Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 24, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Infatuation fades, Guiding Light soap turns 50
relationship with Internet matures
BY GREG BONNELL
— She uses it just He’s on it all the
for e-mail, time.
When Leslie Fleischer’s
boyfriend dumped his dial-up Internet connection for high-speed access it opened up a whole new cyber world. Increased speed meant faster downloads of bigger files, ranging from movies to missed TV shows to music.
Fleischer, 25, says her boyfriend spends at least three hours a night online. But is he happier now that he’s gone broadband?
“Well he spends a lot of time on it, so it seems to work well.”
A recent study from NFO CFgroup suggests that Fleischer is far from alone in her preferred use of the Internet. Sending and receiving e-mail was the most popular online activity in Canada in April, with 97 per cent of Internet users doing just that.
Downloading music came in at 40 per cent, and videos at 20 per cent.
And almost half of all Canadian household Internet connections (46 per cent) are high speed ones.
So is there any truth to the persistent rumour of the Internet’s demise?
A recent Statistics Canada study found that 232,000 households that had used the Internet regularly stopped doing so in 2000. Thirty per cent of ‘dropout’ households said they simply had no need for the technology.
But study co-author Susan Crompton says those statistics need to be understood within a larger context.
The dropout rate is holding steady, but the number of Canadians going online is on the rise. There were more than six million households online in 2000, up from 4.8 million in 1999, according to Statistics Canada.
“If you add the numbers, it’s about four per cent that had stopped using the Internet regularly,” said Crompton.
The two years that followed brought more Canadians into cyberspace, according to Comscore Media Metrix. Tracking the cyber movements of a 6,000-member panel for a 23-month period, the Internet audience measuring service found that people were spending more time online and digging deeper into their Web destinations instead of just ‘skimming past.’
Comscore says there are now 15.5 million individual Canadians with a home Internet connection. That’s up 30 per cent from May 2000.
And as Canada’s ‘digital media universe’ continues to grow, the
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More on Canada’s Net use:
behaviour of its citizens continues to evolve.
“There is definitely a shift in the way Canadians view the Web,” says Colin Siren of ComQuest Research.
Using e-mail, search engines, visiting specific sites of interest, and conducting research are now the core online activities, for both dialup and high-speed users.
Surfing, or browsing the Internet, is on the decline.
“People are less likely to be cruising around looking for stuff that’s new, and more likely to drop into habitual behaviour, visit sites they already know about,” said Siren. “They’re turning to the Internet for specific purposes.”
Like Jonathan Davis, 30. When he first logged on over five years ago, he was spendmg long hours in chat rooms, seeking out Web addresses mentioned in newspaper articles or on TV, or just exploring.
“Now I use it less, but I get the same amount of information because I can speed up the process,” Davis said. “I’m not window shopping anymore.”
He recently booked a summer vacation online and has ordered auto parts m the past. A computer with an Internet connection has gone from being a novelty to a household appliance of sorts for Davis.
“It’s a fixture now."
Canada’s future seems to be a well-wired one, but even the most generous projections (23.7 million Internet users by 2004) suggest millions of Canadians are content to remain offline. The average age of the non-user, according to the Statistics Canada study is 54, a generation ahead of those using the net.
“They’re less likely to be technologically up to date,” said Crompton. That includes rejecting cellphones, pagers, and in some cases, automatic bank tellers.
But for the generation that has embraced the new, the relationship with the Internet seems to be maturing, going from fascination to utility.
And it’s that generation that will define Canada’s digital media landscape.
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By Frazier Moore
NEW YORK — In the rehearsal room at Guiding Light, several actors are practising a musical number.
To be aired July 4, it’s a fantasy sequence visualized by ailing Rick Bauer, who will jump to his feet from his wheelchair (lie desperately awaits a heart transplant) and do a little hoofing, accompanied by pompom girls, to the tune of The Yankee Doodle Boy.
“Remember, girls — it’s my fantasy!” chuckles actor Michael O’Leary (Bauer), teasing his castmates, who are in street clothes (and some in hair rollers) as they cram this practice session into a day already crowded with blocking and taping the July 3 episode.
It’s just another workday at Guiding Light (check local listings for airtime), as another episode joins an unbroken strand reaching back 65 years to its radio premiere in January 1937. That’s 16,400 episodes ago.
The longest-running drama in broadcasting history, the CBS soap came to television on June 30, 1952 — which means it will mark its golden anniversary.
“It’s monumental,” says Jerry verDom, who has played attorney Ross Marler since 1979. “This isn’t going to happen agam: Nothing in radio or TV is going to start today and go another 50 years.”
The Guiding Light (its title had a “the” then) was created by Ima Phillips, mother of the soap-opera genre, just seven years after her Painted Dreams, the world’s first.
Its original premise: A kindhearted priest furnished guidance to his flock in a tiny Chicago suburb. By the time the series came to TV, it focused on the Bauers, a first-generation German-American family whose kindly patriarch, Papa Bauer, was himself a guiding light to those around him.
On a live, 15-minute telecast a couple of weeks into its run, Papa Bauer and his son Bill play chess as he volunteers advice on chess strategy — and, by the by, on Bill’s troubled marriage.
“Figuring something out — that ain’t
Jerry verDom, as Ross Marler, comforts Elizabeth Keifer, who portrays Marler’s wife Blake, in a 1998 episode of the CBS daytime soap Guiding Light. The show, broadcasting’s longest running drama, began on television June 30,1952, and on radio 15 years earlier.
enough,” counsels Papa Bauer in his Old World accent. “It’s figunng the RIGHT way that’s the important thing.”
The electric organ throbs. Leisurely fadeout. Then a commercial for Ivory soap. (Procter & Gamble, the company that put the “soap” in “soap opera,” still produces Guiding Light as well as the 46-year-old As The World Turns.)
What goes on in Studio A?
“There’s smiles and laughter, we poke fun at the matenal, then get serious,” says verDom, summing up the daily grind. “Then we go home.”
There’s plenty to poke fun at, as any soap star is first to point out. Like any daytime drama (and currently there are IO), Guiding Light is rife with tragedy, double-dealing, love and betrayal, not to mention amazing personality shifts (no matter how evil, anyone is redeemable when it serves the storyline).
An open-ended story told in real time — that’s what sets apart a daytime soap from any other drama. And after decades of evolving narrative and a steadily replenished community of characters, a
soap like Guiding Light has become what it always pretended to he: an alternate version of life, experienced by the actors and the audience in tandem with their own.
“I’ve met as many as four generations of Guiding Light fans,” says Kim Zimmer, who has played oft-wed Reva Shayne since 1983. “I’ve gotten mail saying ‘My mother loved your show and she’s passed now, but I have such fond memories of watching it together.’”
This isn’t the best of times for the soap genre (which has lost audience in recent years) or for Guiding Light (which ranks eighth in the ratings among the IO contenders).
But Guiding Light shines on, and even insiders like Zimmer can’t put their finger on exactly why. Most theories rely on circular reasoning: The show endures because of its fans ... whose support can be explained by its rich, growing legacy.
Just what is the essence of Guiding Light? Besides a few enduring surnames, what is the DNA, or even soul, that ties it to its past? Can anybody say?
Tune in tomorrow for the answer.
Adam Sandler glad brother gave him push to comedy
NEW YORK — Adam Sandler says on-screen romances are hard on real-life relationships, but his fiance Jacqueline Titone was fine when she saw him smooch Emily Watson in Punch Drunk Love.
“It was the first time I’ve kissed a girl in a movie where I was sitting next to my girlfriend and she actually wasn’t mad at me,” Sandler told the New York Post.
Sandler’s co-stars have included Drew Barrymore, Joey Lauren Adams and Bndgette Wilson-Sampras. Winona Ryder appears in his film Mr. Deeds, which opens Friday.
He makes $20 million a picture and his comedy albums sell millions, based on a persona Sandler considers part “Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, with a touch of Three Stooges.”
Sandler, 35, says it was his older brother Scott who gave him the courage to try comedy.
“If he hadn’t said to do it, I wouldn’t have thought it was the thing to do,” Sandler said. “My brothers and sisters were all dentists and lawyers. I was like the geek of the family.”
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Nexen Chemicals invites you to attend their Expansion Ceremony & Open House on Thursday. June 27, 2002
Official ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.rn featuring the Honourable Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, Mayor Reg Atkinson and Manitoba Hydro President, Bob Brennan. Following the ceremonies will be a free beef on a bun lunch. Tours of the facility will be available until 3:30 p.m.
We are 4 miles east of 17th Street East on Richmond Avenue. Please wear flat shoes (no high heels or open toes) for the tour. Unfortunately, we cannot include children under the age of 12.
For more information, call 728-3777 Extension 0.
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