The Quartermaines. Sonny Corinthos. Luke and Laura. Do those names sound familiar? Well, they should. We’ve been savoring every juicy minute of these characters’ intertwined lives over the last 50 years on television’s longest-running soap opera, the Emmy Award®-winning General Hospital.
When the doctors, nurses and residents of the fictional upstate New York hamlet of Port Charles came together for the first time on April 1, 1963, it sparked a fascination that has spanned decades. Creators Frank and Doris Hursley were clearly on to something.
This year’s golden anniversary not only celebrates the show’s popular current cast that has legions of fans tuning in day after day, but also some ghosts of General Hospital’s past. Genie Francis is back as beloved Laura Spencer after a five-year hiatus; Jack Wagner and Kristina Wagner are reprising their roles as Frisco and Felicia Jones; and Ian Buchanan returns as reformed mobster Duke Lavery. “It’s like a homecoming; like a reunion,” Ian, who hasn’t been part of the cast since 1989, says. “I feel very honored to be asked back. The show’s always meant a lot to me.”
That sentiment seems to ring true with the tsunami of vets who have washed up on Port Charles’ shore this year. “General Hospital’s meant everything to me,” Jacklyn Zeman, who played Bobbie Spencer from 1978–2010 and has returned for General Hospital’s 50th, says. “It’s been my whole life.” For many viewers, like me, it’s also meant a lifetime of memories.
It’s fair to say that the show has cemented its place in television history, and we’re proud of what this milestone means to ABC’s history and legacy as a leader in daytime television.
Happy 50th General Hospital! Here’s to 50 more fabulously breathtaking, action-packed and heartwarming years.