1963 – 2023: 8 interesting facts about the soap opera General Hospital
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fires of Love this year, another soap is celebrating its 60th anniversary and its General Hospital.
It sounded like a joke and yet! 60 years after launch on April 1, 1963, General HospitalHe’s still on the air on ABC. Find out more about this American institution here.
A series created in response to the success of another American series
It was Frank and Doris Hursley who decided to launch their own soap opera after long working on another important series: Look for tomorrow. Before it became the series we know today, General Hospital was very focused on the hospital world, as the name suggests. The series came about as a kind of reaction to the success of Ben Casey launched two years earlier on the same channel. The soap’s early episodes also featured more of the week’s “medical cases” before diving straight into the pure soap.
The city of Port Charles was not always present in the series
Genoa city one The Fires of LoveSalem for days and livesSanta Barbara… for Santa Barbara. Each soap thus has its defined arena, its setting. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a small or big city, but the viewer can locate what’s happening. In the case of General Hospital, only in the 1970s the name of the city became known. Until then, no name was mentioned in the air, the action took place on the 7th floor of an American hospital.
America’s longest running soap
When he is overtaken by his English counterpart on the podium of the longest soap opera Coronation Street (1960) General Hospital has borne this title since the end of the 2010s and the wave of cancellations of historical soaps. Guiding Light was the longest-running soap opera for a long time (1937). Since there are only 4 left on American TV, General Hospital is in the lead, followed by days of our lives (1965), The Fires of Love (1973) et Loves glory and beauty (1987).
Several derived series on the meter
If is the name of the city where the action is located Port Charles, it is also the title of the derivative series that circulated on ABC between 1997 and 2003. The series contains just over 1500 episodes, but was canceled in 2003 due to hearing loss. The series really aimed to return to more medical intrigue, but the public wasn’t there enough. But it’s not the only spinoff the series has seen in its 60-year history.
The first fork attempt dates back to 1966 and is called The young married couple and the action takes place The Queen’s Point, suburb of Port Charles. The second attempt was more surprising and found… on English TV. Same name, same structure but no character from the original series present.
In 2007, the series ran in prime time General Hospital: night shift sees the light of day, but it won’t be long. The series also had special dates based on web series or “behind the scenes” shows, but nothing special.
Gloria Monty: a producer to revive the series
It’s a name little known in France but a central figure on American television. Gloria Monty was hired in the late 1970s to literally save General Hospital, which was threatened with termination by ABC. She has 6 months for the hearings. What the producer will do will affect the entire production of soaps in the United States: changing the background of the plot, appearances of iconic characters, complete overhaul of the rhythm of the episodes, …
A record audience
31 million viewers ! That’s not a primetime score, it’s the viewership record for the series. The year is 1981 and the public will attend the wedding of the star couple of the series. Luke and Laura. However, their story had started badly as Luke raped Laura on a night when he had had too much to drink (the character of Luke wasn’t meant to stay at the beginning). But he became particularly popular because he “saved Port Charles from cryonics. His character is then “softened” and the invocation of the original rape “set aside” until her son confronts his father about the issue in the ’90s. Luke and Laura therefore married in 1981 in front of 31 million Americans. Elizabeth Taylor was a guest among the wedding guests.
To mark the occasion, the fictional couple even receive flowers and congratulations from a couple who just got married 6 months before: Diana and Charles!
A iconic villain
His name is Mikkos Cassadine. He only appeared on the show for a few months in 1981, when he threatened to freeze the entire city of Port Charles with a weather machine. It was Luke who stopped them and killed them, making him the hero of the town. This character is still considered one of the greatest villains in soap opera history. His arrival is credited to the contributions of Gloria Monty. When he doesn’t stay long, his family and many descendants continue to fuel the soap opera’s intrigues.
FUN FACT : Victor Cassadine, one of Mikkos’ brothers, is originally played by a veteran of the soap opera actor Thao Penghlis. The latter will also play Tony DiMeira, the son of one of the great villains of days and daysStefano DiMeira, played by actor Joseph Mascolo.
The emergence of superpairs
The supercouple is a constant feature of soaps, but usage of the term was born from that General Hospital and the Luke-Laura couple. They are an iconic couple of a series that heavily symbolizes it and spends years loving and breaking up. If we notice the presence of such couples in days of our lives for example with Doug and Julie, the term therefore exploded in the 80s: Luke and Laura therefore, Marlena and John / Bo and Hope in days of our livesKelly and Joe / Eden and Cruz in Santa BarbaraBen et Meg dans sunset at the beach … and to France with Alex and Chloé tomorrow is ours or even Greg and Elliot along It all starts here.
Guests hosting the series
While in France actors or actresses – sometimes young – are still wondering if it is appropriate to make soap, in the United States the question has long been decided and by personalities who sometimes have a much more consistent career than those who hesitate. That is how, as we remembered, Elizabeth Taylor came to the Helena Cassidine camp. We can also note the presence of James Franco, George Takei (star trek), Mehgan Markle, Chandra Wilson (Grey’s anatomy) or Gloria Stuart (titanic), the journalist Katie Couric or Susan Lucci, who played her role as Erica Kane in herself for one episode all my children.