Welcome Back, Genie! Laura’s Heart Could Save General Hospital

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 25:  horselover fears Genie’s return is just another bait and switch … Mike, a disappointed ex-GHer, will come back for Laura … so will Denise … and more. See Comments below.

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In 1982, at the height of Luke and Laura mania on General Hospital, I was fortunate enough to publish “The Legend of Luke and Laura” in the classic soap magazine Afternoon TV, where I was then editor.   The extraordinary two (later three) part series of articles chronicling the history of the characters’ romance became a legend itself because its writer, Marilyn Henry, combined the skills of  a professional writer (The Films of Alan Ladd) with insight, feeling and an adult understanding of what really made these two characters psychologically reverberate both in our hearts and in soap history.Genie Francis

All these years later, I’m proud that Marilyn is one of Marlena’s Thinking Fans. To commemorate Genie Francis’ short return to General Hospital beginning today, Monday, Marilyn has written an appreciation of Laura and the Emmy-winning Ms. Francis. She briefly recaps and explains their history on GH and, as a longtime fan of the show, recommends that Genie’s  heart, talent and womanly goodness be the panacea for a show beset with the ugliness of  crime and violence. Marlena couldn’t agree more …

                                                  Marlena

                                                   XXXOOO

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By Marilyn Henry

Genie Francis returns to General Hospital today, August 25th, for a short run.   She is one of the most beloved actresses of daytime and the fans have been begging for her prolonged return for years, to no avail.  Now the show seems to be at its lowest point, suffering from acute ennui on the part of the viewers.  Even the complainers have given up hope for change and the message boards, which used to be alive with rantings and ravings, are oddly quiet.  So the question is: will Genie’s eagerly awaited return be enough to bring mob- and violence-weary fans back into the fold?

Or is it simply too late?

Genie Francis started on General Hospital at age 14, after just one other acting job on the TV series Family.  The daughter of actor Ivor Francis, Genie had been around actors and listened to actor talk all her life and was already sure she wanted to be a

Genie Francis should have become the heart and soul of the show, much as Viki is at One Life To Live. But when GH went plot-driven and mob-infested, it was not a place where a character of decency and depth could thrive.

part of the business. She had excellent instincts and GH, under Executive Producer Gloria Monty, was trying to establish itself with the youth market, so she was given as much air time as the law then allowed.

She played Laura Vining, adopted daughter of the Vinings, but actually the biological daughter of leading lady Dr. Lesley Williams, who thought her child was dead, due to a baby switch at birth. Lesley fought to get her child back and won, but Laura was resentful and [Read more...]

General Hospital: Looking Back on 45 Years

(A note from Marlena:  It’s General Hospital’s 45th anniversary!  Here’s a celebration of the event by my good friend and journalistic colleague Ed Martin.  Ed and I have been happily debating General Hospital over coffee now for almost ten  years — and believe moi, we’re not always happy about the current state of the show.  Still,  Ed is clearly very sentimental about the show he once dearly loved.  Read Ed’s authoritative column TV Buzz at www.jackmyers.com.)General Hospital

By Ed Martin

General Hospital today is marking its 45th anniversary. The daily drama about the residents of fictional Port Charles, New York isn’t the oldest soap opera on television – CBS’ Guiding Light and As the World Turns have it beat – but it is still a vital and important show. It is the centerpiece of ABC’s afternoon lineup and remains the most talked about serial on daytime television – a distinction it first achieved 30 years ago this year when a young character named Laura Vining, who began on the show in 1976, moved to the center of the show’s narrative. Laura, one of the most messed-up kids in the history of soap opera, was played by Genie Francis, who was then only in her mid-teens. She had a [Read more...]

Genie Francis Shows’em in The Note

By Marlena De Lacroix

For the first hour of the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie The Note, I felt kind of bored and uncomfortable as Genie Francis played a frumpy (though definitely thinner) middle-aged newspaper columnist who seems to be in need of a stylish makeover or at least a spiked eggnog.  Did I really want to watch a slow-paced Hallmark Christmas movie, all bathed in holy-ish holiday golden light, on a channel where there is no cleavage? [Read more...]