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GUIDING LIGHT - Phillip Spaulding & His Two Fathers (1983)

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Published on Aug 17, 2012

This is a clip from the August 29, 1983 broadcast of the CBS Daytime drama "Guiding Light". This is the climax to a storyline that has been built up for nearly six years that started with the writing regime of Bridget & Jerome Dobson in 1977, continued through the 1980-83 writing regime of Douglas Marland, and finally executed through the regime of then-current headwriter Pam Long.

The town of Springfield is gathered at the country club to celebrate the 18th birthday of new-in-town oil heiress Mindy Lewis (Krista Tesreau). Outside in the stables, Phillip Spaulding (Grant Aleksander), Mindy's reluctant boyfriend, is confronted by Bradley Raines (James Rebhorn), the stepfather of the girl that Phillip is really in love with, Beth Raines (Judi Evans). An argument ensues, and then Bradley shocks Phillip with news that would change his life forever: Phillip is not a real Spaulding!

Disgusted, confused, and hurt, an enraged Phillip confronts his father Alan Spaulding (Christopher Bernau) and his uncle Justin Marler (Tom O'Rourke) over the allegations. Justin sadly confesses that what he heard was indeed true: Alan Spaulding is not Phillip's biological father. Justin is.

As Phillip angrily absorbs the news of his parentage, Justin recounts that he never knew the truth of Phillip's origins until two years earlier. Alan tries to coerce Phillip into telling who revealed the news to him. Both Justin and Phillip tell Alan that's it's not important. Justin goes on to say that a few people in Springfield knew the truth: Justin himself, Alan, Ed & Maureen Bauer, Ross Marler, and Phillip's mother (and Alan's first wife) Elizabeth.

Phillip is then hit with another bombshell. Elizabeth was not his biological mother, either. Justin's recently deceased wife, Phillip's "Aunt" Jackie was! Devastated, Phillip now realizes why Jackie would always try to get so close to him when he was a boy. He's even more upset that he never got a chance to say goodbye to her. angry that his whole life has been a lie, Phillip denounces both Alan and Justin and storms out of the country club.

This is one of the most memorable and powerful scenes ever in the 72-year history of "Guiding Light", with a tour-de-force performance by Grant Aleksander as the devastated and righteously enraged Phillip Spaulding.

This, to me and many other GL viewers, is the defining moment in Phillip Spaulding's life, the moment that would change his life forever. It would greatly explain why he was never able to maintain healthy relationships with the people that he loved. Because the people who swore that they loved him betrayed him in the worse way possible. He would push his many wives (Beth, Blake, Harley, India, & Olivia) away from him because he "pushed" Jackie away when he was a child. It defines him as much as choosing the Spaulding family legacy over a healthy loving marriage to his true love Hope Bauer defines Alan Spaulding. In time, Phillip lets go of all the pain and is able to forge ahead with his three-time wife Beth, his children, and his grandchildren.

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