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‘Guiding Light’ Goes Dark

The "guiding light" that gave the longest-running soap opera its name was quietly extinguished Tuesday at Peapack Reformed Church in Peapack-Gladstone in New Jersey.

Cast members and crew of "The Guiding Light" were also on location at Dominick's Pizza and other sites in the borough to wrap up the last day of shooting for daytime television's longest-running soap opera.

"Guiding Light'''s producers believe they have exhausted every possibility for seeking another station to pick up the program, canceled by CBS in April, said Jeannie Tharrington, the show's publicity director. "Guiding Light" will air its last episode on Sept. 18, showcasing sites around the borough that have become familiar to daytime viewers since shooting began here in 2007.

"It's sad," said Susan Wisher of Frenchtown, N.J., who huddled with about two dozen other fans near Dominick's, where filming was under way around noon.

"We've been coming for about a month, watching them film, and showing them support and all our love," Wisher said.

A little earlier, cast members, crew and a few local parishioners attended a brief service at the church to remember the show.

"Guiding Light" star Robert Newman noted that as the fictional Joshua Lewis, he had preached from the other side of the pulpit in past episodes.

"It's just been great," Newman said of filming in the borough. "People have been very gracious. I never had anyone give me anything other than smiles and friendly waves."

The Peapack church's Rev. Kathryn Henry told the gathered crew that it had been a pleasure to have "Guiding Light" filmed at the historic church, a key location for both weddings and funerals in the show's home base of a fictional town called Springfield.

Henry recalled a bit of the show's long history, which began on radio in 1937, when she noted the "guiding light" referred to a lamp put in a church window by the fictional Rev. Rutledge to welcome parishioners seeking guidance.

"Now, unbelievably, the Guiding Light will be extinguished," Henry said.

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