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Longest Running Soap Opera Ever Inspired by Unitarian Minister

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Who Knew it?  The original character on “The Guiding Light,” the longest running television drama ever, was modeled on Chicago’s famous Unitarian Minister, the Rev. Preston Bradley (1888-1983).  The original radio series was developed and written by Irna Phillips (1901-1973), an enormously successful radio actress turned writer.  The radio show ran from 1937-1956, while the TV show aired from 1952-2009 (you can listen to an early episode of the radio show here).  Phillips based “Dr. Charles Mayhew, a minister who devotes his life to the needs of others,” on Bradley, whose radio sermons had comforted her after she gave birth to a still born child as a young woman.  You can listen to some of Rev. Bradley’s inspirational messages below: 

“An Inspirational Message in Troubled Times” (January 25, 1943)

“What is Christianity” (January 18, 1959)

“Thanksgiving Sermon” (November, 1960)

“The Religious Atheist” (April 12, 1964)

“Meeting Criticism” (October 24, 1965

“The Pastor in the Blizzard” (date unknown)