, William Fifield, at 23. They eventually wound up in Hollywood, where she resumed her career as a radio actress. Her vocal versatility brought her jobs on shows that ranged from "I Love a Mystery" to "Red Ryder." Ms. McCambridge returned to New York for the title role in a radio adaptation of the play "Abie's Irish Rose." She later found steady work in Welles's radio dramas; he called her "the world's greatest living radio actress."  (Associated Press, 3/18/04)

     Arthur Peterson, a veteran character actor who graced Southern California stages but is best remembered for "Soap," the prime-time television series spoofing soap operas, has died. He was 83. Peterson, who died Thursday in Pasadena of complications of Alzheimer's disease, played the major on the controversial show that ran from 1977 to 1981.
     He also was known for his off-Broadway, one-man show on Robert Frost, which he took on a national tour and performed locally at the Pasadena Playhouse's Interim Theater and the Commonwealth Theater. A Times theater critic in 1988 called the show "an evocative tribute to a great poet."
     A native of North Dakota, Peterson studied theater at the University of Minnesota and in New York theaters. He began his acting career in Chicago on a federal theater project during the Depression. In 1937, Peterson was cast as the leading character, Dr. John Rutledge, on the original radio soap opera, "The Guiding Light." He left the show in 1944 to serve in the Army during World War II.
     After the war, he returned to Chicago, where he and his wife of 59 years, actress Norma Ransom, were cast in ABC's first network television sitcom, "That's O-Toole." The show, sponsored by Delta Tool, included Peterson's use of power tools on live television. Peterson and Ransom founded Chicago's Actors Company, a professional theater and drama school. The couple moved to Los Angeles in 1959, where Peterson acted in such films as "The Children's Hour," "Fitzwilly" and "Yours, Mine and Ours." They helped found Actors Alley Repertory Theater, which still operates in North Hollywood.
     In addition to his wife, Peterson is survived by two children, Paul and Kirstin, three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. (Los Angeles Times, 11/6/96)

     Ed Prentiss was born on September 9, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Prentiss was part of television's infancy, hosting "Action Autographs" from 1949-1951. He went on to a long career as a character actor, appearing in many shows such as "Guiding Light", "Dragnet", "Cheyenne", "77 Sunset Strip", "Lassie", "Leave It to Beaver", "Perry Mason", "Bonzana", and "Green Acres", before retiring from acting in 1974. When "Days of Our Lives" premiered in November 1965, Prentiss was the first person to speak the line "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." He would continue by saying "Days of Our Lives, a new dramatic serial starring Macdonald Carey" until Carey himself took over speaking the famous line in March 1966. Prentiss would go on to play five different on-screen roles on "Days" from 1966-1971. He died of a stroke on March 18, 1992 in Los Angeles, California.

(Los Angeles Times, 7/29/48)