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Soap Opera

Irna Phillips

Irna Phillips created soap operas for radio and television that were followed by massive audiences, including Guiding Light, and introduced plotlines that shaped the format of many soaps that followed.

Irna Phillips: the woman behind TV's longest running soap opera

Creating a wildly popular soap opera full of sensational family drama might be the last thing we’d expect of a nice Jewish woman in 1950’s America, but Irna Phillips proved us wrong! Fifty-eight years ago today, her soap opera Guiding Light first went on the air. The show had already been a successful radio drama since 1937, and it would run until 2009, making it the longest running TV drama in history.

Irna Phillips

Millions of people helped popularize the radio and television soap operas created by scriptwriter Irna Phillips. In contrast with other radio soap operas, which typically endorsed traditional visions of domesticity and femininity, Phillips’s serials frequently conveyed the complexities of modern women’s choices.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Soap Opera." (Viewed on August 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/soap-opera>.

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