Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow….Happy 50th Anniversary, General Hospital!

By Marlena De Lacroix. a.k.a.Connie Passalacqua Hayman

As General Hospital reaches 50 years on Monday, April 1st, I’d like to wish the show and its huge extended family, past, present and future, the happiest of birthdays.  GH is a momentous achievement, not just in the history of soaps or daytime, but in all of television history.  Everyone who has had a part in putting this show on the air these five decades deserves the greatest credit for making this show a true icon.  So, producers, directors, actors, writers, crew, daytime executives, ABC … a big thank you for so many years of wondrous entertainment.

Yesterday …

As I write this, I am watching the SoapNet  marathon of 50 GH episodes, and not only am I having a hell of a good time, but I’m shamelessly weeping tears of nostalgia, emptying the box of tissues I keep [Read more...]

General Hospital: Think of the Real Laura

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

Let’s start off with the positive here: The Nurse’s Ball is coming closer and closer (to be aired the week of April 1) and both current and we longtime General Hospital fans sure have a lot to look forward to.

Genie Francis

After  a few mediocre weeks (starting with the end of the vampire story), GH  delivered an episode this Friday that was quite good and full of the surprises Mr. Calivati had promised us on Twitter the day before.  I literally screamed when it was revealed that Britt and the shockingly returned Dr. Lisa Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) were mother and daughter.  The beloved Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) finally reappeared, too.  Then Nicholas (Tyler Christopher) came home at the end of the episode, and I surprised myself by bursting into sentimental tears when he and his mother Laura embraced.

Indeed, there have been all kinds of screaming at Chez Marlena for the last two or three weeks and it hasn’t always been screams of delight. My fellow GH watcher Moose (a novice, who is still learning which end is up, GH-wise) braces for the coming storm of outrage and Nigel, our beagle, hides in [Read more...]

General Hospital at 50: They’ve Only Just Begun …

Marlena says:  It’s a special time at General Hospital.  The 50th anniversary is coming up April 1 and it’s been just about a year since headwriter Ron Carlivati and executive producer executive producer Frank Valentini took over a dying show and made it must-watch TV.  Marlena’s dear friend and veteran journalist Ed Martin, who first started watching GH in the glory days of the early 80s, expresses the feelings of many avid fans at the current state of the show in this column, reprinted from his regular gig at TV Worth Watching. Ed’s been a guest columnist here many times, and I’m so happy to share his latest GH thoughts with you.

By Ed Martin

April will mark the 50th anniversary of ABC’s General Hospital. I’ll be marking my 35th anniversary as a steady GH viewer just a couple of months after that. One year ago, I was almost certain that neither anniversary would come to pass, what with the show in a death spiral after more than ten years of dreadful mob-based stories that had gutted virtually everything [Read more...]

This Week On General Hospital: Watching, Remembering and Perhaps Thinking Too Much … The Bold and the Beautiful’s Game-Changing Pregnancy

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

I certainly ran the full gamut of emotions while watching General Hospital this week.  Tell me you didn’t also have tears in your eyes when Luke and Laura were reunited and Luke flashed back onto an earlier reunion when Laura came back from her Cassadine kidnapping in 1983.  I was surprised that I was so thrilled to see veteran actors return. Kin Shriner’s always obstinate and self-righteous Scotty is older but otherwise hasn’t changed. Didn’t you love when Luke took some jibes at his decades-long rival, referring to Scotty’s “increasingly heightening hairline” and “troll” hair?  I actually screamed out loud when former spouses Laura and Scotty told Luke they were engaged.  As you may recall, in 1979-80 Luke raped Laura, then stole her away from Scotty to create “the greatest love of all,” thus launching the golden age of GH, brought to us by its executive producer, the late great Gloria Monty. [Read more...]

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...]

A Tribute to General Hospital’s Shell Kepler

By Marlena De LacroixShell Kepler

Nurse Amy Vining was a supporting character on General Hospital, but she was omnipresent throughout the  fabled Luke and Laura/Gloria Monty years.  After all, she was Laura’s sister!  As Amy, Shell Kepler, who died last week in Oregon, always had a quick quip or a giggle for anyone who hung around the nurse’s station.  My journalist friend Ed Martin, one of the “Monty Men” (a term I coined for my many male friends who first became superfans of GH in the Monty years — and are still watching, waiting for those years to come back!)  penned a wonderful tribute to Shell. Read it here.