Monday, November 13, 2006


IF I ONLY HAD A HEART...

It's a perennial question: Does Guiding Light's Alan Spaulding have a heart or not?

Personally, I've always believed that he genuinely loves his son, Phillip. (His other kids... eh, whatever). Granted, his method for expressing that love leaves much to be desired, but the feeling is there. (And, in a genre where "You love so-and-so more because he's your real son, not like me," is the popular refrain, I've always gotten a kick out of the twist that it's his non-biological child that Alan favors over his many biological off-spring).

But what about the women in his life? How does Alan really feel about them?

When it comes to wives, he was vaguely sympathetic to Elizabeth, amused by Jackie, Reva was in a coma when they wed so who knows what was going on there, Olivia was probably the only woman he'd ever met more bloodthirsty than he was and Beth... there's a reverse Oedipal thing going on here that I really don't want to touch.

Plus there were the meaningless dalliances with Jennifer (who was also apparently doing his dad), Diane (who ended up dead), Rita (who'd sleep with anyone), Vanessa (who must have been temporarily insane), Regina/Lucia (who enjoyed their affair so much she became a nun), India and Blake (two other Phillip cast-offs but, at least in that case, both women were way too mature for the son and more logically paired with the father), Annie and Claire (runners-up to Olivia in the cold-blooded category) and Tangie (whom he did find sort of interesting, if only because she seemed to be named after a citrus fruit).

That leaves Hope, Alan-Michael's mother and the only woman, IMHO, that the great Alan Spaulding ever truly loved.

They met in 1979, when he was already a wheeler-dealer tycoon with a criminal rap sheet everyone knew about but no one could prove, and she was the daughter of Springfield stalwart Mike Bauer, fresh from design school, young, beautiful and innocent.

Hope and Alan traded barbs when she was hired to design a villa he'd purchased in St. Lucia for then-wife, Jackie. They were flying back home from the tropics when their plane went down, the pilot killed, and Alan and Hope left to wash up on an uninhabited island.

Alan became ill, Hope nursed him and, as these things are wont to happen, the couple fell in love. Hope brought out the best in Alan. Which surprised even him.

Alan and Hope married in 1980 (see photo above with Christopher Bernau as Alan and Elvera Roussel as Hope), much to the disgust of her father, who was certain that Alan was involved in helping the devious Roger Thorpe fake his death and escape justice (Mike was right but, as is often the case with Alan, couldn't prove it). Hope sided with Alan over Mike and broke off contact with her father.

In 1981, Alan proved his love for Hope by actually choosing her over his precious Phillip and agreeing to let his birth parents, Jackie and Justin, have custody of the boy after Hope threatened to leave him if he didn't.

Afterwards, however, Alan fell into bed with social climber Rita (guess he resented Hope a bit more than he initially thought; a valuable lesson here for all future Spaulding wives -- you can do whatever you like to Alan, but don't mess with Phillip). And though the birth of little Alan-Michael did temporarily reconcile Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding, life with Alan soon drove Hope to drink -- literally. For her own sanity and the future of her son, Hope divorced Alan in 1983 and moved to New York.

But, thanks to Hope, we do know that Alan Spaulding was capable of falling in love once.

Could he do it again? Tune in to GL every weekday on CBS and find out!

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Hi..

I was wondering if P&G might be able to put classic shows of Guiding Light on the AOL web site in time for the shows 70th anniversary. I hope P*G and CBS try there best not to let this milestone go by without some special event. Just a suggestion to you from a LONG time fan of your show.