In a world where Television shows come and go, General Hospital is celebrating a landmark anniversary. The show premiered on April 1, 1963 and is the longest running drama of all the ABC soaps. The drama is set in the fictional town of Port Charles, New York and it focuses both on the core hospital storylines as well as the world of organized crime. It boasts a cast of award-winning actors and has some very famous alumni. A few stars that appeared on General Hospital early in their careers include: Demi Moore, John Stamos, Janine Turner, Jack Wagner, Ricky Martin, Emma Sams, Richard Dean Anderson, and Vanessa Marcil.
The first thing that usually comes to mind when talking about the history of General Hospital is the famous Luke and Laura storyline. The adventures of Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) and Laura Webber (Genie Francis) hit the pop culture mainstream in the early 1980ís. Their popularity soared with their wedding in 1984 that included a guest appearance by Elizabeth Taylor. The wedding was the most watched episode in daytime history and it even landed them a cover on Newsweek magazine. Francis has returned to the role many times over the years and recently returned to the show briefly in 2007 for the 25th anniversary of the Luke and Laura wedding. Anthony Geary continues to star on the show playing the role that made him famous.
General Hospital has always strived to stay on the cutting edge of the daytime world. They were one of the first soaps to utilize action-adventure storylines and boasted many on-location episodes. General Hospital delivered a different kind of soap opera to the viewers and they loved it. Even during the heyday of Luke and Laura and some of their more outlandish capers, the audience was kept entertained. Recently, they incorporated the use of CGI effects to ramp up the look of the show. These effects were prominently used in ABCís first nighttime soap spin-off aptly named: General Hospital: Night Shift. The show aired on Soapnet during primetime in 2007, but itís unclear if the show will be back for a second season. Port Charles, another General Hospital spin-off, aired on the ABC network from 1997 until 2003.
Soap opera ratings have diminished over the years and the future of the soap opera genre is uncertain. Hopefully, General Hospital will remain true to its roots and employ good storytelling to maintain their popularity. Even though General Hospital is known for its edginess, most viewers tune in to see a balance of good writing, acting and production values. So congratulations to General Hospital on this special anniversary and may they have many more years of entertaining drama.