The Bauer family first appeared on the 15-minute radio version of THE GUIDING LIGHT in 1948. The family moved with the show to television in 1952 (also continuing on radio until 1956). They remained central as the show moved its setting to Springfield, expanded to 30 minutes and then 60, and from black and white to color. This collection covers a span of episodes from 1973 to 2009.
The episodes are divided into two discs:
* Disc 1, “Meet the Bauers”, features six pivotal episodes in the history of the family, including a rare “bonus” episode from 1973.
* Disc Two, “Bauer Barbecues” contains five of the family’s traditional Independence Day gatherings (the Barbecues are one of the top requests from GL fans).
Below is a summary of the episodes on the new DVD:
Disc 1. Meet the Bauers
Episode 1. Man of the Year. November 14, 1977
By 1977, Bill Bauer’s sons, Ed and Mike, had become grown men working as a doctor and lawyer. In this episode, the Springfield Chamber of Commerce is honoring Mike Bauer with a surprise award during its annual banquet. But, unbeknownst to Mike and the attendees, another more sinister surprise is lurking in the shadows.
Principal Cast: Charita Bauer, Don Stewart, Mart Hulswit, Lenore Kasdorf, Stefan Schnabel, Fran Myers, Curt Dawson, Michael Zaslow, Linda McCullough and Ed Bryce.
Episode 2. Where in the World is Santo Domingo? March 19, 1980
When Ed Bauer’s ex-wife, Holly, is kidnapped by the nefarious Roger Thorpe, Ed and Mike travel to Santo Domingo to rescue her. In this episode, which was actually shot in the real Dominican Republic capital, the brothers arrive in Santo Domingo, reunite with Ed’s step-daughter Christina, and begin searching for Holly.
Principal Cast: Don Stewart, Mart Hulswit, Michael Zaslow, Maureen Garrett, Barbara Berjer, Charita Bauer, John Wesley Shipp and Robert Milli.
Episode 3. Courage. June 27, 1984
During surgery to remove a blood clot, doctors were forced to amputate Bert Bauer’s leg below the knee. In this moving episode, Bert maintains a positive attitude, and tries using a walker for the first time. Meanwhile, Josh Lewis is in a tailspin of despair because of his own recent paralysis.
Principal Cast: Charita Bauer, Don Stewart, Robert Newman, Kim Zimmer, Jordan Clarke, Larry Gates, Michael O’Leary, Krista Tesreau, Greg Beecroft and Rebecca Hollen.
Episode 4. The Return. November 22, 1996
Meta Bauer left Springfield in the 1970s, but the writers kept her character alive by periodically referring to her. In this special episode, Meta returns to the Bauer home for the first time in over 20 years. Meta is now played by the legendary soap actress Mary Stuart, who also starred on SEARCH FOR TOMORROW.
Principal Cast: Mary Stuart, Michael O’Leary, Rebecca Budig, Grant Aleksander, Jerry ver Dorn, Elizabeth Keifer, Michael Dietz, Amy Ecklund, Maureen Garrett and Michael Zaslow.
Episode 5. Married to the Mob. February 16, 1999
Ed’s daughter, Michelle, was involved in the death of Mick Santos, a member of the corrupt Santos family. To save her life, she married his sympathetic brother, Danny, in a civil ceremony. Danny’s mobster mother, however, remained suspicious of Michelle, who was now secretly working with the FBI to bring down the family. She insisted that the couple also have a formal ceremony in a church, in front of Michelle’s family friends, and God.
In this memorable episode, Michelle is torn by doubt as she prepares to walk down the aisle with a man she doesn’t love.
Principal Cast: Bethany Joy Lenz, Paul Anthony Stewart, Michael O’Leary, Mary Stuart, Paulo Benedeti, Tammy Blanchard, Maureen Garrett, Grant Aleksander, Amy Ecklund and Saundra Santiago.
Bonus Episode. Death of a Patriarch. February 27, 1973
Although most GUIDING LIGHT episodes from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s were not preserved, this “lost” episode from 1973 has survived. In it, the family attends a moving memorial service for the recently deceased Papa Bauer. Ed Bauer eulogizes his beloved grandfather, and his son Mike sings one of Papa’s favorite songs. Frederick (Rick) Bauer is a toddler!
Principal Cast: Charita Bauer, Ellen Deming, Don Stewart, Mart Hulswit, Barbara Rodell, Elissa Leeds, Jeanne Arnold, Anthony Call, Millette Alexander and Caroline McWilliams.
Disc 2 “The Bauer Barbecues”
Episode 1. Unexpected Arrival. July 2, 1987
The Bauer barbecue became an annual tradition in Springfield during the 1980s, with extended family and neighbors gathering to celebrate the fourth of July. In this special episode, which aired during the show’s 50th anniversary week, Mike Bauer’s grandson, Alan-Michael Spaulding, is reunited with his family.
Principal Cast: Peter Simon, Michael O’Leary, Grant Aleksander, Ellen Parker, Kassie Wesley, Krista Tesreau, Larry Gates, Maeve Kinkead, Carl Tye Evans, and William Roerick.
Episode 2. Dueling Barbeques. July 4, 1994
In this episode, Ed Bauer’s longtime nemesis Roger Thorpe seeks to upstage the Bauers by throwing his own barbecue. Meanwhile, the now widowed Ed becomes increasingly distracted by the beautiful Dr.Eve Guthrie.
Principal Cast: Peter Simon, Maureen Garrett, Michael Zaslow, Jerry ver Dorn, Elizabeth Keifer, Hillary Edson, Jay Hammer, Robert Newman, Vincent Irizarry and Petronia Paley.
Episode 3. Party Crasher. July 4, 1997
Bauer barbecues had their share of surprise visitors, as family and friends would return to town to share in the celebration. But sometimes the visitors were not so welcome. In this episode, Rick Bauer’s bitter ex-wife, Annie Dutton, shows up at the barbecue drunk and venomous.
Principal Cast: Cynthia Watros, Rebecca Budig, Michael O’Leary, Grant Aleksander, Kim Zimmer, Robert Newman, Lisa Brown, Maureen Garrett, Jerry ver Dorn and Elizabeth Keifer.
Episode 4. America The Beautiful. July 4, 2002
In this poignant episode, the community of Springfield comes together to reflect on a post-9/11 world. Michelle Bauer asks everyone to say something they love about America, and then the cast joins together to sing “America The Beautiful.”
Principal Cast: Michael O’Leary, Nancy St. Alban, Kim Zimmer, Robert Newman, Maureen Garrett, Matt Bomer, Justin Deas, Crystal Chappell, Beth Ehlers and Jerry ver Dorn.
Episode 5. One Last Time. July 3, 2009
Nostalgia is in the air as Michelle Bauer Santos and her husband, Danny, return to town, along with many other longtime members of the community. In this final Bauer barbecue before the series ended, the characters reminisce about Bert Bauer, and Bert’s grandson Rick makes an emotional toast.
Principal Cast: Michael O’Leary, Grant Aleksander, Beth Chamberlin, Krista Tesreau, Tina Sloan, Justin Deas, Nancy St. Alban, Kim Zimmer, Jessica Leccia and Crystal Chappell.
You can purchase "The Bauer Family Story" on DVD now at SoapClassics.com. You can also check out a free episode of GUIDING LIGHT from Rick and Meredith's 1988 wedding while you're there. It features Kassie DePaiva (then Wesley) as Chelsea Reardon who sings with Johnny Bauer as the wedding starts.
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