General Hospital: All Hail the Nurses Ball — and ABC Daytime!

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

Aren‘t we just having the greatest time watching General Hospital ’s Nurses Ball, the first part of which aired Friday?   I’d like to congratulate all the performers, writers and the crew who participated, especially those two great showmen, executive producer Frank Valentini and headwriter Ron Carlivati, for putting on such a great production. I’d also like to thank those two great women who created the Ball back in 1994: former executive producer Wendy Riche and former headwriter Claire Labine.

And haven’t the musical numbers in this year’s revived Nurses Ball been wondrous so far?  I especially loved Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and a glamorized Ellie (Emily Wilson) who did the comic and so imaginative “She Blinded Me with Science.” The introduction to the ball, starring all the nurses spearheaded by Epiphany (Sonja Eddy) was great, and so was the pas de deux by Anton and Sam, performed straight from Dancing With the Stars to you by Kelly Monaco and Maxim Chmerkovskiy.  I found myself sobbing (again) when Frisco sang “All I Need” to Felicia at the cliffhanger of Friday’s episode.  I was never their greatest Frisco and Felicia fan back in the day, but it brings back the old days of GH to us, special days we shall never forget in so many ways.

So we must all hail all General Hospital’s 50th anniversary celebration, which has been on-going seemingly everywhere this past week.  You have to give big kudos to ABC Daytime for publicizing the hell out of the event.  There was Tony Geary’s sentimental appearance on The View, during which they showed the clip of Luke singing “My Way.”)   There was a superbly produced 50th anniversary special edition of the Katie Couric daytime talk show, showcasing many of the actors (Tony, Genie Francis, Kin Shriner, et al.) who made the trip to Manhattan to tape the show. Included were Jack Wagner singing and doing a hilarious kissing scene with Katie.  Last night, GH even offered a very nicely put together hour long special edition of 20/20 called “The Real Soap Dish.”  There were segments on love, sex and the great supercouples of Port Charles.  I even saw a New York City local news report on the anniversary in a screen in the back seat of a cab I was taking to a Broadway show on Friday!

All in all, I can’t remember such a hoopla being made over any show in all my many decades of watching and writing about soap operas.  Do you think ABC finally, finally, sees the errors of their ways in destroying their other two great soaps, the cancelled All My Children and One Life to Live?   By devoting such love and attention to General Hospital, is ABC saying they are really going to stick with this show and make it live another 50 years?    I’m certainly hoping so.

 Altogether, GH’s anniversary celebrations and the Nurses Ball certainly made it a momentous and quite sentimental week to be a daytime fan.    


  1. I have enjoyed the Nurses Ball and I got into a tiff with a friend about Frisco singing to Felicia. My friend was so touched by it and while Frisco crooned, my friend’s eyes filled with tears. She said that she hoped Felicia picked Frisco. “If she does, she is a fool,” I snapped. Frisco abandoned Felicia with two kids and was gone for many years. During his absence, Mac Scorpio stepped up and became a wonderful father to Felicia’s daughters. So, Felicia should pick Mac. It would be criminal if she didn’t. I would be enormously disappointed and disgusted if Felicia went off in the sunset with Frisco.

    I’ll give Jack Wagner his props, he still sounds great. Unless, he was lip-syncing.

    And you’re right, Marlena, ABC has promoted the heck out of fifty years of GH, even rebroadcasting that marathon twice for those who may have missed it the first time around. But there has been some exaggerations and misinformation going on about the serious spike in GH’s ratings. Some people are comparing this current GH comeback to what Gloria Monty did with the show back in the 70’s. Please. There is no comparison. Back in the late seventies, the super talented Gloria Monty recreated GH, stylistically and with new, exciting characters and stories. She didn’t bring back a slew of gone but not forgotten characters. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the visits from Bobbi, Laura, Frisco, Lucy, Audrey, Alan and Rick. I could have done without Jax and Brenda. And why didn’t Lesley show up? And I hope some of them decide to hang around Port Charles permanently.

    And as for the recent ratings, the numbers ain’t all that. If you believed the hype, there are some who make it sound like GH has displaced Y&R as the number one soap.

    Does ABC regret summarily dumping ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE? Who knows? If so, they could air the online resurrections at one and one thirty followed by the hour long GENERAL HOSPITAL.. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that those online revivals are compelling stories that garner a massive viewership. And if that happened, maybe the networks will allow the writers of the four remaining TV soaps to concoct fresh, imaginative tales, which leads to much higher ratings and resurrecting the soap opera genre.

    Marlena says: I am big Mac fan — only a true man could have stepped up to fill the holes Frisco left open in his daughters’ and his wife’s lives. But the writers have given Jack Wagner a lot to do and he has delivered. Actually, one who also deserves kudos I think is Kristina Wagner, who has matured so delightfully as an actress. Along with the wonderful John J. York, it’s been a delightful love triangle.

  2. Can we just go ahead and give “General Hospital” every Daytime Emmy Award @ the 2014 ceremony? I’m not joking.

    BTW, beautiful column, Marlena. Reminded me of your robust and full-of-(soap)-life columns in Soap Opera Weekly in the mid to late-1990’s.

  3. I don’t generally watch GH anymore, I just keep up through the internet, but I have been watching daily. And although it will never be as good as it once was, seeing so many characters back from the time when I was mad for the show has brought so many happy memories back to me, and for that I am grateful. For some of them, it seems like they were never off the screen, seamlessly being woven back into the show, picking up the characters that brought so much joy and frustration to me without missing a beat.
    Lynn Herring has always made me happy, especially once they wrote her character as a fully formed person, with the surrogacy story so long ago, and I hope that they keep her around now on a regular basis. I can’t imagine Port Charles without her, and with the right story, I have no doubt that she will shine again.

    Marlena says: Love your fandom for the fabulous Ms. Herring. They gave her a bad start with the vampire redux storyline but she was her old one of a kind self during the Nurses Ball segments. I bet they keep her in the long run. as Frank and Ron also seem to be Lucy/Herring fans too!

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